Origin and distribution: Zalawadi is one of the major goat breed in Gujarat. Animals of this breed are reared by traditional shepherd community known locally as 'Rabaris' and 'Bharwads' in the semi-arid area of Sourashtra region of the state where rainfall is erratic and low. ( Singh et al 2005). It is believed that the breed originated in the erstwhile 'Zalawad' region now known as Surendranagar district and part of Zalawad falling in Rajkot districts. Singh et al (2007) observed that Zalawadi goats are locally known as Tara bakari and native of then Zalawad province of Kathiawad now known as Surendranagar district of Saurashtra (Gujarat). It has spread in the adjoining area of Jamnagar and Ahmadabad districts also. Out of the total goat population of the state, Zalawadi alone constitute 27.8%. Flock size ranges from 15-200. Flock is stationary except few flocks which migrate to Ahmadabad and Khera district in summer and return back in rainy season. The flocks are maintained under extensive grazing management.
Physical Characteristics: It is a medium to large sized breed of dual utility with long legs. The coat is predominantly black with lustrous, long shinning hairs. Some animals have black and white mixed coat. Face is slightly raised. Both male and females have twisted corkscrew type horns directed upward and backward with pointed tips. Ears are long, leafy and drooping and are invariably white speckled.
The ears are so wide loose and leafy that the shepherds traditionally trim the ears and sometimes split the ears to avoid injuries from thorny bushes while browsing. Udder is large and well developed with long conical teats. The average body length, body height and heart girth is 76, 83 and 76 cm in male and 72, 78 and 74 cm in females respectively.
Performance: The average milk yield recorded at fortnightly intervals ranged from 1.09 (first parity) to 1.42 litre (fourth parity) with an average of 1.17±0.09 litres in 120 days. The average body weight of adult male and female are 38 and 32 kg respectively. The average daily milk yield is 1.75 kg ranging from 1.5-2.0 kg/day. Some goats produce 154 kg of milk in a lactation period of 150 days under village conditions. The prolificacy is high with 55% twinning and 2% triplets. Singh et al (2009) observed the performance of the breed in its home tract where the averages of age at first kidding, lactation length, kidding interval and herd life were 22.17±0.16, 6.57±0.31, 11.28±0.87 and 91±7 months, respectively. The multiple birth rates observed were 57%.