Few months ago, Kaamini wandered around on the roads, uncared for and deprived of food at most of times.
Now, she and her eight-day old offspring, Gauri are almost like family members to Kalabai and Radheshyam Verma of Amlyahaat village in Biaora teshil of MP's Rajgarh district.
And before one wonders, Kaamini is one of the few dozen stray cows that have been re-domesticated and turned into milch cows under a project of Rajgarh district administration.
The objective of the innovation under the district poverty initiatives project is twofold, to provide shelter and care to the stray cows and to supplement livelihood opportunities of impoverished rural women.
The project is being funded by the National Rural Livelihood Mission.
Rajgarh district collector Anand Sharma said earlier the administration had a tough time on the issue of stray cattle because of their communal sensitiveness.
"This project has resolved the issue and has opened a source of income for rural people," he said.
The process is simple. Selected stray cows — often abandoned by owners once the animals stop lactating or bearing calves — are taken to a special cattle shelter at Amlyahaat.
Here, the cows are provided for and then artificially inseminated with semen from the Sahiwal breed, said Gagan Saxena, DPIP project manager.
Once impregnated, the cows are handed over to members of rural self-help groups at a minimal cost of Rs 2,000 to recover the treatment cost.
This money is then further used to treat other cows, while the beneficiaries get to use the milk of the cow and also the offspring either for personal use or selling off.
Since the offspring are of Sahiwal breed, they can fetch up to Rs 25,000 in the market, Saxena added.
"The local Malwi breed cows are facing deterioration of health and productivity in terms of bearing offspring mainly because of inbreeding. Such unproductive cows are then given up as stray. We are turning them useful again and ensuring their proper care too," Saxena, who is a veterinarian by training, said.
The project would also ensure increase in availability of cow milk and dung for farmers to use as manure in their fields, he added.
"Our cow had died and we could not afford to buy another one. We got Kaamini for just Rs 2,000 and now she has given birth to a she-calf, who we are calling Gauri. We can now look ahead to availability of milk and also maybe sell off Gauri few months later if necessary to make some earning," said Kala Bai.
The Amlyahaat shelter has the capacity to impregnate 50 cows every four months, but given the success, expansion is on cards.
"We have submitted a project of Rs 10 crore under the Gokul scheme, to the state government to expand the scope to about 1,000 cows,” the collector said.