A healthy offspring and production of milk will be directly proportional to the care and managmenet of Pregnant cattle. Most of the possible diseases can be avoided, if proper care is taken. A healthy diet along with few physical management can gaurantee safe delivery.
- Pregnant Cattle should be watched carefully, particularly during the last stages of pregnancy to avoid abortion due to fights or other physical trauma.
- During the last three months of pregnancy when foetal growth is very rapid, a special allowance of about 1-2 kg of concentrate should be included.
- Feeding trace mineralized salt plus recommended amounts of calcium and phosphorus is essential. Balanced and laxative rations should be fed to maintain the normal tone of the reproductive tract.
- Isolate the pregnant animal 10-15 days before calving is due. Keep it in a clean, well bedded, dry and disinfected maternity pen. Watch the animal every 2-3 hours as calving time approaches.
- Swelling of external genetalia and udder are symptoms of ensuing delivery. Most Cattle will deliver without any help. In case of any difficulty, provide veterinary help.
- Do not tire the animal by making it move over long distances, especially on uneven surfaces. Ensure it is not fighting with other Cattle or chased by dogs and other animals.
- Calving problems must be attended to by a veterinarian.
- Placenta is normally expelled 2-6 hours after calving. If this doesn’t happen within 12 hours, a veterinarian must be called in to remove it.
- After calving, the animal must be encouraged to move to the manger for feeding, especially on the day of calving and the first two days after calving.
- Provide clean drinking water and protection from thermal stress.
The Calf management immediately starts after its birth. Below are the detailed information regarding management
- Immediately after birth, though the cow licks the calf clean, the extra mucous or phlegm from the calf’s nose and mouth can be removed to stimulate breathing and circulation. If cold, keep the calf warm by rubbing and drying the calf with a dry cloth or gunny bag.
- Tie the calf’s umbilical cord about 3-5 cm away from its body. Make an incision 1 cm below the ligature and apply tincture of iodine to avoid infection.
- The calf should be fed the cow’s colostrum (the milk produced 4-5 days after calving) within 30 minutes to two hours of birth. If the calf isn’t getting enough colostrum and later milk, pooled colostrum or milk from other cows can be used. Artificial colostrum can also be procured from markets. However, artificial colostrum can also be prepared using an egg, half liter of fresh warm water, half liter of whole milk, a teaspoon of castor oil and similar amount of cod liver oil.
- Disbudding to remove horn buds should be done 10-15 days after birth with red hot iron or caustic potash stick or by electrical method.
- Start the calf on starter/good quality grain when two weeks old; fresh water should be given from the age of 2-3 weeks.
- Calves should be fed whole milk/milk replacer at least up to 2 months.
- House the calves in individual calf pens for 3 months, and then in groups. After 6 months, male and female calves should be housed separately.
- Male calves should be castrated at 8-9 weeks.
- Proper feeding and regular deworming will achieve a growth rate of 10-15 kg/month.
- Strictly follow vaccination and deworming schedules.
Care and Management of Milch Animals
- Milch animals should have a proper and organized feeding regimen to enable maximum lactation.
- Extra concentrate at the rate of 1 kg/2-2.5 liters of milk should be provided. Salt and mineral supplements should be given to maintain lactation.
- Provide water as often as necessary.
- Maintain regularity in milking. Use the full hand method to milk.
- Train cows to lactate without the calf suckling. This will help to wean the calves early.
- In buffaloes, grooming, washing and wallowing must be practiced as required.
- Maintain a 60-day dry period between calving. An insufficient dry period will lead to reduced lactation.