Saturday, January 26, 2013

Well nourished Female calves of the cows with the best milking records turns to be better cows of future


Calf care in SEVAI-OFI-Volunteers project

“Well nourished Female calves of the cows with the best milking records turns to be better cows of future” said Hugues,SEVAI-OFI Volunteers project associate mentioned.OF-SEVAI-volunteers Project in Sirugamani keeps an eye on the newborn calf for the first few hours to ensure that its mother is taking care of it. Occasionally a mother rejects her calf. The Project team encourages the new mother to look after her calf. Calves are given water to drink water between their feeds of milk from one to two weeks of age as lack of water will cause the death of a calf faster than the lack of any other nutrient. Only clean, fresh drinking water is given. Water is also especially important for calves if they have diarrhea. The period from weaning until breeding age is most important in the development of heifers to become dairy cows. Hugues, the OFI-SEVAI cow project associate and K.Devendran and cow project team had a discussion on cow rearing and the outcome of the discussions has been summarized as, “If calves are penned away from the cows for part of each day, the farm participants need to remember to allow the first milk, colostrums, to the calf during the first 24 hours. The calf should be allowed to have all that it wants. This is essential if is to remain healthy. Calves will begin to nibble grass or other forage material from the first day of birth It is important to allow them to do this if they are to develop their stomachs normally for eating grass. If they are penned, they must have grass offered to them all the time. By one month of age, calves must be eating grass and some concentrate which should both be available to the calf from birth and to introduce calves to concentrates gradually, and watch how much they are eating, Give them a little more each day once they begin to eat it. Any concentrate which the calf does not eat on the day it is given, should be taken away and replaced with fresh feed. Calves will feed independently on grass and concentrate from about 2 weeks onwards. Calves can only be completely weaned from milk of good quality dry feed such as concentrate meal and the calves are eating enough of it before milk is completely withdrawn. The cheapest way to rear a calf is to give it plenty of young, growing, nutritious pasture from birth onwards. Grass and legumes are much cheaper than milk to feed, and milk may be gradually withdrawn, starting when the calves seem to be eating grass and concentrate independently. It is a good idea to increase their interest in grass and concentrates”.Hugues further said,” There are several advantages to raising heifers and it is important to maintain  keeping records, and select heifers from the best performing cows. The cows with the best milking records will probably have the most suitable daughters as replacements to avoid introducing diseases onto farm with bought replacements, always isolate new animals for a week or two to ensure they don't introduce diseases to farm animals, as dairying is popular, good replacements may be difficult to buy when we need them, we never really know the potential of purchased replacements, because farmers usually only sell those animals they don't want. They seldom sell their best producing heifers. That is why; we need to take care of the OFI-SEVAI-Cow project females with optimum care and concern. The calves are to be fed well so that they grow well and will mate at an early age; the project has to adapt local feeds to suit purpose on formulating diets for dairy cattle.-Govin

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