Breeding of Cow

 

Puberty

 

Early onset of puberty is an economic factor in cattle rearing. It differs in different breeds of cattle. Duration of heat or sexual receptivity ranges from 18-25 hours in different breeds. The external manifestations of heat include excitement, loss of appetite, bellowing, reduction in milk yield, licking other animals, mounting other animals, standing still to be mounted, frequent urination, swollen vulva and pink and moist vaginal mucous membrane. The mucous discharge will be ropy, elastic and clear. On rectal palpation, cervix will be relaxed; uterus will have good tone and will be turgid. Insemination done when the cattle shows heat symptom.

Onset of puberty

Breeds

Age

Weight

Indigenous cattle

20-24 months

80-100 kg

Jersey cross

15-18 months

160-180 kg

Brown Swiss cross

15-18 months

170-200 kg

Holstein Friesian cross

15-18 months

180- 210 kg

Detection of oestrum in cows can be made from :

  • External manifestation including behavioural signs of oestrum
  • Mucous discharge
  • Turgidity or tone of the uterus

The external manifestations include excitement, loss of appetite, bellowing, reduction in milk yield, licking other animals, mounting other animals, standing still to be mounted, frequent urination, swollen vulva and pink and moist vaginal mucous membrane. The mucous discharge will be ropy, elastic and clear. On rectal palpation, cervix will be relaxed; uterus will have good tone and will be turgid.
Insemination should be done preferably at the end of oestrum, as ovulation occurs 8-12 hours after the end of oestrum. If the heat signs continue a second insemination is advised.

Gestation period

Gestation length is 275-285 days. Slight variation exists between breeds. Holstein Friesian and Brown Swiss crosses have a longer gestation length than other crosses. If gestation length exceeds 300 days, parturition will have to be induced. Few pregnant animals may exhibit oestrous symptoms.

Pregnant cows should be given at least 2 months dry period. Transfer the pregnant cows to calving pen at  least 2-3 weeks before the expected date of calving.

Parturition Signs of approaching parturition include extreme relaxation of sacrosciatic ligament, enlargement of udder and engorgement of teat, vulval tumefaction and flow of liquefied cervical seal.

The first stage of calving or the preparatory stage lasts for 2-6 hours. Restlessness, passing of dung, raising of tail and frequently getting up are some of the symptom. The second stage or stage of expulsion of foetus takes about 30 min-2 hours. Generally the calf comes out with forelimbs fully extended; head and neck resting on limbs. The third stage or stage of expulsion of placenta occurs with in 3-12 hours of calving. The expelled placents should be immediately removed, so as to prevent the animal from eating it. If the placenta is not expelled even after 12 hours of calving, vetenary aid should be sought to remove the placents manually. Even after 2 hours of the rupture of the first water bag and in spite of vigorous straining efforts, if virth of foetus does not take place vetenary aid should be sought.

Cows normally come to heat 30 to 45 days after parturition and thereafter it cycles regularly. The cows can be inseminated in the heat period after 45 days of parturition. Service period (days between parturition and next successful insemination) of 90 to 120 days is considered optimum

Care of new born
  • Foetal membrane covering the nose and muzzle, and the mucus covering the nostrils should be removed soon after birth of the calf.
  • The body of the calf should be wiped clean.
  • If foetal respiration is delayed, alternate pressing and releasing of the chest is indicated. Respiration can also be initiated by opening the mouth and tickling the tongue/nostrils. Still if the calf is not breathing the mucous may be sucked out and expired air may be blown-in through the nostrils to stimulate respiration.
  • If the umbilical cord is not broken at the time of birth of the calf, tie it at two places 5 cm apart from the umbilicus and cut it in between the knots. The cut end should be disinfected with tincture iodine.
  • Colostrum should be fed to the calf soon after birth.
References Kerala Agricultural University. 2001. Package of Practices- Recommendations: Veterinary and Animal Husbandry, Kerala Agricultural University, Trichur. .