Animal Husbandry –Cattle: CAS-7
II. Care and Management of Cows
III. Care and Management of Calves
IV. Care and Management of Heifers
V. Management of Bull
VI. Management of Cross-bred Cows
VII. Periodical Weighing of Cattle
VIII. Providing First Aid to Cattle.
Though India has the largest number of cattle in the world, the productivity in terms of
milk and meat is perhaps the lowest. Besides, the genetic potential is not only underdeveloped
but also degrading slowly and steadily. Lack of proper management is the main reason for these
problems. This booklet covers all the aspects of the management of various types of cattle.
Dr. K. T. Chandy, Agriculture & environmental Education.
The total cattle population of India is about 180 million excluding 61 million buffaloes.
Though lndia abounds in number, it is a well known fact that there is an overall shortage of milk
in the country. The daily per capita consumption of milk and milk products has been estimated
to be about 120 g, as compared to 250 g recommended by the National Nutrition Committee.
The majority of Indian animals are low producers of milk. The old philosophy was to
develop a breed which not only produced a fair amount of milk but also provided bullocks which
were hardy and capable of doing agricultural work. This was termed as dual purpose breed.
There is no doubt that some good local breeds are still found in the country which owe their
availability to nomadic and private breeders. Some of the buffaloes and cows can be compared
favourably with any recognized high yielding breeds of the world.
There have been many factors which have contributed towards low yield by cattle. The
major factor among them is the faulty or inadequate management of dairy cattle. Management
of cattle includes procurement and raising of good animals, their proper feeding, housing,
maintenance, and other major and minor management practices like record keeping, budgeting,
etc. It is a well known fact that maximum production from animals and better returns per unit
depend upon five factors namely breeding, feeding, management, disease control and proper
marketing of the dairy product.
A. Philosophy of cattle management
Present day domestic animals unlike their remote ancestors are put to abnormal use and
they have to stand against artificial conditions of life. For instance, cows milk was not intended
by, nature for human consumption. Originally, it was meant to be utilised by its calf. Selective
breeding by man over centuries led to the improvement of the productive capacity of the cow to
such an extent that her milk today serves as an important item of the diet of man. This artificial
method of increased milk production is a strain on her bodily resources. Unless she is carefully
selected, well looked after, fed on liberal nourishing and well balanced ration, housed properly in
well ventilated, spacious and comfortable sheds, provided with a plentiful supply of pure clean
water for drinking, she will not maintain high production capacity. Thus livestock are to be
maintained in comfortable conditions if they are to produce and reproduce ideally.
B. Objectives of cattle management
The following six basic objectives are to be kept in view while making a productive plan
for cattle management.
1. Highest level of production per animal with less cost.
2. Highest level of production per man employed or per man hour.
3. Comfortable but less costly buildings.
4. Lowest possible investment per animal in direct raising or replacement.
5.Profitable production, procurement of feeds, fodders and animals for replacement.
6. Proper margin of net returns.
II. Care and Management of Cows
The cow can be described as a natural mobile factory, which consumes agricultural by-
products and grassland crops and converts these into one of nature's most nourishing and
nearly perfect food -the milk. As soon as the heifer is transformed into cow, it is to be fed and
bred in a way that the maximum potential of the animal is fully exploited.
A. Feeding cow during lactation
The cow should get light diet for the first few days after calving. The quantity of
concentrate mixture is increased slowly so that a complete ration is fed after about 15days.
During lactation, in order to maintain good level of milk production, all the inputs required should
be meticulously provided. It is essential to provide milch cow with a well balanced ration,
capable of meeting the demands of all the essential body functions including production.
Deficiency of any vital feed constituent will surely affect the production of the animals.
With the rearing parturition of a heifer, the need for nutrition becomes higher to cope up
with demands of milk secretion, animal's own growth and the calf in the womb during the
subsequent gestation. By the. end of gestation, the requirement increases greatly as the
development of foetus in the womb is at the maximum, and the udder tissues of the cow take up
their shape and size. It is also the time when the animals may be fed on additional minerals like
calcium, phosphorus, iron, etc.
Throughout the lactation and other stages of motherhood, the animal has to be provided
with a combination of nutritious fodder and concentrates properly supplemented with vitamins
and mineral so Copious amount of clean and fresh water should also be given regularly.
After 15 days of calving, "challenge feeding" or "lead feeding" may be enforced. It means
that the animal gets slightly more quantity of concentrate ration than actual production in order
to induce the animal to reach its maximum potentialities. If the yield of milk increases, the
quantity of ration is further increased till a stage is reached, when extra ration proves
uneconomical. A slight increase in milk yield with large quantity of concentrate mixture is not
economical. The peak production is reached in about 2-3 months and remains static for a few
months and then starts declining. For other details about feeding cattle, refer to booklet No. 41
on “Cattle Feeding”.
B. Breeding cows
The animals starts coming in heat regularly but the first two heats may be missed and
the animal should preferably be mated at the third heat. In order to have regularity in calving,
this schedule is desirable as it will ensure one calf in a-year in case of cows and one calf every
15 months in case of buffaloes with an average gestation period of 285 and 310 days,
respectively. Some people do not breed their milch cow for a long time thinking that milk yield
would decrease. This is not a correct thinking and needs to be discouraged. Besides, it also
leads low to productivity of the animal.
The cow must be mated with the bulls whose pedigree is known and are reputed to
transmit their traits to off-spring. Alternatively the animals may be bred with the artificial
insemination for which proper heat detection is essential. This can be assured by having a bull
parade. One bull is enough for 50cowser buffaloes in case of natural service.
C. Dry period in cows
The time between the end of one lactation and the beginning of subsequent when a cow
does not produce any milk is called dry period. All the lactating cows need rest for certain period
and should be dried off in order (i) to allow them to build up body resources and to improve in
physical condition before calving, (i i) to enable them to replenish store of body minerals, which
had depleted due to milk production, (iii) to rest and restore to organs of milk secretion, and (iv)
to allow them to use their feed to nourish the foetus.
It is generally dried off about two months before calving. However, it should be noted
that a longer dry period is in no way conductive to more milk production. The best way to dry off
an animal is a complete cessation of milking. The udder fills up and due to pressure that builds it
the secretion of milk stops automatically after sometime. However, in case of heavy yielders a
different strategy will have to be adopted. In such cases, a phased programme of drying of
animals is required. The grain ration may be cut down and the animal may be milked at irregular
intervals. At the beginning, animals are milked once a day and then after two or three days the
milking is stopped completely. If the herd or the animal has any history of mastitis, it will be
better to watch the udder closely. If necessary, it may be milked out at regular intervals. Such
cases needs to be treated properly before milking isstopped.
D. Care of dry cows
This is very important as a cow's next production record is determined by the care
bestowed on her during the dry period. The size and health of the calf in the uterus also depend
on the care she receives during her dry period. Dry cow should never be starved because she is
not giving the milk, she is preparing herself for the production (calf and milk) in the coming
season. So she needs sufficient food for maintaining-the normal life process, better helping the
calf inside the uterus and for building up the reserve in her system for the next lactation.
Below are given some tips to find out whether the cow is pregnant or not.
1. A pregnant cow will not come to heat.
2. The opening of the uterus will be closed.
3. The daily milk yie1d will come down gradually.
4. There will be changes in the ovaries, fallopian tubes and the uterus. These changes can be
observed by the experts only.
5. The size of the abdomen becomes bigger, month after month.
6. The udder will get slowly filled in as the calf in the uterus grows bigger and bigger.
7. The cow itself may put on weight due to extra feed.
8. The coat (skin of cow) will appear polished and shinning.
9. The pregnant cow will be inclined to eat more feed and green fodder.
10. The cow urinate more frequently.
E. Care of pregnant cow
If it is known that the cow is pregnant, she should receive special care and attention.
Following tips will be useful for taking proper care of pregnant cows.
1. Stop milking the pregnant cows at least 2 months before calving.
2. To get a good calf and more milk after calving feed liberally during pregnancy. The amount of
grains to be fed during this period depends upon the actual condition of the cow. Depending
upon the condition of the animal, it would be quite safe to feed 2kg of concentrate mixture every
day during the later part of pregnancy for boosting up. In addition, the cow should also be given
about 5 kg good pasture hay or straw and 10- 20 kg green grass to ensure the supply of vitamin
3. To meet the needs of calcium and phosphorus, different types of cakes like cottonseed cake,
groundnut cake or mustard cake should be given along with wheat bran and grains. In addition
mineral mixture at the rate of 1 % is advantageous.
4. As the pregnant cow should not get constipation, give light and easily digestible feed.
5. Avoid overcrowding, driving fast or slipping. Do not make her walk long distances.
6. Do not frighten the pregnant cow or allow her to fight with other animals.
7. Prevent mechanical injuries by providing comfortable housing with a bedding of straw or dry
leaves. Well ventilated, damp-free, non-slippery sheds are necessary for her.
8. House the pregnant cow away from the restore the herd at least a week before she is
expected to calve.
9. Take good care of the udder by visiting the cow daily and release the tension to some extent
by milking if the udder is full.
10. Give some exercise under supervision or leave the cow to move freely in an enclosed space
with plenty of water to drink at will.
11. Do not allow her to mix with other cows which might have aborted previously .
F. Preparation for calving
When the cow is going to calve, she should be transferred to a quiet comfortable and
well bedded place, where she has access to copious supply of clean freshwater. Constant
watch should be kept over the animal so that approach of the calving time can be ascertained.
The approaching signs of parturition are mentioned below.
1. The abdomen will be fully distended and pendulous due to the weight of the full grown calf in
2. There will be characteristic depression just above the pin bones, i.e. on either side of the
base of the tail. The depression will become deeper and deeper and becomes more
pronounced as the time of calving approaches.
3. The udder will be full and teats filled and turgid.
4. The milk will be thick and not easily soluble in water. It will remain like a plastic streak un-
dissolved when dropped into glass of water.
5. The milk veins will be full, tortuous and prominent.
6. She gets isolated from the herd and does not eat her usual quantity of feed.
7. The cow will feel restless, lie down for sometime and will stand up now and then.
8. The lips of the vulva will become loose, relaxed and slightly separated.
9. There will be mucous discharged from the genital organ.
10. The cow will try to urinate frequently in small quantities.
G. Care of cow during and after parturition
Usually a dairy cow will carry her calf for a periodof282days (gestation period). However,
it may range for 270 to 290 days after , conception. If accurate dairy records have been kept,
which every farmer should do, the calving date can be calculated to within one to 10 days.
Knowing expected date of calving is very helpful in preparing the pregnant cow for safe and
easy calving. While calving the golden rule is not to interfere if everything appears to be normal.
In case of any problem the help of the veterinary surgeon should be obtained. Generally,
following points should be observed during and after the process of parturition.
1. Give the cow -to -calve some warm bran mash with one kg of boiled bajara and a handful of
jaggery before and after calving. This will not only help in increased milk production but will also
help in the separation and expulsion of the foetal membrane.
2. It is desirable that the hot water is readily available, especially in winter season. In winter the
animal should be saved from exposure to low temperature and direct draft. She should be given
3. The first sign of calving will be the bursting of the "water bag" and letting out copious, clear
fluid from vagina. When once this happens, one can normally expect the calf to come out in
about half an hour. Within minutes the hooves of the forelimbs of the calf with the snout resting
on them a few inches behind will be seen protruding. This is a good sign of normal delivery.
Such calf will come out sometimes in a few minutes at any rate within half an hour. However, it
may take a little longer in the case of first calving. Any abnormality in presentation requires
immediate attention by a veterinarian. Remember that if the labour prolongs more than four
hours, some problems may be there and immediate veterinary aid is a must.
4.As soon as the calf is born, allow the cow to lick the calf. If she fails to do, you must check up
if the calf breathes normally. If not so, you must hasten to remove the mucous from the nostrils,
mouth, eyes and ears of the cal f and warm up the cal by briskly rubbing the body surface, with
dry straw or by a piece of gunny cloth.
5. After parturition, the exterior of the genitalia, the flanks and tail of the cow should be washed
with warm clear water containing some crystals of potassium permagnate or neem leaves boiled
in water. This will give a good antiseptic wash.
6. Keep the cow warm to prevent her from chill and it is desirable to give her warm water or
warm gur sarbat to drink just after parturition.
7. It is normal for the udder to be swollen and become large just before parturition. Controversy
exists as to whether or not the milk should be taken out before calving. Care should be taken
that iron nails, loose glass pieces, etc. do not injure the swollen udder. Milk the cow partially to
avoid milk fever after parturition.
8. The placenta will normally leave the cow within 2-4 hours. If it is not expelled within 12 hours,
administer Ergot mixture or take the help of a veterinarian. When the after-birth (placenta) has
been discharged, it should immediately be buried deeply. All care should be taken to avoid
licking or ingestion of the placenta by the cow as it would reduce the milk yield due to excessive
9. There are always dangers that high producing cows will develop milk fever and mastitis. The
dairy man should remain alert for any symptoms of the disease. To avoid milk fever, it is best
not to draw all the milk from the udder for a day or two after calving. To avoid mastitis regular
tests should be made by a veterinarian.
10. Feed the cow at first only bran mash moistened with lukewarm water to provide laxative
effect. Some green grass may also be given. After two days, a mixture of oats, bran and linseed
mash can be used to replace bran mash. If the cow is in good condition at the time of calving,
the amount of feed during these two days does not matter. The amount of concentrates should
be gradually increased.
Once the placenta has been discharged and the calf is on its feet it can be taken as successful
parturition. The cow can be returned to the milking herd after about 10-15 days.
III. Care and Management of Calves
Successful calf raising does not begin from the time calf is born, but actually it begins
with the proper nourishment of the developing foetus. The lactating cow should get ration for
maintenance, production and growth of foetus. One kg of extra concentrate mixture (with 16%
protein) is enough for foetus development in addition to the dams own need. The practices of
management of calves at different stages are described here.
A. Care of the new born calf
A new born calf is naturally exposed to a variety of harmful organisms which may affect
it adversely. In such a case expert veterinary aids are necessary.
1. Make certain that the calf born is normal without any deformity or abnormality.
2. Make sure that the calf breathes well. If not, use a wisp of straw to remove the mucus
covering of nostrils, mouths, eyes and ears, rub the body surface softly but briskly with a wisp of
straw to give some warmth and if necessary, resort to artificial respiration by gently pressing
and releasing the pressure on chest wall.
3. Give some dry bedding (straw or dry leaves) and keep the calf warm and well protected from
being trampled by older animals.
4. Apply tincture of iodine to the navel at birth, and dust with boric acid powder. If a long cord is
attached to the navel, cut it off about two inches from the body before applying iodine. The navel
cord should not be tied but allowed to dry and drop down naturally.
5. Under most conditions the calf will be on its feet and ready for suckling within an hour. Some
assistance at this stage is helpful. Infection can be prevented if an attendant cleans the cows
udder before the calf nurses.
6. The first milk from the udder (colostrum) is necessary for the new born calf at least during first
3 -4 days so that the "micconium" will come out and the calf will also acquire some immunity
from the mother as colostrum is rich in antibodies and vitamins. The rate of milk feeding should
be about 10% of the calfs weight per day, up to a maximum of 4 to 6 litres per day. If scouring
occurs the milk allowances should be reduced to half or less until the calf recovers.
7. Tattoo the calf for identification or fix a neck tag or ear tag.
8. House the calf in a comfortable shed, free from drought and dampness, providing some dry
leaves or straw as bedding. Provide an enclosed space for exercise.
9. At the age of 15 days, 30-40 cc of H.S. serum should be inoculated into the calf.
10. Dehorn the calf at an early age preferably within 15 days.
11. Teats of the udder in excess in female should be removed at an early age.
12. At the age of 3 months, the calf should be vaccinated against anthrax and 15 days
thereafter, it should be vaccinated against black quarter.
B. Systems of calf rearing
There are mainly the following two system of rearing the calf prevalent in this country.
1. The calf is allowed to stay with its mother and to suckle only a little before and after the cows
2. The calf is taken away from its mother either just after birth or after 2 -3 days of birth. Some
calf raisers prefer to allow the calf to be with its mother till the colostrum period. After that
feeding and management of the calf will be entirely in the hands of the dairy man. This is called
Weaning has several advantages:
1. The sudden death of the calf does not affect the production of the animal in any way. It
makes the cow independent of the calf and she continues to yield milk.
2. Proper records of the milk yield can be maintained, on the basis of which the schedule of the
feeding of the animal can be drawn.
3. Proper feeding of the calf can be scheduled. Calf can be on milk for minimum period and
subsequently on a calf starter, in order to keep down the cost of rearing.
4. An injury to the cow's teats may be avoided which may be caused by the calfs teeth.
5. Cow becomes regular breeder.
6. Better standard of hygiene can be maintained.
When the calf is allowed to stay with its mother, its natural instinct automatically leads
the calf nearer the udder of its mother within half an hour to one hour of its birth. However,
calves which are weak may need a little assistance to reach the teats.
In case of weaning system teaching the calves to drink becomes necessary. This is an
operation that requires considerable patience, as some calves are slow in learning to take milk
from a pail.
One should pour about a quarter of the mother cows milk into a clean pail used for
feeding calves and bring the nose of the calf in contact with milk. This is best accomplished by
allowing the calf to suck the finger of the feeder so that its head may be guided into the pail and
then the hand of the feeder can be gradually lowered to the bucket and submerged in the milk
sufficiently deep to allow a little milk to be taken by the calf. By continuous feeding it will learn to
In some farms it is thought preferable to feed the young calves during30r 4 weeks of age
from a nippled pail (a pail equipped with a rubber nipple). The nipple pail has advantage in that
the calf takes the milk more slowly, and is then less likely to have digestive upsets. Care should
be taken that nipple pails are thoroughly cleaned after every feeding.
In feeding whole milk, calves may be fed as per the feeding schedule. While feeding
whole milk the following points should be remembered.
a. As far as possible provide milk from calf's mother.
b. Feed milk immediately after it is drawn.
c. Feeding of cold milk is to be avoided. Milk can be warmed to a temperature of 37.8 to 38. oC
(animals body temperatures).
d. The total amount of milk may be fed at 3-4 equal intervals up to the age of 7 days and then
After feeding the milk, the mouth of the calf may be washed with water and a little salt
may be rubbed in the mouth. If this precaution is not taken, the calf starts licking the other
calves or start licking the earth. Invariably, the licked calves present an ugly look. If the earth is
licked, it may cause diarrhoea.
C. Calf feeding
Some important points of feeding management of calf are given here.
1. On many farms, large quantities of separated milk are available. Excellent dairy calves can
be raised by changing them from whole milk, gradually after two weeks of their age. Here again
the feeding schedule should be followed.
2. If dried skim milk, whey or butter milk are easily available, they can also be fed to calves.
These dried products are mixed with water and then it is fed as skim milk. To avoid digestive
troubles, the mix should always be fed to calves after warming it to 1000F.
3. The expenses and labour involved in raising calves when either, liquid whole milk or skim
milk is used have inspired many dairy farmers to turn the calf to "calf startar method" of feeding.
Calf starter is a mixture consisting of ground farm grains, protein feeds minerals, vitamins and
antibiotics. One continues to feed whole milk to calves until they are 1 to 10 weeks old. After a
calf attains the age of two weeks, the amount of whole milk given to it may be cut down.
Calf starters can be prepared by selecting necessary feed items which are locally
available. One example of such a mixture is as follows.
Groundnutcake -32 parts
Tapioca chips -15 "
Yellow maize -10 "
Wheat bran -25 "
Fish meal -10 "
Molasses -5 "
Mineral mixture -2 "
Salt -1 part
Additives like vitamin B complex (dried yeast) and vitamin A
(shark liver oil) in small quantities can be added.
4. Calves at their ages between 3 to 6 months may be given small amount of silage. Feed 1-2
kg silage daily to calves up to 3 or 4 months and then increase this amount by about 500 gm per
day for each month of the calf. Use every precaution to ensure the quality of silage fed. Mouldy
or damaged silage may lead to serious digestion problems.
5. The period during which calves are most often neglected is soon after milk feeding is
discontinued. Feed the calves liberally from the time milk feeding is stopped. Good legume hay
and concentrate are among the best feeds.
6. A separate pasture for calves is always desirable to prevent injury by the older animals. If
calves have to depend largely on pasture for their feed before they are 12 months of age, they
will not grow normally as they are unable to obtain adequate feed from pasture alone.
7. Make available plenty of fresh drinking water to calves.
8. Salt licks may be hung at convenient heights to prevent the calf licking each other or earth or
9. The calves dung may be got examined from time to time. If there are signs of worm
infestation, the calves must be periodically de-wormed with the help of veterinary surgeon.
D. Housing of calves
The object of housing is to provide shelter to calves against sun, rain and other in-
clemencies of weather.
In rearing of young calves, it is desirable that an open exercise paddock directly
communicating with their shelter and feeding house should be provided. The exercise yard
should not be of a lesser area than 3 square yards for each calf and the calf shelter should be of
10 square feet the floor area for each calf. Calf pens should be located close to cowshed. If
possible, calves of different age groups viz. 3 months, 3 -6 months and over 6 months till they
are weaned, should be housed separately for better management and care.
E. Dehorning the calves
Dehorning is a process by which the horns of an animal are removed after birth by
treating the tender horn roots with a chemical, mechanical or electrical dehorner. This is usually
done in female calves. In case of male calves, many owner would like to have the horn as they
give a better appearance to the animal. Dehorned animals can be handled easily when they
grow up. It also avoids injury due to fighting between them especially when they are let loose in
Dehorning can be done either by applying caustic potash orby an electric dehorner. In
both the cases, it has to be done within two weeks of age, better if it is done in the first week
itself. In caustic potash method, the hair around the horn bud are clipped and small quantity of
Vaseline is applied around the area. It is done to prevent caustic potash from flowing over the
skin. The caustic potash stick is rubbed on the bud for few minutes till the bud becomes soft and
fine drops of blood starts coming. Care is to be taken not to rub the caustic on the skin around.
Caustic potash is hygroscopic and so on the applied area moisture accumulates and may flow
down. It can be soaked with cotton. There will be severe irritation in the horn bud to the
chemical. Also, the calf may rub the head against Some objects, therefore, the treated calf may
be isolated for a day.
Instead of caustic potash electric dehorner can also be used. This is a tubular iron piece
heated by the electricity. This is made red hot and applied over the horn bud area. I t causes the
burning of the skin around the horn bud and later the horn bud sloughs and get removed.
Applying the electric dehorner to the horn button for 10 seconds is sufficient to destroy the horn
F. Marking for identification
Irrespective of the age of the animal, it is desirable to properly identify the animals in the
herd in order to keep records of their perf6rmance, to prepare the pedigree of the animals, to
know their affliction to diseases and other breeding records. There are a number of ways to do it
e.g. tagging, notching, ear marking, tattooing and branding.
Tattooing is the usual method used for identifying the animals. It is a method of affixing a
permanent number on the inner surface of the ear. Tattooing machine consists of different
numerals made of fine needles and a machine in which numerals are to be arranged to be
pressed on the ear. Inside of the ear is cleaned with cotton to remove the wax. Then the
necessary number is arranged on the machine and checked by pressing on a thick paper.
Tattooing ink is applied on the surface of the ear, on the middle area and the ear is placed in
between the jaws of the machine and pressed.
It causes pinpoint breaks on the skin surface in the shape of the numerals. The machine
is then removed and the ink is rubbed hard on the broken skin. The ink particles which go into
the broken skin remain life long in the shape of the number.
Ear tags are sometimes med as identification marks. These are metal badges in which a
number and name of the owner or farm is engraved. This can be screwed on the ear through a
hole made in the ear. The disadvantage with this method is that it may get dislodged when the
animal rubs the ear against some objects.
Hot iron branding is the age old practice of putting identification mark on the animal. This
is done by burning the skin by using hot iron which is shaped in the form of numbers. The
branding is usually done on the thighs. However, this system is not being followed now -a -days.
Even though the marking permanent, it has many disadvantages. It is painful to the animal and
the continuity of the skin is lost in that area reducing the hide value.
A newer method of branding is becoming popular now-a-days. It is called freeze
branding. In this method, branding is done by brands made in the shape of numbers and frozen
by liquid nitrogen. The frozen brands are applied on the body usually on the side of the
abdomen for few seconds. This will cause the death of the pigment producing cells on the skin.
Later, after about two weeks, when fresh hair comes out, they will be colourless on the branded
area. This system has many advantages. There is no injury to the skin and it is not painful. It
gives a permanent marking which is visible from a distance. The only limitation is that it can not
be practiced on animal having a white coat.
G. Castrating the male calf
Castration is the unsexing of the male or female and consists in the removal of both
testicles or ovaries, respectively. It is probably the most common and the oldest of all surgical
operations. Its objectives are to prevent reproduction, to increase faster growth, to produce a
more desirable type of meat and to make the animal docile and easier to handle.
Calves should be castrated while they are young. The best time for castrating calves is between
There are three methods of castrating a male calf which are described below.
1. By making an operation in the scrotum where the vas deferens are disconnected from the
scrotum. Thus the spermatozoa will not be able to flow out of the penis.
2. Castration with the help of a "Burdizzo's castrator". This method is also known as "bloodless
castration". The castrator crushes each cord separately an inch or two above the testicles.
While performing castration by this method, following precautions should be taken.
a. The cord should not slip away at the time of operation.
b. Castrator should not press on any folds of the skin.
c. The Burdizzo should not be placed too low to crush the testicles.
3. Recently, a new method of castration has been in western countries. In this method, a strong
and tight rubber ring around the cord is used. This is done at the earl y age of the calves. This
creates a constant pressure. When the testicles have been absorbed, the ring drops down.
IV. Care and Management of Heifers
Heifers are the future cows of the herd but are unfortunately neglected and considered a
burden. It is time to realize that the productive and reproductive performance of cows depend
upon the care and attention given to them at heifer stage i.e. from 1 to 2 years old to calving.
The Indian heifers mature and calve much later than the European breeds. To achieve
proper growth in young calves (would be heifers) following points may be kept in view.
1. Calves of different age groups should be separated indifferent pens for proper feeding and
2. Proper development of heifer is an important part of the dairy business. The notion that
heifers are non-returning animals and should not be fed is wrong. They are the future cows of
3. Heifers can thrive on good fodder and roughage. Availability of good pasture is an additional
desirability. Raising of heifers in this way is more economical.
4. Normal growth cannot be attained unless an adequate supply of total digestible nutrients
(TDN) and energy is ensured. When the calves are one year old, these may be fed one kg
concentrate per day in addition to good quality roughage (green and dry fodder). The young
calves grow faster than the older ones, therefore, they require more of growth allowance. It is
given on the basis of average daily increase in the body weight.
The heifers are to be fed adequately but it is not desirable to overfeed them because (a)
it is not economical, and (b) a heifer with abnormal body weight may not turn out to be a good
dairy cow. In initial stages of growth more proteins than energy are required.
A. Housing of heifers
A simple and cheap covered shed with open "loafing area" is the basic need for housing.
It is to be designed in a way that each heifers gets about 2.5 to 3 square metre covered floor
space and 9 to 11 square metres space in the open area. This space is enough to give
protection from inclement weather and for exercise. A comfortable house also includes mangers
and fresh water troughs.
B. First calving in heifers
The size and age of heifers should be the basis for giving first service (mating with bull).
Breeding of under-sized heifers causes stagnated growth, weak calves and difficulty at the time
of delivery. It is a common observation that the cows generally calve at the age of three and half
years in India. The age of first calving can be reduced to increase the overall useful life of the
animal. Average age at first service heifers is 33 to 37 months. On an average, the body weight
of heifers at first service should be 200 to 250 kg.
A good management practice requires that the actual date of calving should be known
from the records. The gestation period of cows is 280-285 days. Normally, the calf is born within
5- 6 hours of labour pains. Other practices and precautions are same as in general dairy cows.
It is difficult to milk the first calver, as the cow is experiencing such an act for the first
time. The manipulation of udder of the first calver by massaging is helpful in milking the animals
after calving. Sometimes due to accumulation of plasma the animal does not allow to touch the
udder and teats. Patience is needed with such animals in order to train them with the process of
the milking. At this stage adoption of cruel means is to be avoided. With patience gentleness
and affection shown to the animal, it will start yielding milk regularly within3-4days. In early
stages if there is too much of swelling in teats, slight fomentation with cloth dipped in hot water
and then squeezed can prove useful. Hind legs may also be tied before milking. If the teats are
small, it is good practice to milk the animal with two fingers and thumb, whereas full hand
milking can be done in case of animals with larger teats. The chances are that the teats may
become longer as the animal advances in age.
V. Management of Bull
The bull has been defined as the male of cattle which is especially used for breeding
purposes. Bull has always been given special consideration in India, and undoubtedly, the
contribution of bull in procreation is tremendous. Due to the influence it has on the herd, it has
resulted into the well known popular statement "Sire is half of the herd". Since the sire
contributes one half of inheritance of each animal born, it impregnates more than 30-50 female
a year or is instrumental in the birth of several thousands calves by artificial insemination, the
greatest opportunity for improvement of a herd lies in the introduction of desirable characters
like milk yield, better fat production, etc. through the sire. The concept may change with some
development as cloning, fertilized embryo transplantation etc. But at present sire is the most
important single factor in the improvement.
While selecting a bull, the following points may be considered.
1. Bull should be checked thoroughly for diseases and breeding efficiency. There should be no
indication of any disease or physical deformity.
2. Bull should have the ability to pass on desirable characteristics to its progeny.
3. Breeding record of the bull should be good. Selection can be made by studying pedigree
records. If the pedigree records are complete, there cannot be any other reliable method.
4. While considering pedigree, the sire, the sisters, the half sisters and the grand parents should
be given proper consideration.
5. On age factor, a young sire should be preferred to an old one.
6. The conformation of the bull should also get due weightage. It should be healthy, vigorous,
masculine and docile.
7. If the bull is to be used for artificial insemination, the quantity and quality of the semen should
be good. The preservability of the semen should also be satisfactory.
A. Feeding and breeding
The male cal f can be fed along with other calves in the herd up to six months of age.
After this, the male calf, which has been selected to be raised as bull, should get special care till
maturity. Bull should be fed good quality roughage and enough concentrates to keep it in trim
condition but not fat. When in active service, the bull should get 2 -3 kg of 16% C.P. (crude
protein) concentrate mixture in addition to good quality green fodder and roughage.
Free access to good water supply is essential both in winter as well as in summer. The
feeding should be based on the weight of the animal and intensity of service -natural or artificial
Once bull reaches maturity, the nutrients are required to maintain physical fitness, to
repair continuous tissue break-down and to provide energy for life process and physical
activities. It is different from growing bull as allowance for growth has also to be given in addition
to other requirement. Phosphorus deficient fodders can also reduce fertility besides causing
The bull may be housed in a small paddock attached to the open shed in which the bull
can move freely. Space requirement for bull is 15 square meters covered area, 12sq. metre
open area and 75cm watering space. Some of the bulls are ferocious and it is essential while
planning housing that the attendant should have access to the animal without being harmed.
The open area or loafing area should be enough to provide exercise for maintaining
reproductive fitness. In case where the bulls remain in confinement and do not have loafing
area, they should be exercised by giving bull exercise, long walk or by working with implements.
Proper cleaning of paddock is essential. It becomes difficult to eradicate ticks if once lodged in
crevices. These ticks can cause a number of diseases.
Different types of rings are available in the market which can be used as a safeguard for
handling bulls. The rings may be forced through the nasal septum and then fastened together
when the bull attains the age of 9 -12 months. Ring should be of light weight, non-rusting metal
and about 4 cm in diameter, which can be replaced by strong metal ring of7cm diameter at the
age of12to 15 months. A bull staff is useful in handling the bull.
D. Trimming hoofs
It has been observed that the hoofs of the bull become disfigured and should be properly
trimmed to avoid difficulty in walking. This happens particularly in bulls which remains on
"pucca" floors. The attack of foot and mouth disease also leaves its mark on the hoofs.
E. Progeny testing
Evaluation of sire can be done by the performance of its progeny. On the basis of
number of daughters, the sire stands proven. Such sires are of considerable value in the
improvement work. Many states have initiated progeny testing work. The value of such bulls has
become all the more as artificial insemination has been extended to large population of cattle. A
proven sire is one with 5 or more unselected daughters whose production can be compared with
that of their dams.
One bull may be provided for 50-60 cows of breeding age, this will mean roughly 60 -100
services in a year. The length of active productive life in bulls depends on the level of energy
intake and the extent to which the bull has been used. In case of young bulls, 10 -15 services
VI. Management of Cross-bred Cows
The foreign breeds used for cross breeding purposes in India are Holstein Fresian,
Brown Swiss, Red Dane and Jersey. Among , them Holstein is the highest milk producer (over
6000 litres per lactation), although the fat percentage of its milk is somewhat low (3.5 per cent).
Jersey is the breed of small sized animals with relatively high fat content in its milk (4.5 to 5.0%)
and can better suit the hilly areas. The milk production potentiality of jersey is estimated at 4000
litres per lactation. The other two foreign breeds i.e. Brown Swiss and Red Dane are in between
Holstein Fresian and Jersey regarding their milk production and fat content.
At present it is advisable to maintain 50% exotic blood in the cross -bred animals in
plains of India, whereas 62.5 percent in the hilly areas. This level may be achieved by using
inter-mating or forward crossing of F2 generations, respectively.
All over the country cross-breeds are gaining popularity for their higher milk yield as
compared to buffaloes and other cows. Although no unusual care is needed for this category of
livestock but still there are certain fundamental points which should always be kept in mind while
rearing a cross -breed cow.
Dairy cattle are homothermous (i.e. maintain constant body temperature) and, therefore,
when the environmental temperature rises or falls abnormally, the animals are in stress. In
general for cross breeds (such as Brown Swiss x Sahiwal) the critical temperature leading to a
decline in milk at higher level comes at about 90 to 95°F. For comparison, this critical
temperature is 70-800 F for Holstein Fresian and Jersey. For Brown Swiss it is between 85 to
900F. The comfort zone for all cross-bred cows is likely to be affected during the summer
months of April to August. Incase of male, extreme temperature coupled with high humidity lead
to degeneration of testicular epithelium, thereby causing inferior quality of semen production.
This situation may be partly avoided by providing ample shady trees during summer months. It
has also been observed that exposure of cross-breds to high environmental temperature
reduces the feed intake.
Second important point in the management of cross-bred is disease control. In general,
cross-breds are having less disease resistance capacity in comparison to any Indian pure
breeds. It has been observed that cross-bred animals are very prone to foot and mouth disease.
To check the spread of this disease, breeders are advised to get their cross-bred stock
vaccinated against foot and mouth disease and all other contagious fatal diseases. Mastitis is
the next important disease which may very often be found in cross- bred animals. An occasional
check up for mastitis is a must.
Cross -bred animals are also very much susceptible to all kinds of parasitic infections.
As such, rigorous preventive measures should be taken right from the early age. De-worming
with piperazine compound should be practiced once during 1 -2 month followed by 3 -4 months-
and 5 ~ 6 months. For adult cattle follow the direction given by the veterinarian. Thus cal f
mortality in cross-breds is high due to parasitic infection in comparison to Indian pure breeds.
The next important consideration is about the nutritional aspect of cross-breeds. By
virtue of being high yielders, their nutritional requirements have to be higher. It has been
calculated that energy need for such high yielders can never be met with only succulent
fodders, supplementation of concentrate mixture (having high energy content) is must. As a
thumb rule for the sake of economy, feed the cross -breeds l/l0th of its body weight) with I green
fodders along with concentrate mixture. For further detail I about feeding and nutrition, please
refer to booklet No. 41 on “Cattle Feeding”.
VII. Periodical Weighing of Cattle
Cattle should be weighed periodically to know whether there is appreciable growth in
them or the growth is stunted. Regular weighing of adult stock once in a month is necessary the
optimum body weight indicates the normal condition of the animal and going down condition is
evidenced by reduction in weight. Weighing also helps in determining feed requirement for
Animals to be weighed should generally be starved over night and kept without access
to water for at least 6 hours.
It is essential that platform scales are used for weighing large animals. These scales
should be tested to know whether they are in good working condition and giving accurate
In farmers holdings, weighing of cattle by platform scales may not be possible. In such a
case, the weight of the animals can be determined by certain formulae developed for predicting
the weight. One such formula which is commonly used is given here.
Length (in inches) X Girth (in inches)
Live weight (in pounds) = ----------------------------------------------------------
Length is the distance between point of shoulder top in bone. Girth is measured behind
the point of elbow, the entire circumference of the body.
VIII. Providing First Aid to Cattle.
Though it must be the endeavour of the cattle owner to see that no accidents involving
the animals occur on his farms, accidents do occur involving one or more animals. The common
accidents to which farm animals are prone include injuries, fractures, poisoning, obstretical
trouble, burns and scalds etc.
The aim of the first aid is to render such skilled assistance to the affected animal that will
alleviate suffering, preserve life, promote recovery or prevent aggravation of the abnormal
condition until the arrival 0 f the veterinarian, as well as to ensure the greatest possible peace
and comfort for the animal during transportation to hospital.
The first aider should get a history of the case that he is going to attend, for his own
guidance and reporting to the veterinary surgeon. Other steps include (a) removal of the cause,
(b ) arresting of severe haemorrhage, (c) provisions of plenty of fresh air to the patient (animal),
(e) provision of rest by changing the position of the animal into an easy posture, (t) provision of
warmth to check fall in temperature and shock, (g) covering with a clean dressing all skin
injuries, and (h) keeping the animal still (especially when fractures occurred) by drugging or by
diverting its attention towards some palatable food.
The importance of providing an early veterinary aid cannot be overemphasized.
Discretion must be exercised whether to take the animal to veterinary hospital or send for a
veterinarian. When sending for a veterinarian, the nature of the case and the whereabouts of
the animal should in variably be conveyed to him.
A. Attending to traumatic conditions
The result of a physical injury due to fall, fight between animals or impact with stationary
or moving objects can be as simple as minor skin cut or as complex as multiple fracture. The
first thing to be done in all such cases is to arrest bleeding.
Bleeding may occur from a cut artery, vein or capillaries. Bleeding from capillaries
ceases soon after a clot has formed, but arterial and veinous bleeding must be stopped by
keeping a pad over the injury by means of a bandage. In favourable cases blood clotting will
occur and the blood flow ceases.
A bruise results from the rupture of tiny blood vessels following a blow or fall and is very
painful. The swollen part should be gently washed with cold water on the first day, then two or
three times a day with warm water. In some cases of bruising the accumulation of the blood,
following damage to blood capillaries result in a swelling known as hematoma. If the hematoma
persists even after the above treatment, veterimry aid is desirable.
3. Open wounds
These are always painful because the nerve endings are exposed and contact with soil
or grit often results in an infected sore which may be slow to heal. For this reason, do not use
any strong antiseptics on wounds. If bleeding is intense, steps described under haemorrhage
should be taken. If there is not much bleeding, the wound should be washed with clean cold
water or with a weak potassium permagnate lotion (faint pink colour), the wound then swabbed
dry and covered with clean surgical gauge and bandage. Some sulphanilamide dusting powder
can be dusted over the wound before covering.
If the herdsman is sufficiently experienced and if the fracture is simple one, an attempt
can be made to bring about the fragments of fractured bones together and retain them in that
position with a bandage. But it is generally wise to wait for veterinary aid meanwhile the wound
should be kept free from dirt and the animal should be kept as quite as possible and its
attraction is diverted from its wound by offering food of alluring nature. The animals should be
kept warm. Similar line of action holds good for joint dislocation also.
5. Teat injuries
Even the smallest of abrasion or sores on teats should be treated promptly for these
sites frequently become infected and the infection spreads up the teat canal resulting in mastitis.
A dry dressing of sulphanilamide powder or quick drying antiseptic creams are best for teat
injuries. Greasy ointment should be avoided as dirt tends to stick to it.
6. Feet injuries
The injured foot should be cleaned with cold water and bleeding arrested if any. The sole
should be examined after removing all dung and dirt, for the cause of injury is often a picked up
nail or piece of glass or stone or piece of wood wedged in the cleft of the foot. The foot should
be washed with a warm antiseptic solution. Some sulphanilamide dust should be dusted over
the wound and the foot covered in a cloth sack until the arrival of a veterinarian.
7. Eye injuries
Eye injuries are due to the presence of a piece of grit, chaff, 'thorn or seed in the eye. A
drop or two of castor oil should be put in the affected eye. This reduces friction and eases the
animal. If the eye or eyes are badly inflamed, they should be protected by blind folding loosely
with a strip of cloth or by housing in shady places.
8. Horn injuries
In cattle, sometimes horns get fractured or tom off with or without damage to the horn
core. When the horn core is injured there will be bleeding from the nostril on the corresponding
side. Though it is often difficult to stop such bleeding, an attempt can be made to apply a
tourniquet to the horn base. This is done by applying a piece of rubber tubing around the base
of both the horns in (8) fashion and tightening it with a stick or pencil. The tourniquet should be
removed after cessation of bleeding, the injury should be washed with cold antiseptic solution
and the horn protected by means of a pad or bandage. The bandage should be taken around
the sound horn while applying. The animal should be isolated from the rest.
B. Poisoning in cattle
Figures have revealed that loss of cattle due to poisoning through toxic plants and
agricultural chemicals is widespread, more so with the advent of large scale utilization of
modem weedicides and pesticides in agriculture.
Common sources of poisons on farms can be the fodder sprayed with pesticides, paints,
old paint cans, old gunny bags containing agricultural chemicals, poisonous plants, sorghum
fodder poisoning (HCN poison) contaminated pastures, fertilizers, wound dressing, machine and
1ractor oil, rodent poisons, disinfectants, contaminated water supplies, etc.
First the affected animal should be kept in a safe place to prevent more poison to be
taken. Pure food and fresh drinking water should be provided to the animal. The poison in
stomach should be diluted by giving plenty of water through stomach tube.
The alkaloid poisons (present in most poisonous plants) can be oxidized by dilute
potassium permaganate solution or can be precipitated by tannic acid containing substances
such as strong tea decoction, oak bark, catechu, etc. Then some physiological or chemical
antidotes should be given to neutralize the effect of the poison. Some common poisoning
agents and their neutralizing antidotes are given in the following table.
Table: Common poisoning agents and antidotes
Sl.No Poisoning Antidote
1 Acids Alkalies such as bicarbonate of
2 Alkalies Vinegar, tartaric acid, lemon
3 Arsenic Moist ferric per-oxide
4 Bleaching powder White of eggs, emetics of
5 Convulsions Depressant like chloral hydras
6 Carbolic acid White of egg, Glauber’s salt
7 Copper White of egg, potassium
8 Hydro-cyanic acid Inhalation of amyl nitrate
9 Iodine Starch gruel
10 Lead salts Epsom or Glauber’s salt
11 Mercury salts White of egg
12 Narcotics (opium) Brandy, caffeine, etc.
13 Organophosphates Atropinsulphate (0.5 mg/kg body
such as Malathion, weight)
To alleviate the irritant effects of poisons on stomach and intestines the animals should
be given some demulcents like oat meal gruel, linseed, tea, mustard oil, milk, eggs, etc.
Promotion of the excretion of the poison from the body is equally important. This can be
achieved by giving only purgatives. Potassium iodide is also given to facilitate elimination of
lead and mercury.
C. Attending to obstetrical difficulties
It is best to watch animal giving birth to its young one without disturbing. Any help may
be attempted only when there is some difficulty and the animal is notable to deliver within
normal time. Certain troubles can occur before or after parturition like retained placenta, vaginal
or uterine prolapse, etc.
Dystokia means difficulty in parturition. In the case of dystokia in cows, first aid should
be under taken with the utmost caution and only after making sure that the fingernails are short
and clean, and the hands, obstetric ropes, chains and hooks are well washed in a suitable
antiseptic solution like Dettol. The first aider can at the most attempt the simple obstetric
conditions like flexation of legs, but should never tackle difficult presentation but await
professional aid. A leg flexation can be rectified by first pushing the foetus back into the woumb
gently and then straightening the flexed leg. The foetus can then be pulled gently by ropes tied
to fetlocks or by holding fetlock with hands. The direction of motion should be in line of the
natural arch of the sacral region.
Retained placenta means the failure of the after-birth to fall within 4-6 hours of calving. It
usually follows a case of abortion or dystokia. In all such cases the hind quarters of the cow
should be washed with warm water taking care to see that the hanging membrane does not get
entangled or pulled out. Keep the cow secluded and seek veterinary aid if the placenta does not
fall even after 24 hours.
Prolapse of vagina or uterus means the eversion (throwing out) of vagina or uterus
inside out through the vulva. The problem is more serious if the prolapse occurs towards the
late pregnancy. The organs should be handled with properly disinfected hands. Level of ground
below the hind feet of the animal should be raised by placing earth covered with gunny bags so
that the animals hind quarters are at a higher position. The infected organs should be washed
with weak acriflavine or potassium permanganate by rinsing and never by rubbing them. The
organs should then be covered in a freshly laundered cloth and veterinary aid should be sought.
If the veterinary aid is not expected earlier the organs may be pushed in slowly and
gently with well cleaned, disinfected and lubricated fists. To prevent the organs from coming out
again, a strong thick glass bottle should be inserted in the vagina, with its bottom inside,
pressing against the organs. Four long strings may be tied to the bottles neck. The top two
strings are taken forwards around the base of tail and the lower strings around the udder and
fastened to a string tied around the body in front of the udder. If , the animal is straining, a
sedative like coral hydras (30 -50 gm in 0.5Iitres) may be given.
D. Attending bums and scalds
Burns and scalds are extremely painful due to which it will be difficult to control the
animal. With extensive burns and scalds, there are three possible dangers vz. shock due to
pain, tissue destruction infection and toxemia due to toxic substance released by the burnt
tissues entering blood stream. In the case of burns, the burnt hair, skin and other tissues are
obvious. In the case of scalds, the hairs are stuck together by discharge of serum and a scab
covers the injury. Hence, a scald is more serious than it appears.
First aid consists of excluding air from the burnt part by covering it. Tannic acid jelly may
be smeared on a cleaned piece of old sheet and applied to a bum and held in a position by
bandage. The animal should be offered plenty of fresh water.
Bums caused by acid should be treated with an alkali (washing soda 109 in 1 litre water)
and bums caused by alkalis like caustic soda must be treated with a weak acid (equal parts of
vinegar and warm water)