How to manage a cow which is pregnant in dairy farming?
- It is very important to watch the pregnant animals carefully, particularly during the last stages of pregnancy as there would be a chance of abortion due to fights or other physical trauma.
- During the early stages of pregnancy, there would be no need for special feeding for heifers. You may continue the same system of feeding and management recommended for heifers. In the last three months of pregnancy when the growth of the fetal is fast, a special pregnancy allowance of about 1-2 kg concentrate should be offered.
- You must make sure that a special care is taken regarding deficiencies in minerals and vitamins as there would be serious adverse effects on the calf which is newly born. Feeding of trace mineralized salt with recommended amounts of calcium and phosphorus is enough to avoid these problems. Enough care must be taken that calcium and phosphorus are not be taken in excessive amounts.
- In the last few weeks of pregnancy, Balanced and laxative rations should be given in order to maintain the normal tone of the reproductive tract.
- There is a chance of occurrence of udder edema before calving. This should be avoided by suggesting a moderate exercise for thirty minutes, two to three times per day. You need to massage the udder for a few minutes which would be helpful. In severe cases, use of diuretics and prepartum milking may be helpful.
- Isolate the pregnant animal for 8-10 days before the expected date of calving and keep it in a clean, well bedded, dry and disinfected maternity pen. The animal should be observed closely for at least two to three hours as the time of calving approaches.
- If the calving environment is good, it protects the cows and newborn calves from infectious disease. An area which is clean and comfortable provides cows with good footing and reduces the potential for injuries. The areas of calving should be landscaped to allow for adequate drainage. Structures which are shaded are recommended.
- Calves are born without any assistance. If you find any abnormality in their look, you need to take immediate attention by using a competent person in order to correct the position of the calf so that it can be delivered. Strict sanitation must be observed during assistance.
- After the removal of the calf which is a milk animal, it will help in removal of placenta. The placenta is normally expelled within 2 to 6 hours after calving is done. If it fails to be expelled within 12 hours, it is considered retained placenta. In case of retained placenta, a veterinarian should be called for its removal.
- After normal birth, within one or two hours of calving, the dam will become alert and willing to eat and drink. The dam should be offered warm water and some wheat bran after calving. It is very important to encourage the dairy animals to rise and to move to the manger for feeding after calving, mainly on the day of calving and the first 2 days after calving.
You should closely observe the health problems of the animal after calving. Along with feed intake and milk production, rectal temperature and ketone levels should be monitored daily. Animals with health problems should be recognised and treated accordingly, whereas healthy animals can join the general population 3 to 4 days postpartum.