LIVESTOCK PRODUCTION VI (CATTLE)  ,Raising of the young stock.

Feeding calves.

Should be fed on colostrum within the first six hours of birth.

Importance of colostrum.

  1. It is highly digestible. Suitable for the digestive system of the calf.
  2. Highly nutritious and contains vitamins for growth and diseases resistance. iii. It has antibodies that enables the calf to resist early disease infection. iv.           Has a laxative effect. Good in cleaning the bowels of the calf.
  3. It is highly palatable.

Preparation of artificial colostrum. 

  • Whip a fresh egg in 0.86 litres of water.
  • Add ½ a litre of warm water.
  • Add one tablespoon of cod liver oil.
  • Add one tablespoon of castor oil.
  • Mix the ingredients thoroughly.
  • Omit castor oil when the calf start to pass dung normally.


  • Natural
  • Artificial

 Natural method of calf rearing.


  1. The calf takes milk at body temperatures.
  2. Milk is free from contamination. iii. Scouring is minimised.


  1. Difficult to keep accurate records of milk yields.
  2. Cows used to be stimulated by calves will not let down the milk in the absence of the calf.
  3. The calf may suckle too much milk resulting in digestive disorders.


Artificial/bucket feeding.

Procedure for training a calf to drink milk from the bucket.

  • Put clean milk in a clean bucket.
  • Place the index finger into the calf’s mouth. The calf start suckling.
  • Lower the finger slowly until it is submerged in the milk as the calf sucks.
  • Slowly withdraw the finger while the calf is suckling.
  • Repeat the steps above until the calf learns to drink milk from the bucket without any assistance.

Advantages of artificial method of rearing.

  1. Easy to keep accurate records of milk yield.
  2. Easy to regulate the amount of milk taken by the calf.
  3. Cows continue to produce milk even in the absence of theirs calves. iv. Easy to maintain high standards of sanitation.
  4. There is likelihood of the farmer to sell more milk hence maximising profits.

Weaning of calves.

  • Early weaning.
  • Late weaning.

Late weaning programme.

The calf is fed on whole milk up to the 10th week. Feed milk at 10% of its body weight up to 8th week. Reduce thereafter gradually by 1Kg until the calf is weaned.

Provide early weaning concentrates and soft forage.

Early weaning programme.

The calf is fed on whole milk which is replaced gradually with a mixture of whole and skim milk from the 3rd week.

Provide calf pellets from the third week and introduce green fodder.


Types of calf pens.

  1. Raised permanent pens.

It is raised 0.5M above the ground with slatted floor to allow easy draining of dung and urine.

ii. Permanent calf pens with concrete floor.

It is 1.5M long and 1M wide. Floor is slanted to allow drainage to take place.

iii.   Mobile calf pens.

It is movable with slatted floor.  It should be roofed as they are kept outside.



  1. Cleanliness.

Should be easy to clean. Concrete floors are easy to clean.

ii.   Dryness and warmth.

Place dry litter (straw or dry grass) on the floor to maintain dryness and warmth.

Change the litter when wet (once a week).

Wetness encourages infections such as pneumonia, naval illness and scours.

iii.    Adequate space.

Should be large enough to allow calve s to exercise and accommodate feeding and watering equipments.

iv.        Proper lighting.

Light is necessary for synthesis of vitamin D. the front walls should be open at 90Cm and above.

v. Proper drainage.

Should be in a well-drained area. Poor drainage causes dampness.

vi. Draught free.

Should have solid walls to prevent cold winds from entering.

The side facing the wind direction should be completely solid.

vii. Proper ventilation.

Should allow fresh air circulation.

viii.  Single housing.

Calves should be housed singly for the first three months. This is to prevent licking one another which may lead to formation of hair balls in their rumen.

Single housing also minimises spread of worms and diseases.

Routine management practices.

i. Parasite control.

Drenching should be done to control internal parasites.

Spraying weekly to control ticks.

ii. Diseases control.

Calves should be vaccinated against prevalent diseases.

4months    against black quarter.

6 months      against anthrax and black quarter.

3-8 months.       Brucellosis in heifers.

iii.     Castration.

Calves that are not required for breeding should be castrated.

Advantages of castration.

  1. Castrated males are docile.
  2. Steers fatten faster.
  3. Inbreeding is controlled. iv. Breeding is controlled.
  4. Helps to control breeding diseases such as brucellosis and vaginitis.


  1. Identification

It facilitates proper records keeping.

Removal of extra teats.

Some calves are born with extra vestigial teats. They should be cut using a sterilised scissors, sharp knife or teat clipper and the wound disinfected with antiseptic (iodine)

 Reasons for removing the vestigial extra teats.

  • They may obstruct machine milking.
  • May be source of bacterial infection such as mastitis.
  • May interfere with development of normal teats.


Dehorning is the trimming of horns to stop it from growing. While disbudding is the removal of the horn bud, before it develops into a horn.

Reasons for dehorning. 

  • It makes animals docile and easy to handle.
  • Facilitates economic use of space during feeding/drinking and transportation.
  • Reduces chances of causing injury to the farmer.



White substance secreted in the mammary glands of female mammals after parturition.

Milk contains proteins, fat, carbohydrates (lactose), minerals and water. Therefore milk is a complete food.

Factors affecting milk composition.

  1. Age of the animal.

Percentage butter fat declines with age of the animal.

ii.       Condition of the animal.

Physiological condition of the animal such as emaciation, sickness and pregnancy.

iii.      Stage of lactation and pregnancy.

Butter fat content and minerals increase in the second phase of lactation.

Lactose increases slightly in the first 2 months and decline gradually.

Hormonal changes in pregnant animals is responsible for lactation trends.

iv. Completeness of milking.

The last drawn milk from the udder carries 10% of total fat in milk.

Milk in the morning has lower fat content than milk drawn in the evening.

v. Season of the year.

Fat percentage increase during the cold season.

Lactose, proteins and SNF (solid not fats) decrease during the cold season.

vi. Other factors.

Diseases such as mastitis reduce lactose composition as it attacks the milk sugars.

Milk secretion and let-down.

The structure of the mammary gland.

 Milk secretion.

Milk secretion or synthesis is known as lactogenesis. Lactogenesis, which is controlled by hormones secreted towards the end of gestation period. Low levels of oestrogen activates the pituitary gland to secrete prolactin hormone which initiate lactogenesis.  Lactation, which is the copious flow of milk from the udder, starts just before or immediately after partition.


Milk let-down.

It is the flow of milk from the upper region of the udder (alveolar region) to the gland and teat cistern and out of the teat.

Ways of stimulating milk let down.

  • Washing the udder with warm water.
  • Making familiar noise such as whistling.
  • Feeding the cow.
  • Presence of milking equipments.

This causes the pituitary gland to release oxytocin which causes contraction of muscle fibres.

Reasons cows may hold back milk during milking.

  • Presence of strange people or if it is in a strange environment.
  • Change of milk man or routine.
  • Fear, anxiety and pain.
  • Manhandling the cow during milking e.g. beating the cow.

The above factors cause the adrenal glands to secrete adrenalin hormone which causes relaxation of muscle fibres. It also limit blood supply to the udder.

Characteristics of clean and high quality milk.

  1. It should be free from diseases-causing organisms.
  2. Has no hair, dust or dirt. iii. It is of high keeping quality.
  3.  Has good flavour.
  4. Its chemical composition is within the expected standards.

Essentials of clean milk production.

  1. Healthy milking herd.
  • Cows should be tested annually for milk borne diseases such as tuberculosis and brucellosis.
  • They should be tested against mastitis with a strip cup before milking.

Characteristics of mastitic milk.

  • Has high bacterial count.
  • Poor keeping quality.
  • Bad odour.

Clean milking cows.

  • The flanks, underline and the whole udder should be washed and dried before milking.
  • Long hair on the udder and flank should be clipped off regularly.

Healthy and clean milkman.

  • Should not be suffering from contagious diseases.
  • Physically clean with white overall. Should have short finer nails and the hair should be covered.
  1. Clean milking shed.

Should be built on well drained area away from roads, poultry houses. Should be easy to clean and should be cleaned after every milking.

  1. Clean milking utensils.
  • Should be seamless and smooth to facilitate easy and thorough cleaning.
  • They should be washed with hot water and a detergent and then sterilised by keeping them in the sun.
  1. Milk filtration, cooling and storage.

Milk should be filtered and cooled to 5 degrees Celsius to slow bacteria multiplication.

vii. Avoid flavours in milk.

May be caused by feedstuff and oxidation.

Silage, Mexican marigold, onions, pineapple fruit waste causes bad flavours.

Oxidation flavours. Due to oxidation of milk fats when exposed to sunlight or kept in iron or copper containers



  1. Udder cloths/towels.

Have two towel for each one, one for washing the udder and the other one for drying the udder.

ii. Filtering pads.

For straining milk. They are hygienic than the ordinary white cloths.

iii.    Milking jelly.

Smeared on the teats after milking to prevent cracking of teats.

iv. Warm water.

For washing the udder before milking. It also stimulates milk let down.

v. Milking pails/buckets.

Should be free of copper and iron traces on their surfaces to avoid oxidation of the milk fat.

vi. Strip cup.

Used for detecting mastitis.

vii.  Milking can/churns.

Used to hold milk during storage and transportation. Should be free from copper and iron traces.

viii.      Other equipments.

Refrigerators, charcoal coolers, milking stool and weighing scale.

Milking procedure.

Milking has the following stages:

Pre-milking procedure.

The milking materials and equipments should be available and within reach of the milkman. The cow is put in the milking parlour, restrained and given food. The udder is washed and dried with towel or udder cloth and the checked for presence of mastitis.

Milking technique. 

The aim of using proper milking technique is to obtain all the milk from the udder. If a poor method of milking is used, some milk is retained in the udder.

Procedure of proper milking.

In hand milking, the teat is grasped tightly at its base between the thumb and the forefinger and the other three fingers are closed in tightly applying pressure from the top to the bottom forcing milk to drain from the teat to the bucket. The base of the teat is held firmly to prevent the backflow of milk into the gland cistern.

Rules to be observed during milking.

Milk quickly and evenly.

The effect of oxytocin lasts for five to seven minutes thus quick and efficient milking is required.

 Milk at regular intervals.

Milking should be done at regular intervals twice or thrice a day depending on cow’s production. 

Avoid use of wet hands. 

Use of dry hands is recommended as it is hygienic.

Complete milking.


All milk should be removed during milking. Incomplete removal of milk from the udder leads to the cow drying off too soon. Where machine milking is practised, the final hand stripping is necessary to completely empty the udder.

Post-milking practices.

Includes: weighing and recording milk, straining, cooling and storing it, cleaning the utensils and cleaning the parlour.

Dry cow therapy. 

During drying off period the little milk which is left in the teat canal acts as a culture medium for bacterial infection which cause mastitis. To control this, antibiotic is applied into the teat canal after drying off the cow.




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