Since the time immemorial, animals have been an integral part of our food. They have been used to obtain food like milk, eggs, meat, etc. Other than food, we use them even for some basic requirements like wool, silk, labor etc. The population has reached its peak especially in a country like India. The population explosion has led to greater demand for the basic requirements such as food, shelter, clothing, etc. To meet the increasing requirements and demands we need to apply a greater effort. One of such efforts to meet the food demand is animal husbandry. Animal husbandry includes cattle farming, poultry farming, fisheries, apiculture, etc. Here we will learn about cattle farming.
Animal husbandry is the science of farming of animal livestock. It includes caring, breeding and management of livestock. Animal husbandry is a large scale business where animals that provide us food are reared, bred, sheltered and cared in a farm or regions which are specially built for them. Animal husbandry was initiated with cattle farming. Under the cattle farming, livestock such as cows, goats, buffalo, sheep, etc. are reared. Later, animal husbandry was even extended to poultry farming, fisheries, apiculture, etc. And this extends a helping hand to increasing needs of the generations.
Cattle farming involves rearing and management of two types of animals- one group for food requirements like milk and another for labor purposes like plowing, irrigation, etc. Animals which provide milk are called milch/dairy animals. For example, goats, buffalo, cows, etc. Animals which are used for labor are called draught animals.
Since dairy animals are cared and bred for milk, we need to improve the milk production to meet the requirements. The period after the birth of a calf, when a cow starts to produce milk, is called lactation period. We can enhance the milk production by increasing this lactation period. But along with milk production, quality must also meet. Dairy farm management is the management of the milch animals with the goal of enhancing the quantity and quality of the milk produced. For this reason, high yielding and disease resistant breeds are developed.
For example, the foreign breeds like Jersey, Holstein-Friesian, Brown Swiss, have long lactation period while local breeds like Red Sindhi, Sahiwal, and Gir are known for their disease-resistant trait. The breeding of these two varieties helped us to enhance the quantity and quality of the milk produced.
Cattle farming are not all about milk or meat production. It has some responsibilities to do. To meet the human requirements, we need to take good care and need proper management of livestock.
In cattle farming, animals are maintained in a strictly hygienic manner with proper housing. For the maintenance, we need to follow some routines.
- Animals and their sheds need to be cleaned at a regular interval.
- Animals should be brushed regularly to remove the dirt and bugs in their body.
- The shed should be well-ventilated and roofed so that animals are protected from rain, heat, and cold.
- A proper drainage system should be there to remove animal waste.
Food requirements of animals are also a part of cattle farming. To maintain high yielding and disease-resistant breeds, they must be provided with adequate water supply and nutrient-rich fodder regularly according to their needs. In cattle farming, two factors are considered regarding the food of cattle. The food that is provided must keep the animal healthy as well as it should meet the farming requirement. Hence, the animal feed includes roughage (high fiber content) and concentrates (high proteins and nutrient content). In addition to this, supplements containing micronutrients are also provided to animals. An adequate proportion of these rations promote healthy and high output animals.
The third responsibility of cattle farming management is to maintain disease-free breeds. Animals are not an exception to disease. They also suffer from numerous diseases. This may affect the health as well as productivity of animals; even cause their death. Parasites, bacteria, and viruses are the major villains here. These microbes infect the cattle externally as well as internally. Vaccination is the one solution for the protection against bacterial and viral infections.
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