1. CATTLE and BUFFALO
KNOW YOUR ANIMAL
Common milch cattle breeds
Sahiwal: Average lactation yield 1800 kg, 4.5% fat
Gir: Average lactation yield 1500 kg, 4.5% fat
Lal Sindhi: Average lactation yield 1600 kg, 4.9% fat
Tharparkar: Average lactation yield 1700 kg, 4.6% fat
Jersey: Average lactation yield 4500 kg, 4.5% fat
Holstein Friesien: Average lactation yield 6500 kg, 3.5% fat
Common milch buffalo breeds
Murrah: Average lactation yield 1800 kg, 7.5% fat
Bhadawri: Average lactation yield 950 kg, 11% fat
Nili Ravi: Average lactation yield 1700 kg, 7.0% fat
Surti: Average lactation yield 1600 kg, 7.5% fat
Determination of age of animals
While purchasing animal, you must be sure of the animal’s age. The age of animals can be
determined by examination of the front teeth.
Young calves have 20 temporary teeth, out of which 6 back teeth are present in upper and
lower jaw each and 8 front teeth are present in lower jaw. There are no front teeth in upper
Adult animal have 32 permanent teeth, out of which 12 back teeth are present in upper and
lower jaw each and 8 front teeth are present in lower jaw. There are no front teeth in upper
Animal with broken, bad or worn-out teeth is of no use as it will stop chewing the cud
Age of cattle
Under two years old (No permanent teeth)
Two years three months (2 permanent teeth)
Three years old (4 permanent teeth)
Three years six months (6 permanent teeth)
Four years (8 permanent teeth)
Age of Buffalo
Under three years old (no permanent teeth)
Three years six months (4 permanent teeth)
Four years six months (6 permanent teeth)
Five to six years (8 permanent teeth)
Economic indicators of dairy animals
The total milk production from calving to drying in a lactation period is known as lactation
yield. After parturition, the milk yield per day will be increased and reaches peak within 2-4
weeks after calving. Milk production increases by 30 - 40% from first to fourth lactation.
After 3 or 4 lactation, the production starts declining.
The period from calving to drying is known as lactation period. The optimum lactation period
is 305 days.
2. Persistency of Milk Yield
The animal reaches maximum milk yield within 2-4 weeks after calving, which is called peak
yield. The maintenance of peak yield for long period is known as persistency.
Age at First Calving
The desirable age at first calving in Indian breeds is 3 years, 2 years in cross breed cattle and
3 and half years in Buffaloes. Age higher than this means overall lower production and a
lower age means weak calves, difficulty in calving and less milk production in first lactation.
It is the period between date of calving and date of successful conception.
The optimum service period helps the animal to recover from the stress of calving and also to
get back the reproductive organs back to normal. The optimum service period for cattle is 60-
It is the period from the date of drying to next calving. A minimum of 2 – 2 ½ months dry
period should be allowed.
This is the period between two successive calving. It is profitable to have one calf yearly in
cattle and at least one calf for every 15 months in buffaloes.
3. HOUSING AND MANAGEMENT
Care and management immediately after calving
Clean the udder and hind quarters of cattle.
Mucus removal from the face and nostrils of calf and induction of respiration.
Allowing the calf to suck the colostrum.
Naval cord ligation.
Watching of cow for placenta expulsion.
Essential requirements in a calf house
A specific minimum cubic air capacity per calf.
A draught free environment at calf level.
Floor space requirements for cattle and buffalo shed
Type of animal Covered area open area No of pens required
50 / pen
Buffaloes 4.0 m2
50 / pen
Down calver 12.0 m2
1 / pen
Know the feeding and watering space requirements for your animals
Feeding space Watering space
Cattle 75 cm / animal 75 cm/ animal
Buffalo 75 cm / animal 75 cm/ animal
Dairy farm – Buildings
Milch animal shed
The milch animals can be housed according to number of animals available. In single
row system, 12-16 numbers of animals can be kept, If the animal number is greater than 16,
then double row system is preferable, which can house up to 50 animals can be maintained in
a single shed.
In double row system two methods available. Animals can be housed in a ‘Tail to tail’
or ‘head to head’ system. In ‘tail to tail’ system, animals head face opposite to each other and
cleaning, milking and milking supervision can be done from a central alley. There are less
chances of animal to animal disease transmission.
In head to head system the heads of animals faces to each other. Getting animals into
the shed and feeding of animals is easy. However, milking supervision is difficult and
possibilities of transmission of disease are more.
The distance between two sheds should be greater than 30 feet or it should be twice
the height of the building.
Milking Barn or the shed where animals are milked should be a fully covered shed located at
the centre of the farm with all other farm buildings arranged around it. The number of
4. standings compartment required in this shed should be 25% of total number of milch animals
in the herd.
In addition, a calving pen of 3m x 4m (12 m2
) for animals in advanced stage of pregnancy, a
calf pen for housing young calves separately, a heifer shed for older heifer calves from about
six months of age to breeding age, and an isolation shed for separation of sick animals should
also be constructed. Other than this, a store room for feed, a milk room and a hay or straw
shed should also there. An adult animal consume about 5 to 10 Kg of hay or straw per day,
while young stock consume about 2 to 5 kg of hay or straw per day. The annual requirement
can be calculated and the space requirement can be arrived.
Animals can be either kept in an open paddock throughout the day and night except at
the time of milking and treatment. In this system, shelter is provided along one side of open
paddock under which animals can retire when it is very hot or cold or during rains. Common
feed manger and water tank is provided and concentrates are fed at the milking time which is
done in a separate milking barn or parlour in which cows are secured at milking time and are
In conventional system of housing, the animals are confined together on a platform
and secured at neck by stanchions or neck chain. The animals are fed as wells as milked in
the same barn.
The shed should be comfortable and clean with suitable arrangement to dispose dung,
urine, feed and fodder residues. There should be proper supply of clean drinking water and
electricity. The shed should be washed before milking.
Disinfect the houses by washing the houses with boiling water, flame blower or by using
suitable disinfectants such as formaldehyde, phenols, cresols, washing soda, quick lime,
bleaching powder etc.
Pasture should be grazed lightly enough to keep the mature grass growth down but not so
much that it is cropped to the ground. If some grasses are avoided by the grazing animals,
remove them before they flower and produce seeds. Buffalo and cattle can travel up to 3 km
while goats and sheep travel up to 5 km from watering points in search of fresh grazing.
Pasture needs to be rotated by removing livestock to allow the growth of fresh grass. Pasture
can be fenced or hedged to make protected enclosures. In this way land, can be grazed for 1
to 2 weeks and then rested for several weeks to allow grass to regrow.
This prevents overgrazing and keeps the fertile top soil in place by the plants and their roots.
This also helps in the control of both internal and external parasites.
Remember that the grazing ruminant can eat harmful things like wires and nails, plastic bags,
glass shreds etc. as it grazes. Keep a watch for presence of these on the pasture.
Ration of livestock should be properly balanced with all necessary nutrients. It should include
sufficient good quality green fodder preferably legumes. Ration should satisfy the total dry
matter requirement of an animal based on weight. Ration should be economical as feed
accounts to about 60 – 70 % cost of animal rearing.
Thumb rule for cattle feeding
The average DM (Dry matter) requirement of desi cow is 2 (dry) to 2.5 (lactating) Kg. / 100
Kg. body weight / day while it is 2.5 (dry) to 3.0 Kg. (lactating) in cross breed cows and
buffaloes. The roughage requirement is fulfilled through green and dry fodders, about 2/3 of
DM through dry fodder and remaining 1/3 from green fodder.
The concentrate requirement of animal for maintenance production and pregnancy is as
follows: Maintenance requirement of desi cow and crossbred cow / buffalo is 1 and 1.5 Kg.
respectively. Lactating animal should be given 1 Kg. additional concentrate for every 2.5 Kg
(Buffalo) to 3 Kg. (Cow) milk produced.
Pregnant cows, buffaloes should receive 1.5 Kg. per day extra concentrate allowance during
advance pregnancy to meet extra need of nutrients for growth of foetus
Breeding bulls in service should get 1 Kg. per day extra concentrate. Allowance to maintain
good health and sex libido.
Mineral mixture and common salt each @ 25-50 gm should be given to fulfill mineral
requirement of animal.
Compound cattle feed needs to be fed as follows:
Particulars Cows (400 kg body wt.) Buffaloes (500 kg body wt.)
For maintenance 1.5 - 2.0 kg 2.0 - 2.5 kg
For milk production (per litre) 400 grams 500 grams
For pregnancy 2.0 kg (last two months) 2.0 – 2.5 kg (last two months)
The balanced ration of the dairy animals can be formulated using the SKUAST-Jammu ration
formulation app ‘Dudharoo’.
Calf feeding schedule (birth to 26th of week of age)
to 26th of week
Colostrum/ Whole Milk (kg/day)
0-2 days 1.5-2.0 (colostrum) ---- ---- ----
3-4 days 1.5-2.0 (milk) ---- ---- ----
4-14 days 1.0-1.5 (milk) 0.10 0.10 ---
3rd week 0.5-1.0 (milk) 0.20 0.15 0.75
4th week Milk (0.5 kg) or milk replacer
(0.25 kg) can be fed, if available
with progressive dairy farmers &
having good economic conditions
0.25 0.20 1.25
5th week 0.40 0.30 2.0
6th week 0.50 0.40 2.5
7th week 0.60 0.60 3.0
8th week 0.70 0.80 3.5
9th week 0.80 0.90 4.0
10th -11th wk 1.00 0.90 5.0
12th week 1.20 1.00 5.0
13th -16th wk 1.50 1.20 6.0
17th -20th wk ---- 1.75 1.50 7.5
21st -26th wk ---- 2.00 2.00 8.5
Appearance of a healthy animal
The healthy animal is alert, active and aware of its surroundings. It should stand on all
of its feet. The healthy animal walks easily and steadily with all of its feet taking its weight.
Irregular movement results from pain in the feet or limbs. An animal which is not interested
in its surroundings and does not want to move has health problems. The separation of an
animal from the others in its group is often a sign of a health problem. The eyes should be
bright and alert with no discharge at the corners. The muzzle should be moist. Most animals
have erect ears which move in the direction of sound. The nose should be clean with no
discharge. Healthy animals frequently lick their noses with their tongues. If chewing is slow
or incomplete there must be a problem with the teeth. Healthy anials lick their coat and the
lick marks will show.
If an animal keeps looking at its flanks or kicks at its belly it has a pain in the stomach.
Breathing should be smooth and regular at rest. Remember that movement and hot weather
will increase the rate of breathing. The pulse of cattle is taken at a point on the underside of
the base of the tail, the normal rate is 40 - 80 per minute in the adult. In buffalo the pulse rate
is 40 - 60 per minute. Remember that the pulse will be higher in the young animal. The
droppings of the healthy animal will be firm. If the animal has difficulty in defecating
(constipation) this is also a bad health sign. The urine should be clear and the animal show no
signs of pain or difficulty in urinating. If feed is available, the healthy animal will have a full
belly. Cattle and buffaloes ruminate for 6 to 8 hours each day. It is a sign of ill health when
these animals stop ruminating. In the milking animal, a sudden change in the amount of milk
produced can mean a health problem. Any sign of blood or other matter in the milk points to
infection in the udder. There should be no swelling of the udder and no sign of pain when it is
Deworming and Vaccination
Deworming should be started from the first week of calf. A single oral dose of 10 g
piperazine is recommended for the calves preferably in the first week of life to control
neonatal ascariasis especially in buffalo calves. Deworming should be done every month for
first 6 months, thereafter once in every four months. The deworming drugs and dose should
be consulted with qualified veterinary doctor. Over dose and under dose of deworming drugs
should be prevented to check the side effects. Deworming for liverflukes in endemic areas
should be done twice a year before and after monsoon. Deworming of calves for tapeworms
should be done twice a year in January and June in endemic areas.
Disease First dose Booster Repeat dose
Anthrax 4 months age - Yearly
Black Quarter 4 months age - Yearly
4-8 months age - -
Foot and Mouth
4 months age 1 month Every 6 months
6 months - Yearly
Tubercullosis 6 months - Every 2 years
Rinderpest 6 months 5 years
crossbred and exotic
3 months age - -
Points to be noted
Animals should be in good health at the time of vaccination. Do not vaccinate animals
which are in stress such as malnutrition, excessive heat or cold, disease outbreaks,
Deworm animals one to two weeks prior to vaccination.
Vaccination should be done under consultation with Veterinarian.
Keep records of vaccination in the form of vial labels or empty vials with intact
Maintain cold chain for vaccines requiring cold chain.
Create stress free environment for animals after vaccination.
Signs of Oestrus in cattle and buffaloes
Heat or oestrus is the period when the female will accept the male and mate. Recognizing
when the female is on heat means you will know when to put her with the male or use
artificial insemination. Cattle and buffalo regularly come into heat all year round. Well-fed
cows and buffalo come into first heat at 10 - 20 months of age. Heat can be recognized by
looking for certain signs. The best time to look for signs that the female is in heat is early
morning or in the evening. Most females in heat will allow other animals to mount them. The
vulva becomes swollen and the area around the tail becomes wet and dirty. If cows sniff each
other’s' vulva and urine they may both come into heat. Cows can be coming into heat if they
stand resting the chin on the back of another or are seen to lick or gently butt each other.
Restlessness and calling loudly can also mean the female is coming into heat. In milking
animals the amount of milk produced suddenly drops. A jelly-like mucous can be found on
the floor with the dung.
In cows and buffalo, heat lasts for less than a day. A healthy animal which was not mounted
by a male or given artificial insemination will come back into heat. Cattle and buffalo cows
will come into heat after 3 weeks. Sometimes animals come into heat without showing any
signs. This is called a "silent heat" and is common in buffalo cows. If animal is showing poor
signs of heat or no heat or is not conceiving after mating or AI during heat, a Veterinarian
must be consulted.
9. CLEAN MILK PRODUCTION
Normal whole milk contains milk fat (4 per cent), lactose (4.8 per cent), proteins (3.5 per
cent) minerals (0.7 per cent), vitamins and other minor constituents. Milk must be free from
Milk must be handled hygienically to keep it fresh and capable of being heated without
curdling. Hygienic milk handling includes using clean equipment, maintaining a clean
milking environment, observing good personal hygiene and preserving the quality of milk
during storage and transportation.
Hygiene of milking vessels and milker
Milk is as clean as its vessel. The milking vessel should be a small-mouth vessel made of
stainless steel. It should be cleaned before and after milking with hot water and suitable
detergents. The milker should wear clean clothes and maintain personal hygiene. He should
wash his hands before milking and should not spit or smoke. Shaving the hair of the hind legs
and tail of animals should be carried out routinely. Also the fore-milk should be discarded in
a proper place.
Prior to milking, teats can be washed by spraying water and wiping by clean cloth or teats
can be washed with a cloth immersed in warm disinfectant solution and dried with a clean,
dry cloth. After milking, teats should be immersed in a disinfecting agent.
Incomplete milking results in low milk yield and low fat content.
Milk from mastitis affected quarters has more whey proteins, less casein and less
water-soluble vitamins. It has higher chloride content, and tastes salty like the milk of
very old cows or milk of cows in late lactation.
If cows are fed a diet low in forages and high in starch, the fat content of the milk
may fall below 2.5 per cent.
When cows are treated with antibiotics injection. The antibiotics are secreted in the
milk for at least up to 72 hours. These residues in milk are undesirable.