Today, we will learn about another important chapter in Biology. How many of you have had the chance to look around for cattle and other animals? Are you aware that there is a whole branch of science that is dedicated to them? Sounds interesting, right? Let us know about this branch of agriculture, called as Animal Husbandry.
Why is There a Need for Animal Husbandry?
With the rise in population, the demand for food, milk, eggs, and meat rises. Therefore, there has to be some process to increase the production of these food items to meet the rising requirements. Animal husbandry is essential to manage this gap between demand and supply.
You must have heard of the two important revolutions in this field: Operation Flood that was related to milk production and silver revolution that was related to egg production. Let us now look at various segments of animal husbandry in detail.
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The main reasons for Cattle farming include:
- Dairy: For obtaining milk.
- Draught: For tasks like tilling, irrigation and carting.
Animals are broadly divided into two categories, based on the needs:
- Milch breeds or dairy animals: These include all the animals that are kept for obtaining milk. Indian milch cattle are made up of two species- Cows (Bos indicus) and Buffaloes (Bos bubalis).
- Draught animals: These animals are basically used for the purposes of agriculture and transportation.
Breeding For the Desired Quality
The production of milk depends on the lactation period to some extent. This refers to the time of milk production after the calf is born. Therefore, one way of increasing the milk production can be by increasing the lactation period.
There are two kinds of breeds. The exotic breeds that include Jersey, Brown Swiss are selected for long lactation periods. The local breeds like Red Sindhi, Sahiwal are resistant to diseases. The two are cross-bred to get animals that are blessed with both the desired qualities.
The breeding could be done by any natural method or by the process of artificial insemination. In the process of artificial insemination, the semen from the desired bull is injected into the reproductive tract of the selected cow. Examples of successful cross-breeds:
- Karan Swiss: Cross-breed of Brown Swiss and Sahiwal.
- Karan Fries: Cross-breed of Holstein-Friesian and Sahiwal.
Let us now look at some of the best practices for farm management.
Best practices for Farm Management
Shelter and grooming for the cattle
You need to ensure that you provide proper shelter and cleaning facilities to the cows and buffaloes. This is important for the health of the breed as well as for the production of good quality milk. Let us look at some of the important tips for shelter and grooming for the cattle.
- Animals require regular brushing to remove any dirt and loose hair from their skin.
- They should be kept under well-ventilated roofed sheds so that they are protected from rain, heat, and cold.
- The cattle shed should have sloping floors to stay dry and facilitate better cleaning.
- There should be an availability of proper and clean drinking water.
Let us look at the food requirement of dairy animals. It is basically of two types:
- Food for Maintenance requirement: This food helps in maintaining normal metabolic activities of the body in the animal.
- Food for Milk producing requirement: This food is required during the lactation period.
There are two components of the cattle feed: roughage and concentrate.
- Roughage: It is largely composed of fibres such as green fodder, silage, hay and legumes like berseem, cowpea.
- Concentrates: This food is basically low in fibres but has relatively higher levels of proteins and other nutrients.
Examples include cotton seeds, oilseeds, oats, barley, gram and their by-products like wheat, beans, and molasses etc.
The cattle could suffer from various types of diseases. Let us look at them in brief.
Diseases of Cattle
- Diseases that are caused by parasites: These could be external parasites are tick mite, lice or internal parasites like worms.
- Communicable diseases that are caused by pathogens like bacteria, viruses, fungi etc.
- Non-communicable diseases that are caused due to deficiency of nutrients or malfunctioning of body organs.
Symptoms of Sick Animals
You can know that the animals are sick. There are some common symptoms that you can notice:
- The animal becomes inactive and stops eating food.
- It gets away from the other animals and may have fever and shiver.
- The dung may be loose and the urine may be differently colored.
How to prevent cattle diseases?
- You must keep the animals in spacious, cleaned and airy shelter.
- You must feed the animals with nutritious feed.
- Vaccinate the animals at regular intervals.
- Isolation of sick animals is utmost important.
Question For You
Q. Name two cross-breeds of cattle.
Ans: 1. Karan Swiss: Cross-breed of Brown Swiss and Sahiwal
2. Karan Fries: Cross-breed of Holstein-Friesian and Sahiwal.