Major Activities
Livestock :: Cattle

1. Common terms used in cattle management

2. Breeds of Cattle

3. Cross Breeding

4. Selection of cattle

5. Housing

6. Feed Management

1. Common terms used in cattle management

CALF:   Young one of cow by birth to 6 Months of age is known as Calf

HEIFER:  Female calf from the age of puberty to calving is known as Heifer.

BULL OR SIRE:  A male calf from the age of puberty to castration is known as Bull or Sire. It is fit for servicing.

BULLOCK: A castrated bull is known as Bullock which is used for  work or ploughing

SCRUB BULL:  A bull which is not having good progeny record non descriptive bull.

BREEDING BULL:  A bull which is maintained for the purpose of breeding which is having good Progeny record.

TEASER BULL: A caudectomised bull (after conducting curulectomy operation) which is used in the herd to detect the animals in heat.

COW:  A female or heifer after first calving is known as Cow.

MILCH COW:  A cow which gives milk is known as milch cow.

DRY COW: A cow which has stopped the milk is known as dry cow.

NOTE: The same terms are applied to the buffaloes with prefix of Buffalo Eg. Buffalo calf, Buff Bull.

COLOSTRUM: The milk produced by a cow or buffalo just after calving is known as Colostrum

LACTATION:  The period between the parturition or delivery of calf to stoppage of milk secretion of a cow is known as lactation.

GESTATION PERIOD: The duration of pregnancy is known as gestation period

WEAVING: Separation of calf from the mother after parturition is known as weaning.

CULLING: Culling is a process in known the unwanted, unproductive or uneconomic animals are removed from the herd or farm. This is done for economical.

BREEDING: Crossing of the male and female individuals of the same species to obtain the offspring of the desired characters is known as breeding.

OESTRUS OR HEAT PERIOD: The period during which the female animal accepts the male for coitus or servicing and conception takes place.

ARTIFICAL INSEMINATION: A.I .Introduction of semen into the female genital tract by means of instruments is known as A.I.

SERVICING: Mating of bull and cow in heat is known as servicing.

FREEMORTIN: When twin calves of opposite sexes are born to a cow, the female twin   born is known.

VEAL: The meant of calf is known as veal.



Indigenous Breeds are classified under three groups based on utility / purpose.
a) Milch breeds / Milk breeds
b) Dual Purpose breeds
c) Draught breeds

Milch Breeds / Milk Breeds:
The cows of these breeds are high milk yields and the male animals are slow or poor work animals. The examples of Indian milch breeds are shahiwal, Red Sindhi, Gir and Deoni The milk production of milk breeds is on the average more than 1600 kg per lactation

Dual Purpose Breeds:
The cows in these breeds are average milk yielder and male animals are very useful for work. Their milk production per lactation is 500 kg to 150 kg. The example of this group is Ongole, Hariana, Kankrej, Tharparker, Krishna valley, Rathi and Goalo Mewathi.

Draught Breeds:
The male animals are good for work and Cows are poor milk yielder are their milk yield as an average is less than 500 kg per lactation. They are usually white in color. A pair of bullocks can haul 1000 kg. Net with an iron typed cart on a good road at walking speed of 5 to 7 km per hour and cover a distance of 30 - 40 km per day. Twice as much weight can be pulled on pneumatic rubber tube carts. The example of this group Kangayam, Umblacherry, Amritmahal, Hallikar.

Exotic breed – Milch – Jersey, Holstein Friesian

Milch Breed
Red Sindhi

  • Hailing from the Kohistan, Sindh province in present Pakistan, this breed is one of the most distinctive cattle breeds of india.
  • Mainly available in Punjab, Haryana, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Orissa.
  • Under good management conditions the Red Sindhi averages over 1700 kg of milk after suckling their calves but under optimum conditions there have been milk yields of over 3400 kg per lactation.


  • Originally Belonging to the Montgomery district of Present Pakistan
  • Mainly found in Punjab, Haryana, U.P, Delhi, Bihar and M.P.
  • Milk yield – Under village condition :1350 kg
  • Milk yield   – Under commercial farms: 2100 kg
  • Age at first calving -32-36 months
  • Calving interval – 15 month


  • Mainly found in Gir forest areas of South Kathiawar
  • Gir Cows are good Milk – yielder
  • Milk yield   – Under village condition : 900 kg
  • Milk yield    – Under commercial farms: 1600 kg


  • Mainly found in North western and western parts of A.P.
  • Cows are good milk producers and bullocks are good for work

Milch and Draught breeds

  • Mainly found in Karnal, Hisar and Gurgaon district of Haryana, Delhi and Western M.P Milk yield –1140 -4500 kgs
  • Bullocks are powerful for road transport and rapid ploughing


  • Mainly found in Jodhpur, Kutch and Jaisalmer
  • Milk yield   – Under village condition :1660 kg
  • Milk yield   – Under commercial farms: 2500 kg


  • Mainly found in Gujarat
  • Milk yield – Under village condition :1300 kg
  • Milk yield– Under commercial farms : 3600 kg
  • Age at first calving -36 to 42 months
  • Calving interval – 15 to 16 months
  • Bullocks are fast, active and strong. Good for plough and cart purpose

Draught Breeds

  • This breed, in its native area, is also known by other names of Kanganad and Kongu though the name Kangayam is well-known. These cattle are bred in the southern and southeastern area of the Coimbatore district of Tamilnadu in India.
  • Mainly found in Coimbatore, Erode, Namakkal, Karur and Dindigul districts of Tamil Nadu.
  • Best suited for ploughing and transport. Withstands hardy conditions.


  • Mainly found in Karnataka.
  • Best suitable for ploughing and transport.


  • Mainly found in Tumkur, Hassan and Mysore districts of Karnataka
  • Bullocks are strong, well spirited, quick and steady in the field as well as on road.


Origin: Tanjore district in Tamilnadu.

Distinguishing characters:

  • This breed has similar characters as kangayam.
  • Bulls are fearly temperament. They are used for ploughing in Thanjore delta area.
  • Calves are red in colour when born and become grey in colour after 6 months of age.
  • Cows are poor milker with average milk yield of 300 kg/lactation.
  • Male animals are good for hard work.



Origin: This breed was developed from the island of jersey in the English channel.

Distinguishing Characters:

  • The Jersey breed originated on the Island of Jersey, a small British island in the English Channel off the coast of France.
  • The Jersey is one of the oldest dairy breeds, having been reported by authorities as being purebred for nearly six centuries
  • The color in Jerseys may vary from a very light gray or mouse color to a very dark fawn or a shade that is almost black. Both the bulls and females are
  • commonly darker about the hips and about the head and shoulders than on the body.
  • Age at first calving : 26-30 months
  • Intercalving – 13-14 months
  • Milk yield – 5000-8000 kg
  • Dairy milk yield is found to be 20 liter whereas cross bred jersey, cow gives 8-10 liter per day.
  • In India this breed has acclimatized well especially in the hot and humid areas

Holstein Friesian

Origin: This breed is originated in Holland.

Distinguishing Characters:

  • This breed is from Holland
  • Holsteins are large, stylish animals with color patterns of black and white or red and white.
  • Holstein heifers can be bred at 15 months of age, when they weigh about 800 pounds. It is desirable to have Holstein females calve for the first time between 24 and 27 months of age
  • Milk yield - 7200-9000 kg
  • This is by far the best diary breed among exotic cattle regarding milk yield. On an average it gives 25 liter of milk per day, whereas a cross breed H.F. cow gives 10 - 15 liter per day.
  • It can perform well in coastal and delta areas

It is mating of animals of different breeds. Cross breeding is followed for breeding animals for milk production and meat production. In India zebu breeds of cows and nondescript cows are crossed with exotic breeds like Holstein Friesian, Brown Swiss and Jersey bulls or their semen, to enhance the milk production potential of the progeny.


  1. The desirable characters of the exotic parent are transmitted to the progeny which the indigenous parent does not have.
  2. In India Cross-breeding and cows is done by using the exotic bulls and the progeny inherit the desirable characters of the parent like high milk yield early maturity, higher birth weigh of calves, better growth rates, better reproductive efficiency and indigenous parents characters like, heat tolerance, disease resistance ability to thrive on scanty feeding and coarse fodder etc.
  3. In pairs the way to evolve new breeds with desirable characters. Hybrid vigour is made use of in the progency.
  4. Results are seen more quickly in characters like milk yield in the crossbred progeny.


  1. The breeding merit of cross breed animals may be slightly reduced.
  2. Cross breeding requires maintenance of two or more pure breeds inorder to product the cross breeds.
    1. As selection is a slow process of genetic improvement cross breeding has been taken up as the national breeding for improving milk production in India . Cross breeding word was initiated at NDRI Bangalore, Live Stock farm and Allahabad Agricultural Institute. At present cross breeding work is going on at Military dairy farms, NDRI Karnal, All India coordinated Research project son Cattle, Collaboration projects like Indo-Swiss, Indo Australian, Indo-Danish, projects and also in the field in farmer’s he. The feeding and management of the crosses would be better, to enable them to express their production potential.
    2. In general the cross breeds were found to have higher birth weight, faster growth rate, earlier age at first calving, higher weight ; at first calving, higher lactation yield, longer lactation period) shorter service period, dry period and milk production and breeding efficiency.
    3. There are several exotic breeds being used in cross breeding programme, namely Holstein Friesian, Jersey, Brown Swiss and Reddane Holstein  Friesian is found to be best suited for fluid milk supply in cities, and where higher feed inputs can be provided and where the temperature is temperate or sub-tropical. In contrast Jersey crosses are ideal when the milk is meant for product manufacture and where feed inputs are limited and the climate is trop.


Cross-breed cattle
The crossbreeds are having exotic inheritance from Jersey, Brown Swiss or Holstein Friesian or a combination of these different breeds. Jersey breed is known for the milk fat percent and Holstein for the high quantity of milk.

Cross-breed cattle in India

S. No

Name of the Breed

Native breed

Specific region

Assembling centre



Brown Swiss



India, Pakistan & other Asian

Dairy breed


Holstein Friesian


Province of North Holland and West Friesland

Throughout the country

Dairy breed



British  Isles

Island of Jersey

Crossbreds available in
all states.

Dairy breed

(Source: National Dairy Development Board )

Indigenous cattle of India

S. No.


Habitat/Main State

Breeding Tract

Assembling Center

Areas of





Tumkur, Hassan & Mysore

Dodbalapur, Chickballapur, Harikar, Devargudda, Chikkuvalli, Karuvalli, Chittavadgi (T.N.) North Arcot (T.N.) Hindupur, Somaghatta, Anantpur (A.P.)

Dharwar, North Kanara, Bellary (KT) Anantur & Chittur (A.P.), Coimbatore North Arcot, Salem (T.M.)

Draught breed



Tamil Nadu


Avanashi, Tirppur, Kannauram, Madurai Athicombu

Southern Districts of Tamil Nadu

Draught breed


Red Sindhi

Pakistan All parts of India




Dairy breed




Umarkot, Naukot, Dhoro Naro Chor

Balotra (Jodhpur), Puskar (Ajmer), Gujarat State


Dairy breed





Vaikom, Mannuthy (Kerala State)



(Source: National Dairy Development Board )

Proper selection is the first and the most important step to be adopted in dairying. Records are the basis of selection and hence proper identification of animals and record keeping is essential. Cross-breed animals with exotic inheritance of about 50 percent are preferable. This preference is based on comparison of the performance of the animals with different percentage of exotic inheritance. Fifty percent of the native germplasm is helpful to retain the adaptability, heat tolerance and disease resistance traits of local animals, in cross breeds. The utilization of the Zebu (Sahiwal) germplasm in the formation of breeds like Australian Friesian Sahiwal (50% of Holstein and 50% Sahiwal) and its international recognition as a breed for the tropics is an example.

Maintaining animals sustainable to the situation is the best policy. Bringing animals from different agro-climatic conditions causes problems due to non-adjustment in many cases. In case, purchase becomes absolutely essential it should be from similar environmental conditions as far as possible.

General selection procedures for dairy breeds

Selection of dairy cows
Selecting a calf in calf show, a cow in cattle show by judging is an art. A dairy farmer should build up his own herd by breeding his own herd. Following guidelines will be useful for selection of a diary cow.

  • whenever an animal is purchased from a cattle fair, it should be selected based upon its breed characters and milk producing ability
  • History sheet or pedigree sheet which are generally maintained in organized farms reveals the complete history of animal
  • The maximum yields by dairy cows are noticed during the first five lactations. So generally selection should be carried out during First or Second lactation and that too are month after calving.
  • There successive complete milking has to be done and an average of it will give a fair idea regarding production by a particular animal.
  • A cow should allow anybody to milk, and should be docile.
  • It is better to purchase the animals during the months of October and November.
  • Maximum yield is noticed till 90 days after calving.

Breed characteristics of high yielding dairy cows

  • Attractive individuality with feminity, vigour, harmonious blending of all parts, impressive style and carriage
  • Animal should have wedge shaped appearance of the body
  • It should have bright eyes with lean neck
  • The udder should be well attached to the abdomen
  • The skin of the udder should have a good network of blood vessels
  • All four quarters of the udder should be well demarcated with well placed teats.

Selecting breeds for Commercial Dairy Farm - Suggestions

  • Under Indian condition a commercial dairy farm should consist of minimum 20 animals (10 cows, 10 buffaloes) this strength can easily go up to 100 animals in proportion of 50:50 or 40:60. After this however, you need to review your strength and market potential before you chose to go for expansion.
  • Middle class health-conscious Indian families prefer low fat milk for consumption as liquid milk. It is always better to go for a commercial farm of mixed type. (Cross breed, cows and buffaloes kept in separate rows under one shed).
  • Conduct a through study of the immediate market where you are planning to market your milk You can mix milk from both type of animals and sold as per need of the market. Hotels and some general customers (can be around 30%) prefer pure buffalo milk. Hospitals, sanitariums prefer cow's milk.

Selection of cow/buffalo breeds for commercial farm

  • Good quality cows are available in the market and it cost around Rs.1200 to Rs.1500 per liter of milk production per day. (E.g. Cost of a cow producing 10 liter of Milk per day will be between Rs.12, 000 to Rs.15, 000).
  • If proper care is given, cows breed regularly giving one calf every 13-14 month interval.
  • They are more docile and can be handled easily. Good milk yielding cross breeds (Holstein and Jersey crosses) has well adapted to Indian climate.
  • The fat percentage of cow's milk varies from 3-5.5% and is lower then Buffaloes.

(Source: BAIF Development Research Foundation, Pune)

An efficient management of cattle will be incomplete without a well planned and adequate housing. of cattle. Improper planning in the arrangement of animal housing may result in additional labour charges and that curtail the profit of the owner. During erection of a house for dairy cattle, care should be taken to provide comfortable' accommodation for an individual cattle. No less important is the (1) proper sanitation, (1) durability, (3) arrangements for the production of clean milk under convenient and economic conditions, etc.

Location of Dairy Buildings
The points which should be considered before the erection of dairy buildings are as follows.

1. Topography and drainage
A dairy building should be at a higher elevation than the surrounding ground to offer a good slope for rainfall and drainage for the wastes of the dairy to avoid stagnation within. A leveled area requires less site preparation and thus lesser cost of building. Low lands and depressions and proximity to places of bad odour should be avoided.

2. Soil type
Fertile soil should be spared for cultivation. Foundation soils as far as possible should not be too dehydrated or desiccated. Such a soil is susceptible to considerable swelling during rainy season and exhibit numerous cracks and fissures.

3. Exposure to the sun and protection from wind
A dairy building should be located to a maximum exposure to the sun in the north and minimum exposure to the sun in the south and protection from prevailing strong wind currents whether hot or cold. Buildings should be placed so that direct sunlight can reach the platforms, gutters and mangers in the cattle shed. As far as possible, the long axis of the dairy barns should be set in the north-south direction to have the maximum benefit of the sun.

4. Accessibility
Easy accessibility to the buildings is always desirable. Situation of a cattle shed by the side of the main road preferably at a distance of about 100 meters should be aimed at.

5. Durability and attractiveness
It is always attractive when the buildings open up to a scenic view and add to the grandeur of the scenery. Along with this, durability of the structure is obviously an important criterion in building a dairy.
6. Water supply
Abundant supply of fresh, clean and soft water should .be available at a cheap rate.

7. Surroundings
Areas infested with wild animals and dacoits should be avoided. Narrow gates, high manger curbs, loose hinges, protruding nails, smooth finished floor in the areas where the cows move and other such hazards should be eliminated.

8. Labour
Honest, economic and regular supply of labour is available.

9. Marketing
Dairy buildings should only be in those areas from where the owner can sell his products profitably and regularly. He should be in a position to satisfy the needs of the farm within no time and at reasonable price.

10. Electricity
Electricity is the most important sanitary method of lighting a dairy. Since a modem dairy always handles electric equipments which are also economical, it is desirable to have an adequate supply of electricity.

11. Facilities, labour, food
Cattle yards should be so constructed and situated in relation to feed storages, hay stacks, silo and manure pits as to effect the most efficient utilization of labour. Sufficient space per cow and well arranged feeding mangers and resting are contribute not only to greater milk yield of cows and make the work of the operator easier also minimizes feed expenses. The relative position of the feed stores should be quite adjacent to the cattle barn.
Noteworthy features of feed stores are given:

  • Feed storages should be located at hand near the center of the cow barn.
  • Milk-house should be located almost at the center of the barn.
  • Centre cross-alley should be well designed with reference to feed storage, the stall area and the milk house.

(Source: Dr.C. Paul Princely Rajkumar , AC&RI, Madurai.)

Types of Housing 
The most widely prevalent practice in this country is to tie the cows with rope on a Katchafloor except some organized dairy farms belonging to government, co-operatives or military where proper housing facilities exist. It is quit easy to understand that unless cattle are provide with good housing facilities, the animals will move too far in or out of the standing space, defecating all round and even causing trampling and wasting of feed by stepping into the mangers. The animals will be exposed to extreme weather conditions all leading to bad health and lower production.
Dairy cattle may be successfully housed under a wide variety of conditions, ranging from close confinement to little restrictions except at milking time. However, two types of dairy barns are in general use at the present time.
  1. The loose housing barn in combination with some type of milking barn or parlor.
  2. The conventional dairy barn.

Loose housing system:
Loose housing may be defined as a system where animals are kept loose except milking and at the time of treatment. The system is most economical. Some features of loose housing system are as follows.

  • Cost of construction is significantly lower than conventional type.
  • It is possible to make further expansion without change
  • Facilitate easy detection of animal in heat.
  • Animals feel free and therefore, proves more profitable with even minimum grazing
  • Animals get optimum excise which is extremely important for better health production.
  • Over all better management can be rendered.

Cattle Shed
The entire shed should be surrounded by a boundary wall of. 5" height from three side and manger etc., on one side. The feeding area should be provided with 2 to 2 ½ feet of manger space per cow. All along the manger, there shall be 10" wide water trough to provide clean, even, available drinking water. The water trough thus constructed will also minimize the loss of fodders during feeding. Near the manger, under the roofed house 5' wide floor should be paved with bricks having a little slope.
Beyond that, there should be open unpaved area (40'X35') surrounded by 5' wall with one gate. It is preferable that animals face north when they are eating fodder under the shade. During cold wind in winter the animals will automatically lie down to have the protection from the walls.

Shed for calves
On one side of the main cattle shed there be fully covered shed "10'x15' to accommodate young calves. Such sheds with suitable partitioning, may also serve as calving pen under adverse climatic conditions. Beyond this covered area there should be a 20'x10' open area having boundary wall so that calves may move there freely.
In this way both calf and cattle sheds will need in all 50'x50' area for 20 adult cows and followers. If one has limited resources, he can build ordinary, Katcha/semikatcha boundary walls but feeding and water trough should be cemented ones.
(Source: AC&RI, Madurai, Dr.C. Paul Princely Rajkumar )

Conventional Dairy Barn
The conventional dairy barns are comparatively costly and are now becoming less popular day by day. However, by this system cattle are more protected from adverse climatic condition.
The following barns are generally needed for proper housing of different classes
Dairy stock in the farm

  • Cow houses or sheds
  • Calving box
  • Isolation box
  • Sheds for young stocks
  • Bull or bullock sheds.

Cow Sheds
      Cow sheds can be arranged in a single row if the numbers of cows are small. Say less than 10 or in a double row if the herd is a large one. Ordinarily, not more than 80 to 100 cows should be placed in one building. In double row housing, the stable should be so arranged that the cows face out (tails to tail system) or face in (head to head system) as preferred.

Advantages of tail to tail system

  • Under the average conditions, 125 to 150 man hours of labour are required per cow per year. Study of time: Time motion studies in dairies showed that 15% of the expended time is spent in front of the cow, and 25% in other parts of the barn and the milk house, and 60% of the time is spent behind the cows. Time spent at the back of the cows is 4 times more than the time spent in front of them.
  • In cleaning and milking the cows, the wide middle alley is of great advantage.
  • Lesser danger of spread of diseases from animal to animal.
  • Cows can always get more fresh air from outside.
  • The head gowala can inspect a greater number of milkmen while milking. This is possible because milkmen will be milking on both sides of the gowala.
  • Any sort of minor disease or any change in the hind quarters of the animals can be detected quickly and even automatically.

Tail to Tail System

Advantages of face to face system

  • Cows make a better showing for visitors when heads are together
  • The cows feel easier to get into their stalls.
  • Sun rays shine in the gutter where they are needed most.
  • Feeding of cows is easier, both rows can be fed without back tracking.
  • It is better for narrow barns.


         Face to face system

The inside floor of the barn should be of some impervious material which can be easily kept clean and dry and is not slippery. Paving with bricks can also serve ones purpose. Grooved cement concrete floor is still better.
The surface of the cowshed should be laid with a gradient of 1" to 1 14" from manger to excreta channel. An overall floor space of  65 to 70 sq.ft. Per adult cow should be satisfactory.

The inside of the walls should have a smooth hard· finish of cement, which will not allow any lodgment of dust and moisture. Comers should be round. For plains, dwarf walls about 4 to 5 feet in height and roofs supported by masonry work or iron pillars will be best or more suitable. The open space in between supporting pillars will serve for light and air circulation.
Roof of the barn may be of asbestos sheet or tiles. Corrugated iron sheets have the disadvantage of making extreme fluctuations in the inside temperature of the barn in different seasons. However, iron sheets with aluminum painted tops to reflect sunrays and bottoms provided with wooden insulated ceilings can also achieve the objective. A height of 8 feet at the sides and 15 feet at the ridge will be sufficient to give the necessary air space to the cows. An adult cow requires at least about 800 cubic feet of air space under tropical conditions. To make ventilation more effective a continuous ridge ventilation is considered most desirable.

Cement concrete continuous manger with removable partitions is the best from the point of view of durability and cleanliness. A height of 1 '-4" for a high front manger and 6" to 9" for a low front manger is considered sufficient. Low front mangers are more comfortable for cattle but high front. mangers prevent feed wastage. The height at the back of the manger should be kept at 2'-6" to 3". An overall width of 2' to 2 1/2' is sufficient for a good manger.  

The central walk should have a width of 5'-6' exclusive of gutters when cows face out, and 4'-5' when they face in. The feed alley, in case of a face out system should be 4' wide, and the central walk should show a slope of 1" from the center towards the two gutters running parallel to each other, thus forming a crown at the center.

Manure gutter
The manure gutter should be wide enough to hold all dung without getting blocked, and be easy to clean/ Suitable dimensions are 2" width with a cross-fall of !" away from standing. The gutter should have a gradient of 1" for every 10' length. This will permit a free flow of liquid excreta.

The doors of a single range cowshed should be 5" wide with a height of 7', and for double row shed the width should not be less than 8" to 9'. All doors of the barn should lie flat against the external wall when fully open.

Calving Boxes
Allowing cows to calve in the milking cowshed is highly undesirable and objectionable. It leads to in sanitary in milk production and spread of disease like contagious abortion in the herd. Special accommodation in the form of loose-boxes enclosed from all sides with a door should be furnished to all parturient cows. It should have an area of about 100 to 150 sq.ft. With ample soft bedding, it should be provided with sufficient ventilation through windows and ridge vent.

Isolation Boxes
Animals suffering from infectious disease must be segregated soon from the rest of the herd. Loose boxes of about 150 sq.ft are very suitable for this purpose. They sh9uld be situated at some distance from the other barns. Every isolation box should be self contained and should have separate connection to the drainage disposal system.

Sheds for Young Stocks
Calves should never be accommodated with adults in the cow shed. The calf house must have provision for daylight ventilation and proper drainage. Damp and ill-drained floors cause respiratory trouble in calves to which they are susceptible. For an efficient management and housing, the young stock should be divided into three groups, viz., young calves aged tip to one year bull calves, female calves. Each group should be sheltered in a separate calf house or calf shed. As far as possible the shed for the young calves should be quite close to the cow shed.
Each calf shed should have an open paddock or exercise yard. An area of 100 square feet per head for a stock of 10 calves and an increase of 50 square feet for every additional calf will make a good paddock. It is useful to classify the calves below one year into three age groups, viz., and calves below the age of 3 months, 3-6 months old calves and those over 6 months for a better allocation of the resting area. An overall covered space of:

  1. 20-25 square feet per calf below the age of 3 months,  
  2. 25 -30 square feet per calf from the age of 3-6 months,
  3. 30-40 square feet per calf from the age of 6-12 months and over, and
  4. 40-45 square feet for every calf above one year, should be made available for the sheltering such climatic conditions. A suitable· interior lay-out of a calf shed will be to arrange the standing space along each side of a 4 feet wide central passage having a shallow gutter along its length on both sides. Provision of water troughs inside each calf shed and exercise yard should never be neglected.

Bull or Bullock Shed
Safety and ease in handling a comfortable shed ^protection from weather and a provision for exercise are the key points while planning accommodation for bulls or bullocks. A bull should never be kept in confinement particularly on hard floors. Such a confinement without adequate exercise leads to overgrowth of the hoofs creating difficulty in mounting and loss in the breeding power of the bull. A loose box with rough cement concrete floor about 15' by 10' in dimensions having an adequate arrangement of light and ventilation and an entrance 4' in width and 7' in height will make a comfortable housing for a bull. The shed should have a manger and a water trough.

If possible, the arrangement should be such that water and feed can be served without actually entering the bull house. The bull should have a free access to an exercise yard provided with a strong fence or a boundary wall of about 2' in height, i.e., too high for the bull to jump over. From the bull yard, the bull should be able to view the other animals of the herd so that it does not feel isolated. The exercise yard should also communicate with a service crate via a swing gate which saves the use of an attendant to bring the bull to the service crate.

(Source: Dr.C. Paul Princely Rajkumar, AC&RI, Madurai)

The easy and quick method of cleaning animal house is with liberal use of tap water, proper lifting and disposes all of dung and used straw bedding, providing drainage, to the animal house for complete removal of liquid waste and urine. The daily removal of feed and fodder left over in the manger, reduces the fly nuisance. Periodical cleaning of water through eliminates the growth of algae, bacterial and viral contamination and thus keeps the animal healthy.

Sanitation in dairy farm
Sanitation is necessary in the dairy farm houses for eliminations of all micro organisms that are capable of causing disease in the animals. The presence of organisms in the animal shed contaminates the milk produced thus reducing its self life, milk produced in an unclean environment is likely to transmit diseases which affect human health: Dry floorings keeps the houses dry and protects from foot injury. Similarly the presence of flies and other insects in the dairy farm area are not only , disturbs the animals but also spreads deadly diseases to the animals egg. Babesiosis, Theileriosis.

Sunlight is the most potent and powerful sanitizer which destroy most of the disease producing organism. Disinfection of animal sheds means making these free from disease  producing bacteria and is mainly-carried out by sprinkling chemical agents such as bleaching powder, Iodine and lodophor, sodium carbonate, Washing soda, Slaked Lime (Calcium hydroxide), Quick Lime (Calcium oxide) and phenol.

Bleaching powder:
This is also called calcium hypo chloride. It contains upto 39 % available chlorine which has high disinfecting activity.  

Iodine and lodophor:
This is commercially available as lodophores and contains between 1 and 2 % available Iodine which is an effective germicide.

Sodium carbonate:
A hot 4 % solution of washing soda is a powerful disinfectant against many viruses and certain bacteria.

Slaked lime and quick lime:
White washing with these agents makes the walls of the sheds and the water troughs free from bacteria.

Phenol or carbolic acid is very disinfectants which destroy bacteria as well as fungus.

Insecticides are the substances or preparations used for killing insects. In dairy farms, ticks usually hide in cracks and crevices of the walls and mangers. Smaller quantities of insecticide solutions are required for spraying. Liquid insecticides can be applied with a powerful sprayer, hand sprayer, a sponge or brush; commonly used insecticides are BHC, DDT, Gramaxane wettable powders, malathion, Sevin 50 % emulsifying concentration solutions. These are highly poisonous and need to be handled carefully and should not come in contact with food material, drinking, water, milk etc.

Precautions while using disinfection In Insecticide.

  • Remove dung and used bedding completely.
  • Avoid spilling of dung and used bedding while carrying it out.
  • Avoid the use of dirty water in cleaning the sheds.
  • Never put the fresh fodder over: the previous day’s left over fodder in the manger.
  • Prevent algae to grow in the water troughs
  • Use proper concentration of disinfectant / insecticide solutions to avoid any toxic effects poisoning.
  • Avoid of the mat the milking time as milk absorbs these quickly.


  • Remove the dung from the floor and urine channel with the help of a shovel and basket (iron) and transfer it to the wheel - barrow.
  • Remove the used bedding and leftovers from the mangers in a similar way.
  • Empty the water trough and scrape its sides and bottom with the help of a floor brush.
  • Wash the water trough with clean water and white wash it with the help of lime mixture once a week.
  • Scrape the floor with a brush and broom and wash with water.
  • Clean and disinfect the splashes of dung on the side walls, railing and stanchions.
  • Remove the cobwebs periodically with the help of a wall brush.
  • Sprinkle one of the available disinfecting agents in the following concentration. Bleaching powder should have more than 30% available chlorine. Phenol 1-2% solution. Washing Soda (4% solution).
  • Allow adequate sunlight to enter in to the shed.
  • Spray insecticides at regular intervals especially during the rainy season (Fly season).
  • Whitewash the walls periodically by mixing insecticides init to eliminate ticks and mites living in cracks and crevices.

Other Provisions
The animal sheds should have proper facilities for milking barns, calf pens, calving pens and arrangement for store rooms etc. In each shed, there should be arrangement for feeding manger, drinking area and loafing area. The shed may be cemented or brick paved, but in any case it should be easy to clean. The floor should be rough, so that animals will not slip. The drains in the shed should be shallow and preferably covered with removable tiles. The drain should have a gradient of 1" for every 10" length. The roof may be of corrugated cement sheet, asbestos or brick and rafters. Cement concrete roofing is too expensive.  Inside the open unpaved area it is always desirable to plant some good shady trees for excellent protection against direct cold winds in winter and to keep cool in summer.



Feeding of Calves Colostrums

It will vary with the system followed, but whatever system may be practiced, the calf must receive the first milk which the cow gives after calving and is called colostrums. Be sure to feed the calf enough of colostrums between 2 to 2.5 liters daily for the first 3 days following its birth. Any excess colostrums may be fed to other calves in the herd in amounts equal to the amount of whole milk normally fed. If possible where a cow is milked before calving, freeze some of the colostrums for later feeding to the calf. None of it should be wasted. The digestibility of colostrums increases when it is given at a temperature between 99oF and 102oF. The importance of colostrums can be felt more from the following virtues.

The protein of colostrums consists of a much higher proportion of globulin than doe’s normal milk. The globulins are presumed to be the source of antibodies which aid in protecting the animal from many infections liable to affect it after birth. Gamma - globulin level in blood serum of neonatal calves is only 0.97 mg/ml at birth. It increase to 16.55 mg/ml level after first colostrums feeding at 12 hr and subsequently on the second day shows a peak of 28.18 mg/ml. This level more or less persists till the reti-culoendothelial system of the calf starts functioning to produce antibodies.

  • The protein content of colostrums is 3 to 5 times as that of normal milk. It is also rich in some of the materials, of which copper, iron, magnesium and manganese are important.
  • Colostrums contain 5-15 times the amount of Vitamin A- found in normal milk, depending upon the character of the ration given to the mother during the rest period.
  • Colostrums is also superior to milk in having a considerably greater amount of several other vitamins which have been found essential in the growth of dairy calves, including riboflavin, choline, thiamine and pantothenic acid.
  • Colostrums act as a laxative to free the digestive tract of faecal material.

Feeding whole milk
In feeding whole milk, calves may be fed as per feeding schedule. While feeding whole milk the following points should be remembered.

  • As far as possible provide milk from the calf's mother.
  • Feed milk immediately after it is drawn.
  • The total amount of milk may be fed at 3 or 4 equal intervals up to the age of 7 days and then twice daily.

Feeding skim milk
On many farms, large quantities of separated milk are available for feeding to calves and other livestock.  Excellent dairy calves can be raised by changing them from whole milk gradually after two weeks of their age.   Here again the feeding schedule should be followed.

Feeding dried skim milk, whey or buttermilk
The above dried products are mixed with water at the rate of 1 kg to 9 kg of water and then it is fed as skim milk.  To avoid digestive troubles the mix should always be fed to calves after warming it up to 100oF.

Feeding calf starters
Calf starter is a mixture consisting of ground farm grains, protein feeds and minerals, vitamins and antibiotics.  After a calf attains the age of 2 weeks the amount of whole milk given to it may be cut down.  One should then rub a small amount of starter on the calf's mouth, after each milk feeding for a few days when the calf will be accustomed to it.  When they reach four months of age, one should then transfer the calves to a "growing" grain ration. 

Feeding grain mixture
Better growth and greater resistance to calf ailments result from consumption of grain and milk by the calf then when the calf is fed only on milk.  At the age of 7-15 days the feeding of grain mixtures may be started.  In order to get calves accustomed to grain mixtures, place a small handful of grain mixture in the used pail.  As the calf is finishing its milk it may consume a portion, or one may offer a little in the hand immediately after feeding milk.

Excessive protein rich grain mixture is not desirable as milk is already rich in proteins.  A medium protein grain mixture is most suitable when milk is fed freely. A grain mixture of oats - 35 percent, linseed cake - 5 percent, bran - 30 percent, barley - 10 percent, groundnut cake - 20 percent may be fed to the calves.  Another good mixture consists of ground maize - 2 parts, wheat bran - 2.

(Source: Dr. C. Paul Princely Rajkumar, AC&RI, Madurai)

Veterinary Services
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