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Care of Heifer




  • Heifers-can be reared by two methods:

    i) Outdoor system/grazing method.
    ii} Indoor system.

    i) Outdoor system:

    The heifers are reared mainly on grazing. The following are management points in this system:

    1. They should be shifted daily from one grazing land to another.

    2. Pasture plots be grazed rotationally containing legume grass.

    3. Grazing land must have provision of shade & supply of cool drinking water.

    4. Concentrates and minerals may be fed through troughs located in the field.

    ii) Indoor system:

    In this system, they are confined by compound and provided with shelter. The main points to be considered in this system are;

    1. Feedings: They should be provided with good quality of hay or roughages &    concentrates or grains. The feed must be rich in nutrients like proteins, energy, minerals, and vitamins.

    2. Housing: The heifers from 6 months onwards should be housed separately from suckling calves and no male calves be kept together beyond 6 months.  For better allocation of resting area, calf should be provided with below stated space,

     i.e. 20- 5 sq.ft/calf for below 3 months of age
           25-30 sq.ft from 3-6 months of age
           30-40 sq.ft from 6-12 months of age
           40-50 sq.ft from above one year

    1. Exercise: In this system, the care is to be taken that they should get sufficient exercise which removes stiffness in limbs, -keep thrifty growing & maintain normal appetite.

    2. Culling of heifers: Those having anatomical defects, bad deposition, poor growth & late maturity should be culled.

    3. Control of parasites:

      • De-worming of heifers:  Worms interfere with absorption of food nutrients ultimately interfere with host’s growth, therefore heifers be de-wormed after every 4-6 months.

      • Control of Ectoparasites: Ectoparasites like ticks, lice etc. should be treated to control such parasites by dipping or spraying with 0.5% BHC or other insecticides like 1% Malathion spray is effective. The regular grooming is also helpful.

    4. Vaccination of heifers: At 6 months of age, heifer should be vaccinated for & Mouth disease, T.B. & Rinderpest diseases. While older heifer should be vaccinated for Anthrax, Black quarter.

    5. Age of Breeding: Many factors affect the age of breeding i.e. Breed, system of feeding, and quality of nutrition. Under average manage mental conditions of feeding & care, the heifers attaining weight of 200 kg (minimum) may be considered of age at first breeding.

    6. Steaming up: A pregnant heifer few days prior to calving must be fed liberally is called steaming up.   It is done for the reasons that, heifer continues to grow, she has to bear an unborn viable calf, and she must maintain her good health during lactation period.   For steaming up heifers must be given 1.5 kg concentrate mixture.

    7. “Breaking-in” heifers:

      • Care in training heifers: Heifer should be handled with kindness. They should be trained to load with halter from an early age, which helps to make docile cow.

      • Housing pregnant heifer with milch herd: This practice to heifers should start about a month prior to Calving to accustom them their place in barn.

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