Feeding Dairy Cows to Boost Milk Production

Feeding dairy cows to boost milk production is an effective way to increase your income. However, this is mostly easier said than done – especially given the fact that dairy cows require proper nutrition not just for optimum milk production but also for good health and body maintenance.

Irrespective of how good your breed is, no dairy cow can remain productive unless you feed it properly. The quality and amount of milk produced will also be affected largely by what you feed your cow, and how you feed it.

If you graze your dairy cattle on a farm with little water and pasture and house the cows in dirty sheds, this might result in an increase in the incidences of diseases and accompanied by poor milk yield.

On the other hand, good breeds that receive clean water and good feed, proper housing, and gentle, friendly care tend to produce more milk (and money). Therefore, you should already have an incentive to help you with feeding dairy cows to boost milk production.

Consider the following:

Feed and Nutrient Requirements

The normal feed requirements for a lactating cow are starkly different from that of heifers and calves. In fact, the amount of feed you provide to your cow should depend on the volume of milk it products, as well as its levels of activity, temperature, and weight.

Whatever the case, you should provide balanced feeds for your dairy cows so that they get energy (fats and carbohydrates), vitamins, minerals, fiber, and protein – as well as water in good amounts.

If possible, you should only give your cows digestible feed. This way, they will be able to absorb the resultant nutrients into the bodies. Of course, you should check the feed to ensure that it does not contain any toxic substances.

Fodder and Dry Matter

While feeding dairy cows to boost milk production, you might want to focus on food crops such as Napier grass. This type of grass is considered to be the most important feed for dairy cattle because it provides energy for reproduction, weight gain, growth, body maintenance, and – ultimately – milk production. Most fodder crops also come with fiber (roughage) that improves the levels of fat in the milk and aids in digestion.  However, you can also give your animals extra energy from such food sources as wheat germ, maize, and molasses.

Mature cross breed cows, for instance, weight about 400 kg on average. Such a cow would require about 10 to 15 kilos of fodder a day. If you are using Napier grass, therefore, you should ensure that it is around 3 ft in height because short grasses tend to contain more water and less dry matter, meaning that your cow might not receive adequate nutrition from such fodder.

Overall, feeding dairy cows to boost milk production should not be difficult. Although it will cost you more, it is the surefire way to keep your milk yields at an optimally high point.

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Embryo Transfer Technology in Kenya

Although you might not know this, embryo transfer technology in Kenya has been developing and evolving over the years. Thanks to this technology, cows can now produce close to or over 10 calves a year.

The technology uses multiple ovulation and embryo transfers. However, despite its benefits, it is not as developed in the country as it is in the agricultural world. This is due to the high costs and lack of ready availability of the technology to many farmers.

In fact, only big farms and a couple of individuals in the country can easily afford embryo transfer technology. However, due to an increase in demand and more farmers looking to improve the productivity of their animal husbandry, the technology might soon be commonplace.

Understanding Embryo Transfer Technology

At its most basic, this technology involves techniques in which the fertilized embryo of donor females is transferred to other females. The recipient thereafter carries the embryo all through to the end of the pregnancy. All cattle breeds can be used as surrogates. This allows farmers to use poor quality breeds to create higher quality livestock.

Embryo transfer technology is easy to understand. First, the donor is prepared and placed under anesthesia. The perineum is then cleaned and scrubbed using an antiseptic solution before the transfer begins.

There are two main methods of embryo collection involved: surgical and non-surgical. For surgical collections, the vet will flush a suitable medium through the oviduct and into the upper part of the uterus using a blunt needle and a syringe. These flushings are thereafter collected in a small glass tube through insertion into the uterine lumen.

In non-surgical collections, the vet will use a cervical dilator to dilate the cervix and allow for the manual insertion of a catheter into the uterus. The uterine horn is thereafter irrigated using a suitable flushing media. The horn is then sealed off using a plastic balloon, and vets flush embryos out using culture media before collecting them in Petri dishes.

Implantation

Embryo transfer technology in Kenya is effective when done correctly. Farmers who use the resulting embryos are required to prepare the surrogate cows for implantation. The surrogates ought to be sexually mature or regular good breeders and free of genital tract infection.

In case the surrogate recently gave birth, the farmer should give it an allowance of 90 days after the post partum period. Similarly, the recipient should be recycling optimally, with relatively low fat content, and in great physical shape.

Results

Every super-ovulation yields an average of 3 to 4 calves. Additionally, you can induce the cow to super-ovulate between 4 and 5 times a year. This means that cows can give birth to about 10 calves in a single year.

Overall, embryo transfer technology in Kenya is one of the best ways to increase stock size and improve productivity in your flock. Although it is still expensive (ranging in cost from KES 25000 to 30000), the technology is the right solution for complementing existing breeding efforts and practices, as well as for providing additional incentives and incomes to farmers.

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Egg Peritonitis Causes and Prevention

Egg peritonitis, also known as egg yolk peritonitis, is a serious condition and one of the common fatal obstetrical condition in poultry. It can occur in all types of bird species but is most common in macaws, ducks, lovebirds, budgerigars, and cockatiels.  If your birds start showing the signs and symptoms of this condition, you should talk to an avian vet as soon as you can. These symptoms are similar to those of egg binding.

The best way to deal with egg peritonitis is through the early detection, checking, diagnosis, and treatment of the condition. Only by so doing will you be able to save your poultry’s life.

Understanding Egg Peritonitis

During ovulation, the yolk (mature ova) will be released from the bird’s ovary and into its oviduct. If the yolk does not go into the oviduct but passes to the abdominal cavity instead, it will cause the peritoneum (membrane lining) of the abdomen to inflame, thereby causing the egg peritonitis.

Signs and Symptoms  

The signs and symptoms of septic and non-septic egg peritonitis might include:

– Yolk colored droppings

– Wide based stance

– Weight loss

– Weakness

– Vent swelling

– Respiratory distress

– Pain

– Lethargy

– Lack of vocalization

– Fluffed feathers

– Depression

– Changes in regular behavior

– Ascites (which refers to the accumulation of fluids inside the bird’s abdominal cavity)

– Anorexia

– Abdominal swelling

Egg peritonitis also causes a variety of secondary symptoms that are more fatal than the ones listed above. These include, but are not limited to:

– Sudden death

– Abdominal hernia as a result of extreme abnormal distention

Causes  

There are several causes of egg peritonitis in poultry. These include:

– Ruptured oviduct

– Reverse peristalsis

– The bird being stressed or restrained during ovulation

Genetic Diagnosis  

When you go for consultation, you should inform the vet of the signs and symptoms you observed in the affected bird, and when these symptoms started. If your poultry is being seen by other vets, you should bring all other previous medical records to help the new vet evaluate the medical history.

The vet might perform physical exams and suggest the administration of gas anesthesia before starting the diagnostic testing. This anesthetic may reduce the levels of stress in the bird.

After that, they will weigh the bird, and check the plumage, oral cavity, beak, and eyes. This may be followed by vent, cloacal, and abdominal palpation exams, as well as a variety of other diagnostic tests to check for egg peritonitis.

Recovery  

Birds that are diagnosed with egg peritonitis (of the non-septic variety) and treated tend to have good chances of recovery. However, you will need to visit the vet for follow-up checks to monitor the bird’s progress.

The poultry may also receive hormonal injections to prevent it from ovulation. If it underwent surgery, there will be post-up instructions for you to follow and help with recovery.

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