Breeding Dairy Cattle

It is important to have a good breeding program for dairy farm for the reason that milk production is dependent on how many cows you have lactating at one Remember, too, that although people buy milk year-round, it’s unnatural for cows to calve in any season but one. According to eHow Pets Editor the following are the steps for breeding dairy cattle:

* Learn the cows’ reproductive cycle and decide whether to use hormones to time reproduction and increase milk production. This decision determines whether you’re a traditional or an organic dairy farmer, and it has profound effects on your breeding operation. Organic dairy farmers can charge twice as much for milk, but traditional farmers produce a great deal more.

* Supplement cows’ feed during pregnancy and, of course, lactation. For cows treated with hormones, this is of special concern because they reach a point where milk production is so high that they simply can’t consume enough calories in a day to maintain their weight. It is therefore necessary to ensure that they are nutritionally sound before that point, during pregnancy and in the first phase of lactation.

* Use artificial insemination if you’re a beginner, as dairy bulls are the most difficult to deal with. Breed cows for conformation (femininity, including pelvis size), longevity and milk quality and quantity. The less often you must replace cows, the better.

* Separate cows due to calve and watch them closely. Provide shelter from the elements–calving stalls in the barn in cold climates and shaded pasture areas in hot climates. Studies have shown that heat stress during parturition plays a role in milk production later, not only for the cow giving birth, but for the calf, if it’s a heifer.

* Bottle-feed calves one gallon of colostrum (ideally) 30 minutes after birth, but certainly within 24 hours. Feed calves pasteurized waste milk with excess colostrum or milk replacers at a rate of 1 gallon per day and supplement with a commercial calf starter feed. Wean them at 5 to 6 weeks.

* Adjust the diet of your heifer calves so that they’re large enough to breed at 14 to 16 months of age, and build your herd with quality heifers born on your own farm to keep replacement costs low.

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