DRYING AND FEEDING PREGNANT COWS
It is called drying the cow to stop milking by giving up milking. One of the most important issues in today's dairy cattle breeding is cooling and drying of pregnant cows on time (two months before birth). In many farms, cows are not dried in this period of time or it is not known exactly how they will be taken out. Some producers try to dry the cows by starving the animals and this practice is a wrong decision.
HOW TO GO TO DRY?
Drying should be done 2 months before birth. Meanwhile, milk yield has decreased. The feed given is also slightly reduced. Thus, milk yield decreases further. Milking done twice a day, 65-70 days before birth, is reduced to once a day. It goes like this for a few days, then it is reduced to once every two days and at the end of 7-10 days milking is completely stopped. The remaining milk in the breast darkens and a swelling may be seen in the breast. This situation disappears over time and no milking is done until birth. The benefits of drying animals can be summarized as follows.
* The animal that has been milked continuously for 10 months is tired. The organs that make milk need to rest.
* The cow uses the feed it eats for the development of the baby in its belly instead of milk yield.
* The mineral substances lost due to continuous milking are given time to re-accumulate in his body.
* Body structure has deteriorated due to long milking. During the resting period, the body structure improves and allows normal birth.
* It is seen that cows that have a dry period give more milk in the next milking period.
NUTRITION IN THE DRY PERIOD
It is necessary to divide the dry period in cows into two: The first is the early period, which lasts two to three weeks after the dry period. The second is the late dry period two to three weeks before birth.
In the first period after the animals are dry, they should be fed with plenty of roughage. This feeding schedule should be continued until the last 20 days of the dry period. If there is quality roughage (such as alfalfa and silage) in the farm, no more than 3-4 kg of concentrated feed should be given during this period. If dry cows are fed large amounts of roughage such as silage and pulp, stomach displacement or torsion may occur. For this reason, dry roughage should be given in the dry period, bulky roughage should be avoided.
The feeding in the first part of the dry period is adjusted according to the condition of the animal. If the animal is weak, it should be fed a little stronger, and if the animal is in good condition, it should be fed poorly. During this period, additional vitamin and mineral supplementation is very important. The most important thing during this period is that the animal is not fattened. If it is noticed that fattening has started, the feeding program should be changed and the animal should be weakened. Otherwise, it may cause diseases caused by excessive fat, birth difficulties and deterioration of metabolic balance. In older cows, fattening occurs easily and quickly. It is necessary to pay more attention to old cows in feeding in the dry period. In the beginning of the dry period, animals should be supplemented in terms of vitamins, minerals and trace minerals, as well as giving less concentrated feed. In order to do this, additives should be fed to the cows in the feed during this period.
In the second part of the dry period, that is, 2-3 weeks before the birth, a reverse feeding should be applied. In this period, the cows should be fed with abundant concentrated feed and should be prepared for the high milk yield period that will start with birth. The feed is increased by 0.5 kg each day to 8-10 kg per day. that is, up to 1-1.5% of the live weight. In fact, this amount can be increased even more in animals known to be very high yielding. This type of animal can be given as much concentrated feed as it can eat by getting used to it. This has two main benefits: The rumen of the animal, accustomed to eating high concentrations of feed before birth, has become suitable for high concentration feed consumption. Due to the high milk yield that will start after birth, a large amount of concentrated feed should be given.
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