Diet of cows for better health and milk production – Cows eat with their nose!
Feed management is necessary for every dairy farm whether it is small or large. The components of the animal feed can be integrated into protein, energy (carbohydrates), fat, minerals, & water. Dairy farms must be organized in making and delivering feed to animals. Feed must be appropriate quality and quantity. Traditional Pakistani way of making feed is related to forages and crop production which has effects on milk production of farm animals. Moreover, the feeds can be varying according to dry and rainy seasons in Pakistan. Farmers usually store animal feed as hay or silage. However, a well-balanced ratio of protein, energy, vitamins, and minerals in a palatable and tasty feed is the best way of increasing milk production and live weight, as well as improving health and fertility.
In Punjab, a most common practice is followed for feeding buffaloes like cotton cake, wheat feed, wheat with jaggery and oil. These practices followed in buffalo feeding to maintain feed quantity and quality with 7 to 8 % fat in milk. Buffaloes are very poor in the thermal mechanism. Buffaloe’s skin has fewer sweat glands that’s why they need more water than cattle, they need cool and clean water. Like feed management, water intake is also calculated and one should keep a balanced record of water intake of each animal. Less water intake can lessen the milk quantity and more water intake can decrease feed intake of animals. For one-liter milk production from buffaloes and cattle, 3 to 4 liters’ water is needed. Cows may consume 30-50% of the water of their daily intake within 1 hour after milking. The water temperature should be 7-150C moderate. The fresh cow just after calving must have a water supply of 33-350C of a minimum of 35 liters.
There are also some practices must be followed to give good quality of feed to cattle. It’s not wrong if we say that Cows eat with their nose, yes it means that cattle move its nose in feed to smell and check that feed is fresh or not. So the amount of feed that cattle take in depends strongly on the smell. The feed carrier must be clean and the remaining feed should be removed the next day. Because the old remaining feed produces the smell and also affects the new fresh feed.