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How to Manage Your Cattle This Monsoon in 5 Easy Ways
It’s time to get ready to jump in the water and get your hands dirty in the mud pool as you row your little paper boats over the small streams of water flowing by. Here comes monsoon and we are all ready to enjoy one of the blissful seasons. However, in some places, it’s a time of joy, and for the rest, it’s raining cats and dogs. With the onset of monsoon, the environment is subjected to disasters such as floods and in such case it causes heavy losses to mankind, flora and fauna. While we take extra precautions and care for ourselves during the rainy season, the same is necessary for animals, especially cattle that roam around and live in open fields, leaving them exposed to life-threatening diseases. This is the time when the temperature drops and farmers begin to assess how the changing weather would affect their livestock’s health, productivity and efficiency. Dairy farmers begin to plan and gather the resources they will need to manage and protect the herd. Animals require a lot of attention during this time when they have to maintain a normal body temperature against the cold weather. Torrential rains affect the humidity of the environment to the extent that the temperature drops well below the lower temperature limit, which causes stress to the animals.
This forces the animals to respond in a way, say by seeking shelter or increasing metabolic activity, which can help them maintain their body temperature as the cold increases. Therefore, this increases their dietary requirements, especially quality foods that are high in energy.
Cows specifically require foods that are full of essential nutrients as they consume more energy to adapt to climatic conditions and maintain a positive energy balance. If cows do not receive quality nutritional supplements, they end up using the reserve energy stored in the body to generate heat and manage body functions to produce high quality milk.
Eventually, this causes depletion of stored body fat in the long term, causing weight loss and softening of the insulating substance under the skin, exposing them to cold and stressful weather.
The situation seems worse for heifers who could carry calves in such poor body condition, giving them a difficult, painful calving and giving birth to weak, low-weight calves.
This situation results in calf mortality, which leads to less milk production from late heat cycle mothers, reducing the reproductive rate.
In addition to affecting livestock, heavy rainfall also affects other items. It becomes difficult to stack hay, keep livestock feed dry and take care of aflatoxins (poisonous carcinogens that cause liver damage and cancer). These harmful toxins reduce forage quality and reduce animal consumption from high pollution.
Therefore, it is necessary to keep the dry food away from the rains to avoid their mold, especially the hay. Manure and silage should also be stored in a dry place to prevent curdling as it becomes inedible to cows. Manure is likely to lose vital components, so it should be collected and stored in a suitable place away from moisture.
To ensure that the animals maintain the desired body temperature and body weight, you should follow some steps that will help you manage your livestock during the rains and save your money from being spent in inappropriate places.
1. Cleanliness is above all.
Animals are likely to catch diseases easily during this season, exposing various health problems. Therefore, keeping animals clean and dry always stands as the first requirement to be met. In addition, cow teats should also be cleaned and disinfected regularly before and after milking. This helps prevent the milk from becoming sticky.
2. Increase the amount of food.
Animals, during this period, need more food and energy to produce heat to survive in cold weather. Feed livestock with food grains and fodder. If only wet food is available, make sure it is not too cold or frozen. Also, build a suitable and durable shelter to keep them safe from strong winds.
3. Prepare the dry bed.
Creating a shed is not enough. Providing proper, warm bedding for cows is just as important as wet, dirty or dirty bedding leaves them exposed to health problems. Therefore, a bed of dry sand is best, however, availability is limited. In such situations, you can choose dry straw or animal mats.
4. Drinking water supply.
The rainy season means not enough drinking water. Cows must be adequately fed with clean, potable water to avoid a reduction in cow feed intake. However, you must ensure that the water you supply is not too cold or at freezing temperatures.
5. Drain the stagnant water.
Accumulation of rainwater during the monsoon is visible and frequent. But it also provides a natural platform for the growth of harmful bacteria and diseases. Hence, maintaining a hygienic environment works well to avoid the same.
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