Feeding & Milking Your Dairy Cow

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Feeding:

The last two months of your cow’s pregnancy (dry period) and the first month of lactation are very critical. They determine how well the cow will perform during its whole lactation period. This is called the transition period. During this period, there is a high risk of your cow developing metabolic conditions such as milk fever and Ketosis.

Milk fever is a metabolic disorder

Caused by insufficient calcium in the blood of the cow. It may be subclinical without any clear signs, or clinical with clear signs such as your animal being unable to stand. Your target, therefore, should be to minimise calcium consumption during the dry period to encourage your cow to develop the ability to maintain adequate blood calcium levels.

After calving, you can increase the cow’s calcium consumption to meet the increased demand due to milk formation.

Preventing Milk Fever

Feeding your cow with Afya Bora Dry mineral supplement helps prevent the occurrence of milk fever. Afya Bora Dry Cow has balanced calcium and phosphorus levels that help your cow to maintain adequate blood calcium throughout the dry period and at the start of lactation.

Immediately after calving down, feed your cow with the Afya Bora Maziwa Tele mineral supplement. It has biophos minerals and vitamins that meets high demands of lactating cows. The demands include:

  • Cow health – It has high balanced levels of calcium and phosphorus that prevent milk fever;
  • Milk production – It ensures faster, higher, and sustained milk production peak
  • Fertility– It ensures that your cow comes on heat and is served within three months after calving.

Ketosis

Is another metabolic disorder that occurs when energy demands (for example, due to high milk production) exceed energy intake. This results in a negative energy balance. It usually occurs in late pregnancy when the cow’s appetite is at its lowest and the energy requirement of the growing calf is nearing its peak.

The mismatch between input and output can also occur in the first few weeks of lactation if the cow is unable to eat enough to compensate for the energy lost in milk production.

Over-conditioning (fattening the pregnant cows too much) will predispose them to Ketosis.

To avoid this, minimise the amount of concentrates fed at the start of the dry period. Provide your cows with good quality hay and introduce Fugo Lactostat meal three weeks before calving.

Fugo Lactostat

Has high levels of glucogenic nutrients to meet nutritional demands before and after calving. Feed from 21 days before calving to 30 days after calving. One month after calving, introduce Fugo Dairy Meal Plus or Fugo Maxi Milk Plus, depending on the production of the cow.

Fugo Dairy Meal Plus

Is a standard dairy meal for average milk-producing cows ideal for feeding cows after peak milk production (30 days after calving). It helps your cow to meet its high demand for protein and energy common at this stage.

Fugo Maxi-milk Plus

Contains high bio-available nutrients (energy and proteins) and is formulated with quality raw materials to support high milk production.

Good quality forage and freshwater should also be provided ad libitum (as much as required) to the cows.

Mastitis

Is a common infection of the udder of lactating cows that is caused by either bacteria, viruses, or fungus.

Poor hygiene in the dairy house increases the risk of cows getting and spreading mastitis. This disease leads to huge economic losses as a result of treatment costs, low milk production, and increased culling due to damaged udder.

Control:

Maintain high hygiene standards in the herd starting from their eating troughs, sleeping quarters, milking machines, and equipment. When milking, wash the udder with warm clean water before applying high-quality Champion milking salve on the teats.

Milking your cow:

Champions Milking Salve is specially formulated with lanolin and dichlorophen. It soothes and aids in the rapid healing of chaps and sores and prevents their formation on the teats. It also kills mastitis, causing agents on the teats.

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