- 1 What is Animal Husbandry – Its Types and Cattle Farming
- 1.1 Role of Animal Husbandry in Human Welfare
- 1.2 Management of Farm and Farm Animals
- 1.3 Dairy Farm Management
- 1.4 Detailed Study of Dairy Animals – Domestication of Animals
- 1.5 A. Cow (Bos Indicus)
- 1.6 B. Buffalo (Bubalus bubalis)
- 1.7 C. Goat and Sheep
- 1.8 D. Pig (Sus scrofa domesticus)
- 1.9 E. Horse (Equus equus)
- 1.10 F. Donkey (Equus hemionus)
- 1.11 G. Mules
- 1.12 H. Elephant
- 1.13 I. Camels
- 1.14 Cattle Farming and Animal Husbandry
- 1.15 Animal Breeding: Objective and Methods of Animal Breeding
- 1.16 Artificial Insemination Technique: Cattle
- 1.17 Farm Practices & Management
- 1.18 Diseases that Affect Cattle
The study of marine Biology Topics reveals the incredible diversity and complexity of life in the oceans.
What is Animal Husbandry – Its Types and Cattle Farming
Animal husbandry is the science of systematic breeding, rearing, feeding, caring, improvement, and utilization of domesticated animals. Husbandry means managing domestic animals. Domesticated animals, specially farm animals, kept for use or profit are collectively called livestock. They include cattle, buffalo, sheep, goat, camel, pig, horse, poultry and fishery. Bees and silkworms are also included in animal husbandry. However, the term livestock is commonly used for farm animals.
Role of Animal Husbandry in Human Welfare
- Milk: It is a food containing all sorts of nutrients. Milk products include curd, cheese, butter, ice cream, etc. Most of the milk is obtained from cows and buffalo. Other animals that provide milk are goats, sheep, camel, and yak.
- Egg: Poultry birds yield eggs. Eggs are very nutritious and are a complete food.
- Meat: A majority of the human population takes beef as protein food, other meat-providing animals include goat, sheep, pig, cattle, chicken, etc.
- Hides: The skin of many animals is used for the preparation of hides and leather. Leathers are used for the preparation of shoes, bags, and many other leather goods.
- Honey: It is obtained from the hives of honey bees. Honey is an energy-producing nutritious food. It is used in the preparation of medicine, jam, jelly, syrup, etc.
- Fibres: Two important fibers obtained from animals are wool and silk. Wool is the hair of sheep, some goats, and rabbits. Silk is a product of silkworms.Transportation: A good number of animals like buffalo, bullock, horse, camel, ass, elephant, etc., are used in transportation of materials.
- Agricultural Use: To prepare soil for cultivation the fields are ploughed with the help of cows. Besides, the agricultural products are transported with the help of a bullock cart.
- Employment: Breeding, rearing, feeding, utilization of farm animals, etc., is a good field of employment. Many persons, including experts of animal husbandry, and animal breeders are engaged in the maintenance and improvement of their stock.
- Animal Wastes: Bone meal, horns, feathers, dung, and droppings are all used in developing useful products.
Management of Farm and Farm Animals
Management means the application of newer ideas by which useful materials and labours are employed successfully to produce and market a valuable product so as to improve the overall process. Farm management is the controlled and scientific handling of farm animals in their rearing, breeding, and caring so as to maximize their yield. It involves optimum feed, clean drinking water, proper shelter, immunization, care, and selective breeding.
Dairy Farm Management
The milk-yielding animals like cows, buffaloes, goats, sheep, etc. are included in dairy farms. Cows and buffaloes generally give more milk than other milk-yielding animals like goats and sheep. Only 39% of the milk in the country is consumed as such. The remaining is converted to various milk products like butter, ghee, yogurt/curd, lassi, skimmed milk, skimmed milk powder, whole milk powder, cheese, etc. In dairy management, increase in yield and improvement of quality are dealt with the following.
- Methods of Livestock Improvement: Breeding of the farm animals should be with superior quality males and females. Uneconomic or less productive animals should be avoided. Animals should be fed with balanced food in adequate quantity. Housing arrangement, cleanliness, and hygienic conditions should have proper management.
- Health Care: A veterinary doctor must visit the cattle shed at regular intervals. Proper medical treatment and vaccination are essential. Sick and physically weak animals should be separated and given medical treatment.
- Cattle Shed: A spacious, airy shed with a sloping cemented floor and other requisite arrangements should be provided in the shed.
- Suitable Environmental Conditions: Adequate ventilation, suitable temperature, and sufficient light, water, and air should be provided.
- Resistance to Disease: Farm animals should have all sorts of healthy arrangements so that they develop resistance and remain protected from diseases.
Detailed Study of Dairy Animals – Domestication of Animals
The rearing of animals for specific purposes is called domestication and such animals are called domestic animals. from the time domestication of animals started when men were hunter-gatherers. Probably the first pet animal was a dog because the dog could give not only company to man in hunting but they could also warn man during a time of danger. Besides the loyalty of dogs always attracted man at the initial stage of civilization. With the practice of agriculture, man started the domestication of cattle and other animals. In many cases, the purpose of such domestication was to ease the availability of protein food.
However, sometimes domestication of animals was directed to the transportation of materials. Again it was also essential for agriculture. Therefore domestication of animals has become a supportive venture in the path of human civilization. Domesticated animals are known commonly as livestock. India has one of the largest livestock populations in the world accounting for 57% of the world’s buffalo population and 14% of the cattle population. Among the livestock, several important animals are cattle, buffalo, sheep, goats, donkeys, horses, elephants, pigs, camels, and poultry birds. The branch of agriculture which deals with feeding, shelter, health, and breeding of domestic animals is called animal husbandry.
A. Cow (Bos Indicus)
Several breeds of cows come under castles. Their scientific species name is Bos sp. In India, almost every house domesticates cattle groups of animals. It is of various uses to man. However, as food, we get milk and milk products from cattle. It is sufficiently important to our agriculture-based economy. Indian cows are known as ‘zebu’ somewhere or ‘Brahma’ somewhere. In India cow is worshiped as gods since ancient times.
Characteristics of Zebu:
- Prominent hump present.
- The horns are upright.
- The face is long.
- Ears dropping.
- Legs large and slender.
Important Uses of Cattle:
The important materials that we get from cattle are
- Milk: It contains all sorts of nutrients.
- Manure and Fuel: Cow dung is used as manure. Besides, in dried conditions, cow dung may be used as fuel. In spite of that cow-dung is used in gobar gas plants for preparing fuel gas.
- Skin: After the death of a cow the skin may be collected for preparing shoes, bags, and other necessary leather goods.
- Meat: A substantial portion of the population takes beef as protein food.
- Transportation: In rural areas, cattle groups of animals are used in the transportation of materials.
- Agricultural Use: To prepare the soil for cultivation, the fields are ploughed with the help of cows. Besides the agricultural products are transported with the help of a bullock cart.
Breeds of Cattle:
In India, there are different breeds of cows. All the breeds may be grouped into three types namely milk breed, draught breed, and commonly usable breed.
- Milch breeds: Good milk-producing cows, bullocks are not significant.
- Draught breeds: Associated with hardworking, cows are poor milk producers.
- General utility breeds: Intermediate in between milch and draught breeds.
Cows are good milk producers, bullocks are draught animals. They differ by their coat colour, gait, horn shape, forehead, and structure. However, the good milk-producing American breeds are Holstein Friesian (largest milk producer breed; produces around 4000 kg of milk annually), Jersey, Guernsey, Ayrshire, and Brown Swiss.
Some Important Indian Breeds of Cows:
|A. Milch Breed||1. Gir||Gujarat (Gir forest areas of South Kathiawar)|
|2. Sahiwal||Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh|
|3. Red Sindhi||Punjab, Haryana, Karnataka|
|4. Deoni||Andhra Pradesh|
|B. Draught Breed||1. Malvi||Madhya Pradesh|
|4. Kangayam||Tamil Nadu|
|5. Siri||Darjeeling, Sikkim, Bhutan|
|6. Amrit Mahal||Karnataka|
|7. Khillar||Maharashtra, Karnataka|
|C. General Utility Breed (Milch and Draught Breed)||1. Haryana||Haryana, Delhi|
|2. Ongole||Andhra Pradesh|
|4. Tharparkar||Rajasthan, Gujarat|
Some new breeds are Karan Swiss (developed by NDRI, Karnal), Sunandini (developed by KLDB), and Karan Fries (a cross between Tharparkar and Holstein – Friesian, developed in the NDRI).
To obtain a good amount of milk from cows, they should be given nutritious foods. Their food composition should retain a sufficient amount of carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins, minerals, and water. Food should be tasty and easily digestible. The balanced diet of cattle contains two types of elements, such as roughage and nutritious elements. The roughage stimulates the stomach. They include fodder, silage, hay, and straw – all having a large fiber content and low nutritive value. The concentrates used in the cattle feed are a mixture of substances having rich nutrient contents. They include cereals, cotton seeds, oil cakes bran of gram, etc. On average, a cow requires 15-20 kg of roughage, 4-5 kg of nutritious elements, and 30-35 litres of water per day.
Compound Cattle Feed:
Commonly used ingredients that are used in suitable proportions in cattle feed are grains, beans, protein meals/cakes, chutneys industrial byproducts, minerals, and vitamins. The minimum mineral mixture that should be added to cattle feed is 2%. Compound cattle feed could be in the form of mash, cubes, pellets, or crumbles.
Compound cattle feed needs to be fed as follows:
|Particulars||According to Weight (400 kg body wt.)|
|For Maintenance||1.5 – 2 kg|
|For milk production (per liter)||400 g|
|For Pregnancy||2 kg (last 2 months)|
NDDB (National Dairy Development Board) provides cattle feed advisory services to Cattle Feed Plants (CFPs) under dairy cooperatives, by providing guidelines on the quality of raw materials and finished products.
Breeding of Cows:
The breeding program in cattle may use either artificial insemination (AI) or natural service. A cow during its lifetime may give birth to 8-10 calves. However, at a time a cow gives birth to only one calf. For obtaining a quality calf a good pedigree is selected. For this, a cow is mated with good good-quality ox. However, in most cases, breeding is done through artificial insemination. In this method, semen is collected from healthy and good quality bull and that semen is introduced into the vagina of the cow. This results in the conception of a cow and a calf of the desired quality may be obtained. In order to obtain a good amount of milk from Indian cows insemination is done with semen from European breeds like Flolstein, Brown Swiss, etc.
In the National Veterinary Research Centre at Karnal (Haryana), two crossbreeds, namely Karan Swiss and Sunandini were produced. For obtaining several calves from a cow at a time super ovulation may be induced artificially in the cows. In this method, by injecting hormones many ova may be released at a time from the ovary. Following this, the eggs may be fertilized artificially and the fertilized eggs may be implanted in the uterus of the surrogate mother. This leads to the production of several calves at a time. In order to achieve successful artificial insemination three aspects should be taken into consideration:
- The cow should remain at the breeding stage.
- Insemination should be done at the proper time of oestrous cycle
- Adoption of appropriate techniques of insemination.
Common Livestock Diseases:
Some common livestock diseases are as follows:
- Viral diseases: foot and mouth disease, pox, rinderpest, etc.
- Bacterial diseases: tuberculosis, anthrax, mastitis, Johne’s disease, etc.
- Fungal diseases: ringworm.
- Protozoan diseases: trichomoniasis, trypanosomiasis etc.
- Helminthic diseases: liver rot, snoring disease, etc.
Diseases with their Symptoms, Causal Organism, and Prevention of Cattle in the below table:
|Disease||Symptoms||Causal Organism||Prevention or Treatment|
|A. Bacterial Diseases|
|1. Tuberculosis||Weight loss, milk production less, if lungs are affected then it may be fever with dry cough.||Mycobacterium bovis||Tuberculin used. Vaccination and proper antibiotic.|
|2. Mastitis||Inflammation of udder.||Klebsiella, E. coli, Enterobacter spp.||Drugs like acriflavine.|
|3. Anthrax||Milk production is less, and weakness, difficulty in breathing, temperature is high, and convulsions.||Bacillus anthracis||Antibiotics, mainly fluoroquinolones.|
|4. Salmonellosis||High fever, anorexia, stool with blood.||Salmonella sp.||Vaccination, diseased cattle are kept in isolation.|
|B. Viral Diseases|
|1. Cattle plague||Diarrhea, anorexia, with blood, buccal mucosa, sore lip, high temperature.||Rinderpest virus||Diseased cattle are kept in isolation and antibiotics.|
|2. Foot and mouth disease||Sore in the foot and mouth, reproductive and working ability decreases.||Foot and mouth disease||Dressing of lesions, vaccination, antiseptics.|
|C. Protozoan Diseases|
|1. Trypanosomiasis||High temperature, anaemia, oedema, and death in younger age.||Trypanosoma sp.||Suramin, antibiotic, sufficient ventilation.|
|2. Cattle tick fever||High temperature, with red or brown urine sometimes.||Babesia bigeminal||Antibiotic.|
|D. Fungal Diseases|
|1. Fungal ringworm||Itch in the throat, head, and skin.||Trichophyton verrucosum||Proper fungicide.|
B. Buffalo (Bubalus bubalis)
Buffalo are also identical to the castles and they belong to the family Bubalinae. Bubalus bubalis belongs to a sub-family of the genus Bos. Among all the cattle in India, buffaloes represent one-third of the total. Buffaloes are used for milk production and transportation. Besides, their skin is used in the leather industry. The buffalo milk exhibits more mineral content than that of cows.
Breeds of Buffalo:
There are seven breeds of buffalo in India, namely Murrah, Bhadwari, Jaffrabadi, Surti, Mehsona, Nagpuri or Ellichpuri, and Nili Ravi. Among them, Murrah, Jaffrabadi, Nili Ravi, Bhadwari, and Surti are common breeds.
Some Important Indian Breeds:
|Breeds of Buffalo||Distribution|
|1. Murrah||Punjab, Haryana, Delhi|
|2. Bhadwari||Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh|
|3. Jaffarabadi||Gujarat (Kathiawar District)|
|6. Nagpuri or Ellichpuri||Maharashtra|
|7. Nili Ravi||Punjab, Haryana|
Feed of Buffalo:
The feed of buffalo is identical to that of cows. However, because of their large body size, the amount of food per buffalo is higher.
Breeding of Buffalo:
Breeding of buffalo continues from September to February in India. The males in this period become active and excited and may produce semen of good quality. Similarly, the females show a higher rate of conception during winter. By 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 years a female buffalo may be productive. Their gestation period is about 10 months while that of cows is about 9 months. Artificial insemination for the production of calves is also practiced in buffaloes.
Uses of Buffaloes:
- Produce ghee and milk (richer in Ca, P, lower in Na, K). Ghee and milk are white.
- Meat: Some people use buffalo as a source of meat.
- Male buffaloes are used for pulling carts and agricultural fields.
- Brushes are produced from the hairs.
Differences between cow milk and buffalo milk:
|Component||Cow Milk||Buffalo Milk|
|1. Energy (kcal)||67 kcal/100 ml||117 kcal/100 ml|
|6. Vitamin||Vit. A, D, E, K, B-complex, C||Vit. A, D, E, K, B-complex, C|
|7. Mineral||Fe, Ca, Na, P, K, Mg||Fe, Ca, Na, P, K, Cl|
C. Goat and Sheep
In India, sheep (Ovis aries) and goats (Capra hircus) are prominent among domesticated animals. These animals are domesticated almost in all countries. Domestication of goats started about 6700 B.C. For the purpose of obtaining wool, milk, meat, and leather these two animals are domesticated. However, sheep principally for wool and goat principally for meat get importance. Pellets of sheep and goats are used as superior-quality fertilizers. However famous wools, namely Mahair, and Pashmina are obtained from Angora and Kashmiri goats.
Feed of Goat and Sheep:
Sheep and goats live on young grass and herbs. However oil-cake mixed with mineral salts is used for their feed. It is a colloquial term that goats like anything to eat. They are fond of leguminous fodders.
Breeds of Goat and Sheep:
In our country, there are many breeds of sheep as well as goats. The names of several breeds are given in tabular form. In India, sheep are available in large numbers in Rajasthan, Kutch, Saurashtra, North Gujarat, and areas of the Deccan Plateau. On the other hand, goats are available in large numbers in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, U.P., and West Bengal.
Breeding of Goat and Sheep:
One she-goat or ewe achieves puberty by 14 to 18 months of age, whereas the male animal achieves by 2 to 5 years of age. For producing kids and lambs, the males and females of the good category are mated. The Indian goat breed like Jamunapuri is larger in size with a body color of white or yellowish. They produce 2-3 kg of milk; their legs are long with the presence of hairs on the hind legs. Malabari breed produces meat and skin is used for the tanning industry. Their size is medium and eat less food but are good producers of milk. Bengal breeds are white, black, or spotted. They are short-sized with compact bodies and famous for very tasteful meat. Some exotic breeds are Alpine (Alps mountain), Nubian(North East Africa), Saaren (Switzerland), and Angora (Turkey & Asia Minor).
The Indian sheep breed Gaddi is a medium-sized, male possessing horns, in females horns are absent. In the case of the Lohi breed, the size is large and the ears are long. Their milk is good and the meat is tasty. The Deccani breed is reared for meat production. They are short-sized but shrugging, producing wool of 500 gm/yr. In the case of sheep, the country is mated with exotic breeds like Dorset Horn, Suffolk, and Merino.
Some Important Indian Breeds of Goat:
|Breeds of Goat||Distribution|
|1. Pashmina||Kashmir, Tibet, Himachal Pradesh|
|2. Jamunapuri||Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh|
|6. Bengal||Bihar, Orissa|
|7. Sirohi||Rajasthan, Gujarat|
Some Important Indian Breeds of Sheep:
|Breeds of Sheep||Distribution|
|2. Rampur-Bushair||Himachal Pradesh|
|3. Nali||Haryana, Rajasthan|
|4. Bhakarwal||Jammu & Kashmir|
|6. Gaddi||Jammu & Kashmir|
Disease of Goat and Sheep:
Goat pox, foot and mouth disease, anthrax, pleuropneumonia, etc., are common diseases. Parasitic infections also occur. Symptoms of the disease are like that of a cow. Isolation of infectious goats and application of vaccination is the prevention of this disease. Parasitic infection by ticks, lice, mites, anthrax, pox, foot and mouth disease, rinderpest, diarrhea, and dermatitis are the main diseases of sheep.
Some Common Diseases of Goat and Sheep:
|Causal Organism||Disease Name||Prevention|
|1. Bacterial||Brucellosis, Vibriosis, Black quarter.||Must be neat and clean.|
|2. Viral||Goat pox, Rinderpest, sore mouth.||Regular vaccination.|
D. Pig (Sus scrofa domesticus)
Though pig is less favored in India, in many other countries of the world they are considered very important in terms of economic development. Principally pigs are taken as a source of meat and different meat products are ham, bacon, sausage, etc. The fats of pigs are used in soap production. Brushes are made from the hair of pigs and their skin is used for leather goods. In our country normally poor people domesticate pigs.
Feeds of Pig:
The pig lives on thrown-away vegetables, the night soil of man, and dirty materials and therefore they are taken as scavenger animals. However, if pigs are cultivated in a scientific manner they should be given food in larger quantities. The amount spent in pig cultivation is mostly used for their feeds (70-80%). In our country, the pig meal is composed of 95% cereals, oil cake, bran, and fish meal.
Breeds of Pig:
In our country, the cultivated pigs are of local variety. However, in the present time, several foreign breeds are also imported. The breeds of pigs are given below.
Some Important Breeds of Pig:
|Breeds of Pig||Distribution|
|1. Desi||Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Punjab and Madhya Pradesh|
|2. Ghori||Manipur, Meghalaya, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh|
|3. Niang Megha||Meghalaya|
|4. Agonda Goan||Goa|
|6. Tenyi vo||Nagaland|
Some exotic brands are Berkshire, American Yorkshire, Landrace, etc.
E. Horse (Equus equus)
Horse is an intelligent animal and it comes to various uses of man. Among domesticated animals, the horse takes an important position. This animal is capable of adjusting to all types of environments and was used by man during hunting and war. Because of its high speed in the prehistoric period, man used this animal for rapid movement from place to place, with faith and confidence. Riding on horse was a special attraction of man and various games were played with horse riding. When there were no transporting vehicles discovered, the horse was the only medium for rapid transportation. Even now in many places, horse cart is used for transportation. Besides, the horse is also used for vaccine production. In police departments and the army, horses are still being used. This animal is also exhibited in the circus.
Feeds of Horse:
The favorite food of horses is the gram. However, they also take hay, grass barley, etc. A small amount of salt is mixed with their food.
Breeds of Horse:
In India several breeds of horse* are available. For example, Kathiawari, Marwari, Bhutia, Manipuri, Spiti and Janshari.
Breeding of Horse:
Breeding of horses is much less in rate in comparison to other domesticated animals. Artificial breeding is practically absent in the case of horses. Therefore, breeding occurs by natural method.
Some Important Indian Breeds of Horse:
|Breeds of Horse||Distribution|
|1. Kathiawari||Rajasthan and Gujarat|
|3. Bhutia||Punjab and Bhutan|
|4. Manipuri||North-East Hilly Region|
|5. Spiti||Himachal Pradesh|
F. Donkey (Equus hemionus)
A donkey is an animal belonging to the same genus of horses and is smaller in size. Simple in nature, this animal is weaker than a horse. However, in adverse conditions, they can also render much labour. Usually, they are used only for the transportation of goods, especially in the Indian subcontinent and the Middle East.
The feed of Donkey:
The demand for the food of donkeys is quite low. They love grass, hay, gram, etc.
Breed of Donkey:
Indian donkey has two breeds. One of them is smaller and greyish in colour, whereas the other is larger and white in colour. The second type of donkey is available in Kathiawar Gujarat. There are some foreign breeds of ass and prominent among them are donkeys of Damascus, Egypt, Persia, and Arab. The Poitou donkey of France is the largest in size and the Indian donkey is the smallest.
Mules are domesticated in many parts of India. They are hybrids of horse and ass. Male ass and female horse or mare give mule and the hybrid becomes intermediate in size between horse and ass. In the hilly region, the mule is used for the transportation of goods. They have good resistance to diseases. Like horses, they take green grass, gram, and barley. Their food is mixed with a small amount of salt. The product of a male horse and female donkey (Jenny) is known as a hinny.
From prehistoric times, elephants have been favoured by man. Though they are wild animals, they become pets to man and they may be used for human purposes. Among the terrestrial mammals, the elephant appears to be the largest. This animal is used for the carriage of large logs and removing heavy obstacles. In some royal processions, elephants are used as a symbol of good fortune. This animal becomes friendly and is exhibited in circuses and temples.
Feed of Elephant:
Elephants a herbivorous animals. They love to eat green leaves and banana trees. Domesticated elephants take hay and grams. One animal may take a food quantity of about 4.2-5.6% of its body weight. It consumes about 140-230 liters of water per day.
Breeds of Elephant:
Two types of elephants are available – one is Elephas maximus and the other is the African elephant Loxodonta africana is the largest in size. The other one is Indian in origin. The two types of elephants differ in some features.
Differences between Indian Elephant and African Elephant:
|Indian Elephant: Elephas maximus||African Elephant: Loxodonta Africana|
|1. Smaller in size.||1. Larger in size.|
|2. male is about 3000 kg in weight.||2. Male is about 6000 kg in weight.|
|3. Ear is small in size.||3. The ear is large in size, roughly resembling a map of Africa.|
|4. Presence of tusk in male.||4. Presence of tusk in both male and female.|
|5. Presence of a single prolongated structure in front of the trunk tip.||5. Presence of a pair of prolongated structures.|
|6. Available in India, Ceylon, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, etc.||6. Available in East, Middle and West Africa.|
Breeding of Elephant:
Elephants come to puberty by 8-12 years of age and a female elephant gives birth to a cub at every four years. The gestation period of elephants is 21-22 months. They reproduce by natural mating.
Camels are also used as a means of transportation.
Breeds of Camels:
Camelus dromedaries (Arabian camels) and Camelus bactrianus (Bactrian camels) are available breeds. The latter one is found in Ladakh India. The extant species of camels are Arabian camel (Camelus dromedarius); Wild Bactrian camel (Camelus finis) & Bactrian camel (Camelus bactrianus).
Some Important Breeds of Camels:
|Breeds of Camel||Distribution|
The branch of agriculture that deals with the feeding, caring, and breeding of domestic animals is called animal husbandry. Husbanding means using a resource carefully and without waste. Thus, animal farming or animal husbandry requires planning for a domestic animal shelter, breeding, health, disease control, and proper economic utilization. Our domestic animals or livestock include those animals that are raised for farm purposes, e.g. cattle (cow, bull, or ox), buffalo, yak, horse, ass, goat, sheep, camel, etc.
Cattle Farming and Animal Husbandry
In India, cattle (cows and buffaloes) are next to land in use for farmers. Human beings domesticate them for milk, also for meat, leather, and transportation. Thus, cattle raising is done to fulfill the specific needs for dairy, draught, or dual-purpose of breeds. The generic name of the cow is Bos indicus; it is adapted for drier regions of the country such as Gujarat and Rajasthan. Buffalo is commonly called Indian water buffalo; its generic name is Bubalus bubalis. It is well adapted for wet areas and river beds of- Kerala, Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu.
Breeds of Cows
Cows are classified as draught, dairy, and dual-purpose breeds. There are 26 breeds of cows (cattle) in India. Some of the cattle breeds of India and their distribution.
|1. Gir||Gujarat, Rajasthan|
|2. Sahiwal||Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh|
|3. Red Sindhi||Andhra Pradesh|
|4. Deoni||Andhra Pradesh|
|5. Malvi||Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh|
|6. Nageri||Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh|
|8. Kangayam||Tamil Nadu and other parts of South India|
|General Utility Breeds|
|9. Ongole||Andhra Pradesh|
|11. Tharparkar||Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh|
A breed is a group of animals of common origin within a species that has certain distinguishing characteristics not found in other members of the same species.
1. Draught breeds:
Their meat is tough and they give little milk. Hence, they are used as beasts of burden in various agricultural practices such as tilling (to plough the land), irrigation (in running the water wheel or Persian wheel), and carting (to transport humans and materials from place to place). Small and marginal farmers still make use of draught breeds of cows.
2. Dairy breeds:
They have large digestive systems and a spacious udder because as much as possible of the food they consume must be turned into milk.
3. Dual-purpose breeds:
These breeds provide milk as well as help in agricultural tasks. In India, dual-purpose breeds are favoured by farmers because in these breeds the cows are fairly good milk yielders and the bullocks( sterilized males) are good for draught work.
The milk-producing female population of animals is called milch animals or dairy animals. These include cow, buffalo, goat, camel, and yak. Buffalo and cow, both are excellent dairy animals, as well as, their males or he-buffaloes and oxen (bullocks) are used for various draft purposes (i.e., bullock labor) in agriculture. Therefore, buffalo and cattle production is done for milk, draft (labour), and dual purposes, i.e., both for milk and draft purposes. Common breeds of indigenous buffaloes are Murrah, Mehsana, and Surti. Indigenous cows are Red Sindhi, Sahiwal, and Gir.
Indigenous breeds of Cow:
Indigenous breeds of dairy cows are mainly of three types (varieties):
(i) Red Sindhi: This cow is medium in size and red in colour with dark and light red shades.
(ii) Sahiwal: This breed of cow is superior to other dairy cows. The animal is large and of heavier build.
(iii) Gir: This is the native breed of Gir forest in Gujarat. This cow is medium in size and a fairly good milk yielder.
Breeds of Buffaloes
In India, buffaloes are domesticated in great numbers. There are ten breeds of buffaloes in our country. The important breeds of buffaloes with a high yield of milk are as follows:
(i) Murrah: This is the original breed of Flaryana and Punjab. This breed has a massive body; and short and tightly curved horns; adult females weigh 430-500 kg and males 530-575 kg. During its lactation period, its average yield of milk is 1800 to 2500 liters with fat contents up to seven percent.
(ii) Mehsana: This is a breed of Gujarat especially from the Vadodara and Mehsana districts. It is a cross between Murrah and Surti. Usually black or gray. Their milk production is about 1200 to 2500 liters. They are known for giving milk at a comparatively early age with regular breeding intervals. The bullocks/buffaloes (average weight 569 kg) are slow but good for heavy work.
(iii) Surti: This breed of buffalo is native to Kaira and Vadodara districts in Gujarat. Black or brown, eyes prominent, horns are sickle-shaped. Their average milk yield is from 1600 to 1800 liters. The fat content of milk is about 8 to 12 percent. This breed of buffalo is capable of adjusting in other parts of the country.
Quality of Buffalo Milk
Buffalo is potentially the most productive economic animal. It has an exceptionally long productive life of about 20 years. Also, buffalo’s milk is richer in fat, tocopherol (vitamin E), proteins, calcium, and phosphorus and contains low sodium, potassium, and cholesterol. Buffalo’s milk is ideal for making milk products such as khoa, rabri, dahi, ghee, etc., and is always in great demand.
Milk in comparison to other food products from animals such as eggs and meat contains all the major food constituents such as carbohydrates (sugars), protein, fat, minerals (mainly phosphorus, calcium), and water. Certain vitamins such as vitamins A and D are also present in milk. The nutritional value of animal products is given in Table.
Nutritional Values of Animal Products
|Animal Product||Percent (%) Nutrients|
|1. Milk (Cow)||3.6||4||4.5||0.7||87.2||B1, B2, B12, D, E|
|2. Egg||12||13||*||1||74||B2, D|
|4. Fish||2.5||19||*||1.3||77.2||Niacin, D, A|
* Present in very little amount.
Breed Improvement for Higher Production of Milk
Milk production of milching animals depends on their lactation period, i.e., the period of milk production between the birth of a young one and the next pregnancy. For example, the lactation period of some indigenous breeds of cows is as follows:
- Red Sindhi – 231 to 345 days
- Sahiwal – 184 to 354 days
- Gir – 230 to 394 days
So, milk production can be increased by increasing the lactation period. For achieving this target the technique of selective breeding has been used.
In India, the poor genetic material of most livestock is one of the prime reasons for the meager produce. Efforts are underway to improve the yield through the development of new and better varieties of livestock by the practice of selective breeding. This involves mating parents of different varieties, each having some desired trait which is then passed on to the offspring.
The different desired traits or characteristics of the parent generally chosen for breeding are the following:
- tolerance to climatic conditions
- lactation period
- high yield of the produce (milk/meat)
- resistance to diseases
- proper age of reproduction
- good health
- general appearance
Breeding means to reproduce. In the case of animals, breeding is done to obtain animals with desired characteristics. The two individuals of desirable characters can be selected as parents. These are then crossed to obtain a new breed of the animals, e.g., by cross-breeding a cow of the low milk-yielding breed with a male bull of a high milk-yielding breed, we can get a new breed of cow that produces more milk.
In fact, the production of milk from our indigenous dairy breeds of cows comes to an average of 6-8 liters per day, whereas exotic breeds of cows provide an average of 60 litres of milk in a day. The lactation period of exotic breeds is relatively longer than our indigenous breeds. To improve the production of milk from our indigenous cows, a cross-breeding programme has been undertaken at a number of research centers in our country.
Animal Breeding: Objective and Methods of Animal Breeding
There are two methods of breeding animals:
(i) Natural method of breeding: It is a traditional method of breeding. It takes place by cross-breeding between the desi (indigenous cow) and the bull of a high milk-yielding exotic breed through the natural physical mating process during the heat period (fertility period) of a cow. The yield of milk and prolongation of the lactation period has significantly improved in successful crossbreeds. The improved crossbreeding programme has been widely extended to the entire country by the process of artificial insemination.
Milk production during the lactation period by various breeds of cow.
|Dairy breeds of Cows||Average Milk Production (litre)||Lactation Period|
(ii) Artificial method of breeding:
Scientifically this method is called artificial insemination. The process of injecting the semen obtained from the desired male bull of a high milk-yielding breed into the genital or reproductive tract of the female animal during the heat period is called artificial insemination. It generally gives improved breeds. This method is widely used to improve the qualities of cows, buffaloes, poultry, horse, sheep, goats, and pigs.
Exotic Breeds of Cows
- Jersey (Native of the Island of Jersey, in the English Channel).
- Holstein – Friesian (Native of Holand)
- Brown Swiss (Native of Switzerland)
Improved Breeds of Cows in India
- Karan Swiss (Brown Swiss X Sahiwal)
- Karan – Fries (Holstein – Friesian X Thaparkar)
- Frieswal – (Holstein – Friesian X Sahiwal)
Artificial Insemination Technique: Cattle
The semen of a healthy and tough animal of a high milk-yielding breed is collected and preserved by freezing or chemical methods. This preserved semen is then injected artificially into the genital tract of the female animal during the fertility (heat) period (During the heat period, cows and buffaloes are sexually excited and ready to mate). It is a more reliable method of animal breeding. The first experiment in this field was performed in the year 1780 by Spallanzani to obtain pups (young ones of dogs).
More than 6000 artificial insemination centers have been established in different parts of India to benefit the dairies and farmers at the village level. One such center is located at Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI), Izatnagar.
Precautions for doing the right AI for your Animals:
The various precautions to be observed to ensure high fertility by artificial insemination method are as follows:
- The semen should be obtained from a high-quality (healthy and high-yielding) male animal.
- The female animal selected should be healthy and of sound breeding age (i.e., the proper age for reproduction).
- Artificial insemination should be carried out only at the proper heat period of female animals.
- The instruments used in artificial insemination should be properly sterilized. Proper technique should be used for artificial insemination.
Benefits of Artificial Insemination
The artificial insemination method of breeding has the following advantages:
- Bulls of selected breeds are kept in climatic conditions most suitable for their healthy living.
- The bulls are reared in most hygienic conditions under the direct supervision of experts.
- Through selective breeding, animals of desired characteristics can be raised.
- It is economical (i.e., cheaper) because semen from a single bull can be used to impregnate several thousand cows (about 3000).
- Semen can easily be transported, even to remote places.
- High-quality semen is available all the time and in all places. However, a high-quality bull is not always available at all places.
- This method is more reliable and hygienic than the natural method of breeding animals by mating.
- It gives a high rate of successful fertilization.
Superovulation and embryo transplantation
Generally, one ovum is released from each ovary at the time of ovulation. But by hormone injection, more ova can be produced from the ovary. This is called superovulation. In the USA in 1979, a prized cow was superovulated, and mated and the embryos were removed. The embryos were implanted in foster mothers. In that year, this one cow could have produced 89 calves by this method.
In the technique of embryo transplantation the developing embryo from a pregnant superior breed is removed and transferred into another female with inferior characteristics, for further development. The superior breed can be made to bear another embryo in quick succession.
Farm Practices & Management
In a farmhouse, the requirement of proper cleaning and shelter for cows and buffaloes is a must for two reasons:
- for the production of clean milk
- for the health of the animal.
Both cows and buffaloes require regular grooming (brushing) to remove dirt and loose hair. They are sheltered under roofed sheds that protect them from rain, heat, direct sunlight, and cold. The floor of the cattle shed is brick-lined and sloping for facilitating cleaning and keeping their sitting place dry.
Generally, a cow requires about six square meters and buffaloes need a little more space. In the shelter, the animals are provided with a feeding passage and feeding trough. The sheds or shelters should be provided with cross ventilation with a sufficient number of inlets and outlets.
The food eaten by animals is called feed. Feeding animals means providing food to animals. The food requirement of dairy animals is of two types:
- Maintenance requirements: The food is required by the animal to support it to perform the basic functions of life.
- Milk-producing requirement: It includes the type of food required during the lactation period. The maintenance part of the ration depends upon the body weight, while the milk production part is dependent upon the level and composition of the milk.
Components of Cattle Feed
The animal feed includes two types of substances :
(i) Roughage. It largely contains fibers such as green fodder, silage, hay (straw of cereals), and legumes (e.g., berseem, lucerne, cowpea, and again).
(ii) Concentrates. The concentrates used in the feed of cattle and buffaloes are a mixture of substances that are rich in one or more of the nutrients (e.g., carbohydrates, fats, protein, minerals, and vitamins). Concentrates are low in fiber and contain relatively high proteins and other nutrients. Concentrates include cotton seeds, oil seeds, grains of maize, oats, barley, jowar, bajra, gram, and their byproducts such as a wheat barn, rice barn (polish), gram husk, oil seed cakes, and molasses.
- The milk yield of an animal depends upon the amount and the kind of food provided to it.
- Oil cakes are mainly fed to milking cows. Oil cakes are made from the residues available after extraction of oil from the oil seeds such as mustard, cotton seed, groundnut, etc.
- A calf needs more food and nutrients than an old cow. This is because more energy is required for the growth process of the calf.
- In India, the attitude of feeding animals with waste material from the farm is gradually changing because the farmers are now cultivating such grasses as lucerne, and alfalfa and are making available green fodder.
The dairy cattle are given a balanced ration, which contains all nutrients in proportionate amounts. A ratio is the amount of food that is given to the animal during a twenty-four-hour period. The daily average feed (ration) of a cow is given below:
- Green fodder and dry grasses (roughage) = 15 to 20 kg
- Grain mixture (concentrates) = 4 to 5 kg
- Water 30 to 35 liters.
Besides above mentioned nutritious food material, dairy animals require certain additive feeds, which contain antibiotics, minerals, and hormones. Such additive feeds promote the growth of the animals, facilitate a good yield of milk and protect them from diseases. Poor quality of feed directly affects the yield of milk in cows and buffaloes.
Diseases that Affect Cattle
Cows and buffaloes suffer from various diseases. The diseases adversely affect the production of milk and cause the mortality of sick animals.
Diseases of dairy animals are broadly classified into the following three categories:
1. Parasitic Diseases:
The parasites of cattle may be both external and internal. The external parasites include fleas, lice (blood-sucking lice), ticks, and mites. They live on the skin of cows and buffaloes and mainly cause skin diseases. Buff aloe leech (Hirudinaria granulosa) sucks the blood of buffaloe and causes anemia disease.
The internal parasites such as worms (e.g., Ascaris ritulorum) affect the stomach and intestine of cows and buffaloes, and flukes (e.g., Fasciola gigantica and F. hepatica) of the host (cow/buffaloe) damage the liver.
2. Infectious Diseases:
Infectious diseases are mainly caused by viruses and bacteria. They are contagious diseases and are spread by contact from animal to animal.
(a) Examples of viral diseases: Foot and mouth disease, cowpox or vaccinia, and rinderpest. Symptoms of foot and mouth disease include blisters on feet and mouth, excessive formation of saliva (trail of saliva hangs from the mouth), soreness of the mouth, diminished appetite, and high fever.
(b) Examples of bacterial diseases: anthrax, hemorrhagic septicemia, black quarter, etc. Hemorrhagic septicemia is caused by to infection of Pasteurella multocida and a black quarter is caused by Clostridium chanroei.
Common Diseases of Cattle and their Symptoms
|1. Cowpox||Fever accompanied by the appearance of small nodules.|
|2. Rinderpest||Constipation is followed by severe diarrhea, discharge from the eyes and nostrils, and loss of appetite.|
|3. Foot-and-mouth||Blisters appear on the mouth and foot resulting in extreme soreness of the parts. Loss of appetite, excessive salivation, high fever accompanied by shivering. Inability to work.|
|4. Rabies||Marked changes in behaviour, restlessness, and paralysis (symptoms appear in 14-90 days).|
|5. Dermatitis||Irritation, blisters, and eruptions on the skin surface.|
|1. Anthrax||Fever with swelling of the body, milk secretion reduced.|
|2. Hemorrhagic septicemia||High fever, anorexia, increased respiration, marked salivation.|
|3. Black quarter or Blackleg||A fatal toxemia especially of young cattle.|
|4. Tuberculosis||Fever, infection of udders, lungs, intestines, and other parts.|
|5. Brucellosis||Sterility due to infection in the reproductive organs, e.g., uterus in females and testes in males.|
|6. Mastitis||Fever, udders become swollen, milk is watery.|
|7. Salmonellosis||Fever, diarrhea with blood clots.|
|Ringworm||Small, circular, discolored raised patches|
|1. External parasites (lice, ticks)||Live on the skin and cause skin disease|
|2. Internal parasites (worms, fluke)||Live in the stomach, and intestines and damage the liver of cattle|
There are some diseases of domestic animals that can be transmitted to human beings.
- Viral diseases – Rabies, Cowpox, Encephalitis.
- Bacterial diseases – Anthrax, Tuberculosis, Brucellosis.
- Fungal diseases – Actinomycosis, Aspergillosis, Ringworm.
- Parasitic diseases – Amoebiasis, Trypanosomiasis, Ascariasis.
Dr. V. Kurien
Born on 26th November 1921, Dr. V. Kurien is the founder chairman of the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB). NDDB designed and implemented the world’s largest dairy development programme, called “Operation Flood”. Operation Flood programme was started with the pledge to provide milk to one and all. Dr. Kurien is known as the architect of India’s modern dairy industry and the father of the White Revolution. White revolution meant a huge increase in milk production and it became possible by using new, improved breeds of cattle and buffalo, giving them better feed and care.