Good livestock management in winter is essential for good production: Expert

Animal Journal

In the Punjab, there is an extreme metrological variation in December and January and sometimes the temperature is extremely low. Dr. Yashpal Singh, Hood, Livestock Production Management, Guru Angad Dev Veterinary & Animal Sciences University (GADVASU) said that three aspects need a lot of attention in this season, namely changing the environment through proper management of shelters, improving body reserves through nutritional management and appropriate health care.

Tips for caring for livestock in winter

  • Curtains should be used in the hangars of the free stall system to obstruct the flow of wind to the animals. Curtains can be made from tarpaulin, bamboo, dry grass, rice straw, guinea sacks, jute, etc.

  • Shaded trees around the shed must be pruned to promote the infiltration of sunlight into the shed which will not only provide heat but also disinfect pet stores by the action of ultraviolet rays.

  • In addition, animals should be allowed direct sunlight during the day in open enclosures.

  • Animal barns and their floors should not be kept damp and cool for long periods of time. This can expose animals, especially younger ones, to various illnesses like pneumonia, fever, coccidiosis, diarrhea and even death in severe cases.

  • Appropriate bedding to a depth of 4-6 inches for large animals and 2 inches for small animals should be provided on the pucca (concrete) floor, as direct contact of the animal with the cold soil results in greater loss of body heat by conduction. Paddy straw, dry grass, wheat bhusa, sawdust, rice husk, etc. can be used as a bedding material.

  • Jhuls (clothing) made of jute bags can also be used to dress larger animals to provide them with insulation and warmth during extreme winter.

  • Good ventilation should be provided during winters. Sheds should be cleaned at least twice a day for proper waste disposal and minimal ammonia gas build-up.

  • Cattle should be cleaned regularly with a clean cloth or brush. Animal hair should not be cut during winters. Do not bathe animals with cold water during the winter.

  • Animals should benefit from a healthy and balanced diet during winters. Bersim, the most abundantly available green fodder, which has a high protein percentage and water content, can easily support the production level of lactating and growing animals.

  • As a result, the protein-containing ingredients, i.e. cakes in concentrates, can be reduced for economical production. The order of the different types of meal to be used can be in order of mustard meal, cottonseed meal, peanut meal and soy flakes. If there is a shortage of green fodder, then 25-30 kg of leguminous fodder can be mixed with 5-10 kg of bhusa wheat to feed large animals.

  • In addition to this, 3 kg of concentrated mixture will be enough to maintain body temperature. If forage is not scarce, then 40-50 kg of good quality green forage will be sufficient to maintain the production of up to 10 liters of milk in cattle and buffalo.

  • To avoid the effects of nitrate toxicity and winter bloating, leguminous fodder should be mixed with non-legumes or wheat bhusa.

  • He advises never to forget to incorporate 2% mineral mixture and 1% salt from reputable manufacturers in concentrated feeds during winters. Clean, cool and lukewarm water should be offered to livestock during winters.

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