Thursday, 26 February 2015

Lowering the mortality rate of buffalo calves

Calf mortality is a common occurrence in buffalo rearing. Poor and unscientific management in calf rearing practices such as delayed and under or over feeding of colostrums, prolonged suckling duration, not practising weaning , deworming and dusting schedule regularly are some of the common issues.
Right feeding
Buffalo farmers are feeding less or more quantity of colostrum which affects the immunity of the calf and ultimately increases the percentage of calf mortality, due to naval illness and white scours.
To overcome this, farmers should feed the colostrum within one to one and half hour of birth and before it is allowed to suckle the mother.
It should be given in a small quantity along with curd or butter-milk in a spoon of edible-oil to help in removal of meconium and creating acidic medium which will not allow E.coli infection in the calf’s stomach.
The ratio is 1 to 1.5 kg for smaller calves and 2.0-2.5 kg for larger calves up to the age of three months to ensure proper growth and vigour.
Buffalo farmers should feed properly balanced diet comprising necessary constituents of energy, proteins and micronutrients so that the calves gain body weight at the rate of 500 gm per day.
Weaning the calves after three months of age with most suitable hygienic maintenance conditions is advised and the umbilicus must be cut with a sterilized blade or scissors and antiseptic applied on the cut portion.
The calf should be kept on a dry, clean and warm floor free from unwanted material and the housing should provide necessary protection against inclement weather and predators.
Prescribed dosage
For the control of endo parasites the animal should be dewormed with a dewormer for the first time after birth at the age of seven days and later repeated after three weeks interval at least up to the six months by using prescribed dose.
Similarly ectoparasites should be controlled by regular spray of insecticides in the animal shed and surroundings.
(Dr. Rajinder Singh Sr.Extension Specialist (Animal Sciences), Lala Lajpat Rai University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Hisar Extension Centre, Rohtak-124001, email:
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