CATTLE REARING - ANIMAL HUSBANDRY MANAGEMENT - CATTLE UNIT
Cattle arc the most common type of large domesticated ungulates. They are a prominent modern member of the subfamily Bovinae, are the most widespread species of the genus Bos, and are most commonly classified collectively as Bos primigenius.
There are three cattle production system/ Intensive system/ Semi-intensive system and extensive system. But in Ebsu Teaching and Research Farm/ the system that is used there is highly Extensive for now but plan is on grand to adopt intensive system of cattle rearing.
a. White Fulani
b. Muturu and a crossbreed of both.
In Ebsu Teaching and Research Farm/ the cattle shed is of West African standard and it is made up of deferent sections which includes: Crush/ Quarantine Unit, Isolation Unit, Paddock Unit/Average Weight Unit, Water Trough Unite.
Crush: Crush is a strongly built stall or cage for holding cattle safely while they are examined/ marked/ or given veterinary treatment. For the safety of the animal and the people attending it/ a close-fitting crush may be used to ensure the animal stands "stock still".
The overall purpose of a crush is to hold an animal still to minimise the risk of injury to both the animal and the operator while work on the animal is performed.
Isolation Unit: Isolation unit are specially designed to admit infected cattle to avoid transmitting their infections to other animals. Isolation unit is always built on a separate side in the cattle shed. :
This is another separate unite in the cattle shed where newly introduced animal are kept for critical examination by a veterinarian for some weeks, depending on the condition before joining it with the rest of the flock.
Paddock Unit: This is a constructed unit where the animal rest after grazing.
Average Weight Unit: This is the section, where the weight of every cattle in shed is decided with following reasons.
· Measure feed conversion by monitoring weight gain over time to maximize yield - Well informed management decisions are made for feed rationing to meet target weights by date.
· Monitor animal health - Accurate measurement of body weight gives critical information about the health of the animal. Changes in body weight can provide an early indication of animal health problems.
· Confirm animal weights prior to mating - The live weight and condition of the animal can have significant impact on the breeding performance.
· Determine weaning weights - The future performance of the animal can be directly linked to the weight and maturity of the animal at the time of weaning.
· Select animals by weight for sale and slaughter - Drafting by weight for slaughter insures that maximum profits are returned to the grower by accurate selection of animals based on weight.
MAJOR ACTIVITIES CARRIED DONE IN THE CATTLE UNIT.
a. Cattle Inspection
b. Taking the cattle out for grazing in the nearby field.
c. Modi cat: on
e. Post mortem inspection
Inspection is one of the major work carried out in the cattle unit as it will help you to identify weak animals/ sick animals as well and it also helps you to know if there is intrusion of any foreign body in to the cattle shed.
TAKING THE CATTLE OUT FOR GRAZING IN THE NEARBY FIELD
Grazing is a type of feeding, in which a herbivore feeds on plants (such as grasses), and also on other multicellular autotrophs (such as algae).
Grazing is important in agriculture, in which domestic livestock are used to convert grass and other forage into meat, milk and other products.
a. Continuous grazing and set stocking
b. Rotational grazing
c. Cell grazing .
d. Time control grazing
e. Spell grazing
Continuous grazing is a management system where cattle graze from field to field or location to location continuously. The main benefits of continuous grazing are that it is simple to apply, requires minimal labour and can deliver good production and land condition outcomes if managed well.
Disadvantages of set stocked continuous grazing are that pasture utilisation may be above or below the optimal level at any one time.
Rotational grazing, cell grazing and time control grazing. Rotational grazing involves moving livestock through a series of grazing land so when they have finished grazing the last field in the series, the first grazing land has recovered to allow the rotation to recommence. Rotations are often organised around the plant growth cycles and aim to optimise pasture utilisation. A well designed rotational grazing system/can also prevent uneven grazing across the grazing land.
Spell grazing involves locking up pastures at critical times in their growth cycle to allow plants to replenish root reserves and set seed.
This reduces the risk of over grazing and encourages pasture plant recruitment through seed set. An example of spell grazing is wet season spell grazing in northern cattle production systems which involves destocking paddocks during the wet season to allow plant recovery and new native pasture plant recruitment through seed set.
But in Ebsu Teaching and Research Farm we practice time control grazing system and these are the available grasses that our cattle feed on:
Elephant grass Penniselum purpureum
Carpet grass Axonopus fissifolius
Centre Centrosema pubescens
Spear grass imperata cilindrica
Eastern gamagrass tripascum dactyloides
Devils grass cynodon dactylon
Star grass cynodon plectostachyus
These are various means in which that we ensure that a healthy condition is maintained in our livestock.(Large Ruminant).
a. Vaccination: Vaccination is the administration of antigenic material to stimulate an animal immune system to develop adaptive immunity to a pathogen.
In Ebsu Teaching and Research Farm, we vaccinated the cattle against ecto
parasites and endo-parasites with the following drugs.
Silage is fermented, high-moisture stored fodder which can be fed to ruminants or used as a biofuel feedstock for anaerobic digesters.
· Preparing the grass: First, the pasture must be cut when the grasses contains their highest nutrient levels. This is usually just before they are fully matured. This is important because all forms of preserved gross such as boy and silage, will have lower amount of nutrients than fresh pasture, so everything must be done to make the product be as nutritious as possible.
· Grass is allowed to wilt in the field for a few hours to reduce the , moisture content to around 60-75%. This moisture level will allow for optimum fermentation. If the grass is left out longer, it may get too dry or it may get rained on. And both these will reduce proper fermentation. Also, the longer the grass is left uncut, the higher the loss of nutrients.
· Fermentation: The cut grass is chopped into even smaller pieces and then compacted to get out as much oxygen as possible (This important because the micro-organisms, called lactic acid bacteria, that are needed to carry out the fermentation, like living in an oxygen-free environment). If the silage is to be stored piled in a large pit or bucket, depending on the size. And tractors and other machineries are usually driven out the piled grass until it is firm. And also the silage bacteria act on the cellulose and carbohydrates in the forage to produce volatile fatty acids (VFAs), such as acetic, propionic, lactic, and butyric acids. By lowering pH, these create a hostile environment for competing bacteria that might cause spoilage, The VFAs thus act as natural preservatives, in the same way that the lactic acid in yogurt and cheese increases the preservability of what began as milk or vinegar (dilute acetic acid) preserves pickled vegetables. This preservative action is particularly important during winter in temperate regions, when green forage is unavailable.
· When silage is prepared under optimal conditions, the modest" , acidity also has the effect of improving palatability and provides a
· dietary contrast for the animal. (However, excessive production of acetic and butyric acids can reduce palatability: the mix of bacteria is ideally chosen so as to maximize lactic acid production.
· Several of the fermenting organisms produce vitamins: for example, lactobacillus species produce folic acid and vitamin B12
· The fermentation process that produces VFA also yields energy that the bacteria use: some of the energy is released as heat. Silage is thus modestly lower in caloric content than the original forage, in the same way that yoghurt has modestly fewer calories than milk. However, this loss of energy is offset by the preservation characteristics and improved digestibility of silage.
· If the silage is stored as bales, the balling machines will compact the grass as they work.
· The next step is to seal the compacted grass with plastic to keep oxygen out. Mounds of silage are covered with old polythene (plastic) sheets and weighted down (usually with old tires) to ensure maximum compacting; bales are covered with plastic wrapping. The problem with oxygen: Removing and keeping out oxygen is a key part in making silage. This is because, fermentation has to happen under anaerobic (oxygen-free) conditions or the correct type of micro-organisms won't grow. While oxygen remains, plant enzymes and proteins to make energy, reducing the amounts of these nutrient in grass.
· Once all the oxygen is used up, lactic acid bacteria starts to multiply. These are bacteria that are needed to make silage, and they turn the plant sugars into lactic acid.
· This causes the PIT to drop (the mixture becomes more acidic). Once the PH is around 4-5, the sugar stops breaking down and grass is preserved until the silage is opened and expose to oxygen. If the PH is not low enough, a different kind of bacteria will start fermenting the silage, Producing by-products (like ammonia) that taste bad to cows and sheep.
FACTORS AFFECTING THE QUALITY OF FORAGE:
ii. Maturity stage
iii. Leaf: Stem ratio
v. Harvesting techniques
vi. Storage conditions
Forage quality decreases as plants grow older. This occurs because, as plants get larger and more steamy, a greater percentage of nutrients and dry matter is tied up in non-digestible forms (Such as lignin). Greater amounts of non-digestible fiber resulting in lower quality forage with decreased amounts of total digestible nutrients (TON).
· Species: plants species can account for a wide variation in forage quality. Compositional differences between species are reflected in the CP and NDF tests. Legumes are larger in CP but lower in NDF than graases or grain silages. Weeds may or may not change forage quality depending on species, stage of maturity and soil fertility.
· Maturity: As plants mature/ they increase in fiber and lighin content. Increasing fiber (ADF and ADF) reduces digestibility and intake potential. Lignin is essentially indigestible and therefore, the increasing lignin content comes with increasing maturity also reduces digestibility. For each one percentage unit of lignin, digestible dry matter (DDM) decrease three to four percentage units.
· Environment: Climate conditions during growth and harvest of plants can greatly affect the quality of forage. The most apparent environmental factors are temperature, light and rainfall. Forage at the same maturity will be higher in fiber and CP when growth occurs during high temperature compared to cool or normal temperatures. Forages grown in hot climate will have a lower digestibility than forages grown in colder at identical CP contents. Sunlight has variable affect on plant nutrient values. Plants grown in bright light, generally has higher digestibility than plants grown in shade, Cloudy weather may increase CP content of plants. Moisture stress reduces plant growth but generally increases leaf to stem ratios. Plants grown under moisture stress are usually higher in digestibility (lower in fiber) and higher in anti-quality factors (Alkaloids, nitrates and prussic acid) than plants grown under normal moisture conditions.
· Insect and disease damage: Both of these conditions result in leaf losses which decrease CP and increase fiber content of plants. V
· Soil Fertility: Fertilization of grasses with nitrogen (N) will increase CP content. However, fertilization with other nutrients usually has little effect on the nutrient content of forages. Extremes in soil mineral are required to cause mineral deficiencies or toxicities in ruminant animals.
· Harvesting and storage: Losses of highly digestible nutrients occur during forage harvesting and storage. Keeping these losses to a minimum is essential in attaining high quality forage.
· Alternative material to poultry litter in silage making:
· Cassava leaves Shelled corn Bermuda grass