Mkulima today as a farmer you should ensure that your cows have the ability of calving at least on a yearly basis. By achieving this your farm will not only be profitable but your cows will be healthier too. What to know about the reproductive cycle in dairy animals and effectively manage for best returns

If the above doesn’t happen you will suffer from losses as a result of a decrease in milk productivity or even luck of milk during the long valing intervals caused by the culling of unproductive animals and the lack of replacement.

Low fertility

There are several reasons that cause a reduction in fertility in animals or luck thereof reproduction in your herd. I have listed a few that I believe you can manage to enhance productivity.

They are:-

  • Anatomical/physiological malfunctioning of the cow.
  • Reproductive diseases
  • Failure of correct heat detection
  • Failure in reproductive management
  • Infertility and, malfunctioning of the bull

You should incorporate the use of artificial insemination/AI in the breeding of your animals. There are clear advantages to artificial insemination for example the semen are of superior quality and disease-free.

Heat detection

Heat detection is a key factor in production and for this reason, you should be keen.

If artificial insemination is used its successful application highly depends on heat detection.

To know the signs of heat lookout for cows that are standing to be mated, this is the most crucial part as it will inform you of the right time to serve the animals.

A cow will inform you it is ready when it is receptive to a bull or artificial insemination. This happens in a cycle of 21 days as a cow’s oestrus ranges for a period between 12-30 days.

Heat behavior

  • The behavior of a cow on heat lasts for 2-3 days as follows:
  • Aggressive bunting
  • Cows rubbing each other
  • Shifting around the head of the tail
  • Orientation as if to be mounted
  • Disorientation mounting without standing\
  • Licking

Cow on heat

The cow on heat will give you all the steps by steps guide on what and when to do it,

It starts with indicating signs of it wanting to be mounted. You should be able to tell this as she stands firmly, no signs of hostility or aggression, or runs away from the mounting cow.

Occasionally she will mount another stands longer or walks more, feeds less, milk yield drops, and picks the next day.

Additional signs include:

  • Moist vulva, red, swollen than usual, and excretes clear mucus.
  • Restless
  • Does not lie down
  • Keeps soliciting others to mount her

To time insemination correctly you need to know when the cow will ovulate to release the ovary into the oviduct.

Normally this happens between 24-30hrs after the first signs of heat. A cow often remains in heat for 12-15hrs.

An average cow ovulates 10-16 hours after it gets out of heat. You or the farm personnel should inseminate the cow at least 8-10 hours before ovulation for it to allow the sperm to travel to the oviduct a process called capacitating fertility and normally takes about 6-8 hours.

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