TODAY -

Cattle feeding

Samares Kumar Das *



Feeding constitutes bulk of the expenditures incurred in cattle rearing. For healthy cattle and better production, proper feeding is essential. A balanced and nutritious feed consists of dry fodder (straw and stover), green fodder (berseem, maize), concentrates (cereals), minerals and salt with sufficient clean water.

Green Fodder

Green fodder is nutritious, palatable and easily digestible. Leguminous green fodder such as berseem, Lucerne, cowpea and cluster bean are more nutritious than non-leguminous green fodder such as oats, maize and sorghum.

For better feed, mix legume fodder with non-legume. Do not feed only with legumes. This can cause bloat (tympani). Feed about 30-35 kg mixed green chopped fodder daily to adult cattle.

Dry Fodder

Though, less nutritious dry fodder such as straw and Stover is needed to meet the bulk or dry matter requirement of the cattle. Therefore, mix green fodder with dry fodder. Feed 3-4 kg mixed dry chopped fodder daily to adult cattle.

Concentrate Mixture

Concentrate mixture is prepared by mixing oil cakes, wheat or rice bran and grains or pulses in equal proportion. Concentrates are especially important for growing calves, first calvers, pregnant and milch animals and working bullocks.

Feed 1 kg concentrate mixture daily to first calvers (especially cross-bred) and 1.5-2 kg to pregnant cows during the last 60 days of pregnancy.

Mineral Mixture

Mineral mixture is available in the market under different names. Purchase a good mineral mixture after consulting a Vet in your locality. Feed 30-35 gm to milch cows and 20-25 gm to heifer and dry animals daily.

Salt

Give common salt with concentrate mixture @ 20-25 gm daily or separately in the form of rock-salt lick.

Water

Cattle need 30-40 liters of clean water daily. Give water at least thrice a day and as much as they can drink.

Tips for Feeding

o Chop the green and dry fodder to avoid wastage.
o Treat dry fodder with urea to increase its nutritive value (see below). This will reduce the quantity of concentrate required in the feed.
o When green fodder is scarce, supplement the diet with an increased quantity of concentrate mixture.
o Expenditure on concentrate mixture can be reduced by supplementing with urea-molasses-mineral lick (see below).
o Mineral mixture and common salt should be fed @ 30 gm per animal per day.
o Store concentrates under dry conditions. High moisture content encourages mould growth.
o Reject all feed which has developed mould or fungus. This could lead to poisoning.

Treat Dry Fodder with Urea

Materials required for 100 kg dry fodder


o Urea (1.5 Kg.)
o Common salt (500 gm)
o Mineral mixture (500 gm)
o Vitablend (20 gm)
o Water (10 liters)

Dissolve urea, common salt, mineral mixture and vitablend thoroughly in water with a wooden stirrer. Spread dry fodder evenly under the sun in a 5 x 10 m2 area. Spray half of the urea solution on dry fodder with a sprayer or garden watering can. After about 30 minutes, turn dry fodder upside down. Apply the remaining quantity of urea solution.

It can be fed immediately after it dries. If stored in a sealed plastic container, material will ferment. Fermented fodder is more palatable.
Use within 2-3 weeks. Avoid feeding young animals. Feed to calves over 6 months and kids or lambs over 4 months old.

Urea-Molasses-Mineral Lick

Urea-Molasses-Mineral (UMM) lick is safe. Chance of urea toxicity is almost eliminated. Adult cattle and buffalo can be maintained by licking 300-500 gm UMM lick and feeding whatever crop restudies are available.

For growing animals, 20-30% concentrate can be replaced with UMM lick. UMM lick is good for underfed growing animals and helps in reducing the age at first calving.

Materials required for preparing 10 kg urea-molasses mineral lick

o Molasses (4 kg)
o Urea (1 kg 200 gm)
o Salt (500 gm)
o Mineral mixture (600 gm)
o Bentonite (400 gm)
o Groundnut cake (1 kg 500 gm)
o Cotton seed cake (1 kg)
o Calcium oxide (800 gm)

Groundnut cake and cottonseed meal can be replaced with cheaper locally available cakes and meals. Mix urea and common salt on a clean floor. Then mix with molasses in a tub. After that mix mineral mixture, calcium oxide, bentonite, powdered groundnut and cotton seed cake on a clean floor one after another.

Slowly and thoroughly mix this powdered mixture in the tub with molasses, urea and salt. Pour this semi-solid mixture into a wooden, cardboard or metal mould lined with polyethene.

The lick will set in about 24 hours. One kg is enough for 2-3 days for an animal. Do not leave UMM lick exposed to the rain. Avoid feeding young animals. Feed to calves over 6 months and kids or lambs over 4 months old.

For further details contact:-
Public Relation & Media Management Cell,
CAU, Imphal.
Email: prmmcell@gmail.com


* Samares Kumar Das wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer is at College of Veterinary Sciences & Animal Husbandry Central Agricultural University, Selesih, Mizoram
This article was webcasted on December 19 2021.



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