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Feeding and Management of Dairy Cows in Late Autumn and Early Winter

Posted on: December 5, 2019, edit by Victoria

Creating a Comfortable Cowshed Micro climate
1. Keep warm. 
Enhancing warmth retention is particularly important for maintaining milk production performance in the winter of dairy cows. The temperature in the cowshed should generally be kept between 8~ 17 ℃. Cow beds should be paved with more grass to avoid direct contact between livestock and cold ground. The enclosure of perinatal cows, newborn calves and high-yielding cows should be warmed properly, and the temperature of the enclosure should be kept at 15 ~17℃. When the outside temperature is below 10 ℃, the cows should be driven into the colony house overnight to prevent frostbite nipples and excessive consumption of physical energy, affecting milk production. Besides, the drinking water temperature of dairy cows should be maintained at 15 ~20 ℃. The body temperature of calves is higher than that of adult cows, and the temperature of drinking water should generally be 35 ~38 ℃.

2. Moisture-proof.
Dairy cows should be fed in the colony house in time every day to remove feces and urine, ensure ventilation and dryness in the cowshed, prevent excessive humidity from cooling into water droplets in the house or cows causing the occurrence of winter mycosis; furthermore, cows are damp and lose a lot of heat, affecting milk production.

3. More lighting.
Light can promote the reproductive function, blood circulation and feed intake of dairy cows, thus increasing milk production. Closed cowshed should be equipped with fluorescent lamps to keep its glass clear and prolong daylighting time as far as possible. Dairy cows should be given proper exercise and natural lighting when the weather is fine.

Feeding and Management of Dairy Cows
Feeding and Management of Dairy Cows

Rational Allocation of Diets
1. Maintain feed diversification.
The rations should be adjusted in time to diversify the feed. As for concentrate supply, under the condition of keeping the protein feed unchanged, the energy concentration of the diet can be increased by increasing the amount of corn or the ratio of high-fat substance appropriately. It can be supplemented by beans, cottonseed and animal fat. The best supplement for high-yield dairy cows is 1%-1.5% of the dry matter in the diet. In the aspect of roughage, it is better to feed high-quality alfalfa hay, whole-plant corn silage or distiller's grains.

The rations should be adjusted in time to diversify the feed. As for concentrate supply, under the condition of keeping the protein feed unchanged, the energy concentration of the diet can be increased by increasing the amount of corn or the ratio of high-fat substance appropriately. It can be supplemented by beans, cottonseed and animal fat. The best supplement for high-yield dairy cows is 1%-1.5% of the dry matter in the diet. In the aspect of roughage, it is better to feed high-quality alfalfa hay, whole-plant corn silage or distiller's grains.

2. Supplementary feeding of trace elements and vitamins.
In the late autumn and early winter season, there is a lack of green fodder, so the content of vitamins and minerals in the fodder should be increased relatively. Calcium and phosphorus can be added 5 to 15 grams per day. At the same time, according to the weight and milk yield of dairy cows, the appropriate amount of vitamin A, vitamin E, and trace elements can be added.

Feeding and Management of Dairy Cows
Feeding and Management of Dairy Cows

Master the Estrus Period and Breed in Time 
Dairy cows are usually "breed in spring and calve in summer, breed in autumn and calve in winter". Breeding and conception in late autumn and early winter can avoid calving in hot summer, and early autumn after birth is conducive to the healthy growth of calves.  

1. Grasp the fatness situation of dairy cows. 
In late autumn and early winter, dairy cows are in good health, short estrus cycle and long duration, which is the best time to breed and improve reproductive rates. The fatness of cows directly affects the secretion of reproductive hormones. Farms should adjust their fatness according to the conditions of cows. Over-fat dairy cows should adjust dietary formulation to reduce energy feed ingredients such as concentrate feeding; over-thin dairy cows should mix feed, increase nutrition and improve management so that cows can mate in a short time.

2. Grasp the estrus period. 
(1) Estrus identification. As the saying goes, "To make cows breed properly, the time of estrus should be stable in the palm". External observation and rectal examination are usually used, that is, cows show agitation after estrus, crawl across each other, pudendum is slightly hyperemic, often accompanied by white translucent mucous outflow; touch buttocks, cows are quiet, the tail is high. Rectal examination is in the follicular maturation or ovulation stage. (2) Oestrus treatment. For estrus-deprived or estrus-protracted dairy cows, 25-30 mg diethylstilbestrol or 40-50 mg diethylphenol ethane can be injected for estrus mating. Besides, 30 grams of Leonurus heterophyllus, 25 grams of pumpkin leaves and 15 grams of safflower can be mixed with boiled water to induce estrus in cows.

Feeding and Management of Dairy Cows
Feeding and Management of Dairy Cows

3. Grasp breeding. 
After estrus, cows were artificially inseminated by rectal insemination. (1) Pre-insemination preparation: spermatozoa should be cut short and polished nails, do a good job of disinfection; sperm vitality should be examined by microscopy. (2) Accurate localization of the cervix. The left-hand fingers are held in cones side by side and slowly extend into the anus so that the cows excrete the feces. Then the palm extends downwards and forwards. At the bottom of the pelvic cavity, a long, hard rod, namely the cervix, is touched. (3) Accurate insemination. Hold the external mouth of the cervix and hold it horizontally. When the insemination gun is pushed forward without wrinkle obstruction (the muzzle of the insemination gun has reached the uterus), the direction of the insemination gun is adjusted appropriately, so that the insemination gun can easily pass through the cervical canal and push the semen into the uterus.

4. Grasp management and protection. 
It is particularly important to strengthen the management and protection of dairy cows after mating. Main points of management and protection: (1) At the end of autumn and the beginning of winter, do a good job of keeping pregnant cows warm and make them drink warm water as far as possible. (2) During pregnancy, cows are fed diets rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals. (3) Feeding moldy, frozen, toxic and acidic feed is strictly prohibited to prevent enteritis, miscarriage, weak fetus or stillbirth. (4) After 2 months of cow breeding, attention should be paid to the pregnancy examination (direct examination) of cows to prevent false pregnancy and the emptiness of cows, resulting in economic losses.

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