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How to Feed and Manage Dairy Cows in Dry Period

Posted on: July 24, 2019, by Victoria

To raise cows in the dry period, which is generally divided into two stages: the early stage of a dry period and the late stage of the dry period. The whole period from the beginning of dry milk to 15 days before calving is called pre-dried milk, and the period from 2 weeks before calving to delivery is often called post-dried milk (also called prenatal period).

Dairy Cows in Dry Period
Dairy Cows in Dry Period

1. Feeding and management during the dry period
To ensure that the next parity dairy cow has a new peak in the milk production period, the cows in the dry period are fed well. In general, the dry period is divided into pre-dried milk, mid-dried milk, and post-dried milk. The period from the beginning of dry milk to delivery is called the dry period of dairy cows. 15 days before calving is the pre-dried milk period, 45 days before calving is called the mid-dried milk period, and the period from calving to perinatal is the post-dried milk period, that is, the perinatal period.

Pre-dried milk.
The feeding method of dairy cows should be adjusted starting one week from the dry period, and the drinking water should be controlled every day. Free drinking water should be changed into regular and quantitative drinking water. Dairy cows with very low milk production should stop feeding silage, subtract all the concentrate, feed hay instead and eat freely. The milking time should be changed from two times a day to one time a day, and the milking time should be disrupted to ensure that at least one time a day is milked.

For cows with milk production above 10 kg, 2.5 kg of concentrate should be fed appropriately, But change the time of milking in the first three days, milking twice a day and milking once on the fourth day. In general, the pre-dried milk period depends on the fatness of dairy cows. The daily feeding amount of silage is 10 kg, hay is 3 kg and the concentrate is 2 kg. Concentrate feed should be fed with low calcium and high phosphorus diet. Minerals and vitamins should be balanced. The body condition should be full and the coat glossy. For lean cows, nutrition should be increased. The body shape score is about 4. 0 points.

At the same time, we should observe the change of breast in dry milk for a week. If we find breast enlargement, redness, and lump, we should deal with it in time if cows feel pain in our hands. We should empty the milk in the breast once more and continue to dry milk after treatment. Cows should be fed with high-quality feed without spoilage and deterioration. Warm water should also be given at about 10 degrees Celsius, and cold water should not be drunk in winter.

Mid-dried milk.
First, we should observe the fatness of dairy cows. Generally, the body score is about 4.5 points. The daily feed quantity of concentrate is 3 kg, silage is 8 kg and hay is 4 kg. At the same time, the concentrate should be fed with complete ration with low calcium, high phosphorus, and low salt. Minerals and vitamins should be balanced.

Post-dried milk.
After calving, dairy cows should be fed postpartum soup, that is, 500g of brown sugar, 2.5 kg of bran, 200g of calcium hydroxide and 20 kg of warm water, which can be drunk at one time. While repeatedly scrubbing and massaging with hot water at 37 ℃, feeding soft hay, and silage and concentrate stopped feeding. The third day began to feed silage and concentrate, feeding 5 kg of silage and 3 kg of concentrate daily. If the cows have a normal diet, especially hay intake, add 1 kg of concentrate and silage every day until the silage feeds 20 kg and 10 kg of concentrate in the day. And properly increase the concentrate feed, the proportion of three milk and one feed should be reached, but the maximum concentrate feed per day should not exceed 13 kg.

After calving, dairy cows should be fed postpartum soup, that is, 500g of brown sugar, 2.5 kg of bran, 200g of calcium hydroxide and 20 kg of warm water, which can be drunk at one time. While repeatedly scrubbing and massaging with hot water at 37 ℃, feeding soft hay, and silage and concentrate stopped feeding. The third day began to feed silage and concentrate, feeding 5 kg of silage and 3 kg of concentrate daily. If the cows have a normal diet, especially hay intake, add 1 kg of concentrate and silage every day until the silage feeds 20 kg and 10 kg of concentrate in the day. And properly increase the concentrate feed, the proportion of three milk and one feed should be reached, but the maximum concentrate feed per day should not exceed 13 kg.

2. Dry milk method
Determine the dry period. In general, the dry period of dairy cows is 60 days. Specifically, according to the physical condition of cows, breeding date, high-yielding cows and older cows. The final dry period of cows can not be less than 40 days, which will affect the next parity of milk production and cow's health.

Adjust feeding methods. Determine the feeding method of dairy cows based on dry period, farmers should control the drinking water of dairy cows and stop feeding juicy silage. Feed high-quality hay and 2.5 kg of concentrate every day. Disturb the time of milking, milking twice the previous two days, once the third day and all the milk in the breast after 7 days. Milking thoroughly once by hand.

Dry milk method and medication. Using a thorough dry milk method, the milk in the breast was thoroughly milked, and the nipple was quickly soaked with nipple bath solution for 10 seconds. 60 ml of salad oil and 4 penicillin (1.6 million of each) were mixed (salad oil was opened 10 minutes in fire and cooled before use). Each nipple duct was injected with 15 ml of the drug by syringe and then immersed in a nipple medicine bath for 15 seconds. Directly use cow dry milk injection ointment, one nipple per nipple.

3. Conclusion
The key to the dry period of dairy cows is feeding management. To feed the forage with reasonable and balanced nutrition formula, it must be a diet with high phosphorus and low calcium. In the later stage, the intake of salt should be less, edema should be prevented, more high-quality hay should be fed, and the fatness of dairy cows should be paid attention to at all times. The overall body shape score is 4.5 moderate. Dry milk must be cleaned by hand for the last time, the more thorough the better and the drug must be injected into the breast tube. After a week of dry milk, farmers should observe the changes in the breast, whether there is redness or swelling. They must not let individual cows suck the nipples of dry cows, and the problems should be dealt with in time, to lay a good foundation for the next delivery of milk.

Dairy Cows in Dry Period
Dairy Cows in Dry Period

In the early stage of dry milk, dairy cows are generally given medium nutritional status, using 4-5 kg of high-quality hay and about 10 kg of concentrate. The body condition score was 3.8-4.2 points for fatness, plump and glossy coat. For lean dry dairy cows, nutritional needs should be increased based on pregnant nutritional needs, plus 5-10 kg of milk nutritional needs, so that the fatness of dairy cows can be restored to 3.5-4.0 points in 20 days.

During the week of dry milk, breast condition should be observed. If there are lumps and cows are uneasy, they should be treated quickly, and then dry milk after their condition improves. At this stage, the diet should be based on roughage, with concentrate properly matched. Concentrate consumption generally accounts for 0.6%~0.9% of body weight, i.e. 3.5~5 kg. The dry matter ratio of concentrate to roughage is 30:70~20:80. The crude fiber content of grain should not less than 18%.

For the first delivery of young cows, the feed ration should be increased by 10%~18% to prevent the negative balance of metabolism after calving. Dry dairy cow's diet must be made up of good quality and digestible feed. No spoilage feed should be used. The amount of low nutrient concentration roughage and juicy feed should be limited to avoid oppressing the fetus and causing premature birth. Also, clean drinking water should be given. The temperature of water in summer should be controlled at about 100 C and in winter at about 150 C. Drinking ice water should be avoided.

In the later stage of dry milk, the upper and middle nutritional levels should be given to the cows to make the calving fatness close to 4.5 points. Therefore, according to the cow's body condition, appetite, fecal type, and expected milk production, farmers should determine the increase of concentrate feeding. Generally, concentrate feeding should be increased to 1-1.5 kg per 100 kg of body weight. However, they must ensure that the concentrate-to-roughage ratio of diet should be controlled between 30:70-40:60, and the crude fiber level should not be less than 17%.

Of course, the improvement of the concentrate level should have a time gradient. Generally, the increase rate is 0.3 kg per day. When there is anorexia in cows, the concentrate should not be added anymore. Only when the phenomenon is eliminated, the concentrate can be added slightly. In dairy cows with excessive breast swelling or severe edema, the concentrate should be reduced, juicy feed should be stopped and salt consumption should be reduced. If feeding with wet concentrate, concentrate at this stage should not be too wet. Low calcium diet should be fed 20 to 30 days before parturition to reduce the calcium content in the dry matter to 0.2% and salt consumption. The anionic salt feed can be fed to prevent milky fever in dairy cows for 2 to 3 days before delivery.

At the same time, to prevent constipation, the amount of laxative feed such as bran should be properly increased in concentrate, which can account for 15%~23% of the concentrate. The later stage of dry milk should be carefully checked breast condition, if there is breast inflammation, it should treat immediately.

Also, cows should be allowed to move freely throughout the dry period to reduce dystocia and to prevent crowding. Strengthen fetal protection, do not feed deteriorating feed, drink ice water, use cold water to wash cows and let cows fall and slip.

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