Proper Management of livestock during summer is vital for production and health
Rise in temperature mercury puts lots of stress on dairy animals. Due to high temperature milk production has also reduced due to lower feed intake and added heat load. These views were expressed by Dr. D.S.Malik, HoD, Livestock Production Management of Guru Angad Dev Veterinary & Animal Sciences University. He said that due to scorching heat proper shelter and housing management, water application, changes in feeding regime, preventive health management etc. are some of the techniques to minimize the effect of thermal stress. Well ventilated sheds with proper standing and resting space must be provided to dairy animals. Open end of the shed should be covered with thatched bamboo / jute / hessian curtains. Sheet roof may be also being covered with thatch or top of the roof may be painted with white and under surface with dark colour. Shady trees should be planted around the sheds for further cooling. As water is the most essential input in summer, special care should be given to this. Water splashing, showering, sprinkling and fogging of water on animals, inside the shed 3-4 times during hottest part of the day (11 AM to 4 PM), again reduces heat load and enhance productivity due to evaporative cooling. These methods are more effective in buffaloes as they are having only one-sixth sweat gland in comparison to cattle. Animals should be wallowed in clean water ponds during extreme hot weather (between 11 AM to 4PM). Wallowing arrangement should be made on the farm itself as making them to walk to and from the pond in hot sun neutralizes beneficial effect of wallowing. On large commercial dairy farms various cooling devices viz. fans, wet curtain or panels, air cooler or conditioners etc. can be used during extreme hot condition. Provision of cooled potable drinking water (In earthen pitchers of this type commonly used in villages) also helps in reducing the heat load. Shaded water troughs in sufficient numbers should be provided to the animals at convenient place.
Dr. R. S Grewal, Professor Department of Animal Nutrition advised that concentrate mixture containing more than 18% Digestible protein and 70% Energy contents along with palatable, digestible and laxative fodders should be offered to the animals. Proportion of green fodder should be increased. Long fodders must be chopped before feeding. If grazing is practiced, avoid grazing of animals from 10 AM to 5 PM. Soaking of concentrate in equal amount water for 20-30 minutes will increase nutrient utilization. Dietary mineral and vitamin supplementation should be increased during summer as its excretion under the effect of heat stress increased. Supplementing dietary sodium and potassium increases milk yield during the period of heat stress.
Dr. L.D.Singla, HoD, Veterinary Parasitology informed that proper de-worming and vaccination schedule must be followed for maintaining the health of animal. Ecto-parasites, whose infestation increases during summer, should be controlled properly by using suitable acaricidal spray on animals as well as in shed, especially in corners and crevices.
Proper care and management techniques during summer season will help farmers to maintain healthy animals, more milk production and assured profit from dairy farming.