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Right Management of Livestock in Winter is Essential for Good Production: Expert

Dr. Yashpal Singh, HoD, Livestock Production Management, Guru Angad Dev Veterinary & Animal Sciences University said that three aspects require much attention in this season i.e. environment modification through proper shelter management, improving body reserves through nutritional management and proper health care.

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In Punjab, there is extreme metrological variation in December and January and sometimes the temperature is extremely low. Dr. Yashpal Singh, HoD, Livestock Production Management, Guru Angad Dev Veterinary & Animal Sciences University (GADVASU) said that three aspects require much attention in this season i.e. environment modification through proper shelter management, improving body reserves through nutritional management, and proper health care.  

Tips to take care of livestock in winter

  • Curtains should be used in the sheds of loose housing system to obstruct the flow of wind at animals’ level. Curtains can be made from tarpuline, bamboo, dry grass, paddy straw, guinea bags, jute etc.

  • Shady trees around the shed should be trimmed to encourage the infiltration of sunlight in the shed which will not only provide warmth but will also disinfect the animal houses by action of ultraviolet rays.

  • Furthermore, animals should be permitted under direct sun exposure during daytime in open paddocks.

  • Animal sheds and their floors should not remain wet and cool for longer periods of time. This may expose the animals, especially younger ones, to various ailments like pneumonia, fever, coccidiosis, diarrhoea and even death in severe cases.  

  • Suitable bedding up to depth of 4-6 inches for large animals and 2 inches for smaller animals should be provided on pucca (concrete) floor as direct contact of animal with cold floor leads to more body heat loss through conduction. Paddy straw, dry grass, wheat bhusa, saw dust, rice husk etc. can be used as bedding material. 

  • Jhuls (clothing) made up of gunny bags may also be used to dress larger animals to provide them insulation and warmth during extreme winter.  

  • Good ventilation must be ensured during winters. Sheds should be cleaned at least twice a day for proper disposal of wastes and minimum piling up of ammonia gases.  

  • The livestock should be cleaned regularly with clean cloth or some brush. Hairs of animals should not be clipped during winters. Bathing animals with cold water during winter should be avoided.  

  • Animals should be provided with a good nutritious and balanced diet during the winters. Berseem, the most abundantly available green fodder which has high protein percentage and water content, can easily support production level of lactating and growing animals.

  • Accordingly, protein-containing ingredients i.e. cakes in concentrates can be reduced for economical production. The sequence of various types of cakes to be used may be in order of Mustard cake, Cotton seed cake, Groundnut cake and Soybean flakes. If there is shortage of green fodder, then 25-30 kg of leguminous fodder can be mixed with 5-10 kg of wheat bhusa for feeding larger animals.

  • In addition to this, 3 kg of concentrate mixture will be sufficient to maintain the body temperature. If fodder is not scarce then 40 to 50 kg of good quality green fodder will be sufficient to maintain the production of up to 10 litres of milk in cattle and buffalo.

  • To avoid incidences of nitrate toxicity and bloat in winter, the leguminous fodder should be mixed with either non-legumes or wheat bhusa. 

  • He advises that one should never forget to incorporate 2% mineral mixture and 1% salt from reputed manufacturers in concentrate feed during winters. Clean, fresh, lukewarm water should be offered to the livestock during winters.  

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