Systems of Rearing Cattle:
There three systems of rearing cattle. These extensive, semi-intensive and intensive systems.
Extensive system of cattle rearing
: Extensive system of rearing ruminants, e. cattle, sheep and goat is the same involves the following:
Cattle are allowed to move freely from one place to another in search of pastures for grazing or browsing. The cattle fend for themselves and graze on a wide range of pastures.
There is no special housing unit provided. In most cases, animals are not provided with medication. It is a very cheap system of rearing livestock. No supplementary feed is usually provided. Animals are exposed to weather hazards such as excessive heat, heavy rainfall and strong windstorm. Disease outbreak cannot be easily controlled. Animals can be stolen or killed by wild animals. There is also indiscriminate mating and the cow deliver their young ones in the field. Cattle and other ruminants generally destroy cultivated crops; thereby causing community disputes.
: Under this system, housing is provided for the cattle and they are also allowed to move out and graze on pasture. The animals spend more time outside their pens. Houses are built with suitable materials that can permit free circulation of air. The houses are not completely walled, and rails are preferred to solid walls which should be about2m high.
The grasses or pasture must be managed properly to provide the necessary food for the cattle. The system needs less capital investment but large labour requirements, disease and parasite incidence are slightly high.
In this system, the cattle are confined within a building with limited access to grazing. Grasses (by zero grazing), water, medications are supplied daily to the cattle.
ADVANTAGES OF THE INTENSIVE SYSTEM OF REARING RUMINANTS
(i) It gives animals protection against environmental hazards and exposure to adverse weather conditions
(ii) There is proper supervision of animals
(iii) Record keeping is made easier
(iv) It allows for automation e.g. use of automatic feeders and drinkers
(v) Protection against theft
(vi) Protection against predators
(vii) Indiscriminate mating is reduced
(viii) Sick animals are easily identified
(ix) Reduces incidence of disease infection
(x) Reduces incidence of pest infestation
(xi) Ensures adequate and balance feeding
(xii) Ensures provision of better health care
(xiii) Animals do not destroy farmer’s crops
(xiv) Allows efficient use of labour
(xv) High stocking density for all species of animals
(xvi) It gives animals protection against physical hazards
(xvii) It enhances performance of the animals
(i) In West Africa, cattle are reared by peasant farmers especially the nomadic Fulanis who roam about with their cattle
(ii) Under the system, there are no formal houses erected for the cattle. The animals are kept in a kraal at night to prevent wandering about
(iii) Open shed with a thatched roof made of strong timber posts and railings is provided as house for the cattle in some areas.
(iv) In modern animal husbandry, houses are built with suitable materials that can permit free circulation of air.
(v) The houses should not be completely walled. Rails are preferred to solid walls.
(vi) The floor should be made of concrete to enhance easy cleaning.
(vii) The roof should be constructed with galvanized roofing sheets for durability.
(viii) The house should be partitioned into breeding house or pen, calving pen, weaner’s pen and rearing pen.
(ix) Houses for dairy cattle may be slightly different in design from that of the beef cattle because of their differences in the type of production.
(i) The feed for cattle must be a balanced diet, i.e. it should contain all the nutrients required for growth and production
(ii) Cattle, being ruminants, feed mainly on roughages (grasses and legumes) because of the nature of their stomach
(iii) Common grasses that can be fed on by cattle are elephant grass, guinea grass, giant star grass, etc. and also leguminous plants which include Centrosema spp, calopogonium spp, etc.
(iv) Cattle can be fed on concentrate feed to provide the required nutrients in their diet
(v) Cattle may be involved in pastoral nomadism in which the cattle rearers (Fulanis) move about with their cattle in search of pasture and water.
(vi) In some cases, zero-grazing (foliage) is practiced whereby grasses are cut and taken to the cattle in their pens.
(vii) In some cases, rational grazing is practiced whereby cattle are moved about in paddocks they graze on the pasture.
(viii) Other preserved feeds like hay silage and straw can be fed on cattle especially during the season, when green pastures are not available.
(ix) Diary cattle should be given more concentrates than beef because, the former require concentrates milk production.
HEALTH CARE AND SANITATION FOR CATTLE
(i) Good housing and feeding tend to reduce the rate of disease attack on cattle
(ii) The houses should be cleaned regularly
(iii) Sick animals should be isolated and treated
(iv) Cattle should be dewormed regularly to get rid of endo-parasites such as tape worms , round worms and liver flukes
(v) Cattle should be allowed to pass through water chemicals to eradicate ecto-parasites like ticks and mites
(vi) Regular vaccination should be carried out against certain known diseases of cattle at the right time
(vii) Cleaning of the pens, watering and feeding equipment should be done daily
(viii) Rotational grazing should be practiced to avoid the build-up of parasites.
Common Diseases of Cattle:
Common diseases of cattle include:
foot and mouth disease, rinderpest disease, anthrax, tuberculosis, trypanosomiasis and re water fever. These diseases should 1 prevented through the use of appropriate drugs and vaccines.
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