Caring and Feeding Of Dairy Cattle In Their Transition Periods

Caring and Feeding Of Dairy Cattle In Their Transition Periods

The Preparturient or Transition Period occurs at the end of maternity and beginning of lactation periods. It is practically the period 3 weeks before and 4 weeks after birth. Planning of the period should be made regularly to avoid metabolic and infectious diseases and provide our herd to be efficient and continuous. Success of the transaction period, depends on the precautions taken according to the needs of animals. 

Caring and nutrition is currently very important in the transition periods of animals. Our breeders should highly give importance to it in order to avoid problems about milk efficiency. Rapid changes in the physiology and metabolism of animals and adaptation difficulty, are the main reasons for diseases. 

Dry material intake may show decreases at the rate of 20- 25 percentage 1 weeks to birth and unfortunately, it doesn’t show increases correspondingly to the increases in milk production. Late in the dry period, rapid growth and colostrum synthesis of fetus, increase the nutrient needs, supress the immune system and increase the risk for infection. Besides, the energy and metabolised protein needs of animals will increase about 25 percentage following their birth. 

The mineral losses in colostrum, will stimulate some metabolic diseases because of the sudden and specific nutrient needs of dairy cattle. At this point; caring and feeding management is a very important fact that should avoid serious problems. 

How Do These Diseases Affect Milk Efficiency?

  • Daily milk consumption is 7 lt. for the cattle which have health problems in the following 20 days of their birth. 
  • Daily milk consumption is 8 lt. in metritis and retention secundarium. 
  • Daily milk consumption is 8,5 lt. in ketosis and abomasum. 

The problems in fertility, treatment expenses and milk deficiency may lead to cost increases. 

In order to avoid these possible problems, cattle should be transmitted to intramammary rations after the last 3 weeks of their dry periods. 

How Should Feeding Management Be In Ration?

The Preparturient Period (The Prenatal Period)

  • Corn silage shouldn’t be more than 50 percentage of roughage and it should be limited at the rate of 6-10 kg as it is going to refer to 20- 25 percentage of the intramammary ration.
  • The rate of legume should be 1 kg at most because of the negative effects of it on anion- cation balance. 
  • Dry meadow grass, barley and dry oat are suitable to consume for this period. 
  • Fodder can freely be consumed by animals as roughage and concentrated feeds according to their km needs. 
  • Concentrated feeds should be used at the rate of 3-4 kg during the dry period and gradually be increased to 5-6 kg two or three weeks to birth.
  • Dairy and fattening feeds shouldn’t be used at this period. 
  • Wheat by-products such as bran, shouldn’t be used. 
  • The salt rate should be 35-40 gr/day and the Ca/P rate should be 2/1-1,4/1 in ration. 
  • A, D, E vitamins, selenium, minerals and trace minerals should all satisfy the needs of animals. 
  • Beet pulp and pulp shouldn’t be used. 
  • Daily consumption should be about 1-2 kg for animals at the last 2-3 weeks of the dry period. 
  • Oily seeds and residues shouldn’t be used without controlling the ration. 
  • The energy and protein level of ration should obviously be controlled. 
  • The dry material intake of animals should be under control. 

All of these are very important for Rumen adaptation. In the early period, adaptation is all but impossible because of high efficiency and low dry material intake. 

The Early Lactation Period

  • Good quality roughage with high NDF and low ADF contents, should be used in the ration. 
  • Good quality protein sources should be used to satify needs of the animals. 
  • The energy level of ration should obviously be controlled. 
  • Feeds should also be controlled in terms of vitamins and minerals and ensured about satisfying needs. 
  • Dry material intake of animals should kept under control. 
  • High protein and energy peak feeds should be used. 
  • Changes should be followed, losses should be avoided and necessary arrangements should be made. 

What Are The Factors To Be Considered In Maintanence And Herd Management?

Animals which only have 3 weeks to birth, should be maintained and fed in different stalls. Feeders, waterers and pads should be sufficiently put in an area of 14 m2 them to satisfy their needs and get around freely. 

They should be brought into the birth stalls one week to birth, frequently be observed, be away from stress and feel comfortable. 

Dry material intake should be controlled daily. Especially in hot weathers, the precautions taken for sufficiency of air conditioning and sun protection are very important. After retention secundarium, animals should be sheltered in their stalls 1- 3 days more and maintained and fed seperately from others for immune suppression and adaptation. The healthy ones can be brought to paddocks which provide sufficient feeder and pad places and have free access to water during the early lactation period. Paddocks shouldn’t be too crowded in order to be able to make observations healthier and avoid competition between animals. At this point; glucose precursors and calcium and antibiotic rich preparates can be the sources to utilise for satisfying needs of animals and avoiding possible problems. Furthermore, the vitamin and mineral needs of them should be supported outwardly to avoid losses during the pregnancy period. 


Technical Field Manager


Mesut Güner
Cattle Breeding The Transition Periods Of Cows The Effects Of Diseases On Milk Production The Prenatal Period The Early Lactation Period The Factors To Be Considered In Maintanence And Herd Management

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