It has been repeatedly proved that breeders who do not know the biological and economic characteristics of cattle are doomed to failure in breeding of cattle. And here it does not matter if the person owns a large farm or decided to buy one cow. So that you do not have such an opportunity, let's look at how the body of cows, calves and gobies is arranged, and at the same time we go through the main stages of keeping and in general terms we learn the subtleties of breeding cattle.
Absolutely all the representatives of the cattle that are cultivated in our country are mammals that are bent-faced. Like all bulls, cows are herbivores. But the main difference from the rest of the herbivores is the belonging of the cows to the category of ruminants.
The length of females on average varies in the region of 1.8-2.2 m. Classically, the measurement is taken from the tip of the nose to the rear edge of the body, the tail is not taken into account. Bulls are much more cows, here the minimum length is 2 m, and the maximum can reach up to 3.2 m.
Another important parameter of the exterior of cows is considered to be the height at the withers. Most of the dairy, meat and dairy breeds grow from 1.2 to 1.6 m. But there are dwarf breeds, for example, Yakut cows, whose growth varies from 1-1.2 m. At that time, breeding bulls of meat breeds can grow to 1.8-2 m.
If you take all the breeds, the weight of the cows is 360 - 800 kg. Ordinary bulls of dairy and meat and dairy breeds are gaining 700-1200 kg, and the mass of breeding record holders reaches 2 tons. But the biological characteristics of cattle directly depend on physiological processes. And the first on the list is digestion.
Mouth and esophagus in cows are typical of mammals. But they have a special stomach, it consists of 4 working departments:
- the first is the scar, in cows it is able to accommodate 140-160 liters of feed;
- behind the scar is the net, its volume is about 8-10 liters;
- further is a book with a volume of 12-15 liters;
- closes the gastric chain ichug with a capacity of 15-17 liters.
Interestingly, in the process of digestion, the first 3 sections of the stomach are indirectly involved, the food is prepared in them. The walls of the rumen are rough and covered with many small papillae. In the grid, the walls are covered with wrinkles, and in the book they look like leaves. These 3 divisions do not produce gastric juice, and enzymes that affect the breakdown of fiber. They sort of grind food, which is then digested in the abomasum and intestines.
When a cow eats, the food is actively wetted by saliva and enters the scar in the semi-coarsened state. After eating a cow go to rest. During rest, she from the rumen in small portions spits up food and chews it additionally. After that, the food, passing the "millstones" of the grid and books, enters the abomasum, where it is already digested.
If you feed the cow in unlimited quantities, for example, on free grazing, it is noticed that she spends eating a meal about a quarter of a day (5-6 hours). Moreover, cows with high productivity eat longer and spend more time on chewing gum. More precisely, they often fall for digestion. And low-productive ones quickly gorge themselves and then practically do not get up, trying to digest everything.
Depending on what the cow ate and in what quantity, it produces manure from 15 to 45 kg per day. She goes to the “toilet” at least 7 times, and with large amounts of food, this figure increases to 15-18 times. Urine is also quite active, in an adult cow its volume varies between 8-24 liters. Again, all these parameters are strongly dependent on the season, the mobility of the animal and the volume of fluid consumed.
On free grazing, an average cow eats up to 80 kg of green grass per day. High-yielding and fattening livestock need additional food, the lion's share of which is feed and vitamin supplements. Per day, cows are 10-12 hours, plus they take 6-8 hours to chewing gum.
The sequence of periods for the year
According to the physiology of cattle, adult cows go through several very important periods during the year. It is clear that one of the most important moments in the life of any cow is the birth of a calf, from this moment we will count.
As soon as the calf was born, the cow begins the so-called service period. Ideally, it lasts until the moment when the cow becomes pregnant again with another calf. During this period, a lot of worries “fall down” on the cow. Firstly, she needs to feed the baby, secondly, to recover after childbirth, and thirdly, to get pregnant again.
If, during the service period 120 days after the birth, the cow could not get pregnant, then it goes into the category of yalovyh, which entails losses for the owner and poor health for the burenk.
By the way, in the same service period, blood is distributed and then 305 days of active lactation take place (a cow gives milk). Not later than 60 days before the intended delivery, there is a launching period (7-14 days), when the cow is stopped to be milked. Running smoothly into the dry period of fattening before childbirth. After that, everything repeats again.
Masthead and sex hunting
Techka or sexual cycle in cows occurs at intervals of 18-21 days. Hunting is called the time when the animal is ready for sex and wants it. The hunt itself is part of a cycle and occurs during estrus. Depending on the breed and temperament, the cow in various ways shows to others its desire.
As a rule, cows become restless, often mooing and freezing when the bull approaches them. The whole process can develop from 1 to 3 days. Bulls by smell hear the beginning of estrus in an individual. But immediately allow the bull to such a cow is undesirable. You need to wait until the egg comes out of the follicle, otherwise fertilization will not occur.
The mechanism works something like this - closer to the beginning of the hunt in the ovaries (a paired organ in the peritoneum of the cow), eggs are produced. Each egg is enclosed in a sheath called the follicle.
Hunting occurs when the egg begins to mature and the follicle enlarges, filling up with hormonal fluid (folliculin). Having reached a critical point, the follicle is torn, and at this moment sperm must be nearby to fertilize the egg.
Service Period Physiology
Health and timely fertilization of cows depends on competent actions in the service period. A cow must come to the birth with normal fatness. At the beefy animal the appetite will be gone. This means that the cow will receive less nutrition, plus all 4 chambers of the stomach, compressed during pregnancy, will return to normal longer.
A skinny cow gives birth to the last forces during a labor shake and enters the service period with a negative energy balance. In this case, the new conception and speech can not be. First, the cow needs to pass the zero boundary of the energy balance, and only after that it will have a desire.
Under the condition of normal feeding after childbirth, a lean cow gains the necessary weight for conception in 45-60 days. By the way, beefy comes back to normal about the same time. But a competently prepared burenka is able to conceive on the very first hunt, that is, 21 days after giving birth.
There is one more thing. In the first 100 days of the service period cow with milk gives more energy than it receives from the feed. Weight loss is 70-120 kg. So do not be alarmed when your cow loses weight. That is how it should be. The main thing is that weight loss does not exceed the norm.
Physiology of young stock
The owners make especially many mistakes in the first months of life of the calves. As a rule, with childbirth everything goes more or less smoothly, as they are usually invited to the veterinarian. But the further development of the baby is controlled by the owner himself, and here it is important to do everything in stages.
First of all, remember - the calf should drink its first portion of colostrum for a maximum of 2 hours after birth. The nutritional value of colostrum is 10-12 times higher than that of ordinary milk. But the most important thing is that with the first portion of colostrum a useful microflora enters the baby’s stomach, which is not there before. Without it, the digestive tract will not start.
The second, but no less dangerous mistake is over-long feeding with mother's milk. Approximately for 4-6 days it is necessary to begin feeding with first pre-starter feeds, such as oatmeal jelly.
A week later, you need to enter the so-called starter mixture, followed by coarse feed. The main task by the age of six months to stretch the baby's scar to the required size and fully transfer it to an adult diet. The topic of nutrition of young stock is quite extensive, we say only that it is better to start with special feed.
Another biological feature of cattle is the difference between the sexual and physiological maturity of cows. The term "puberty" should be understood to mean the time when the heifers are able to conceive a calf, and the bulls are able to fertilize the heifers. In cows, puberty begins at 6-9 months, depending on the breed. Gobies begin to be interested in the female half at 7-8 months of life.
It is precisely because of early sexual maturity that youngsters at six months of age are divided and bred in different pens, while the beef cattle of the meat direction matures earlier and it is desirable to breed it as early as 4 months.
Physiological or economic maturity occurs at about 14-18 months. This is the age when active growth of cows comes to an end. Different breeds this age varies. But there is a rule that it is undesirable to fertilize a heifer until she has gained about 70% of the design weight of an adult cow.
Both sexual and economic maturity of a cow are affected by a number of factors. So meat breeds ripen faster than dairy. Much also depends on feed, and animals mature in warm regions faster than in the north.
Biological features of breeding
The normal gestation period for an average cow is 285 days. Biological features of cattle allow the birth of twins in 2-3% of cases. Triplets are even less common. Under such conditions, breeding work is quite extended over time.
Naturally, in a dairy herd, it is important how much a cow produces milk and how fat it is. But it is possible to reject unproductive cows only according to the results of the second lactation period. Simply put, closer to the third genera. On the first lactation, not all cows can show a good result. The young organism of the primiparous heifer is simply not yet accustomed to new conditions.
But if by the end of the second lactation the cow does not reach the desired results, then it must be rejected and removed. Feed in a minus pointless, and even worse that this cow will give the same spoiled offspring. And then the number of low-producing individuals will grow in arithmetic progression.
On the one hand, the assessment of bulls is somewhat simpler, because on average a normal herd, the number of newborn bulls and calves is about the same. At the same time, most of the bulls are fattened for meat and only a few are left for breeding.
If everything is in order with feeds and conditions of keeping, then the meat goby can be determined already after 12 months, and by the age of one and a half, they are leaving for slaughter weight. This weight is determined depending on the animal belonging to a particular breed.
It is much harder to work with breeding bulls. Such biological characteristics of cattle as good milk yield, full-fat milk and high-quality meat are transmitted through the male line. Especially it concerns the dairy direction.
Therefore, in order to prove good genes in a bull, you need to wait until a heifer is born from it. Then this little chick will give birth 2 times and by the results of the second lactation will show a decent result. On average, all this takes about 5-7 years. That is why the price of a breeding bull can be several times higher than the cost of a high-beef cow.
Criteria for assessing biological features
It is a mistake to think that the assessment of cows on a number of grounds is relevant only for livestock breeding. Now even on small farms breeders are trying to conduct breeding work. Plus, it is important for any owner to possess this information when choosing a new herd.
Dairy direction is estimated by the volume of milk, the percentage of fat and vitamin-protein component. But there is more to come, now the adaptation of cows to machine milking, the development of the udder, as well as the completeness and speed of issue, play a large role.
For both meat and dairy products, animal resistance to dangerous and regional diseases plays an important role. Therefore, when choosing it is useful to ask about the vaccination passport. We do not see any point in recommending something on the exterior characteristics, since each breed has its own characteristics.
According to statistics, cattle breeding is experiencing a boom, perhaps even one of your friends is now interested in such a business. If the material was useful to you, share it with your friends and they will thank you for the like.