Twenty-three titles have been published in this series, designed as handbooks for intermediate level agricultural education and training. They may be purchased as a set or as individual documents.
1. The way to work. The living plant
2. The plant – the root
3. The plant – the stem
4. The plant – the leaf
5. The plant – the flower
6. The soil – man and the soil
7. The soil – how the soil is made up
8. The soil – the living soil – working the soil
9. The soil – working the soil (continued)
10. The soil – conserving the soil – improving the soil
11. Animal husbandry – introduction
12. Animal husbandry – feeding animals
13. Animal husbandry – looking after animals – how cattle reproduce
14. Animal husbandry – what cattle produce
15. Keeping chickens
16. Food crops
17. Market gardening
18. The oil palm
20. Upland rice
21. Wet paddy or swamp rice
Published by arrangement with the Institut africain pour le développement économique et social
FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS
© French edition, lnstitut africain pour
le développement économique et social (INADES) 1967
© English edition, FAO 1970
This manual is a translation and adaptation of “L’élevage -les soins à donner aux bovins - comment se reproduisent les bovins,” published by the Agri-Service-Afrique of the Institut africain pour le développement économique et social (INADES), and forms part of a series of 23 booklets. Grateful acknowledgement is made to the publishers for making available this text, which it is hoped will find widespread use at the intermediate level of agricultural education and training in English-speaking countries.
It should be noted that the original texts were prepared for an African environment and this is naturally reflected in the English version. However, it is expected that many of the manuals of the series — a list of which will be found on the inside front cover — will also be of value for training in many other parts of the world. Adaptations can be made to the text where necessary owing to different climatic and ecological conditions.
Applications for permission to issue this manual in other languages are welcomed. Such applications should be addressed to: Director, Publications Division, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Via delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy.
The cover illustrations were prepared by Asun Balzola.
• Looking after animals
How to improve the traditional enclosure
How to make a cowshed and dungheap
What to do about parasites
How to take care of wounds
How to guard against diseases
Cattle should be vaccinated or inoculated
The main diseases of cattle
• How cattle reproduce
Reproductive system of the cow
Reproductive system of the bull
At what age can heifers be fertilized?
At what age can a bull fertilize cows?
Pregnancy and calving
Castration of bulls
Reasons for selecting breeding animals
How to select breeding animals
• Suggested question paper
Read pages 4 to 11.
Learn to make a shed for housing cattle.
In a well-made shed, cattle enjoy better health, and it is easier to collect manure.
To make a cowshed, one can use what is found in the village or nearby: wood, straw, earth.
The housing of animals can be greatly improved without spending much money.
Reread pages 4 to 11.
Read pages 12 to 20.
Parasites, wounds and diseases are bad for the herd. Learn how to look after the animals, how to recognize and kill parasites, how to wash wounds, and how to get animals vaccinated so that they do not fall sick.
When animals are sick, speak with the veterinary assistant or the animal husbandry service.
Read pages 21 to 30.
To improve a herd, you must know how the animals reproduce.
What you can do to make a better selection of breeding animals.
How to select males.
How to select females.
How to prevent females being serviced by a bull when they are too young.
How to look after a cow during pregnancy and at calving time.
What cattle breeds are there where you live?
Reread the whole booklet carefully; it is very long.
If you have not learned everything in four weeks, go on learning.
Do not hurry.
Answer the question paper.
1. If animals are to grow well and get strong, they have to be well fed (see Booklet No. 12).
But they also need to be
sheltered against wind, rain and sun, protected against parasites and diseases, well looked after.
So now we shall study
how to house animals, what to do against parasites, wounds and diseases.
2. Why do animals need housing?
To protect the animals against wild beasts and thieves, against wind, sun and rain, and against diseases.
3. Often people make a small enclosure to keep the animals in. This small enclosure is made with posts and branches. But it does not protect the animals well.
4. In a traditional enclosure
There are often too many animals
The cattle remain standing on a mixture of earth, excrement, urine and water. They can’t lie down.
They are very dirty
When animals are dirty, their wounds do not heal well, especially wounds on the feet. Diseases multiply. Every time an animal is sick, the farmer loses money.
Calves especially are in danger
Parasites and diseases attack them more easily. Many calves die. Every time a calf dies, the farmer loses money.
5. In a traditional enclosure
It is impossible to make good manure.
Instead one gets a mixture of earth and excrement. This mixture is not as good for the fields as real manure.
The traditional enclosure needs to be improved
6. One way would be to put up a modern construction with sheet iron and a concrete floor.
Once the output of milk and meat is larger, and the products sell better, the farmer will be able to afford to spend money on a modern stable.
At present the farmer often does not earn enough from the products of his animals and their sale to afford to spend money on a modern stable.
7. But there are ways in which the housing of animals can be improved without spending a lot of money, and merely by using wood, earth and straw which the farmer finds on the spot.
8. Before spending money, you should always calculate what the expenditure will yield.
If the expenditure does not yield enough, it is not profitable.
The farmer will become poorer and will feel discouraged.
9. Animals must not be left to stand on a mixture of earth, excrement and water. Choose a dry place. If you put up your shed in a hollow, the rainwater will collect there and will not run off.
Animals must be protected against the wind. Put up a wall on the side from which the wind usually blows.
Animals must be protected against sun and rain. Put up a straw roof.
10. When the cowshed is ready, spread straw on the ground. This straw, mixed with excrement and urine, rots and makes manure.
When the straw is rotted, put a layer of dry, clean straw on top of it. In this way, your animals will always be on clean straw.
When there is a lot of manure in the cowshed, take it away. You can either take it straight to the field and mix it at once with the soil by ploughing it in, or else you can make a dungheap near the shed. Then you can take the manure to the field when you start ploughing.
To transport straw and manure, use a cart.
11. The animals must not be too crowded inside the cowshed.
If they are too crowded, there is not enough room to lie down and they may hurt themselves. A cow needs 5 to 6 square metres of room inside the shed.
In a cowshed 5 metres wide and 7 metres long, there is room for 6 cows.
12. Next to the cowshed, make a pen where the animals can walk about.
Surround it with a strong fence made out of posts, branches or thorns.
Leave a few trees inside to give shade.
Inside the pen, put feed troughs where you can give the animals their feed supplement, and watering troughs where the animals can drink. The feed troughs and watering troughs can be made with hollowed tree trunks or barrels cut in half.
The gates of the shed and the pen must be big enough for a cart to enter.
Parasites are little animals that live on the skin or in the body of other animals.
13. Parasites that live on the skin.
Chief among the parasites that live on the skin of cattle are the ticks.
Ticks bite through the skin of the animals and suck blood.
If an animal has many ticks, it can lose up to half a litre of blood a day. After a time it may become very weak.
Ticks wound animals.
Often you can see an animal’s ears damaged by ticks.
Often you can see animals that have wounds on the udder. In that case the cows are difficult to milk, and they will not let their calves suckle.
Ticks may also bring serious diseases.
They spread fevers, typhus, brucellosis and piroplas-mosis.
14. Ticks can be killed with pesticides such as DDT and BHC.
Ticks can also be killed with paraffin. Soak a piece of cloth in paraffin and rub the places on the body where there are ticks.
This must be done often and over and over again.
15. The veterinary services can tell you what pesticides to use, and can help you to apply the treatment. They may even lend you certain appliances with which to spread the pesticide over the animal’s body. Often the same appliances are used as those with which plants are treated.
16. Parasites that live in the body
Generally parasites live in the intestine. Many are worms: tapeworms, roundworms, pinworms.
Sometimes they live in the muscles or the lungs, as for instance strongyles.
They injure the intestine and the animals cannot digest properly.
Animals that have worms lose weight and sometimes die.
To kill these parasites, the animals are given medicine such as phenothiazine. There are traditional medicines that can also be used.
A good way to control parasites is to let pastures rest.
The eggs of the parasites fall on the pasture with the animals’ excrement. They develop in the grass, and then they can attach themselves to the skin of the animals, or the animals may eat them together with grass (ticks, worms).
If you let the pasture rest long enough, the parasites cannot feed on the animals. So they die.
To control parasites, rest your pasture. Do not put the animals always on the same pasture.
17. The wounds of animals need to be attended to carefully.
If you see an ox or a cow that has difficulty walking (that limps), that bleeds after a fight with another animal or that has hurt itself, lose no time in looking after it.
If you wait, the wound may get worse. It may get infected.
An infected wound does not heal quickly. It may prevent the animal from walking, from going to the pasture, from working and from giving milk. A cow that suffers pain gives less milk.
18. Find out how the animal got hurt.
Has it a thorn in its foot? Has a piece of wood or iron torn the skin? Has the rope, the collar or the yoke rubbed too much or has it been too tight? Is there a vicious animal in the herd?
Once you have discovered how the animal got hurt, remove whatever has caused the wound. Do not work the animal; it is better to lose a few days’ work than to lose the animal.
19. Take care of the wound.
Clean the wound with hot water. Add to the water some disinfectant that will prevent the wound becoming more infected. A wound that is always kept clean heals quickly. So the wound should be washed regularly.
20. In addition to parasites that live on the skin and in the body of animals, there are other diseases which prevent them from growing and may even kill them.
Rinderpest (cattle plague) and other major diseases are now less frequent than in the past. Nevertheless, there are still many diseases to be guarded against. These diseases cause the farmer to lose a lot of money.
An animal that is badly fed, badly housed, badly looked after, often has little resistance against disease.
To make animals more resistant against disease, they should be well fed, given clean water to drink, well housed, well looked after when they are hurt.
21. Children are vaccinated or inoculated to prevent them getting ill.
Animals should also be vaccinated or inoculated.
22. All animals should be taken for vaccination or inoculation. Ask the veterinarian for advice.
Vaccination or inoculation is free of charge and often obligatory.
If farmers do not take all their animals to be vaccinated or inoculated, those that have been left out may catch the illness.
The illness then remains in the district.
Vaccination or inoculation can make animals listless for a while, but it is not dangerous if they are well cared for.
Go to see the veterinary surgeon when you need him.
23. When a man is ill, he goes to see the doctor.
When an animal is ill, you ask for advice from the veterinary assistant or veterinary surgeon. He will tell you what treatment is needed.
24. Sick animals must be isolated.
Why? Because of contagion.
There are two kinds of diseases:
Contagious diseases pass from one animal to another. If one animal in the herd is sick, it can pass on the disease to the others. Examples are rinderpest and anthrax.
Noncontagious diseases do not pass from one animal to another. If one animal is sick, its disease is no danger for the other animals.
25. When an animal has a contagious disease, it must be isolated.
Do not leave the sick animal with the rest of the herd. In this way you may avoid contagion for the rest of the herd.
Never eat the meat of animals which have died from contagious diseases like tuberculosis. This disease can be passed on from an animal to people.
Never let your herd mix with strange herds passing through, especially if they come from far away. Passing herds may bring disease with them.
Never let into your herd an animal you have bought unless you are sure it has been vaccinated or inoculated.
Such an animal could infect the whole herd.
If a country is to have modern animal husbandry, there must be a veterinary service, and all farmers should follow the advice of this service.
The disease begins with a high fever. The animal is tired; its breathing gets faster; it shows lesions on the mucous membranes, first on the genitals, later on the lips, the nose and around the eyes; pus oozes from the lesions; the animal slobbers.
During the first few days of the disease, the animal is very constipated, later it has severe diarrhoea, in which blood can be seen and which stinks very badly. After a few more days, the animal dies.
This disease is highly contagious. It can cause the whole herd to die within a few weeks. Contagion comes through drinking water being dirtied by pus or the excrement of sick animals. There is a vaccine for this disease.
At the beginning, this disease is hard to recognize. The sick animals cough in the morning; they have a slight fever and eat less. The disease may go on like that for several months. Later, the cough becomes more severe; the animal can even be made to cough by tapping its chest; breathing becomes faster and faster; the animal stops eating and dies. Its lungs are ravaged by the disease.
Pleuropneumonia is not highly contagious; it passes from one animal to another only by means of prolonged contact.
Vaccination against this disease is recommended, and often even obligatory.
This disease often takes a very rapid course. It begins with a high fever, followed by diarrhoea with blood. The animal dies within two days.
The blood of the dead animal is thick and black.
Animals that die of this disease must be burned.
If a man eats the meat of animals dead of anthrax, he can catch the disease. If the dead animals are buried, the disease stays in the soil, and other animals which graze grass at that spot catch the disease. There is a vaccine against this disease.
Animals which have this disease limp; they have swellings on their muscles; they die quickly. Their meat is full of black swellings which have a very bad smell.
Animals dying of this disease must be burned.
This will avoid infecting the pastures.
There is a serum for treating this disease, and a vaccine for protecting healthy animals.
Trypanosomiasis is a disease that greatly weakens animals, because it attacks their blood. Some animals may die of the disease.
The disease is transmitted by a fly which lives in hot and humid regions, especially where there are woods. This fly is called the glossina or tsetse fly.
Some animals are fairly resistant to this disease, others such as zebu cattle, asses and horses are not.
Oxen are resistant, zebus are not; animals obtained from crossing the two are more resistant than pure zebus.
Some goats are resistant, others are not.
All animals are more resistant when they are well fed and well looked after.
In certain regions, the tsetse fly occurs only in the neighbourhood of stagnant water and during certain months of the year. Local herdsmen should know where to take their herds, to places without flies.
There are remedies for treating this disease.
Many other diseases may attack cattle, such as piro-plasmosis (Texas fever) which is transmitted by ticks, tuberculosis which can be passed on to people, enteritis, contagious abortion, and others.
Only the most important diseases are mentioned here.
31. Let us study how cattle reproduce.
It is very important to study this, in order to improve animal husbandry.
When you have a good knowledge of how cattle reproduce, you must learn what animals to select for breeding and when to let them breed.
In this way, you will get bigger animals, animals that grow faster and are stronger, that produce more milk and meat, and work more — provided you feed them properly.
32. To understand how animals reproduce, you should study the reproductive organs of the females and the males so as to understand reproduction and learn how to improve the herd.
33. The reproductive organs of the cow are inside the animal.
All you can see from outside is the entry to the whole system which is called the vulva.
34. The cow has two ovaries. Every three weeks, the ovaries produce an ovule.
If the cow is served at that moment by a bull, the ovule is fertilized. It develops into a calf.
35. The reproductive system of the bull consists of two testicles, which hang down between the hind legs, of the penis and of two ducts which connect the testicles with the penis.
36. The testicles produce the semen which fertilizes the ovule.
The fertilized ovule eventually becomes a calf.
37. The ovaries begin to produce ovules when a heifer is 9 or 10 months old. From that moment on heifers can be fertilized.
Do not allow a heifer to be served by a bull when she is too young, for she cannot continue to grow herself as well as make the calf inside her grow. Also you may have accidents when the calf is born, at calving. Wait until the heifer is big and strong enough before you let her be served. When she is ready will depend on the kind of feeding and management you give her.
If you have a heifer that grows slowly, you may even have to wait longer. A heifer may be old enough to be fertilized, but she may not be strong enough and not developed enough to feed the calf inside her and to grow herself.
By waiting you lose time. But later you gain, for you will have fine cows and big calves.
38. The testicles of young bulls begin to produce semen when the bulls are about 8 months old.
Do not allow cows to be served by too young a bull. The bull will get tired, will not grow well, will not eat enough, and will develop poorly.
Until a bull is 18 months old he should serve only a few cows each month.
39. To make sure that heifers are not fertilized too young, and that bulls do not service too many females before they are 18 months old, never put together in one herd heifers that are too young with bulls, or bulls that are too young with cows.
40. When a cow carries a calf in its womb, we say she is pregnant. Pregnancy begins with fertilization and ends with the birth of the calf; it lasts about 9½ months. When a cow gives birth to a calf it is called calving.
41. If the cow has already had a calf and is on poor feed, she must not be allowed to suckle the calf for more than 5 or 6 months after the new pregnancy has begun. The calf inside the cow now needs more nourishment. The cow cannot nourish the calf inside her and also give milk to her previous calf.
42. A few days before calving the cow’s udder swells. When calving begins, part of the membranes which envelop the calf in its mother’s womb are expelled, and also the water which surrounded the calf. Next the calf’s legs appear —
either the two forelegs
or the two hind legs.
Sometimes you have to pull carefully on the calf’s legs, to help the mother give birth.
When the calf is out, if the umbilical cord still joins it with the cow, cut and disinfect it, and clean the caff carefully.
After calving, the rest of the membranes come out. All must be expelled. Otherwise they may rot inside the cow and cause her to die.
43. When the calf is born, the mother licks if with her tongue. Let the cow lick her calf.
At that time the cow is often thirsty. Give her water to drink.
During the first few days after the birth of the calf, the cow’s milk is thick and yellow.
The young calf must drink that milk, for it has vitamins and will also help the calf to resist disease.
Manage your calves with great care. They are delicate. They easily pick up parasites or diseases. To protect them, have them vaccinated or inoculated.
Look after your young calves well; feed and house them well. Otherwise, they may die and you will lose money.
44. A cow should produce a calf each year.
Pregnancy lasts about 9½ months.
After the birth of the calf, the cow will suckle it for three months. After that, the cow can be served again by a bull. So the cow can produce a calf every year.
If you have 20 cows in your herd, you should have 20 calves born every year. II you only get 10 new calves, the herd does not produce enough. You will not earn enough money from your herd.
45. If a cow has been repeatedly served by the bull and does not produce a calf, she is sterile. A cow may be sterile because she is badly fed, or because her reproductive organs are diseased, or because she is too old. Feed her well for several months so as to fatten her and sell her at a good price.
46. A cow should be sold before she is too old.
In this way you can still get a good price for her. If you wait too long before selling her, you may get an extra calf but the cow will fetch a lower price.
A herd of 15 cows needs only one good breeding bull. The other male animals in the herd should be castrated. A castrated male animal is called a bullock, or ox.
47. How to castrate a bull.
One can either remove the testicles or crush the ducts which connect the testicles to the penis. The animal husbandry service and the livestock assistants have instruments for castrating bulls. Ask them for help.
48. Why castrate bulls?
After castration bulls are calmer, they are not vicious and it is easier to harness them.
They fatten more quickly. Their meat is better.
They cannot fertilize the cows; in this way you can prevent poor breeding animals from reproducing, and can leave them in the herd.
49. At what age should bulls be castrated?
As early as possible if you want to sell them later on to the butcher.
If you want to train them for work, they can be castrated up to the age of about 18 months. If you wait until the animal is 18 months old, it must be separated from the herd so that it does not mate with the cows.
Bulls and cows must be carefully selected because the calves take after their parents.
50. Cows that give much milk generally produce female calves that will also give a lot of milk when they grow up.
This quality is passed on from mother to daughter.
Cows that grow fast and fatten quickly often produce calves that will also grow and fatten quickly.
This quality is passed on from the mother to its calves.
51. Bulls that grow fast and fatten well, that have well-developed bones and muscles, that are not vicious, often produce calves that also grow and fatten well, that have well-developed bones and muscles, that are not vicious.
Calves often have the good qualities of the bull.
52. Bulls born from a cow that gave much milk often produce females that will also give much milk.
The good qualities of the bull’s mother are often passed on to the bull’s daughter.
53. The bad qualities of the parents are also passed on to their calves.
54. It is most important, therefore, to select the right bull and cows. It is easier to improve a herd by selecting the bull. The reason for this is that a cow passes on her qualities to only one calf each year, but the bull gives his qualities to all the calves in the herd.
55. Select breeding animals that are well shaped,
if you want to have cattle that are strong for work, produce a lot of milk, fatten fast and produce a lot of meat.
Eat or sell all poorly developed animals. Keep animals that have good muscles. The muscles of the back and the hindquarters are especially important, for they give the best meat and fatten fast.
Select breeding animals that are resistant to diseases.
Select breeding animals that give a lot of milk.
It is important to select cows that give a lot of milk: they can nourish their calves well. You can also milk them, and either drink or sell the milk.
In a traditional ___________ it is impossible to make good manure.
Next to the shed one makes a ___________
___________ fasten onto the skin of animals and suck blood.
Cattle should be ___________ to prevent them getting ill.
The testicles of the bull produce ___________
A cow should be ___________ before she is too old.
Can the qualities of the bull be passed on to his calves?
How should you choose the spot to put up a cowshed?
Why should you kill the parasites that live on the skin of animals?
What should you do to kill parasites that live in the body of animals?
What is rinderpest?
At what age can heifers be fertilized?
Where you live, how could you put up a cowshed?
What do you have to do when an animal is sick?
Why and how should you select bulls and cows for breeding?
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Better Farming Series, no.13. This handbook is designed for intermediate level agricultural education and training. This manual is a translation and adaptation of "L'Ã©levage - les soins a donner aux bovins - comment se reproduisent les bovins," published by the Agri-ServiceAfrique of the lnstitut africain pour le developpement economique et social (INADES), and forms part of a series of booklets. Grateful acknowledgement is made to the publishers for making this text available for English-language agricultural education and training.This illustrated manual instructs the user on how to house animals and breed cattle, including how to improve enclosures, what to do about parasites, how to take care of wound, vaccination, cattle diseases, reproduction systems, fertilization, pregnancy, calving and castration of bulls.