General information

How to buy and how to choose the right cow

The choice of a good dairy cow is a difficult task not only for animal owners, but even for a zootechnical specialist, since the appearance of an animal does not always characterize its productive capabilities. What you need to know and what to pay attention to?
First, find out which breed your chosen animal belongs to. When choosing cows for household, preference is given to animals of specialized dairy breeds, since they significantly exceed the animals of other breeds in the amount of milk produced per unit of live weight. If it is desirable to get both meat and milk, then the combined breeds of dairy-meat and meat-dairy cattle are most suitable in this case. But it is most advisable to acquire animals of the breed that is bred in this area in state and collective farm enterprises. This largely provides offspring from high-value producers, which is very important in the further economic use of livestock. In our country, more than 50 breeds of livestock are bred, but at the same time, the 7 major ones constitute more than 80% of the total livestock. These are such breeds as black-and-white, red steppe, Kholmogory, Yaroslavl, Simmental, Schwyz, Kazakh white-headed. Each of these breeds is characterized not only by external differences, but also by the level and direction of productivity, has a certain zone of distribution, etc. For example, in the direction of productivity of the breed is divided into milk - black and variegated, red steppe, Kholmogory, Yaroslavl, combined (milk and meat, meat and milk) - Simmental, Schwyz, meat - Kazakh white-headed, etc.
When acquiring adult animals, it is necessary to know the age of the cow, since the milk productivity of cows increases with age to the 5th – 7th calving, and then gradually decreases. First heifers usually produce 70–80% of the yield of full-aged cows. In the absence of data on the age of the cow, they can be established with a certain degree of accuracy. For example, the age in hotels can be determined by the number of horn rings. Horn rings are the result of internal restructuring of the body under the influence of pregnancy. However, if the nutrition of the animals was full during this period, then the rings are barely noticeable on the horn, and, conversely, if the feeding was insufficient, then the rings can be seen very clearly. The ring of cows that have been chilled during this period is not formed. The first ring appears in the animal after the 1st calving at the age of 2.5-3 years. Therefore, in order to determine the age of a cow, it is necessary to add its age to the 1st calving to the number of rings present on the horn. With greater accuracy, the age of cows and young cattle can be determined by teeth. This definition is based on a strict sequence of changing milk teeth to permanent ones, as well as on erasing permanent incisors and changing the shape of the friction surface of the teeth. Determining the age of livestock on the form of an erasable surface requires a certain skill, so it is difficult for livestock owners, but it’s easy to remember the order of changing milk teeth to permanent ones.
Baby teeth are very different in size from permanent ones. They are thin and narrow, permanent teeth, on the contrary, are long and wide. Of course, the aforementioned methods for determining age are necessary in the case when there is no data on the age and origin of the animal. Origin data is also an important factor when choosing a cow. Naturally, from a more productive cow is more likely to get more valuable offspring. Therefore, data on milk production of mothers, sisters, and also half sisters for the father (if any) can, to a certain extent, guarantee a good choice. Numerous data from scientific studies suggest that the milk content of livestock is transmitted to offspring (inherited) by 30–40%, and the fat content in milk is 70–80%.
When choosing a cow, considerable attention is paid to external forms: exterior and constitution. The cow should be harmoniously folded, with a flat top line. Respiratory type is characteristic of dairy cows. Their ribs are obliquely directed, so that such animals have a larger receptacle for internal organs. It is considered a positive indicator if the distance between the two last ribs is three to four fingers (5-6 cm). A good dairy cow has a light head, thin skin, elastic, with a large number of small folds on the neck, hair is small in size, shiny. Legs strong, back wide. The animal should not be high-legged, but also not unnecessarily low-legged, as this makes milking difficult. The saber and hind limbs, as well as the size of the front limbs, are serious drawbacks. Spinal slackness, interception behind the shoulder blades, narrowness and other undesirable signs indicate poor heredity or unsatisfactory rearing of this animal and, of course, have a negative impact on its productivity and reproductive abilities.
When selecting an animal, special attention should be paid to the udder. The udder should be bulky, cup-shaped, with wide-set nipples.
When buying a cow, you must milk it. For convenience in manual milking, the nipples should be somewhat larger than that of state farm and collective farm cows, where mechanical milking is carried out. Milk from all nipples should be poured in a steady stream, without any effort when dispensing. It is unacceptable that the milk from the nipples spilled spontaneously.
The cow should be easy to milk. After milking, a good glandular udder falls off strongly, forming a large folding, which is better visible from the back of the cow. The larger the space that takes the udder between the hind limbs (in practice it is called the "milk mirror"), the more voluminous and, therefore, more productive the udder. The skin of the udder should be thin, mobile, with small and sparse covering hair. Attention should be paid to the development of milk veins. Dairy veins are located on the belly on both sides of the midline - from the front of the udder to the place of their entry into the chest cavity. The thickness of the veins, especially at the place of their entry into the chest (the so-called "dairy wells"), indirectly indicates the intensity of the breast. It is known, for example, that 400–600 liters of blood passes through the udder of cows to form 1 kg of milk, therefore in practice it is so important to take this feature into account. An essential role in the selection of animals is played by the temperament of the animal. Cows should not be phlegmatic, since this is not characteristic of dairy-type cows, but they should not be overly excitable, as this is due to the great difficulties of their maintenance. It is best to keep in the household of cows, which belong to the quiet type. When buying a cow or heifer, it is very important to familiarize yourself with the veterinary certificate, in which the veterinarian indicates the dates of vaccinations and diagnostics, the first condition that livestock owners must fulfill is to inseminate their cows with sperm of only the best producing bulls. To this end, livestock associations may conclude contracts with state stations of artificial insemination for the purchase of bull sperm, rated by the quality of offspring as improvers. This can guarantee a new offspring, which will be significantly better than the maternal in all indicators (including productivity). Grown-up calves also need to be inseminated with sperm of the best bulls, as a result of which, after 3-4 generations, a valuable array of breeding cattle can be created in individual farms.

If you have already bought a cow, it's time to go to the selection of milking machines.

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Appearance of dairy cows

The thorax of such cows, as a rule, is wide and deep, with distinct wide indentations between the ribs. Dairy cows have a relatively small slightly elongated head. The horns of such cows are small and thin, the withers are sharp and not forked. The back and the back of the torso from above is straight. If you pay attention to the back of the torso, you will notice that it is well developed, wide, the distance between the macaques and the hip joints is almost the same. There is no problem with calving of such cows. Pay attention to the tail and skin, the tail should be long and thin, and the skin should be elastic and easy to fold into folds, but without excess fat.

Udder of milk cows

Udder in dairy cows is very important, therefore, they are very carefully approached to his inspection and give him a lot of attention. In high cows, it should be large, and on it should grow thin soft hairs. After milking is significantly reduced in volume, forming skin folds on the back, and becomes soft. The skin on the udder on the eye seems very elastic, and in cows that do not have a milk udder after milk yield remains almost the same in volume and looks dense and fleshy.

Age of the cow, how to determine

It needs to be known, because with age not only the vital indicators of a cow decrease, but with age and yields become smaller. Cows have the highest productivity in the first third of lactation after which milk yield declines. If you are not provided with accurate data on the birth of a cow, then you can try to determine it yourself, do it by looking at the number of rollers on the horns, they indicate the number of calving, we add 2-3 years to the number of these rollers.

After acquiring a cow, you should not make hasty conclusions about her milk yield; in the early days, it can be much smaller than the potential cow can give, all this wine is stressful, which is associated with the move, a removable host and a diet.

If you bought a low-income cow, you should try to return it to avoid problems with the previous owner, before buying it is better to draw up a contract and make a clause about it, if the cow cannot give as much milk as she should give according to the seller, you should return.

We hope our advice will help you in choosing a cow, and it will delight you with high yields and fatty, tasty milk!