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Things you must know before starting a cattle farm

  • How to feed cattle?
  • How to select cows?
  • Where do I get calf for sale?
  • How to manage a dairy farm?
  • How is cattle farm management done?
  • How do I learn about the cattle market in Kerala?

Above are a few questions that will sprout in your mind when thinking to start a cattle farm. You might be in love with cows and thinking to turn it into a source of income. But, the zillions of doubts did bar you from attaining the dream. Not anymore, as here is the answer to all your queries.

Analyze the dimension of the cattle farm

The first step to building a cattle farm is by finding the right cow shed. You might already have space in your mind, but it is crucial to determine if it is the right cattle farm dimensions. Along with the cowshed, a cattle farm has a feed store, manure pit, chaff cutter shed, milking parlour and multiple nitty-gritty spaces. An ideal area of 500 sq. Ft per animal will be sufficient. As your herd increases, you can also work with 350 sq — Ft per animal. 

Know your cattle

Cows are your assets when you want to start a cattle farm. You must equip yourself with all the

information regarding their types, feeds, milking, insemination, vaccinations etc.  The popular cow breeds in India are Gir, Sahiwal, Red Sindhi and Tharpakar. The western breeds known to provide a lot of milk are Jersey, Brown Swiss and Holstein Fresian. You can select as per your choice. Cattle farms may also have buffalos as their milk is high in fat content. The popular Indian buffalo breeds are Murrah, Surti and Jaffarabadi.

Inspect the breed quality

Buying cattle is the most crucial part of your business. If you lay lands on one that provides optimum quantity and quality of milk, it ensures your success. Do not rush to buy when you find a cow for sale. Try to milk it at least 3 times before deciding to purchase it. For a buffalo, the average milk quantity should be at least 12 litres. In case of a cow buy it only if a minimum of 16 litres of milk is measured.Do not buy all your cows in one go. Maintain 2 months interval for consistency in milk supply.

Cow Nutrition

1 litre of fresh milk = 5 litres of clean, freshwater

Yes, that is the amount of water required to produce enough milk for your dairy. Hence, uninterrupted supply of water is essential. Buy an automatic water bowl for cattle so that your animals never face water shortage.

The cow digestive system is complex with 4 compartments and a lot of microbes to break down food into nutrients. Its ration may hugely consist of grass, total mix ration (TMR) or a combination of both. Consult a nutritionist to determine what will be the best for your pregnant, dry and heifer cattle. 

If you plan to graze the cattle solely, it may require a vast amount of land and labour. You can decide on how to do that while keeping in mind the capital invested in the business.  For calves buy a calf feeding bottle so that they receive the required nutrition.

Comfort in the cattle shed

Merely building a cattle shed is not enough. You must provide the cow with things to relax and

enjoy its stay there. Here are a few necessities. 

  • The place must be well ventilated with plenty of natural light. 
  • It must be on a high area so that rain waters do not fill the space.
  •  It should be at least 900 sq. meters away from the roadside.
  • The floors must be non-slippery.
  • The cubicle of each cow must be at least 50 sq. Feet. 
  • Invest in a cow mat because cows produce most of their milk while sitting. 
  • Hence a rubber mat for cows will help reduce injury, increase lying time and also increase blood flow in the cows.
  • Include an automatic water sprayer for cattle to evade flys and mosquitoes from biting the herd.
  • Clean the place regularly to avoid breeding of mosquitoes and other organisms that might irritate the cattle.
  • The milking machines When you own a farm, it is hygienic and easy to use a milking machine rather than doing the job by hands. 

Delaval milking machines are fully automated and suitable for small and large cattle farms. It is designed in a way that it can be useful even when you plan to upscale your business in the future. 

The proven qualities of Delaval machines are-

  • Increase in yield
  • High-quality milk
  • Faster than hand milking
  • No need to search for skilled person for milking
  • A consistent milking routine reduces stress for lactating cattle.

Diseases and treatments

Ensure to have a veterinary doctor who can come over and inspect your cattle at regular intervals. Regular cow blood tests can ensure that you find diseases on time and treat them before the condition worsens. Also, remember to vaccinate your herd.

Help from govt.

Multiple cattle farm schemes help the farmers set up the business at subsidized rates. You can contact the ‘Department of dairy development, Kerala’ to know about some vital aspects of cattle farming and also seek their help for all your needs.

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