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Dairy farms: INDG Guidelines

Practices that we highlight as serious welfare issues, are part of standard INDG guidelines or guidelines clearly not followed by the industry,
India Development Gateway

A few of the guidelines

Practices that we highlight as serious welfare issues, are part of standard INDG guidelines or guidelines clearly not followed by the industry.

Weaning
In addition to colostrum fed at birth, calves need milk for the first 3 to 4 weeks of life. After that, they can digest vegetable starches and sugars. Further milk feeding is nutritious but may be more costly than feeding cereal grains.

It must be understood that there is no substitute for milk in terms of nutritive value for the young calf. However, use of a milk substitute is resorted to when the availability of milk or other fluids is extremely limited. 

Weaning or separation of the calf from the cow is a management practice adopted in intensive dairy farming systems. Weaning helps in uniformity of management and ensures the availability of milk to each calf as per required amount, avoiding wastage or over-feeding.

Depending upon the system of management adopted, weaning can be done at birth, at 3 weeks, at 8-12 weeks or at 24 weeks. In an organised herd, where large numbers of calves are raised, weaning at birth is advantageous. Weaning at birth also helps in adopting milk substitutes and calf meals at early age so that the cow's milk can be saved for human consumption.

Individual pens for calves
Keep calves in individual pens until they reach weaning age. Separate pens prevent the calves from suckling one another and reduce the spread of calf disease. 

Infertility in cattle
Maintaining an infertile animal is an economic burden and in most countries such animals are driven to slaughterhouses.

Space Requirements - Sheds

Calf below 6 months: 0.8 - 1 sq. meters
Cows: 1.8- 2 sq. meters

Milking Machines
Modern milking machines are capable of milking cows quickly and efficiently, without injuring the udder, if they are properly installed, maintained in excellent operating conditions, and used properly. Training of milkers should be done by a person from the milking machine company. This person has good knowledge about biology of milking, machine milking as well as with the design, function and maintenance of the milking equipment. The training should include introduction procedures, milking routine, handling of the machine, cleaning and maintenance as well as certain aspects of the day-to-day service of the machine.