- A decision on what breed one wants to keep depends on the resources available with the farmer and the suitability of the breed to the locale. A decision on the breed should be taken only after detailed discussions with your local veterinarian/Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs)/Kisan Call Centres.
- Known disease free farms (either govt or private ) where regular testing for diseases like TB, JD, brucellosis, IBR (dealt with in coming chapters) are done and positive animals removed would be ideal sources to procure your animals.
- It is better to buy animals from the owners’ premises rather than from cattle markets/ shanties since chances of the animal being exposed to diseases is high at these locations.
General signs to observe for in healthy animals during purchase
- Eyes: bright, clear and not runny (no discharge), crusty or bloodshot.
- Nose: cool, moist muzzle, with frequent licking; breathing should be regular and not laboured; beware of discharge, coughing, wheezing or irregular breathing.
- Coat: Glossy, clean and un-matted, free of ticks/lice, other parasites or eruptions.
- Weight: Average weight for the breed; beware of emaciated or thin animals.
- Attitude: Curious, alert and contented; beware of cattle that stand apart from the herd, that seem disinterested or that show signs of a bad temper.
- Mobility: Walking should be easy and free of limps; beware of slow or uneven gaits or hunched positions when sitting; the animal should be able to rise from seated positions with ease.
- Udder: Healthy; size isn’t necessarily an indicator of a good udder. It should sit forward with prominent milk veins, not sag and not be too meaty. Observe the cow when she walks, the udder should not show too much sideways movement.
- Body score: This is an important indicator of the health of the animal. An animal in good health will have a body score between 3-4. (See chapter on body scoring)
- History: It is important to have a record of the detailed history of the animal on number of calvings, recorded milk yield during previous lactation, any specific disease occurrence like mastitis, prolapse of uterus, ROP, dystokia, hypocalcaemia etc.
- Age: Though not directly related to health, the farmer should also ensure the age of the animal by referring to its dentition. ( See chapter on aging and dentition)
Transportation of animals
• All steps should be taken to avoid stress while transportation. Adequate water, space, feed, water and rest should be provided at regular intervals while transporting, since stress predisposes to various diseases. The flooring should be provided with some bedding material like paddy straw.
Observe proper procedures while purchasing new animals