More than 55 per cent of the total milk production in the country comes from buffalo breeds like murrah, niliravi, bhadavri, jafarabadi, surti, mahsana, nagpuri toda, Godavari, khemundi, pandharpuri etc.
Generally farmers look after lactating animals and tend to ignore pregnant animals. For getting maximum milk production pregnant buffaloes should be given special care before and after calving.
The gestation period is for 10 months and the animal delivers the calf ten days before or after. As calving is a natural process, the animal seldom has difficulty.
Nevertheless, the following practices are advisable for those farmers rearing buffaloes.
A pregnant buffalo should have at least 60 days of dry period before next calving. Also there should be proper drying off to avoid udder trouble in subsequent lactation.
After complete drying off, carry out dry cow therapy and proper feeding. The animals should be fed easily digestible feed in the last two weeks of pregnancy especially green fodder and brans etc.
Provide 2 to 2.5 kg of concentrates, scientifically balanced and fortified with area specific mineral mixture. Housing should be in clean, comfortable shed with optimum space.
Avoid undue stress to the animals and allow reasonable space for movement each day and provide open space. No vaccination during advanced stage of pregnancy should be administered.
Take expert help
Do not interfere with normal parturition unless some problem arises. In case of difficulty during calving call a veterinary doctor. Feed the buffalo warm porridge or bran mash just before and after calving.
Wipe the udder dry before allowing suckling. Wash the hind quarters and udder with warm water to which a little potassium permanganate is added.
If after birth placenta is not expelled within 5-6 hours, contact a veterinarian for help. Do not pull it out or tie weights to it.
Readymade medications recommended by the doctor can be used.
(Rajinder Singh, Sr extension specialist (animal sciences) Lala Lajpat Rai University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Rohtak and K.S. Dangi, Director General, Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Haryana,email: email@example.com, mobile: 09416495904.)