The Ultimate Guide To Taking Care Of Holstein Cows

Holstein cows are polled first-class milking cows and they are one of the fastest growing cattle breeds. They are high-milking cows, and many countries depend on them to provide for their milk needs. You can also raise them as a type of pet and benefits from their milk.

Therefore, the main goal of all Holstein cow farmers is to obtain clean and high-quality milk. This does not happen by chance. There are many factors that must be carefully considered in order to obtain a high-quality product from Holstein cows.

Therefore, taking good care of Holishen cows is not just a choice, but a top priority to achieve meaningful results from their rearing.

How To Take Care Of A Holstein Cow?

In order to optimize your Holstein cow caring, you need to keep good eye on 5 things:

  • Good nutrition
  • Vaccinations
  • Equivalent breeding
  • Prepare well for claving
  • Udder health

Let’s find out what should you specifically do in each one of these items to take proper care of your cow:

1. Good Nutrition

Holstein cows are high-milking cows. They require a special diet that provides the nutritional needs they need to keep up with milk production. [1]

They don’t need feed only. They also need food rich in amino acids, minerals, fatty acids, and vitamins to meet the needs of the mammary gland. These elements are necessary for the production of milk components.

Normally, all milking cows need more feed than other non-dairy cows. But Holstein cows need more feed than any other breed because they are a breed known for their abundant production of milk.

Their bodies need more energy to produce this much milk, a dairy Holstein cow may consume 21-26 kg of feed per day! The quantity may be large. Keep in mind that paying attention to proper and adequate nutrition for Holisten cows makes them produce more milk. As a result, this will bring you a high return from marketing it.

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2. Vaccinations

Vaccinations are essential to prevent diseases. They also keep your Holstein cows healthy and productive.

Vaccinations help reduce diseases affecting livestock, such as Bovine Infectious Rhinobronchitis Virus (IBR), Bovine Viral Diarrhea Virus (BVD), Parainfluenza Virus-3 (PI3), and Bovine Respiratory Syncytial Virus (BRSV) and Clostridium infections. However, vaccinations do not proceed according to a specific protocol for all cattle.

Therefore, your veterinarian must develop an appropriate program tailored for vaccination to suit the needs of your herd to enable them to resist the diseases they are exposed to.

The pregnancy status of the Holstein cows and the conditions of their high milk production must be taken into account when designing the vaccination program for the Holstein cows. Some vaccinations can cause miscarriages such as the vaccination for bovine viral diarrhea and campylobacter (vibriosis) and infectious bovine rhinotracheitis.

Also, the vaccination program must take into account infectious diseases in the surrounding areas.

Vaccinations are very important but do not give the desired results if they are not compatible with a good diet, proper standard of care and hygiene.

3. Equivalent Breeding 

It is known that Holstein cows suffer from dystocia in greater proportions than other breeds. They usually give birth to calves with heavy weights. So the bull must be matched to the cow approximately in size to avoid the birth of a calf of a larger size and entering into calving problems.

4. Prepare Well For Claving

As we mentioned, Holstein cows are known for dystocia, so you have to prepare well and develop an emergency plan near the date of calving of your cow. This will help to avoid many complications of dystocia, which in some cases may lead to the death of the newborn calf.

Prepare the delivery kit with colostrum, delivery handles and chains, obstetric sleeves, and antiseptic. Also keep in touch with your veterinarian about the condition of your cow.

It is better that your veterinarian attend the birth of the Holstein cows to do what is required and to avoid any of the errors mentioned. Such as using more pressure to pull the calf, which exposes your cow to paralysis in the hind leg.

It is not allowed to pull more than 300 pounds, equivalent to the pulling force of an average-sized man.

5. Udder Health

Udder health is very important in the health and production of Holstein cows. The nipple duct and sphincter muscle are the first lines of defense in the udder. Bacteria enter the udder through the nipple sphincter and the nipple canal. T

he stronger, more elastic, and smooth the skin, the less chance of bacteria entering the udder. They must therefore be kept in very good condition with constant hygiene after each milking, using appropriate udder care products and correct milk settings.

The milking process must be carried out according to the correct measures. Milking is a process that puts a great deal of mechanical force on the cow’s teat, where the nipple is subjected to mechanical pressure at a rate of 750 pressures or more per day. The nipple is subjected to 60 beats per minute for approximately 5 minutes at one time of milking. 

The first 2-15 minutes after milking, the nipple sphincter is open and exposed to the entry of any kind of harmful organisms. So the cow must enter a clean environment after milking. You should enter the cows after milking on scraper floors and clean dry cubicles with good-quality bedding.

Mastitis results in huge economic losses for farmers. Where the amount of milk decreases, and the amount of unhealthy and antibiotic-contaminated milk increases. which is unsalable and must be destroyed. In addition to the costs of veterinary care, medicines, and antibiotics.

Therefore, the health of the milking cow’s udder must be taken care of to the maximum extent. Here are some tips that help you maintain a healthy udder free of infection and diseases.

Preparation Before Milking

You have to wash the udder thoroughly before milking to remove dirt or muddy masses using clean water with an additional disinfectant, such as sodium hypochlorite. then immediately dry the udder after washing it so that contaminated water does not leak into the nipple cups. The same tools should not be repeated on all cows.  use a clean paper towel for each cow and then dispose of it, or a clean cloth for each cow and not use it again before disinfecting and drying it.

Nipple Disinfectants

After washing and drying the udder, it is recommended to use a nipple disinfectant before fitting the nipple cups. It is necessary for reducing the risk of cross-contamination between the milking machines and the ends of the nipples.

Apply the disinfectant and allow contact time as recommended by the manufacturer. Then dry the nipple thoroughly. This can help reduce the chance of milk contamination caused by certain environmental bacteria such as:

  • Streptococcus uberis
  • Klebsiella pneumoniae, Escherichia coli.

Nipple Sterilization After Milking

As we mentioned, the opening of the nipple remains open after milking for a period of up to 15 minutes. which may cause the transmission of many infections, the most famous of which are Staphylococcus aureus, Mycoplasma Bovis, and Streptococcus spp.

So, the use of an antiseptic after milking is necessary to prevent mastitis, as it works to cleanse and close the nipple opening.

Some may say that this is exaggerated and requires a lot of time and effort, but this is not true, as first, following an udder protection routine saves you a lot of time, effort, and money in the event that your cows are exposed to udder inflammation, and know that a healthy milking cow is represented by its healthy udder. 

Secondly, it does not require much time and effort, as some belief. The organization is the master of the situation, just bring your tools and it will not take a few minutes for each cow.

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Doaa Salah
The shy one (too shy to put her photo) and the only girl in our team! Doaa is a veterinarian who is passionate about writing content. She knows a lot about animals and birds, as she has been studying them for many years now. Her goal? She is researching and learning to convey to you all the knowledge she have and what's new about farming.