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How to solve infertility and repeat breeding problems in dairy animals?

Female Cattle

What is infertility in dairy animals? 

If a dairy animal is not able to get pregnant then it is a problem of infertility. This often causes heavy losses to dairy farmers. Animals do not get pregnant and hence milk production does not start. The farmer has to provide feed and fodder to the animal during this period and also spend on veterinary expenses. This leads to economic losses to the farmer during this period. 

1. Effect of nutrition on infertility

Nutrition: The first factor for infertility in cows is improper nutrition. In early lactation, milk production is highest priority for the nutrients available to the animal. To meet this goal, in addition to the nutrients found in the diet, cows tend to mobilize their body reserve or primarily energy to support milk production. Cows may not eat sufficient amounts during early lactation; thus they are in a state of energy deficiency, they lose weight and their ability to conceive is drastically reduced.  

2. Effect of negative energy balance in animals providing milk.

Generally after the birth of a calf, the animal loses its body condition score. A lot of energy goes into the development of the calf and after parturition energy goes into milk production in early lactation. This results in negative energy balance which reduces fertility and leads to losses to the farmer. One of the most common causes of low fertility in dairy cows is the deficiency of energy as compared to the animal's need, or negative energy balance. Depending on milk production in early lactation, negative energy balance may last for the first two to 10 weeks of lactation (two and a half months).  

Artificial Insemination

Effect of mineral & vitamin deficiency on fertility in dairy animals 

Minerals and vitamins play an important role in reproduction. These minerals and vitamins are important to keep animals fertile. Phosphorus deficiency may greatly delay sexual maturity in heifers and decrease the fertility of dairy cows. A deficiency or excess of either calcium or phosphorus in the diet may lead to milk fever at calving. Calcium, Phosphorus, Zinc, Copper and also selenium are important minerals which influence fertility. The deficiency of  vitamins like Vitamin A, D3, E reduce the fertility rates. 

Effect of Poor body condition score on fertility of dairy animals?

If the cow has a low body condition score or very high body condition score it affects fertility. In case of high body condition scores of more than 4 fat deposition happens in the reproductive organs such as ovaries  and interferes with hormonal functions. This reduces the rate of fertilization. If your cows have body condition score is below 2.5 then a drastic fall in conception rates can happen. 

Try to keep the body condition score of your animal close to 3 at all times to avoid fertility related problems. 

What is Repeat Breeding in dairy animals ? 

Repeat breeders cow or buffalo is an animal which fails to get pregnant after consecutive three inseminations or natural service. When a cow fails to get pregnant, then twenty one days are increased in the inter-calving period. Again, if the animal fails to conceive three months after calving, as planned, then this whole cycle is extended by 21 days and even then if she fails to conceive again, then it is extended by 21 days and so on. So with every extended 21 days, we are losing that much milk production from next lactation, and that is a loss to the dairy farm. Therefore it is necessary to closely keep watch on inter-calving period and to see that cows are getting duly pregnant as per schedule.  

To learn more on how to identify and solve breeding and reproduction of dairy animals click the link below: 


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