6 little-known reasons of a cow to delay in heat


One young calve every year is every farmer’s goal. However few farmers’ lactating cows calve down every year. The main problem is delayed heat.

Normally, dairy cows should come on heat (estrous) after every 21 days or 18-24 days per month. The time when a cow is on heat is when a cow shows signs of readiness to be served. A delay in this period means a delay in calving down and a continuous milk decline.

Several factors can lead to delayed heat in your dairy cows. Mostly manageable.

Lack of sufficient proteins on feeds/fodders
Concentrates being put on a trough

Proteins play a key role in the reproductive development of dairy cows. Protein is gained from the fodders and concentrates dairy cows feed on. If therefore the feeds don’t have sufficient proteins it means most metabolic activities may be constrained.

According to Kenya’s bureau of standards KEBS, a quality dairy meal should have a crude protein of 16% minimum. However, most feeds do not meet the set requirements. Farmers do not supplement their feeds with proteins nor do they give high protein fodders like Lucerne.

A cow that does not get enough proteins from its feeds has a high chance of delayed heat. A balanced ration at all times will ensure the dairy cows get on the heat on time.

Feeding with the wrong mineral salts or of poor quality

The available fodders and concentrates lack enough macro and micro nutrients necessary to sustain dairy cow’s fertility. These include phosphorus, calcium, sodium chloride, copper and manganese.

To provide these key macronutrients to dairy cows, the farmer needs to supplement his ration with the right mineral salt. Lactating cows need to be fed with salts high in phosphorus which is a good heat inducer.

Farmers should use only quality salts from trusted brands. The majority of mineral salts in the market currently, though cheap are substandard.

Heat stress and drought

During dry seasons, the quality of the available fodder deteriorates with quantity getting scarce. This lowers the fertility rates of dairy cows. Heat stress compromises the functions of the reproductive tract, disrupting the hormonal balance.

Read Also: The right way to farm maize for high yield

Over-conditioning

Feeding dairy cows with excess energy feeds leads to fattening of the animals. According to research, extreme fat cows rarely come on heat. This is mainly a challenge in farms that cows are fed with excess concentrates like maize germ or maize meal.

Withdraw energy feeds in the ration can help the dairy cow lose the necessary to wait and get on heat.

Silent Heat

Dairy cows which are on silent heat do not show normal signs of heat. These cows do not meow, or mount others, it does not get restless nor does it cut feed intake. This makes it hard for a farmer to know when it is on heat.

Counting twenty-one days from the first identification of clear discharge can help the farmer identify the precise date the cow is on heat.

If this does not work, cows can be injected with hormones to stimulate it and later served.

EABL STORE
Aflatoxins infection

Feeding cows with rotten feeds and concentrates pose a great risk of an aflatoxins infection. Always feed clean feeds and fodders.

It is only in cows that are calved down annually that the farmer can make a profit and increase milk production.

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