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Is there a relation between a cowโ€™s skin colour and the amount of milk it produces? How does one select the best bull to upgrade their cows to pedigree status? What does it take to improve the udder of an animal?

These and other questions were asked by farmers during a field day at Plateau Country Farm in Ainabkoi in Uasin Gishu County last week as they sought information from experts on how to boost their herds.

Asking about the relationship between a cowโ€™s skin colour and milk produced was Paul Tirop, a farmer from Nandi County.

โ€œThere is no relation at all. A cowโ€™s production depends on its breed, feeds and other management aspects,โ€ said Anne Terpstra, a dairy expert on fertility from the Netherlands.

She listed Danshot, Heuvel Bulykin, Montruex, Red cliff, Red Torpedo and Broekhuizen Bart as among best bulls from Netherlands.

โ€œIf you want to improve the udder for the daughter, you go for the Danshot breed because of its good udder shape. But you also need to look at the mother, not just the bull that will determine the outcome,โ€ she added.

Philip inquired whether semen from any top bull will guarantee a farmer quality calves and more milk.

โ€œWhen it comes to fertility, genotypes contribute about 25 per cent, then 75 per cent is about the management such as ensuring the cows comfort, feeds and nutrition. Cows should have access to water and feeds thought-out and enough rest (14 hours) to ensure good blood circulation,โ€ explained Terpstra.

She noted that for a cow to produce more milk, it needs good blood circulation especially in the udder.

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โ€œEvery cow that produces 20 litres of milk in a day requires 800 litres of blood to pass through the udder. The blood should be enough to convert the consumed feeds to milk.โ€

Although the hind legs carry about 40 per cent of the body weight, they should have slight bend and not sickle or too straight. The problem is caused when a farmer does not trim the hooves regularly.

But this can be corrected using a special knife to trim the hooves, observed Terpstra.

Berend de Leeuw, another dairy specialist, advised farmers to dehorn their calves when they are between two weeks and three months old to enable wounds will heal early and faster.

โ€œThere should be enough space between pin bones for easy calving. Enough space between the bones can be measured by using the cowโ€™s tail. If there is enough space between the two bones for two tails, then it is desirable,โ€ explained Terpstra.

#PedigreeCows #PedigreeCowsInKenya

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