Things to watch out for when you are buying cattle

Do not fall prey to cheats when buying cows or buffaloes. Here is a detailed report on how to examine milch cattle before buying.

Things to watch out for when you are buying cattleCows are administered oxytocin injections to increase their milk yield

Lucknow. Has it happened to you – you go to buy a cow or buffalo and you are shown an animal that is producing phenomenal amounts of milk. But when you bring it home, you suddenly find its output has reduced drastically. You have just been cheated!

This happened to Ram Sunder Maurya of Sirkhaul village in Faizabad. Six months ago, he bought a sahiwal cow. The seller had assured him that the cow would give a 20 litre yield of milk. "I bought this cow from a market on the Lucknow-Faizabad road for Rs 60,000. I was assured that it would give 20 litres milk every day. But it only gave five litres in 15 days and now it has stopped giving any milk at all," he says. Ram Sunder has five buffaloes and four cows.

Ram Sunder's is not a unique situation. There are many who are cheated in this manner. In their attempt to increase their income, farmers but high-yield milch cattle at a high cost. But if they are not careful, they become victims of middle-men and con-men.

"Last year, I bought a buffalo. Initially, its yield was good. But soon it went dry. I spent thousands on its treatment. Now, it is giving just about two or three litres milk," says Rajendra Verma of Narsinghpur district in Madhya Pradesh. Rajendra has been running a dairy for several years. Yet, even he became a victim of con-men.

Rakesh Dube, who runs a dairy in Faizabad, says, "Often sellers inject their cattle for sale with oxytocin which increases the milk output at the time of purchase."

Dr Rohaila, veterinarian expert, says that before buying milch cattle the following things should be kept in mind. "Anyone wanting to buy milch cattle should first check out the shape of the animal. Then they need to see its health and genetic history," he says.

With regards to the shape of the animal, he says that the body of a good milch cattle will be slim in the front and broad behind. Its nostrils will be flared and it will have a strong jaw. It will have bulbous eyes, have a long tail and its skin will be oily and thin. The chest will be developed and the behind will be broad. The thighs will be lean and squarish and will have a thin neck. All the udders will be symmetrical in shape – long, fat and equidistant.

To assess the milk giving ability of the cattle, it is important for the buyer to personally check its output for two-three days before buying it. Check to see that the stream of milk is coming out straight and that the udders should shrink after milking.

Check the age of the cattle. Most milch cattle lose their ability to have offspring after the age of 10 to 12 years. At the time of the third or fourth offspring, the cow or buffalo is at its prime milk yielding ability. After this, the amount of milk it will give will reduce. So if you are in the milk production business, you should look for young animals. To assess the age of the animal, check its teeth. A two-year-old cow will have eight permanent and eight milk teeth. At five years, it will have 16 permanent and 16 milk teeth.

Hereditary is another criteria that should be checked. The hereditary will tell you the breed and its milk yield ability. While it is not a norm to maintain hereditary records of cattle, some professionally run dairies keep these records.

The fertility of a cow is also a good indicator of its capacity to produce milk. Good milch cattle will have one offspring every year. So ask for this record before buying a cow or buffalo. Through these records, you will be able to see whether the cow or buffalo has had any pregnancy-related complications like miscarriages or problematic labour or unhealthy offspring.

By taking care of these points, you will be able to escape becoming the victim of con-men.

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