Dairy Farming Manual
|Why should you use a breeding calendar? (5-8)
1 A breeding calendar helps you to improve
breeding in your herd.
|How can you make sure your cow calves every
2 Check your breeding calendar
day to help you plan breeding.
|How can you make your own breeding calendar?
- Breeding calendar 1 (11-19)
|How can you use your breeding calendars?
- Breeding calendar 1 (20-28)
Husbandry Unit 6.2:
Note: Numbers in brackets refer to illustrations in the Extension Materials.
Why use breeding calendars? (5-10)
For every dairy farmer the most important part of his job is to make sure that his cows calve as often as possible.
This requires efficient observation of heat, insemination (A.I.) at the right time, drying off prior to calving and attention at calving time.
Information written down in note books, on loose sheets of paper and likewise tends to be irregular and forgotten.
A simple breeding calendar, kept in the barn, makes it easy to write down every important event for each cow in the herd. At the same time, it can be consulted every day and inform the farmer if he should be aware of heat, drying off, approaching calving etc. for any of his cows.
Even in the small herd, efficient breeding is the main problem. A breeding calendar can often improve breeding efficiency on the farm considerably, because it helps the farmer to do the right thing at the right time.
It should be emphasised, however, that cows should be observed daily for signs of heat, both morning and afternoon, because there can be irregularities in the breeding cycles, and cows may not show clear signs of heat especially in the 1st heat after calving. The breeding calendar should be used as a guide for closer observation.
|5 A calendar helps you to keep
It is easy to lose note books and pieces of paper.
|6 The calendar tells you when
to look for signs of:
and when to :
- breed your cow
- dry her off.
|7 It is:
- cheap to make
- easy to make
- easy to use.
|8 By doing the
at the right time you can improve breeding.
More calves mean more money.
|You must understand the connection between
calving - milking - breeding - drying off.
|10 Your breeding calendar tells you when
to do what so you can make sure your cow calves every year.
Observe heat morning and afternoon because:
Given below are two examples of breeding calendars that can be produced by the farmer himself, both of which are comparatively cheap to make.
Breeding calendar 1
This breeding calendar is intended for the small herd (less than 5 cows), but in principle it can be used in bigger herds also.
calander is: - easy to make
2 pieces of stiff, white card are required - recommended measurements: 80 cm x 110 cm (but bigger or smaller pieces can also be used). (11)
Divide both cards into two halves by drawing a line with a pencil. (12)
Calving - lactation period - time of drying off - dry period
Calving - non-pregnant period - time of breeding - pregnancy period
|Breeding calendar 1
|12 Divide both cards into halves by drawing lines.|
|13 On the top half of one card draw the
This shows the times of milking and calving.
|4. On the lower part of the card
construct last year's calander. (14)
5. On the other card construct this year's calander on the lower half.
|14 On the
bottom half of the same card, draw this year's calendar.
|15 Your complete card should look like this.|
|16 On the second card:
- draw next year's calendar on the top half
- draw the year after next's calendar on the bottom half.
|6. Using self-adhesive paper,
produce a number of coloued paper sign (about 1 cm high) like this: (17)
7. Mount the cards with a stick (for instance bamboo - stick) at the top end and bottom end, and hang them beside each other on the wall in the barn. (18-19)
help to make your breeding calendar clear.
Use the sticky, coloured paper to make signs about 1 cm high.
? calving (yellow)
ª drying off (red)
± breeding (green)
- heat detection (blue).
|18 Fold over
your calendar and glue.
Put a thin stick through the fold.
Tie a piece of string to each end of the stick.
|19 Hang up your calendars next to each
other in the barn.
Keep the coloured signs in a small bag or container near your breeding calendar.
use the breeding calendar?
When a cow has been bred (natural service or A.I.), the green breeding symbol marked with the number of the cow is placed at the day of breeding and the blue heat detection symbol marked with number of cow placed on the 21st day from the date of breeding. If the cow does not return to heat, the symbol is kept in this position. Should the cow return to heat and be bred again, the symbols are moved on to the new date. (20-24)
Example: Cow no. 4 was bred on the 20th October, 1986 and the following entries were made on the 1986 Calendar. If the cow does not show any signs of heat from about 10 November until it completes 45 days after breeding, i.e. till about 5 December, have it examined for pregnancy.
|20 Give each
cows a number and add the numbers to your breeding signs.
(1) (2) (3)
|21 You need to add the breeding sign for
each cow to your calendar
when she is bred by A.I. or by natural
know when cow 3 calved. Mark it with calving symbol 3
||Look for heat
after 40 days calving. When you observe heat, place breeding sign
3 - 18 to 24 days later. (1st breeding: 2nd heat after calving)
||Look for heat
again about day 56-64. If you observe heat, mate or inseminate.
Move breeding sign to actual day of breeding.
for heat about 3 weeks after breeding. If no breeding ask the vet
to check for pregnanacy after 45 days. If heat repeat breeding.
your cow continues to show heat after breeding 3 times, ask the vet to
check for reproductive disorders.
|Cows should become pregnant again 60-90 days after calving.|
|23 This farmer kept his breeding
He repeats heat observation about 3 weeks after breeding, and breeds again if he observes heat. After 3 AI or matings he calls the vet to examine the cow for possible disease, if she did not get pregnant.
2. Expected calving date is about 9 months counted forward from the date of breeding, which is marked with a calving symbol at the expected date. Owing to individual variations, calving may take place some days sooner or later than expected. After calving the symbol is moved from the expected to the actual date. (25-26)
Example: Cow no. 4 mentioned above was expected to calve around the 20th July, 1987. The following entry was thus made on the 1987 calendar:
|3. From the calving date the
drying off date can be calculated, counting forward the appropriate number
of months. A drying off symbol, marked with the cow's number, can
then be en-tered on the calendar. (27-28)
Example: Cow no. 4 mentioned above calved around the 20th July, 1987. At calving, the date of drying off was calculated to be around 20th May, 1988. The following entry was made on the 1988 calendar:
27 You need to stop milking (dry off) your cow 60 days before estimated calving.
This makes sure your cow and the calf are strong at calving.
1. You need a soft, wooden board (recommended measurements: 110 cm x 80 cm) and a flannel cloth to cover the board. (about 120 cm x 90 cm).
Also you need 80 pins and string in 2 colours (about 20 m od each). (29)
2. Glue the flannel on the board and draw circle of about 60 cm diameter. (30-31)
|29. You need:
- a soft wooden board, about 80 x 110 cm
- a flannel cloth, about 90 x 120 cm
- 80 pins (plain)
- coloured pins (4 colours) 4 for each of your cows
- string (2 colours)
- sticky paper
|30. Glue the flannel cloth to the board.|
|31. Draw a circle about 60 cm in diameter.|
32 Divide the circle into 12:
- make each length 15.5 cm
- mark each length with a pin.
Each length = 1 month.
Put a pin in the centre of the circle.
|33 Tie a string of the same colour
- the centre pin to
- each of the 12 pins on the circle.
|34 Divide each month (each 15.5 cm) into
- place 5 pins at equal spaces between each end pin (in 31).
- Tie a string of a different colour (from 31) to each of these 5 pins.
| 5. Divide each month into
6 parts by placing 5 pins placing between each corner pin. (34)
Connect each of these pins to the centre pin with the string of the other colour.
| 35 Write the name of each month
on sticky paperand label your calendar.
|36 You need to make 4 signs
your calendar, write them on the sticky paper:
Heat - blue pin
Breeding - yellow
Drying off - red
Calving - green pin
|7. There are four events in a
cows cycle that need to be recorded on the breeding calendar:
- Heat detection - to look for
Different colours are used, blue, yellow, red and green, to symbolize the four events.
Make four labels from self-adhesive paper, and write on them:
- Heat Detection Blue pin
Stick the labels on the board. Put a blue pin next to the "Heat Detection" label, a yellow pin next to "Breeding", a red pin next to "Drying Off" and a green pin next to the "Calving" label.
| 37 Give
each of your cows a number
and mark one pin of
each colour with the number.
blue yellow red green
|38 Stick the 4 labels onto your calendar and
put a pin of the correct colour next to each label:
|39 When one of your cows calves,
place a green pin with the cow's number on the date.
For example, if cow 5 calves on 10 July, place green pin 5 on that date.
|40 You know the 1st heat is about
So for cow 5, place blue pin 5 40 days after 10 July, on 20 August.
This will tell you when to look for signs of 1st heat.
|41 You know the 2nd heat is about
after the 1st heat.
So when cow 5 shows first heat, move blue pin 5 21 days forward, to 10 September.
This tells you when to look for signs of 2nd heat.
Example: If cow no. 5 shows heat signs 40 days after calving, on August 20th, move the blue "heat detection" pin marked 5 to September 10th.
|Each cow needs four pins, one
in each colour. Mark the pins with the cow's identification number.
How to use the calendar?
1. When a cow calves you place a green "Calving" pin, marked with the cow's number, on the day of calving. (39)
Example: If cow no. 5 calves on July 10th, a green pin marked 5 is placed in position July 10th on the calendar.
Example: If cow no. 5 has calved on July 10th, place a blue "heat detection" pin on August 20th. This will be a reminder to look for signs of heat around August 20th. (If the cow does not show any signs of heat by 60 days after calving, the extension officer or veterinarian should be consulted.)
|4. If the cow shows second heat
after calving 21 days later (about 60 days after calving) breed her and
place a yellow "breeding" pin on the day of breeding. (42)
When the cow has been bred (mating or A.I.) it is necessary to look for signs of heat 21 days later. So put the blue "heat detection" pin 21 days after breeding. (43)
If the cow does not become pregnant and shows heat 21 days after breeding, she can be bred again (2nd breeding). Then put a blue "heat detection" pin 21 days after 2nd breeding.
Example: If cow no. 5 shows heat signs on September 10th she will have to be inseminated. Put the yellow "breeding" pin marked 5 on Septem-ber 10th. Also put a blue "heat detection" pin on October 1st, as a reminder to look for heat signs 21 days later, in case the cow did not get pregnant. If she shows heat on October 1st she should be inseminated again.
|42 When you observe signs of
2nd heat (around September 10) inseminate or mate her.
Replace blue (heat) pin 5 with yellow (breeding) pin 5 on the date of breeding.
|43 You know the 3rd heat is about
after the 2nd heat.
So after breeding her (2nd heat) move blue pin 5 21 days forward to 1 October.
This tells you when to look for signs of 3rd heat.
|44 If your cow shows heat signs around 1 October,
inseminate or mate her again.
If she shows no heat signs, she may be pregnant.
| 5. If the cow does not
show heat 21 days after breeding she may be pregnant. Move the green
"Calving" pin to the expected day of calving about 9 months (average, Holstein:279
days) after breeding. (44-45)
Ask the inseminator or veterinarian to confirm pregnancy about 45 days after breeding.
Example: If cow no. 5 is inseminated on September 10th and does not show heat later, she will be expected to calve about 9 months (or 279 days) after breeding, which will be June, 16th the following year. Move the green "calving" pin marked 5 to June 16th on the calendar.
|6. A cow should not be milked
the last two months before calving. The cow needs time to build up
her body before next lactation period. When a cow is pregnant, place
a red "drying off" pin on the day 2 months before expected calving.
Example:If cow no. 5 is expected to calve on June 16th, place a red "drying off" pin on April, 16th.
|45 If you think your cow is
pregnant, place green (calving) pin 5 about 9 months
after breeding (about 279 days for Holstein), on 16 June, the next year.
Ask your inseminator or vet to confirm pregnancy about 45 days after breeding.
|46 You know you should stop milking
before estimated calving.
Place red (drying off) pin 5 2 months before 16 June, on 16 April.
These two breeding calendars are
- easy to make
- easy to use.
They are suitable for small farms.
For bigger herds, consult your extension worker on how to make or buy a suitable breeding calendar.
breeding calanders are cheap and easy to make, and simple to use.
They can both be used on the small farm to cover recording of breeding
for a limited number of cows.
herds more comprehensive breeding calanders may be necessory. These can
also be "home made" or they can be bought.
Breeding Calendar 1 was originally designed by Ms Dorcas Pratt, VSO at RIT Agricultural College, Nan, Thailand.
Breeding Calendar 2 was originally designed by Mr Pairoj Jadsa-dabundit, Teacher at DOVE Agricultural College, Nakorn Sawan, Thailand.