If a cow is acquired for milk, then a dairy animal is needed. There are certain criteria for choosing such cattle. There are a lot of dairy breeds, but each of them has its own characteristics. To select the best option, you must familiarize yourself with the characteristics of each breed.
Selection criteria for dairy cows
The ideal option is to purchase livestock with appropriate documentation. A veterinary passport and documents confirming its breed are required. For transportation of the animal, a veterinary certificate and a document from the administration may be required. Registration of a contract with the seller will also be beneficial.
In addition to documentation, when buying a cow, it is important to pay attention to its appearance. One of the most important factors is the udder. In shape, it can be cup-shaped, bath-like or goat. Preference should be given to the first option. The udder should be large enough, but not too saggy, otherwise it will be difficult for the animal to move around, and the risk of injury will increase.
All quarters of the udder should be developed and without intermediate deep furrows. It is important to test it, as the indicators of quality are friability and graininess. If the udder is fleshy, then it is poorly developed. The correct shape of the nipples is cylindrical, and the optimal length is 60-80 mm. They should be smooth. Scratches, cracks or ulcers are a bad sign.
Milk veins are important - they can be seen on the udder and at the bottom of the belly. A sign of quality at a visual inspection is their thickness and elasticity, indicating development.
In addition to the udder, when choosing a cow, you must also pay attention to the following factors:
- The body of the animal should be barrel-shaped, elongated, but not saggy. The head should be light, elongated and with a minimum of fleshy layer. The development of the neck, the many folds of the skin, the proportionality of the body are important.
- It is important to pay attention to the horns. They must be thin and correctly set.
- The backbone should be strong, but not rough.
- The muscles are relatively poorly developed, but the legs should be straight, strong and widely set.
- It is necessary to pay attention to the shape of the chest. It should be wide and deep, which indicates the proper development of the heart with the lungs. The space between the ribs should be wide, and the ribs set obliquely to the spine - this is a sign of a properly formed digestive system.
- It is important to pay attention to the back of the animal. It should be wide and even. For easy calving, the width of the sacrum is important.
- The fineness and length of the tail, which should reach the hock, is important.
- It is necessary to pay attention to the vertebrae. For high milk production, they must be elongated.
- Choosing a cow, you need to feel her skin. With the right animal, it can easily be folded, but at the same time it is elastic. Subcutaneous fat should not be felt to the touch.
- A cow should be milked to determine how easy this process is. It is important to examine the animal after milking, since the udder should significantly decrease and acquire elasticity. Skin folds should appear on its back surface. If the cow is dairy, then the udder after milking remains almost the same.
- It is important to know about the age of the animal, the presence of pregnancy, the number of lactations (if they were). The best productivity of a cow is shown at 4-5 lactation. The approximate age of the animal is determined by the horns - you need to count the rings at their base and add 2 to them (the standard age of the first calving). If the heifer is no more than one and a half years old, then age can be determined by the length of the horns. One should be subtracted from the numbers obtained in centimeters in order to find out the age in months.
- It is necessary to pay attention to the condition of the cow. A healthy animal should be alert with clear eyes without signs of inflammation. Confidence in the step, lack of cough, softness and smoothness of the hair are important. Nervous behavior, depletion of the skin and coat are unhealthy symptoms.
- A healthy cow should have a good appetite.
Even buying a healthy cow is no guarantee of good milk yield. To do this, the animal must be properly and well fed, follow the rules of maintenance and care.
List of dairy cows, their characteristics
To date, there are many breeds of cows that produce good milk yield. From this number, the best options should be distinguished:
The birthplace of this species of cows is Scotland. Brought her in the XVIII century. Animals are distinguished by a red-motley color.
Ayrshire cows have a proportional physique, a strong constitution, and a thin, but strong bone. The breed has a light and dry head with an elongated front part and large horns. Adults can weigh up to 550 kg.
This breed is attractive for its high productivity and excellent milk qualities. Ayrshire cows are early, hardy, and quickly acclimatize.
Such cows are capable of producing up to 7000 kg of milk with a fat content of up to 4.3%. The protein content in it can reach 3.5%. Due to the high fat content, there may be small fat globules in the product.
This species was bred more than three centuries ago. It is attractive for its high milk and meat productivity, accelerated development and the ability to adapt to different climates.
There are several branches of the Dutch breed - Frisian, Groningen, Maas-Rhine-Isel. The most common is the first option. Animals are white with black spots.
The weight of an adult can reach 650 kg. The physique is massive, the constitution is strong. The Dutch breed is characterized by short legs and well-developed muscles.
Dutch cows have a large bowl-shaped udder. An animal can produce up to 4000-5000 kg of milk per year. Its fat content is about 4%, and the protein content is up to 3.5%. Read more about this breed of cows here .
This variety is most common among dairy breeds around the world. She is known from the middle of the XIX century. The breed was born in Holland, but became popular due to breeding in the USA and Canada.
Holstein cows have a strong constitution. They have a wide and deep chest, the back of the body is straight, long, but wide. The mass of adults can reach 700 kg.
In Russia, a cow of this breed is able to provide 7500 kg of milk per year. Milk productivity depends on climate and feeding conditions. The fat content of milk is on average 3.7-3.8%, and the amount of protein is 3%.
This variety is one of the oldest dairy breeds. Bred it in the XVI century due to purebred breeding.
Jersey cows are red or brown in color and have white markings. The cattle have an angular physique, strong constitution, tight muscles, but a light and thin skeleton. The head is light and small in size, the front part is shortened. The mass of an adult can reach 400 kg.
Jersey cows have many advantages. These include high fat content and protein level in milk, good acclimatization.
Despite its small size, the Jersey breed is famous for its high dairy productivity. It makes up to 4500 kg of milk per year. The fat content of the product can reach 7%, and the protein content - 4.2%. Milk may have a yellowish tint and large fat globules.
Red danish cows
This variety was bred at the beginning of the 19th century, crossing several breeds at once - Angler, Ballum, North Schleswig and Shorthorn. Cattle have red color and white markings.
Red Danish cows are distinguished by their large size, strong constitution, low legs, deep and wide torso. This breed is characterized by a light head on a long and thin neck. The weight of an adult can reach 600-800 kg.
In addition to high productivity and decent fat content of milk, the red Danish cow attracts with its early maturity, easy adaptation to any conditions.
The red Danish breed has decent milk productivity - it can reach 4800 kg per year. The milk fat content is up to 5%, and the protein content is up to 3.7%.
This breed was formed in the XIX century. They got it by crossing the red Danish and local breed of cows.
Suksun cows usually have a red color, but in different shades. Such cattle have a dense and strong constitution, a deep narrow chest, a light head on the neck of medium length, the body is slightly stretched, the skeleton is strong. Adults can reach a mass of 500 kg.
The main advantages of this breed are its good adaptability to a harsh climate, resistance to dangerous diseases, a strong constitution and a long reproductive function.
The milk productivity of the Suksun breed can reach 3700 kg. Milk fat can be up to 4%, protein content - 3.1%.
This variety was bred in the Urals at the end of the 18th century. The breed is distinguished by a variety of stripes, but more often you can find cows of black or black-motley color. There are also red and red-motley individuals.
Tagil breed is distinguished by medium height, elongated body, deep, but not wide chest. Such cows have an average head on a straight and long neck. Tagil breed is characterized by underdeveloped muscles, legs are set incorrectly. An adult can reach a mass of 500-700 kg.
The attractiveness of the Tagil breed is its adaptability to the harsh climate, worthy of milk productivity. Such cows are easily bred and are capable of reproducing all their lives.
Tagil cows have milk production of up to 4,500 kg. Milk in fat content can reach 4.2%, and protein content - 3.5%.
This variety has been bred since the XVIII century. Animals of this breed are strong and healthy. According to one version, this is explained by cultivation in a harsh climate, according to another - by crossbreeding with the Dutch breed.
The advantages of Kholmogory animals are their adaptability to a harsh climate and high resistance to dangerous diseases.
Kholmogorsk cows are attractive for their muscularity, heavy and rough skeleton, and dry elongated heads. Animals have a white color and large black spots. The weight of one individual can reach 550 kg.
Kholmogorskaya cow can provide up to 5000 kg of milk per year. Its fat content is on average 3.7%, and the amount of protein is 3.4%.
Black and white breed
The suit of these cows is clear from the name of the variety.
These purebred animals have a strong constitution, the body is elongated and proportionate, the head is elongated with an elongated front part. The mass of adults reaches 650 kg.
The breed has several advantages. They consist in excellent livestock health, rapid acclimatization in various conditions, high milk and meat productivity.
Black-motley breed is divided into two types - Siberian and Ural. The first is characterized by a small constitution and milk yield of up to 5000 kg of milk per year. Its fat content is up to 3.9%. The Ural breed is characterized by a dry, lightweight constitution and milk production of up to 3800 kg. The fat content of the product can be up to 4%. The average protein content in milk is 3.2%.
In Russia, this variety is among the best representatives of dairy cattle. It was bred in the 19th century.
Yaroslavl breed is characterized by white color and black marks. The physique of the animals is angular, the skeleton and constitution are strong, the middle of the body is well developed. The head is characterized by dryness and lightness, lengthening of the front part and light horns. Adults can reach a mass of 500 kg.
The milk productivity of this breed is quite high and can be up to 4500 kg per year. The fat content in milk is up to 4.4%, and protein - 3.8%. These indicators are the main advantages of the breed.
The choice of a dairy cow must be approached with particular care. It is important not only the availability of the necessary documentation, but also the inspection of the animal, which must be evaluated according to many criteria. When choosing a dairy breed, one should take into account the peculiarities of each variety.