Now, formula milk for calves
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That mother's milk is best for newborns holds true not only for human beings, but also for animals. A newborn cow or buffalo calf needs mother's milk for at least three months, but it has been by and large seen that newborn calves are not paid adequate attention at dairy farms in the country.
But things may soon change in Punjab. The calves deprived of mother's milk will have an equally nutritious substitute that will be available in powder form and can be given to them in feeding bottles. The Dairy Development Board of Punjab is busy promoting the substitute milk from Holland by conducting seminars across the state.
Says Dr Inderjeet Singh, Director, Diary Development: "This milk substitute is very popular in Holland — the country that has done wonders in dairy industry. Taking lessons from them, we are also trying to promote this milk among the dairy farmers here. I have observed dairy farmers are not taking good care of newborn calves because rearing them is a costly proportion. Once the milk substitute is introduced, the calf can be switched over to this after five days of compulsory mother's feed."
According to the department, the powder milk will cost Rs 12-13 a kg. Dr Inderjeet claims the formula milk has all essential vitamins and proteins. Besides, he says, this can ensure controlled feeding. "Moreover, the results in Holland have shown better growth of the animals through the milk replacers," he claims.
According to the department, the overall cost of rearing a calf to a cow in a normal manner comes out to nearly Rs 75,000. But after buying a cow for nearly Rs 60,000 from the open market, dairy owners are usually not interested in spending so much on raising a calf, or even keeping it with them.