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Home Farming Tips Cow Weight Loss: What You Need To Know

Cow Weight Loss: What You Need To Know

by Jacquiline Nakandi
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By Umar Nsubuga

Sarah Kintu, a resident of Kawumu in Luwero district has a local cow that is consistently losing weight. 

She says it used to have miscarriages, but it was treated and delivered a calf six months ago.

“The calf looks healthy, but the mother is becoming thinner and thinner and is giving little milk. Other farmers tell me to give it salt lick”, she wonders.

Peter Mubiru, a veterinary doctor says several things can make a cow lose weight after delivering.

“This is the time when a cow has to maintain its own body as well as produce enough milk for the calf. If you do not provide enough feeds to meet these demands, the cow loses weight,” he explains.

Because of the way they feed, cows easily take up worms and this is one reason for weight loss. Also, the cow might have had an injury or infection at about the time of delivery.

According to Mubiru, during delivery, the birth canal is open and germs can easily get in. Another possibility is a chronic infection such as trypanosomiasis.

He says any lingering infection in a cow that is already over-stressed by the requirements for milk production can cause weight loss.

Besides, the underlying cause of the cow’s previous miscarriages can cause it to lose weight if it recurs, or if the treatment is not complete. 

There are several other causes of emaciation, such as polythene and plastic materials lodging in the fore stomach.

“Fellow farmers did well to advise you to give salt lick. But that is not enough. Make sure the animal has enough balanced forage to eat to its fill,” he says.

“Use crop residues such as groundnut straws, and bean straws to supplement the pastures. Most of the crop residues which farmers carelessly burn are nutritious for cattle,” he advises.

He says a farmer should treat the cow and its calf against worms to ease the stress. Get a vet to examine the cow, identify the problem, and treat it or advise accordingly.

The solution lies in identifying the problem and treating the cause.  

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