International Journal of
Livestock Production

  • Abbreviation: Int. J. Livest. Prod.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2448
  • DOI: 10.5897/IJLP
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 263

Full Length Research Paper

Welfare issues of calf management practices in small scale dairy farms, Ratnapura District, Sri Lanka

R. M. A. S. Bandara
  • R. M. A. S. Bandara
  • Department of Livestock Production, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka, Belihuloya, Sri Lanka.
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S. M., Rajapaksha
  • S. M., Rajapaksha
  • Department of Livestock Production, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka, Belihuloya, Sri Lanka.
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M. A. J. P., Munasinghe
  • M. A. J. P., Munasinghe
  • Department of Livestock Production, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka, Belihuloya, Sri Lanka.
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K. M. N. Wijerathna
  • K. M. N. Wijerathna
  • Department of Livestock Production, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka, Belihuloya, Sri Lanka.
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P. K. M. P. Kumara
  • P. K. M. P. Kumara
  • Department of Livestock Production, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka, Belihuloya, Sri Lanka.
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  •  Received: 14 February 2014
  •  Accepted: 12 February 2015
  •  Published: 30 April 2015

Abstract

Public concern on welfare of dairy calves remains low in Sri Lanka. Therefore, a survey was conducted to assess the welfare issues of dairy calf management practices in120 small scale dairy farms (herd size 7.85 ± 3.25: Mean ± SD) in Ratnapura district, Sri Lanka. Farmers were selected by using multistage random sampling technique and data collection was performed by the interview with the farmer using a questionnaire. Analysis was based on descriptive statistics. In 84% of farms, separate calving pen was absent. Cows were not provided bedding materials during calving in 22% of farms. In 16% of farms, disinfection of the new born’s navel was not practiced. All the farmers did not concern on colostrum quality, quantity and quickness of feeding. In 53% of farms, calf sheds were in poor condition (slippery floors- 13%, floor with obstacles- 53%, no side walls- 63%, poor condition of roof- 20%, no drainage facilities- 47%). However, 5% of farmers did not provide shelters for calves. Use of sick pen and provision of exercise yard were not in practiced in all the surveyed farms. In addition, in 44% of farms, calves were not provided grazing or any other exercises. Results indicated that 11% of the farmers did not treat calves for wounds or cuts. Furthermore, 9% of the farmers did not practice deworming and 92% of the farmers did not treat for external parasites. All the farmers did not concern about the quantity and quality of the feeding materials. Disbudding was practiced in 11% of farms without pain relief techniques. In overall, results reveal that there are issues in management practices that need intervention strategies to improve the welfare of dairy calves in the area. 

 
Key words: Dairy calf, small scale farms, welfare issues, management practices.