Effect of animal traction on reproductive and physiologic parameters on cows in Angonia, Mozambique
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The aim of this research was to evaluate the impact that animal traction has on health, reproduction and physiology of cows by evaluating a project that started in 2008. The purpose of the project was to stimulate the use of cows on the land and to achieve a calving interval of 18 months or less. This research is the follow up of this project. This was done by questionnaires at local farmers in Angonia and physical examinations of a group of project cows compared to a control group. Most farmers in this area only use their cattle for transport and they only use bulls or oxen, while cows are much more efficient to use. Many farmers in Angonia supplement the feeding of their cattle, especially during the dry season. This occurs more often at farmers that use their cattle for traction as well. Working cows have to be fed a higher amount of energy or get supplements to cover for their higher energy demand. If not, the work output will not be affected, but reproduction may get impaired. The most important reason for death of cattle but also to call for a veterinarian is diseases. Especially tick borne disease are a major concern, especially during the wet season. The calving interval of the project cows does not differ from the control group, though this is only based on 6 calves. There is also no significant difference when asking the farmers about the calving interval. When these working cows are fed with a sufficient amount of energy to cover for their maintenance, reproduction and work output, work does not have to reduce reproductive performance. The parameters PCV, haemoglobin and total protein were measured in the blood of working and non-working cows and compared to the value that was measured in January 2009. There was a significant increase in PCV and haemoglobin in the project cows compared to the control group because of the high oxygen demand in working animals.