The health and growth of calves in Tanzanian smallholder dairy farms

Dec 13, 2012

Milk production is a major source of income for many farmers in Tanzania and therefore an important factor in combating poverty in the region. But the health and growth of the calves and the milk production rate is often poor.

Jelly Senyagwa Chang'a's doctoral research project appraised the health and performance of belonging to dairy breeds in the eastern part of the southern highlands in Tanzania. She discovered that the dairy farmers had scant knowledge about feeding and looking after calves, but also that there was a relatively low rate of clinical diseases, blood parasites and endoparasites in calves in the region. The low growth rate from birth to was first and foremost due to feeding and less to do with health issues.

A cow shed in one of the smallholder dairy farms in Tanzania. Credit: Jelly S. Chang'a

Chang'a studied the calves' living conditions and found that a low growth rate was linked to what time of year the calf was born, the amount of milk feed, the source of drinking water and the age of weaning. She also examined individual parameters having a significant bearing on the growth of the calves and found low blood levels of total protein, phosphorus and and that blood urea was high in the calves that grew slowly.

It was assumed that cryptosporidia (gastrointestinal parasites) were partly the cause of poor growth and health in calves in the study area, but the results of Chang'a's work show that these parasites only have a small impact on the health of the calves.

The health and growth of calves in Tanzanian smallholder dairy farms
A six-month-old calf indicating poor growth. Credit: Jelly s. Chang'a

This PhD project was carried out at the Norwegian School of Veterinary Science, while the field data were collected in Tanzania.

Jelly Senyagwa Chang'a defended her doctoral research on 6th December 2012 with a thesis entitled "Calf health and performance in Tanzanian smallholder ."

Explore further: Organic apple orchards benefit from green compost applications

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Model developed for manipulating vitamin D levels in calves

May 25, 2010

A new model for manipulating vitamin D levels in young calves has been developed by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists who say it could help establish just how much of this important nutrient the young animals ...

Supplement aids milk production

Sep 12, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Massey University research has led to the development of a calf supplement that can increase milk yield in dairy cows by up to 12 per cent.

Recommended for you

Study indicates large raptors in Africa used for bushmeat

7 minutes ago

Bushmeat, the use of native animal species for food or commercial food sale, has been heavily documented to be a significant factor in the decline of many species of primates and other mammals. However, a new study indicates ...

The microbes make the sake brewery

1 hour ago

A sake brewery has its own microbial terroir, meaning the microbial populations found on surfaces in the facility resemble those found in the product, creating the final flavor according to research published ahead of print ...

Fighting bacteria—with viruses

1 hour ago

Research published today in PLOS Pathogens reveals how viruses called bacteriophages destroy the bacterium Clostridium difficile (C. diff), which is becoming a serious problem in hospitals and healthcare institutes, due to its re ...

User comments : 0