Strategies to Prevent Ketosis in Cows: Minimizing Waste in Livestock Farming
Summary of Ketosis if you missed our previous article ("Ketosis in Cattle: A Costly Threat to Dairy Production in Ireland"):
Ketosis is a metabolic state in which the body burns fat for energy instead of glucose from carbohydrates. As a result of this, the body produces ketones, which are used as an alternative fuel source. The causes of ketosis are: fasting, low-carbohydrate diets, or certain medical conditions such as diabetes. In livestock farming, ketosis can occur in dairy cows when their energy demands exceed their energy intake.
Some strategies to prevent ketosis include:
- Proper nutrition:
- Providing a well-balanced diet, meaning adequate amounts of digestible carbohydrates, proteins and fat.
- Gradually increasing feed intake (dry to lactation period) can help prevent a negative energy imbalance.
- Ensuring that cows consume enough dry matter to meet their energy requirements.
- Supplementation with rumen-protected choline.
- Management practices: Reducing stress, avoiding overstocking and providing clean, comfortable housing.
- Early signs of Ketosis to look out for: Reduced appetite and decreased milk production, this can help identify cows at risk and allow for early intervention.
Image thanks to Wolfgang Ehrecke