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Feeding of Breeding bulls

Breeding bulls should attain body weight of 350-400 Kg body weight at 30 month of age and at this age they are ready to be used for breeding. As in case of females, in males also low plane of nutrition delay puberty. The adverse effects of malnutrition are more pronounced if they occur in early life than post weaning. In controlled experiment, low protein feeding delayed puberty of bulls by 5 months and such bulls had poor testicular development and small ejaculate volume as compared to their normal counterpart. Vitamin A and Zn deficiency can also delay puberty, reduce libido and may affect integrity of testicular tissue and hence special care need to be taken to prevent deficiency of these two critical nutrients. About 40 to 60% restriction of energy and protein during growing phase causes retardation of testicular growth and the effect persists throughout the life. On the other hand feeding high concentrate diets (80% concentrate in DM) to growing bulls reduced testicular sperm reserve and also reduced semen quality as compared to total roughage diet. It has been recommended that breeding bulls should be given 100% higher CP and 20% higher energy than maintenance requirement for mature female buffaloes.

Breeding bulls should be fed with good quality balanced ration. However, care should be taken to avoid overfeeding as fatness lead to reduced libido and reduced reproductive performance. For a 700 Kg buffalo bull following feeding schedule can be followed: a) 40 Kg cereal fodder + 0.8 Kg deoiled ground nut cake/deoiled soyabean cake or b) 10 Kg berseem + 10 Kg straw + 1.2 Kg deoiled ground nut cake/deoiled soyabean cake or c) 8 Kg straw + 2.0 Kg concentrate mixture + 2-3 Kg green fodder + 1 Kg deoiled ground nut cake/deoiled soyabean cake. For every 50 Kg increase or decrease in body weight from 700 Kg, a) 0.6 Kg straw +100 g deoiled groundnut cake/deoiled soyabean cake or b) 3 Kg green berseem or c) 3 Kg green cereal fodder should be added/deducted from the ration suggested for 700 Kg body weight.

contributed by S.S Paul and Sunesh