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Repeat Breeding In Cows

UK Atheya / Cattle, Cattle Reproduction /

Introduction to Repeat Breeding

The problem of repeat breeding is a severe problem of dairy. Repeat breeding means after several artificial inseminations the cow does not fall pregnant. As such its milk production reduced or it may cease. The reduced milk production by a cow is a loss to the dairy farmer and the cow become a liability to the farmer.

There is no buyer to such cows and due to the ban on cow slaughter, it cannot be disposed off. However, in Kerala and Northeast part of India, there is no ban on cow slaughter so the problem is less severe there.

The problem of repeat breeding in cow or buffalo is different. In cows, the milking cows like Sahiwal and Gir are seasonal breeders. They breed in long days after March and April these cows in northern India have calves after March. After March there is no fodder so the calf thrives on mother milk for 5 months.

Within these five months, the rumen is developed and the calf stomach which is like a human stomach converts to rumen stomach. The rumen stomach has the capability of digesting cellulose in the straw of wheat, rice or maize. Thus the calves above 5 months of age start taking green fodder in July and august month and pick up the growth and within 12 months of age, it is mature.

Apart from fodder, the calves need a certain temperature. The calf cannot survive in the very cold temperature of 5-7°C in winter months. So the perfect time for the birth of a calf is beyond March when the temperature is rising and chances of survival are high.

Desi Cows in Northern India are seasonal breeders. Breeding in long day length time and calving at the start of summer. If these cows are mated in short-day period months, for example, February they will not likely to conceive and they become repeat breeder. So the photoperiod and the temperature and humidity are major factors.

No claim of nutrition and medication is the solution to the problem. But, the various claims are made by pharmaceutical companies.
The cow gestation period is 9 months and 10days which is 270 to 280 days. So it is calving same month every year.

The problem of the season in North India may not be the problem in South India, because of the photoperiod effect on the equator is less. The problem of repeat breeding is reverse to that of the cow. Buffalo is a short-day breeder. Breeding from September to February, having break-in November and December months.

It may be noted that the gestation period in buffalo is 10 months and 10days. It does not breed in long days so its calving is shuffling every year. For example, if its calves in October this year then next year it will calve in November or December. The third time it does not calve after in January – February.

So after calving for 3 times, there is one year of gaping calving. So the summer insemination will be fertile in winter pregnancy. But, the owner and the vet call it to repeat the breeding problem. No nutrition and medication is a solution.

Buffalo Breeding has three main problems

  • 1. Short day length
  • 2. Temperature
  • 2. High humidity

The suitable combination of all the three is not possible. So the milk production rate is low in summer months and replacement of herd is slower than the cow.

Among the Jersey and Holstein exotic cows, the problem of repeat varies. Jersey suffers less than Holstein and their crosses with native cows, The crossbreed cows still have less problem. But the repeat breeding is still a big problem.

Because Jersey and Holstein come from European and American colder zone do not breed well because of temperature and photoperiod effect and the transfer of cattle from Northern hemisphere to the equator or from the southern hemisphere (Australia to India at the equator or high altitude places in northern India).

A lot of the repeat breeding problems are due to receive a gift in Germany, UK, Denmark, Canada and their Landry in Kerala, Bangalore and Punjab. Further, the Holstein shifted from north Punjab to UP, Punjab, Rajasthan and Gujarat are likely to create the problem but now the availability of semen from ABS Med, Inc. has been proved better. Further, the cross to Sahiwal x Holstein and Gir x Holstein and Red Sindhi x Holstein performed well.

The sexed semen of this high producing Holstein and Jersey with A2 milk is promising. The somatic cell count in bull semen is promising control on mastitis, milk fever and case of caving has overcome the problem of repeat breeding.

The environmentally controlled house, feeding of selenium and vitamin E plus the use of synthetic Ganado tropic releasing hormone and Postraglandin for controlled breeding hormonal indoctrination of dairy.
Certain pathological condition like cystic ovary, luteal cyst and retained corpus luteum also imitate the problem of repeat breeding.

However, these problems can be resolved by hormonal treatment for cystic ovary give Receptal (GnRH ) 5.0 ml intramuscularly and after 10days give catalyst (Gama-PG2) and after 48 hours give Receptal and insemination after 18 to 24 hours.

And for Luteal Cyst give Alpha-PG2.

Hymphomimic cow or butter cow always in heat give Receptal GnRH 5.0 ml intramuscular once.

For blood in vaginal discharge Receptal GnRit, 2.5 ml Conception Receptal 2.5 ml at AI or within 4 hours of AI bent 9/m or 9/v. Repeat after 8 days of AI.

Please treat metritis with an antibiotic dry cow with Cephalosporin antibiotics. Treat mastitis to overcoming repeat breeding keep a cow at 20°C and 50% humidity does not allow your cow to calve in July-August.
Do not inseminate a cow with 38°C temperature. Inseminate cow in the evening.

Do not use 11 hydroxyprogesterone (Duraprogenone) on a cow at insemination it will result in pseudopregnancy.

Do not vaccinate or deworm cow till 3 months after AI. Keep animal free from Tripnosomisis, Babesia, Theileria and Anaplasmosis.

Give a prophylactic treatment with diminazene six-hour, six days and six weeks are critical (consult your veterinarian).

Use of 11-alpha hydroxyprogesterone, induction of heat in buffalo/cow heifer give 500 mg once intramuscular in the breeding season in a week the subject will come in heat. You can give 11 hydroxyprogesterone on the sign of abortion in cow after 6 months of pregnancy.

Give PG alpha 2 (Lutalys) after 10 days of calving if it does not come in heat repeat its mastitis will also end.

What are Hormones?

Hormones are single molecules produced by endocrine glands and are in very small quantity (mg or pg) and released in the blood from blood they go to the target organ and start growth reproduction and homeostasis.
They can be a steroid, catecholamine, peptide and fatty acid. Now brain prostrate and intestine are considered as part of the hormone-producing organ.

  • Peptide – FSH, LH, PROLACTIN, GH
  • Steroid – Estrogen, progesterone and cortisol
  • Catecholamine – epinephrine, norepinephrine
  • Fatty acid – alpha PPG2, prostaglandin

Repeat Breeding in Buffalo

Buffalo reproduction cycle or estrus cycle is different than a cow (Holstein and Indigenous). Holstein comes in the heat all year round in India provided they are housed in environmentally controlled housing at 20°C and 50% relative humidity.

Indigenous cows are long-day breeders they breed in summer when the temperature between 30 to 40°C and humidity is 50%. The buffalo, the Murrah buffalo breed in short day ie. winter month when the night temperature is below 26°C and days are short. Buffalo tolerate high humidity.

Buffalo thermal regulation is governed by swallowing. The estrus cycle of buffalo is for 28 days and length of estrus is over 48 hours. Some buffalo remain in estrus for several days. The further buffalo gestation period is 10 months and 10 days. Say 310 days and after calving, it takes 100 days to conceive so a gap of 400 days between calving. So they are not calving in the same month every year like cows.

There caving is shifting every year. The buffalo is a short day breeder and its calving is shifting every year so it does not calve for a year after caving every year. It is like if it calves in sep this year then it will calve in nov (after 400days) next year and then in January.

After January it will not calve for a year because in a long day period of March to August it does not calve. The estrus is futile and it is said to repeat breeder but it is not true, it is a seasonal breeder. Then no amount of medicine or nutritional supplements will correct the repeat breeding problem.

Further, the metritis also initiates the problem of repeat breeding. But can be treated by administration of Alpha-PG2, 10 days apart 2 or 3 times. It is because the buffalo lactated phase does not respond to treatment but in the follicular phase, it does.

The metritis will give rise to mastitis and if not treated the mastitis is also cause of repeat breeding.

The one more cause of repeat breeding is the tick-borne diseases carrier cases of Babesia, Thelieria, Trypanosomosis and Anaplasmosis.

The prophylactic treatment for the carrier cases and vaccination is necessary. The tick-born infestation hinders reproduction and production and in turn, invites repeat breeding.

Buffaloes are very prone to suffer from trypanosomiasis (Surra) Babesia and Anaplasmosis. With buffalo repeat breeding problem good point is that buffalo survive of very rough type food or grazing on common ground in villages. So the input in the dry period is not much and some farmer takes responsibility for the dried buffalo. Then again at the time of calving, they are hand over again.

It is not that the repeat breeding problem is due to female buffalo. The male buffalo also produces the dead semen in non-breeding season and is less sexually active.

It is for the above reasons that the pregnancy diagnosis is a must for identifying the problem of repeat breeding. At the time the pregnant buffalo too exhibit heat and of insemination then may result in termination of pregnancy.

No vaccination or deworming should be done at the time of natural service or artificial insemination because it will result in the termination of pregnancy.

The use of selenium and Vitamin-E seem to overcome the problem of repeat breeding.

Ovarian dysfunctions and Pseudo pregnancy and Repeat Breeding

Ovarian dysfunction like cystic ovaries and luteal cyst are also a cause of repeat breeding in 5 to 10%of cows. In the case of the cystic ovary is of the size of ping pong ball whereas in normal size it is of almond size.

These cystic ovaries result in irregular oestrous cycle and a nymphomaniac behaviour. Nymphomania is a constant sign of oestrous. In such cases, cows are repeatedly served but do not conceive. It may also jump on other animals. This cystic ovarian cows can be treated by 5 ml Receptal (GnRH) or Gonadolabrin. So they are cured by Treating with 5 ml Receptal.

In the case of a lethal cyst, the cow does not express regular heat because corpus luteum persists beyond 14 days maybe for months. This can be easily treated with alpha PG2, Lutalys or estimate.

Estrus After Conception

Many cows conceived but do express estrus. Say a 30% of cows do express estrus so it is not taken for granted that that cow is not pregnant. If it is expressing estrus, do a pregnancy test at 35 days is necessary and an expert vet may be able to tell you about the pregnancy status.

When buffalo are kept in a natural habitat with buffalo bulls the pregnancy test is necessary for giving treatment for sterility and drying the cow or buffalo.

Prostaglandin (Alpha-PG2) and Cow/Buffalo Reproduction  

Prostaglandin is a hormone from the prostate gland. These hormones are fatty acid by chemical composition. They are responsible for lysis of corpus Leutium a structure of an ovary of a cow formed after 4 days of estrus. This corpus lutetium persists throughout the pregnancy and if the cow or buffalo is not mated or inseminated it is terminated after 17 days of the cycle.

If Prostaglandin is injected anywhere 7 to 11 day. The lysis of corpus lutetium is done and cow/buffalo come in estrus and can be inseminated. It works in cow, buffalo, sheep and goat. Not used in dogs.

Produce Grilandio –  A cross between Brazilian Gir produced by genomic semen and best Holstein cows.

It is being asked by dairy farmers that they started the dairy with Holstein cows but there are problems regards to repeat breeding and delayed conception and tick-borne diseases like Babesia, Thelaria and Anaplasmosis. This problem amounts to closing the dairy.

So it wise to go for Brazilian Gir and Holstein crosses. I say Brazilian Gir and Holstein because the semen of these two breeds are available from ABS India is genomic semen and specially selected for India. So use the semen from ABS India.

Please do not use the ABS semen or any other imported semen from European North America or Australian origin. This I am saying because the away you go from the equator the photoperiod is pronounced and you unknowingly land in problem. The one big problem in cows repeat breeding is affected by season ie. Temperature and day length.

It is crucial to use Brazilian Gir semen it is genomic, our Indian Gir semen is not genomic. The semen from Sahiwal  and Red Sindhi is also not genomic and progeny tested. So it will not give desirable result in the long run. The Sahiwal x Holstein and Indian Gir X Holstein is available fro sex technology operative in Rishikesh Uttrakhand India.

The Genomic Sex Semen from ABS India of Jersey is also available and if this is crossed with that of genomic progeny of Holstein then lower body weight black cow of Jersey x Holstein are produced. These are good animals as they have less hoof problem as jersey has good legs. The lower body weight also put less weight on legs. These cows live longer and produce milk with higher fat than Holstein cow.  These cow have less reproductive problem and survive on rough fodder. Further if you use sex semen then the problem of dystocia is not their

Let us understand the term Genomic Semen

Genomic semen is the semen in which the genes are edited. Meaning the bad genes have been removed and good genes have been introduced. They are are very superior cow as they suffer less from mastitis. Their somatic cell count is low there is no problem of milk fever (Low availability of calcium in body) and ketosis (Lack og glucose in body) due to metabolic disturbance in cow body.

There is also case of calving to less post-calving complications. The semen is sexed so the replacement of herd is quick and instead of selling milk you can sell haifer and earn more profit. If you are bringing new cow every year your dairy will not survive in long run. On the other hand if you are selling animal you gill generate income and employment.

Harish Pai March 18, 2021 Post Reply

Thank you sir very good information

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