The management practices of pregnant animals vary from one animal to another. The management practices for two animals (cattle and pigs) are explained below:
(a) Cattle (Breeding to Calving or Birth): Breeders (bulls and heifer or cow) are housed in the breeders’ houses made of railed walls, concrete floors and galvanised roofing sheets. Bulls and heifers should be at least 24 months old before they are bred. Prior to mating, the heifer or cow should be properly fed on concentrate as well as on roughages such as grasses. The bull is brought to mate or serve the cow when it is on heat. The gestation period for cattle is about 283 days. During the gestation period, the cow is allowed to feed in the ranch in order to take some exercises. About eight weeks to parturition (calving), the cow is put on a special (rich) diet to set all her organs in good order for milk production after birth. This special system is called steaming up.
Constipation should be avoided by giving the animal plenty of roughages and bran in the diet. The cow is separated from the rest of the herd and is taken to the calving pen a week to calving. Adequate sanitation, comfortable beddings and clean water must be provided. At calving, the cow should not be disturbed. The cow normally stands while calving without any difficulty.
(a) Pig (Breeding to Farrowing or Birth): Breeders (gilts and boars) are housed in the breeders’ house, made of concrete floor, low wall and galvanised iron roofing sheets. Boars and gilts should be at least eight months before they are bred. The gilt must have, at least, twelve well spaced functional teats and good temperament and should not be obese. Two weeks before mating, the gilt must be dewormed and sprayed with insecticide to remove internal and external parasites.
Flushing should be done 7 to 10 days before breeding and maintained until the animals are bred. Flushing is the process by which the feed intake of the gilt or sow is increased so that it can produce more eggs or ova and therefore, more number of fertilised eggs or ova and large litters or piglets. The gilt or sow is mated on the second day of heat and second mating is done 24 hours later. The gilt or sow should be well fed during gestation period but not overfed because there is the tendency for fat deposition which leads to small litter size, insufficient milk production and difficulty in parturition.
They should be fed on Breeder’s mash. Breeders should be given sufficient exercise to prevent the deposition of fats. Sows and gilts should be given laxative diet, rich in high fibre (grasses) to aid easy parturition and lactation. Three to four days before farrowing, the sow or gilt should be taken to the farrowing house where they will give birth to piglets. Farrowing crates, rail guards, beddings, feeding and watering troughs and heating device should be provided in the farrowing house. An attendant must be present to give a helping hand during farrowing, in case of any difficulty.
1. Briefly explain the functions of the following hormones: (a) Androgen (b) Oestrogen (c) Oxytocin (d) Progesterone (e) Luteinising hormone.
2(a) Describe the process of egg formation in poultry. (b) Enumerate six functions/ Ifto roles of the reproductive hormones in animals. (SSCE June, 1988).
3. Explain briefly the following terms: (a) Ovulation (b)Oestrus cycle (c) Gestation (d)Parturition. (SSCE obl August, 1991).
4. Bill Describe briefly the processes of egg formation in poultry. (SSCE June, to nor 1994).
5. Describe briefly the following: (a) Mating (b) Fertilisation (c) Parturition (d) Heat period (e) Ovulation. (SSCE Nov., 1994).
6. Explain briefly four of the following terms in animal reproduction: (a) Oestrus cycle (b) Heat period (c) Gestation period (d) Colostrum (e) Parturition (SSCE June, 1997)
7. List five signs of heat in animals (WASSCE June, 2007).

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