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Dairy type cattle are raised for milk production. Cattle of this type are excellent in converting feeds into high quality milk. Some categories of cattle are raised for both meat and milk production. These are called dual- purpose cattle. Other cattle have the properties of a typical dual-purpose cattle (i.e., milk and meat production). These cattle also have some features of working cattle such as strong bones, sound constitution, and quiet temperament. These are called multi-purpose cattle. In this unit, you will learn about the dairy cattle types. Dairying or dairy cattle production is a branch of agriculture that encompasses the raising of dairy animals for the production of milk and milk products. Milk is the primary product of dairying. Before producing milk, a cow must first have a calf. Female calves of modern breeds reach sexual maturity at the age of seven or eight months and are then called heifers (i.e., before having their first calf or having only one calf). Heifers are usually mated when they are 15 to 18 months old. This age is said to be the age at first service. The gestation period typically lasts 265 to 300 days. Heifers tend to give birth to their first calves at the age of 2 to 2.5 years. They are typically bred again four to eight weeks after calving. Good dairy farming practice involves the production of safe and high quality milk from healthy animals. This involves different management practices such as breeding, feeding, housing, health care and record keeping.

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