Simmental cattle breed: description, care and feeding

Simmental cows are considered to be one of the most popular cattle breeds. For many years, these animals have been used by farmers around the world for a reason; their main feature is the perfect combination of productivity and unpretentiousness in food and conditions. But, despite this, many pastoralists do not stop their choice on this breed, considering it unprepared for existence in regions with cold winters. We will examine in detail all the features of Simmental cows, and also list their main pros and cons.

Description and breed standard

Simmental cows are distinguished by the most advantageous combination of both meat and dairy qualities, therefore they are actively used in agricultural production as a universal productive breed. Such a unique animal was bred thanks to a long selection of Swiss farmers, who for several decades instilled unique production qualities into the breed. It is believed that this cow belongs to one of the oldest livestock species that live on the territory of Europe, since its ancestors were known to man back in the 5th century.

Did you know? Cows are one of the oldest farm animals. The ancestors of modern breeds were tamed by humans about 8 thousand years ago. Breed description

HornsHollow, slightly bent.
HeadLarge, with a wide and flat forehead. On the forehead is a dense, curly coat.
NeckPowerful and short.
ChestBroad and strong.
BodyElongated, massive, with a characteristic concavity in the back.
MusculatureWell developed
SkeletonDense and powerful, while the breed moves quite gracefully.
LimbsLarge and muscular, smooth, correctly set with massive and dense hips.
WoolShort, while soft and thick to the touch.
SuitFawn or fawn.
Height (at the withers)about 135-145 cm.

Advantages and disadvantages

Like any other productive breed, a Simmental cow has its own strengths and weaknesses. It is they who make it possible to make a complete picture of the animal, as well as to determine for itself the need for it.

  • The main advantages of the Simmental breed:
    • good immunity to various diseases;
    • excellent productivity;
    • excellent quality of meat and dairy products;
    • newborn calves and young animals do not need special care, which facilitates breeding;
    • universality: the cow is ideally suited both for meat and dairy directions;
    • high growth rate of young animals;
    • affectionate and balanced character;
    • ability to adapt to any climatic conditions;
    • high survival rate of young animals;
    • average life expectancy of at least 13-15 years.
  • The disadvantages of these cows are not many, primarily they include:
  • the need for livestock exclusively in high-quality feed;
  • the quality and quantity of products depends on the quality of feed;
  • excessively large newborn calves, which at the first calving can lead to the death of a cow.

Did you know? Simmental cows belong to one of the few breeds, which are distinguished by twins. About 5% of their newborn calves are found annually, while each pair does not have any physiological pathologies.

Maintenance and care

Keeping Simmental cows is easy, as these animals do not require special conditions. However, in order to achieve high productivity from livestock, he will need to create the necessary optimum for healthy lactation and muscle gain.

At the same time, some of their physiological characteristics should be taken into account, without which full care will not be so easy.

Summer playground

A summer playground is an indispensable building for the maintenance of both large and small herds. It makes it possible to increase the productivity of cows, as well as improve the quality of meat and dairy products. It is a special indoor structure, divided into corrals. Feeding, milking and other technological processes occur in them. The roof is a prerequisite for such structures, during the summer heat, it helps to protect cows from intense solar radiation.

Such facilities are often located near pastures or food storages, which makes it possible to establish uninterrupted power for each individual individual. Animals are kept in summer areas from mid-spring to late autumn, after which they are transferred to insulated rooms. Despite the fact that summer platforms require considerable financial and labor costs, in the future they not only simplify the care of livestock, but also increase the profitability of cattle breeding.

Settlement of a barn

Cattle are transferred to the barn for the winter or kept there for continuous production in a confined space. They are covered and insulated rooms with an automatic heating system. The walls of such structures are often made of moisture-resistant materials (concrete and brick), and the roof of any roofing material is optional. But, it is best to erect cowsheds from treated wood, they help create a special microclimate that prevents the disease of animals.

Particular attention is paid to the flooring, as it will constantly come into contact with moisture, as well as aggressive livestock excretions. Best for this purpose is concrete or brick. For hygiene purposes, the flooring is made of sawdust, hay or chopped straw. The thickness of this layer should be within 10-15 cm.

The arrangement of the barn begins with the installation of the stall. It is an individual fence in which the cow spends most of the day.

The number and size of such obstacles is determined according to the number of livestock, sex and age of animals:
  • for adult cows, the structure should be about 2 m long and 1.2 m wide;
  • when a cow gives birth to offspring, it is transferred to a more spacious stall, 2 m long and at least 1.5 m wide;
  • calves have enough stall 1.5 long and 1 m wide;
  • adult bulls need a fence up to 1.5 m long and about 1.3-1.4 m wide.

Following the stall, feeders should be installed in the barn. They come in two types, for dry and wet food. The first ones are used to place straw and other feed with a low coefficient of free moisture, the second is filled with semi-viscous mixtures, juicy vegetables, etc. The feeder should be at least 80 cm wide and 40 cm deep, and also have the right trapezoidal shape. Polished wood feeders are made. Plywood or chipboard is not suitable for this, since they will last for no more than 2-3 seasons.

Individual drinking bowls of at least 10-20 liters are often installed next to the feeder. The simplest capacity for this will be a metal bucket or a trough. To reduce labor costs, the drinker can be made from a large diameter pipe cut along the pipe, on the sides of which special plugs are installed.

Conditions of detention

Despite the fact that the Simmental breed is unpretentious, and also has increased resistance to weather changes, the temperature regime in the place of keeping animals should be approached with all severity. The optimal range of average daily temperatures in summer should not exceed 20-22 ° C, in winter - fall below 8-10 ° C. At the same time, livestock needs not only heat, but also dryness; humidity in the barn should not rise above 70%.

Attention also needs to be paid to room ventilation. There should be a regular flow of fresh air in the barn, but drafts in livestock buildings are not recommended.

Ventilation in the barn A stream of cold air can cause colds in animals, and with this a decrease in their productivity. Cows are less demanding on lighting, however, in premises for their maintenance full-fledged artificial or natural lighting should be provided. Without this, the livestock may develop a violation of the daily regime, which is fraught not only with serious stress, but also with a decline in productivity.

Important! The quality of livestock products is also affected by the diet. If overly aromatic or saturated foods prevail in the feed, the taste of meat and milk may deteriorate.

Regular cleaning of the stall and equipment

Cleaning stalls, feeders, drinking bowls and other equipment should be carried out regularly. Manure removal and litter replacement in the summer is carried out as necessary, but at least 1 time per week. In winter, the barn requires replacing the flooring daily, but if possible, the number of cleanings can be reduced to 2-3 per week. After that, the tool used in the work is thoroughly cleaned under running water, and then disinfected (3% potassium permanganate solution or 2% formalin solution). The remains of food in the feeders are eliminated daily or at least 1 time per week. Water in drinking bowls is changed daily; water tanks are cleaned once a week.

Once a month, livestock facilities require preventive disinfection. Animals are temporarily transferred to another room, and then all the contents are thoroughly washed with a soap solution. After that, the barn and its contents are treated with a disinfectant (3% potassium permanganate, 2% formalin solution) or burned with a blowtorch.

What to feed

Simmental is unpretentious for food, these cows eat all types of feed common to livestock. However, due to rapid growth and high productivity, these animals need an uninterrupted supply of food throughout the day.

This question is especially acute in the winter season, when cows are not able to independently find the right amount of feed. At least 50-70 kg of food is required per person per day.

Summer grazing in the pasture

Daily grazing in the pasture is an ideal condition for keeping Simmental in the summer. Cows with pleasure eat fresh meadow and field herbs. But, in the evening do not refuse a portion of hay from alfalfa, clover or a mixture of vegetables and animal feed. If cows are fed with freshly cut hay or grass, they must be wilted for 2-3 hours in the sun, in order to avoid digestion in animals.

Despite the fact that in summer cattle can do without dry food, such top dressing will help provide complex vitamin nutrition for rapid growth and high productivity. Cows also respond positively to morning feeding, which helps to ensure high-quality and prolonged lactation. However, the amount of such feed should not exceed 2-3 kg per individual at a time.

Winter Feeding Diet

In winter, livestock almost completely switches to dry food. The most suitable for this is hay from field or meadow forbs, as well as corn leaves. When feeding, fruits of cereals (wheat, barley, etc.) should be avoided; they may contain sharp spikelets, which, if swallowed, can injure the esophagus. Therefore, the grain is often changed to feed, but if necessary, the grain can still be given to livestock, but it should be boiled. In order to make up for the deficit of succulent feed in winter, cattle are given silage or boiled corn.

Important! Livestock must be fed satiety; malnutrition is detrimental to its productivity.


Fresh water is important for the normal functioning of livestock. In the summer season, it should be at room temperature or slightly warmed up in the sun, in winter - it must be warmed up to a temperature of + 30 ° С. Cold water is detrimental to cow health and can even cause colds. Per day, meat cows require about 60-80 liters of water per individual, for dairy animals this figure is much higher and is in the range of 100-150 liters per day.

Extremely purified tap water is suitable for drinking without any impurities and disinfectants. Since harmful chemicals can not only cause chronic ailments, but also affect the taste of livestock products.

The subtleties of breeding young animals

Cattle puberty occurs at the age of 18-20 months, after which the animals can be prepared for mating. Heifers should not be delayed with the first mating, as this negatively affects the age of the whole herd and often leads to barrenness. Cows are mated during the hunt, it often lasts 1-20 hours, fertilization is carried out twice, with an interval of 10-12 hours. If the cow could not be fertilized, the next favorable period for this occurs no earlier than 20 days later.

Mating livestock is of two types: natural and artificial. For artificial use all kinds of mixtures from the seeds of different calves, while natural - mating is carried out twice, with different males. Such a technique helps to obtain high-quality and viable offspring and helps to avoid early mortality of young animals.

Simmental cows' pregnancy often lasts about 280 days. To monitor the development of offspring in the womb, create a special calendar, where any physiological changes during pregnancy are noted. During pregnancy, the cow does not require special care, but 50-60 days before calving, it is actively prepared for childbirth. For this, the animal is completely transferred to dry food, with all kinds of vitamin and mineral supplements, and also reduces the water in its diet by 25-30%. Also, during this period, walking animals are contraindicated for pregnant animals, so they are often kept in a stall before delivery.

Calving is carried out in a specially designated and dry room. Before the appearance of young animals, it is thoroughly cleaned of excrement and disinfected with a 3% solution of potassium permanganate. A clean litter is laid on the floor, over which burlap is laid. Childbirth often lasts no more than 30 minutes, after which the cow independently cleans the calf from amniotic fluid. The umbilical cord should be cut with the help of a veterinarian, in order to avoid infection of the newborn.

After calving, the calves need to be examined: the veterinarian determines how their mucous membranes and external integuments look, and also measures the proportions of the body. The first few days, the newborn with his mother is in a clean, warm and dry room. After that, the cow and calf from the maternity ward are transferred to a special stall, where they are together for several months.

For the first two weeks, the calf feeds on colostrum - a special secret from the udder. It compensates for the deficiency of the body in the necessary substances, and also activates the growth and development of the body. After 2 weeks, the young growth is gradually transferred to hay, and after a month, succulent feed and compound feed are gradually introduced into the diet in portions of 100-200 g. To avoid the development of all kinds of infectious lesions, the calf is cleaned at least 2-3 times a week, and the litter is regularly changed. At the age of 120-150 days, calves are weaned from their mother.

Important! Postpartum diet correction is also required for the cow. For a week, it is fed exclusively with chopped and steamed hay, as well as chopped vegetables, excessively rough food during this period may not be absorbed by its body. Simmental cows are one of the most unpretentious and productive animals intended for breeding in almost any conditions. The breed is characterized by high-quality products and can be successfully used both in meat and dairy cattle breeding. The main drawback of this type is the demanding for high-quality nutrition, which quite often is the first reason for the decline in productivity.

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