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Gava Ayurveda In Ancient India – Health Care of Cattle – Animal Husbandry in Hinduism

Animal husbandry and health care of bovines (cattle, ox, cow etc) in ancient India was known as Gava Ayurveda. It was one of the occupations of ancient Hindus, concerned with the production and care of domestic and other animals. Hinduism had a highly developed technique of breeding, feeding and cattle management.

Cattle rearing were considered as an important occupation in Hindu religion. The cow is a symbolic representation of the earth and traditional object of worship among Hindus.

Possession of the cow has been considered an important indicator of wealth.

A healthy cow should first urinate and then defecate, otherwise she is considered to be sick.

The hooves of a cow should be washed every day, but bathed only once a week.

The body of the cow should be brushed with coconut fiber to make the hair soft.

Parasites, such as lice and mites, should be removed regularly.

The cow should be protected from the rain and sun and the shed should be kept clean.

The straw or grass should be arranged in such a manner that, while eating, the cow will not scatter it.

The shed should be fumigated to remove bad odor and parasites.

The urine and dung should be properly disposed.

Cows should not be tied too close to each other.

Cattle must be fed properly and the right type of food should be given at the right time.
For bulls and for those cattle that are used for plowing and for pulling a cart, it is important that highly nutritious food be provided.

Bulls, when not in work, should be properly exercised so that they remain energetic and disease free.

They should be taken out for a walk thrice a day.

If one provides exercise properly to them, their digestive capacity will increase.

Groundnut oil cake, cotton seed oil cake, husk and small quantities of salt can be given, depending on their weight, height etc.

For bulls kept for breeding, horse gram and broken cereals should be given for extra nutrition.

For cows and buffaloes, food should be given depending on their height and weight, and not depending on the milk they yield.

If one does not give food to cows at the right time, their milk yield will be affected.
It is important that all cows in a herd are fed together.

For mulching cows, a mixture of sesame oil cake, cotton seed oil cake, small quantity of husk, broken cereals, salt and minerals is to be grounded properly and given along with water in which rice is washed.

For non mulching cattle, one part of groundnut oil cake, half part of cotton seed oil cake, two parts husk, one-fourth part of broken cereals, and one handful of salt should be soaked and mixed and given in the morning and evening.

For cows that stop procreating after a couple of deliveries, proper food along with medicines can help. Proper diet is also important.

For all cows, straw and gram as fodder are very important. Each cow eats at least fifteen pounds every day.

It is not necessary that cows should be fed on straw all the time. If there are grazing grounds, one should allow them to graze, because green grass is an equally important food for them. If no grazing grounds are available, one should supply them with green grass. For mulching cows, green leafy vegetables should be provided every day, as it reduces body heat, kill worms and increases the digestive capacity.