Parturition In Domestic Animals: A Review
Parturition is the process of delivery of the fully grown fetus on the completion of the normal pregnancy period. Parturition is an interesting biological process in the sense that the uterus that was quiescent during the entire pregnancy starts contracting and the cervix that was tightly contracted relax sufficiently to allow the passage of the young one to the world outside the mothers womb, passing through the birth canal (which is formed by the uterus, cervix and vagina within the pelvic bones and their attachments). Parturition is one of the most important events for the farmers as by this act of his animal he would derive gain in terms of milk or sale of animal and its progeny. Most domestic animals are prone to maximum injuries and infections, some of them endangering the life of the fetus and the dam immediately, and some of them affecting the future productive and reproductive life of the mother. Therefore, due care must be exercised in advance and sufficient vigilance must be kept during parturition to minimize parturient problems. It is desirable and often safe to shift animals about to parturate to separate, quiet, clean area with sufficient protection from inclement weather. Cows, buffaloes and mares are often shifted to calving pens/foaling pens. Sheep and goat often parturate at pasture but at organized farms they may be shifted to kidding pens, separate from other animals that may disturb them. A close watch on the parturating animals is essential to provide assistance as early as possible when required. Mares can often inhibit or prolong parturition voluntarily in the presence of persons and daylight and they mostly foal during the night hours (Haluska and Wilkins, 1989, Purohit et al., 1999). Therefore, mares must be visualized from distance. Modern stud farms have closed circuit TV cameras fitted in the foaling boxes for this purpose. Farrowing crates are highly desirable for sows with constant watch being kept on farrowing sows to prevent them from lying on newborn piglets. For bitches, whelping boxes of cardboard with newspapers are often good. The bitch should be familiar with this environment 15-20 days ahead of whelping. Queens often require a quiet environment and they thus seek solitude.