In Summary
  • I went searching for the best chicken breeds and came across India’s Kuroiler and our Kari Kienyeji breed, which unfortunately the Mtwapa branch doesn’t have.

MILK CLOTTING IN COWS
I am Joe Gachoka, a small-scale dairy farmer in Lari, Kiambu County.  
1)  What causes milk clotting in cows after milking even if the animal is not pregnant, and what is the cure?2) What is the name of the drug used to test pregnancy in cows?
Joe Gachoka

Milk is virtually sterile when it is synthesised in a healthy cow’s udder. However, it may become contaminated with bacteria during or after milking since the mammary glands of cows can become inflamed due to a bacterial infection called mastitis.

The infection is usually caused by poor hygiene. For instance, disease-causing organisms can be shed through cow dung and may contaminate the outside of the udder and teats, bedding and milking equipment leading to spoilage.

This could also be due to chemicals in milk handling equipment. Treatment of the animal with relevant antibiotics if the cause of spoilage is mastitis is necessary. Long-term measures include adhering to proper hygiene, sanitation, milking procedures and techniques.

Second, pregnancy diagnosis can be done using progesterone or specific protein testing chemical procedures. The latter is more accurate and utilises Elisa (Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay) technology.

Common test kits include Genex and Biopryn. However, the easiest and most accessible is diagnosis by an animal health expert through rectum palpation, usually not earlier than 60 days after service. We are hopeful you will soon milk gold from your seeds (cows).

Felix Akatch Opinya and Ronald Kimitei, Department of Animal Sciences, Egerton University. akatchf@gmail.com  and  
ronaldkimitei@gmail.com

I WANT TO REAR BULLS
I am interested in rearing bulls commercially under zero-grazing. I really need some guidance on how the market works.
Hannah

Just like in any commercial undertaking, one needs to do cost-benefit analysis to make the right investment decisions. The other consideration is the market. Most of the people rearing bulls do it for beef production. The most obvious market is local butcheries in your area but they cannot fetch good money.

Depending on your locality and the scale of production, Kenya Meat Commission can be your alternative market, but consider the logistics involved such as transportation.

The other challenge is the choice of your production system. I think zero-grazing is not economically viable for rearing bulls since majority of beef production in Kenya is done by pastoralists, whose cost of production is low. Some ranches also keep bulls and they enjoy economies of scale.

Charles Kairu Wanjohi, Egerton University Animal Sciences Department
Email: cwanjohi@egerton.ac.ke
or wanjohikc@yahoo.com

USING BIOGAS TO BROOD CHICKS
I am a poultry farmer and would like to know whether there is a way I can use biogas to produce heat for brooding chicks from day one since it’s very costly to use charcoal.

Christine

Maintaining the proper environmental parameters during brooding, particularly correct temperatures is crucial for chicks’ survival, especially the first seven to 10 days. During this stage, heat regulation mechanisms in chicks are not well-developed and, therefore, they rely on environmental factors to maintain optimal body temperatures.

Chilling or overheating at this stage can, therefore, result in poor feed intake, reduced growth rate, stress, and impaired disease resistance or in severe cases mortality. Biogas is used as a source of heat for brooding chicks, among many other uses.

However, several modifications are needed to ensure brooder efficiency in biogas use. You must also have adequate supply of biogas to ensure success.

Wangui, James Chege, Department of Animal Sciences, Egerton University prejaw@gmail.com  

WHAT CROPS CAN I GROW IN MWEA?

I have seven acres in Kirinyaga, specifically Marurumo, which is on the outer Mwea rice-growing region. The soil is partially black cotton, and partly red loam.

Water for irrigation is available from River Thiba. I need sound advice on what crops to grow profitably and sustainably since the land is currently idle.

Angela Mburu

For every agribusiness venture, one should start critically by looking at the market. Before venturing into growing crops, look critically at what people need, market demand and the marketing channels. Since you are accessing water for irrigation, you also need to invest in profitable and sustainable systems thus you need professional advice. Before you embark on planting your crops, I would suggest that you invest in a good long-term irrigation system. Choose crops that take a short-time to mature like cabbages, onions, and indigenous vegetables. You can also install a greenhouse on one section of the farm to grow tomatoes and capsicum.
Seeds of Gold Team
Egerton University

PIG AND GOAT FARMING
I would like to venture into pig and goat farming. How can I start, that is, what is needed, and where can I market my products?
James

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