YOUR ANIMAL DOCTOR

Saturday November 11 2017

A poultry farmer feeds his birds.

A poultry farmer feeds his birds. Layers may peck each other due to overcrowding, boredom and dominant behaviour, among others. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By DR JOHN MUCHBI
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Dealing with pecking birds
My layers peck my legs every time I enter the chicken house. They also peck each other. How can I stop this behaviour?
Brian

Layers may peck each other due to overcrowding, boredom and dominant behaviour, among others.

Chickens are naturally inquisitive and they will use their beaks to inspect things, including pecking other birds around them.

Aggressive pecking, on the other hand, is bad and once it starts the birds may peck on each other to death.

Birds can also be attracted by the red colour.

Once a bird is bleeding, they will all peck on the wound making matters worse.

Investigate why the birds have aggressive pecking, but ensure they have enough feeds and water.

Avoid overcrowding; adhere to the two square feet/bird, identify dominant flock members and isolate them.

You could keep the birds busy by hanging feeds in the coop and make perches for them.

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Quality eggs from Kienyeji birds
What should I offer my Kienyeji chickens to get high quality eggs? Does layers mash reduce the eggs quality?
Stephen

I assume you mean yellow-yolked eggs when you talk about quality.

Kienyeji chickens tend to have more yellow-yolked eggs than layers, especially so when they are scavenging.

However, in confined chicken, yellow yolk is a factor of feeds, with the commercial ones having ingredients that make the yolk yellow.

Different millers tend to have various amounts of the ingredient and so yolk colour could vary depending on feeds and even between batches of feeds.

To increase your egg production, deworm with Piperin and supplement with Nemovit Egg formula.

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Vaccines for calves
What vaccines should I give my calves as they grow?
Ben

The vaccines to be administered depend on the region. In the highlands, you vaccinate against East Coast Fever, Foot and Mouth Disease, Blackquarter, Anthrax and Lumpy skin disease.

In arid and semi-arid areas, you vaccinate against Contagious Bovine Pleuro Pneumonia (CBPP) in addition to all the above.

During vaccination, always use Stressmix in drinking water to counter the stress associated with the exercise.

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My cow is not conceiving
I have a cow which since last year August has not conceived despite being served four times. It has since gone silent. I have used hormones but they did not work, and nothing seems wrong with it. Please help.
Hilda

The ideal situation is a calf a year, that is, nine months of pregnancy, 60 days of rest and service the following month.

An animal not conceiving after two consecutive inseminations by a qualified personnel must first be seen by a vet to rule out diseases or other problems.

Failure to conceive maybe as a result of factors from the cow itself (poor body condition, mineral deficiencies and diseases), semen quality or the inseminator (semen handling, insemination process and timing of insemination).

My advice is work with a qualified vet who will identify the problem with your cow and help manage it.

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Feeding cows molasses
How should I feed my dairy cows and goats molasses for higher yields?
MaryAnne

When the quantity and quality of pastures are low, molasses becomes an important source of energy.

Additionally, it is an excellent source of minerals although low in proteins.

For molasses to be effective, it must be fortified with proteins in the form of urea or cotton seed cake.

Molasses can be added to hay/pasture at a rate of 100g to 200g for sheep and goats or 500g to 2kg for lactating cows.

You may also feed molasses fortified mineral blocks.

Molasses improves palatability and feed intake.