Your Animal Doctor

Saturday November 4 2017

A poultry farmer collects eggs from his layers.

A poultry farmer collects eggs from his layers. You can supplement calcium by offering your chicken Dicalcium Phosphate (DCP), a dietary supplement used to combat calcium and/or phosphorous related deficiencies in all livestock, to curb their egg eating. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By DR JOHN MUCHIBI
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Stop hens from eating their eggs

My chickens eat their eggs, what is the problem?

Brian, Machakos

Several things lead to this anomaly, which include nesting boxes may be placed in an area with too much lighting; the birds have access to broken eggs; they are deficient of calcium or because of boredom.

To reduce light in the laying nests, cover the front of the boxes with black polythene papers.

Avoid egg breakages as they encourage the birds to eat them and collect eggs regularly once laid.

You can supplement calcium by offering them Dicalcium Phosphate (DCP). This is a dietary supplement used to combat calcium and/or phosphorous related deficiencies in all livestock.

To eliminate boredom, keep the birds busy by having perches and hanging vegetable feeds in their houses.

In extreme cases, you can either purchase a roll away layers’ cage or debeak the birds.

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What leads to chicks with weak legs

My broilers are three weeks old, but many cannot stand on their feet. What do I do?

Susan Muthoni, Nairobi

Due to faster growth, some broiler chicks often suffer deficiencies of vitamins and minerals depending on the feeds provided.

Give the birds supplements for a week or so through drinking water with a quality vitamin such as Stressmix to solve the problem.

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Making goat farming profitable

I intend to rear dairy goats for milk. What are the key considerations around shelter and feeds? How do I make the venture as economical as possible?

Evelyne Mutanu, Mavoko

Construct a house with raised floor and group the animals according to their behaviour.

No need for individual cubicles. On feeding, you can grow your own feeds (Boma Rhodes andlucern) or buy and store.

Sweet potato vines are particularly good for goat kids. Give dairy meal to milking animals and supplement with minerals.

Find good quality stock from the various dairy goat breeders associations in your area.

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Why cows offer low milk

I bought a Friesian cow from Eldoret with a promise that it would give me 30 litres a day.

Despite feeding it well, I have never milked more than 10 litres. What is the problem?

Chepkorir Kosonei, Narok

Production is a factor of genetics, nutrition and management.

It is likely that the cow you bought did not have genetic capability of producing 30 litres.

Next time, buy a cow that has calved at least once and has milk records.

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How to manage stress in poultry

What are the causes of stress in poultry and how do I manage it?

Slyvester Okoth, Nairobi

Stress can come from transportation, vaccination, diseases, internal and external parasites, change of weather, debeaking and sudden change of feeds.

Stress may lead to reduced production in layers and reduced weight gain in broilers.

To manage it, give high quality anti-stress agent such as Stressmix.

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Bloody diarrhoea in chickens

My chickens have bloody diarrhoea, what is the cause and how can I treat it?

Vincent, Kisumu

Your chickens may be suffering from coccidiosis, which is a disease caused by a protozoal parasite that thrives in wet litter.

You can prevent the disease by ensuring that there is no spillage of water on the floor.

This is done by ensuring that the water level in the drinkers is at the same height as the back of the birds.

Use coccidiostats such as Intracox oral in their drinking water.

In addition, use Stressmix to improve their appetite and counter stress and Electromix to restore the electrolytes and energy lost during the diarrhoea.