Feedback: Use smart breeding methods for quality returns

Monday July 25 2016


I am from Karatina town and wish to start up dairy farming and ram rearing. I have rented a one-acre piece of land at the highlands, on the foot of Mt Kenya.

Kindly advise if I really have to start with hybrid cows or I can source indigenous ones?

Secondly, what major diseases can affect my cows and for the rams do we have hybrid rams?

Is there a genuine and reliable market for rabbit meat without middlemen, or was it a big hype like for quail eggs?

I have been doing rabbit farming for three years now and all the rabbit companies I have been working with have become conmen. I am now stuck with good quality breeds but no reliable market.

Please advise.



When starting up a dairy enterprise, it is always prudent to establish the foundation stock from using locally available stock that can be upgraded through use of artificial insemination.

Such animals are better adapted to the local conditions and may pose lesser risks at a crucial time when you are still learning about the best management strategies.

The stock can either be indigenous or hybrid cows depending on the available resource outlay. Ensure that your animals are regularly de-wormed and dipped or sprayed with acaricides apart from vaccinating against endemic diseases in your region with the advice of your local veterinary office.

Hybrid rams are available though it may be difficult to ascertain breed constitution ratios largely due to unstructured sheep breeding systems commonplace with most private farms.



Markets for rabbit meat exist in urban and peri-urban supermarkets. However such markets require one to sign supply contracts beforehand which in most cases fail due to the inability by many farmers to sustain regular rabbit meat supply.

The solution to this lies in adopting a smart breeding strategy that guarantees a steady supply of meat. Kindly visit the national rabbit breeding and training centre at Ngong to get direction of existing market channels and better management strategies

Kimitei K. Ronald, Department of Animal Sciences – Egerton University


I am interested in venturing into goat farming for milk production in Kikuyu, Kiambu County and separately for meat in Malindi, Kilifi County. None of the ventures have been started yet.
1.Where can I get information?

2.Where can I get a graduate ready for employment for the Malindi Farm which I wish to undertake goat and beef farming as well as dairy farming?


Dairy goats do well in many parts of Kiambu including Kikuyu with a readily available market in the form of a goat milk processing plant located a stone’s throw away at Wangige township.


Veronica Gathoni milks a dairy goat at Kamburaini village in Kieni East. PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Contact the directorate of research and extension at Egerton University to get information both on establishing a successful dairy goat enterprise as well as recruiting competent graduates to manage your farms.

Kimitei K. Ronald, Department of Animal Sciences - Egerton University



Your advice on how a small scale milk farmer can do value addition.


As a dairy producer, you can add extra value to your milk by processing and marketing your own products, such as cheeses, bottled milk, yoghurt, ice cream or butter.

Value-added products can help your farm become more viable, earning high income. However, there are more risks involved when selling value-added versus marketing directly to your local milk cooperative.

When considering the production and marketing of value-added dairy products, you have to take into consideration the capital, time commitment and market share.

Some important questions to ask yourself: 

What product do you intend to sell? 

Who is your target audience and how will I market the product? 

Are my location(s) convenient to the consumer? 

What is the profit potential of the product? 

How much will the consumer pay for the product? 

How will I demonstrate the quality of the product?

At Egerton University, farmers can take classes, or attend seminars on making the products that you are interested in marketing. Food technologists can also offer guidance on the processes and production of milk products.

Careful business planning and adhering to KEBS regulations will also ensure the success of your new venture.

Caroline Makau, Department of Dairy, Food Science and Technology, Egerton University



I need ingredients for dairy cows, broiler and kienyeji chicken feeds. Are there simple references?
Farmer K

Feed formulation is a technical area that necessitates expert understanding. It can be difficult for a farmer to formulate feed (especially poultry feed) on his own without the assistance of an animal nutrition expert.

For further assistance, kindly contact me through the following email address; [email protected]

Kimitei K. Ronald, Department of Animal Sciences – Egerton University



Could you please advise me what to put into consideration when building dairy house for three cows -- its dimensions, etc, basing on climatic conditions of Busia and Bungoma

Oyuga Joseph

Putting up farm structures is a bit expensive. Explanations alone may not give you the best impression of what an ideal zero grazing unit should look like thus give room for making costly mistakes.


Cows being fed within their shed. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Future expansion is also an important aspect to take into account. Given these, reach me on [email protected] for a copy of standard smallholder zero grazing unit guide.

Felix Akatch Opinya, Department of Animal Sciences, Egerton University

I would wish to kindly get clear and simple information on how to do hydroponics hay. I have an interest in sheep rearing and would wish to feed them on the above.

Available seeds are sorghum and wheat. Kindly assist.


Apart from being a rather expensive means of fodder production, hydroponics fodder contains very high moisture content (more than 90%) meaning that dry matter content is less than 10%.

Making hay out of such fodder will require thorough wilting. In addition, sheep are ruminant animals that require considerable amounts of crude fibre for effective rumen function.

This type of fodder production is usually an option suited for critically land limited farmers and even then hydroponic fodder should not fully replace conventional pasture and concentrate feed rations.

Kimitei K. Ronald, Department of Animal Sciences - Egerton University