Feedback: Tips on formulating quality rabbit feeds

Saturday December 30 2017

A rabbit farmer holds aloft a rabbit.

A rabbit farmer holds aloft a rabbit. Among the ingredients one can include when making feeds for rabbits at home are oats, barley and sunflower seeds. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

By SEEDS OF GOLD EXPERTS
More by this Author

Making feeds for rabbits at home
I am a farmer based in Kiambu and for the last one-and-a-half years, I have been breeding rabbits for sale as meat. Unfortunately, I have found the cost of commercial pellets quite high while the price I am being offered is low. To improve my margins, I started mixing my own feeds consisting of dairy meal, wheat bran and other ingredients. My question is, is there a more effective mixture I could use to make the animals bulk up faster so that they are ready for market in four months, weighing 3kg and above? My current mixture does not seem to work as fast as pellets and there is also a lot of waste as it is not compacted like pellets.
Mike Chege

To bulk the animals faster for market, you need to offer them high quality feeds for the much needed nutrients.

If your current mixture is not working, it could mean that the quality of the ingredients are questionable or you need to seek alternative ones that supply the same or even higher nutritive value.

This helps in addressing the deficits in current feed mixtures that might not be providing the needed nutrients or even in minimising quantities of feed wastes.

Among the ingredients you can include are oats, barley and sunflower seeds.

Fredrick Agutu,
Department of Animal Sciences, Egerton University.

****

Getting Certified Potato Seeds

Which is the nearest place to Sotik where I can get certified potato seeds?
Kirui Charles

An agriculture extension official displays an ideal seed potato.

An agriculture extension official displays an ideal seed potato during a farmers' event at a demonstration farm in Kuresoi. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Please contact farmer Leah Rono from Nandi on 0727566988.

Carol Mutua,
Department of Crops, Horticulture and Soils, Egerton University.

****

Growing and Marketing Capsicum

My name is Bernice Kalimi from Kitui County. I am a young lady who completed university with a Bachelors of Arts degree in Eng/Lit and History.

I have always wanted to invest in agriculture especially keeping rabbits and growing capsicum. I would like to know if there is ready market for the produce and how I should take care of them.

Marketing opportunities for capsicums are excellent locally as they are sold in hotels, hospitals, directly to consumers or middlemen. It will depend on the type of capsicum you want to grow as we have sweet pepper (green, red and yellow) and we have hot pepper, but whichever you choose you can’t lack market.

Environmental requirements: Capsicums are warm season crops and are highly susceptible to frost. The optimum temperature for growth and development is 21-24oC for sweet pepper and 21-29oC for hot pepper.

The minimum temperature for both types is 18oC and maximum is 27oC (sweet pepper) and 35oC (hot pepper). Soils should be well-drained, sandy loam or loam that has high moisture holding capacity and some organic matter.

The pH should be 6.0-6.5. Pepper is sensitive to salinity. Low night temperatures in July/August are favourable for production of capsicums.

A farmer tends her capsicum crops.

A farmer tends her capsicum crops. Capsicums are sensitive to water stress and if it occurs during flowering and fruiting time, it causes flower drop and fruit abortion. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Fertilisers: Farmyard manure at 20 tonne/ha before transplanting, 200kg/ha DSP (10gm/plant) at planting, then top dress with 100kg CAN/ha applied in two splits; 1st split when plants are 20-25cm and 2nd split 3-5 weeks later.

Excess nitrogen application results in excessive vegetative growth at the expense of fruit production.

Irrigation: In dry areas, irrigation should be practised to maintain high yields. Capsicums will consume 600-750mm of moisture. Irrigation should be by drip or furrow. Sprinkler irrigation encourages the occurrence of fungal diseases.

Capsicums are sensitive to water stress. If it occurs during flowering and fruiting time, it causes flower drop and fruit abortion. Hence, frequent irrigation is necessary to maintain vegetative and reproductive growth. Pests and diseases are controlled using the recommended chemicals.

Carol Mutua,
Department of Crops, Horticulture and Soils, Egerton University.
****
Best Crops to grow in Mwea

What are the best crops to cultivate in Mwea, Mbeere South? The soil is black cotton, very waterlogged during rainy season, cracks up during dry weather and there is no available water for irrigation.
Vincent

Crops like cotton, linseed, groundnuts, green grams, mango, banana, guava, peas, tomatoes, brinjals, green chillies, sweet potatoes, onions and indigenous vegetables like amaranthus (terere), black night shade (managu), cowpea (kunde) and spider plant (saget) can do well in an area with black cotton soil.

A farmer inspects her managu vegetables.

A farmer inspects her managu vegetables. They are among the best crops to cultivate in Mwea, Mbeere South. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Watermelons can also do well in Mwea if planted under drip irrigation (uses very little water).

Carol Mutua,
Department of Crops, Horticulture and Soils, Egerton University.

****

Market for Catfish

I have raised catfish in large quantities but I am unable to find market. Please share information on buyers.
Mercy, Kiambu

Cat fish has a faster growth rate, low management demand and high meat to bone ratio. Unfortunately, its physical attributes make it shunned by consumers as compared to other fish species like tilapia.

Kiambu is a prime location as it is near to the Nairobi market where fish demand is high. Kindly consider visiting Nairobi City County fish markets where you will likely get buyers.

Alternatively, place your advert in Seeds of Gold green market section.

Wangui, James Chege
Department of Animal Sciences, Egerton University.