YOUR ANIMAL DOCTOR

Saturday January 13 2018

Rachel Kinyua and her husband Joseph Kinyua next to silage stored in large polythene bags at their Mulathankari farm in Imenti North.

Rachel Kinyua and her husband Joseph Kinyua next to silage stored in large polythene bags at their Mulathankari farm in Imenti North. It is always important to know the amount of silage you intend to store and this is determined by the number of animals you have, their nutritional requirements as well as quantity and quality of other available forages such as hay. FILE PHOTO | PHOEBE OKALL | NMG 

By JOHN MUCHIBI
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Making good quality silage
Educate me on how I can make good quality silage. Can I use any other ingredient in place of molasses?
Reader
Silage is preserved fodder that can be used to feed cows. It is prepared by keeping forage in absence of air (oxygen). Bacteria then breakdown sugar in the silage to produce acid that protects it from going bad. The common crops for making silage include napier grass, maize, and sorghum.

These crops are harvested at a specific time. Maize and sorghum are harvested at the milky stage while napier grass is harvested three to four months after planting.

It is important to know the amount of silage you intend to store. This is determined by the number of animals you have, the nutritional requirements as well as quantity and quality of other available forages such as hay.

The area required to make the silage is calculated from the expected fodder crop or pasture yields. Generally, a tonne of silage compacted at 60 per cent moisture yields about 700kg of silage per cubic metre. Contact me for a detailed procedure.

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Cows won’t conceive, milk goes bad
We have a challenge with our dairy cows. We thought they were calving but we were told that they were not pregnant except one.

We continued milking them but have witnessed that the milk is no longer fit for consumption because it is thick then it gets spoilt.

We were told that it is because they cows have taken too long to be pregnant. What could be the problem because now we are buying packed milk and it is very hard to adjust?
Naomi

From your description, you seem to have two issues with your cows. First is non-conception, and secondly ‘thick milk’ that spoils.
A cow may fail to conceive or appear to have conceived due to several factors: It could be cow factors (e.g. disease, silent heat, irregular cycles, early embryonic death, etc), semen factors (poor storage and handling) or human factors (nutrition, insemination timing and the insemination process).

The focus of the attending vet should probably be on the human factors including storage and handling of semen. The thick milk that is getting spoilt indicates that your cows maybe having mastitis.

Mastitis is a costly management disease that causes loss of production; acute mastitis may cause death. Mastitis could be clinical (cow showing visible disease signs) or subclinical (not visible), as is in this case.

For a start, ensure that your cow’s environment is cleaned and disinfected regularly as are all your milking equipments.

Please call a qualified Vet to screen all your milking cows using a CMT test.

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Looking to open animal feeds store
I am a pig farmer in Kamulu off Kangundo Road.  I am looking to start an animal feeds store selling feed raw materials and stock of credible millers products in our local shopping centre Kamulu.  I also hope to provide farmers with animal nutrition and health information. I am looking for professional help to develop a business plan to guide this venture.  Would you please point me in the right direction? 
Muksie Farming

It’s great that you recognise the importance of having a business plan to guide your business idea. There are many marketing / business professionals who can help you write a business plan, but at a fee.

Please contact me through contacts below should you want me to link you up with one such.

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Determining profits for broilers
I like the speed at which broilers mature. I would like to know what the profit will be on about 200 broilers. What should I do to maximise profits?
David Bor

Profit will be determined by the difference between the selling price of the broiler meat and the cost of production. The selling price of your broiler birds will depend on market forces in Kericho.

Establish what these prices are and work out your profits.