Friday, 9 March 2018

God is good

God is good, all the time..

The long awaited rains are finally here.Lets first ask ourselves why it took so long to rain, and ofcourse we all have the answer, we messed up with the ecosystem by clearing trees and failing to replace, massive environmental pollution and failure to protect our water sources.

So what what are we gonna do, we got to go back to the drawing table and correct the mess, plant more and more trees.

Having gotten the rain blessing, my worry with us Kenyans at large is our failure to tap the opportunity by harvesting and storing the precious commodity.

The best way to do this especially for farmers is to set up water pond to collect the flowing water. This would really help in time of drought in terms of irrigation and even domestic uses.

Another way is by collecting water from our roof tops. The clean water is stored in water tanks for domestic purposes and is of great importance at such times of drought.

Friday, 28 July 2017

why cows eat more but produce less...

-Improper management, stress, stage of lactation and poor diet are among the causes of reduced milk production in cows, besides diseases.

-A cow may consume more feeds, but they may not be well-balanced to sustain milk production as well as her growth.

-proper feeding by ensuring adequate balance of nutrients is essential for lactating cows to remain healthy, grow and sustain milk production.

-Lactation stage can also be a factor responsible for this reduction of milk, in that after calving down, there is a steady rise in milk production levels up to the peak, and, thereafter, production starts to drop in the order of early lactation, mid lactation and late lactation.

-To enhance peak production as long as possible and maximise milk production while maintaining good health, feeding high levels of concentrates is necessary.

-Diets high in protein are also important as the body cannot mobilise all the required protein and microbial protein synthesised in the rumen by microbes can only meet requirements partially.

-concentrates high in digestible fibre like maize bran can be used as an energy source. 

-Try to minimise stress factors like heat stress by providing adequate shed for the cow to rest when not feeding and provide water with free access to cool her body.

-Water also contributes to milk volume. 

-The bedding material should also be kept clean and dry. 

-For management, ensure that you control parasites regularly as they lead to slow buildup of diseases which might not be noted early but affect the production output.

-Practice good milk production techniques such as using clean milking equipment, ensuring quietness while milking and correct handling of teats during milking since anything contrary to these might cause slow development of mastitis, which slowly interfere with milk system and reduce milk production in the long run.

Monday, 27 March 2017

Quality milk

Major components of milk that also influences its physico-chemical quality include water (87.3%), fats (3.7%), protein (3.2%), sugar (4.8%) and the rest are other trace components.

Several tests are performed on milk upon arrival at the collection centres or processing plants.
These are organoleptic test, where milk is sniffed to detect any foreign smell apart from the smell of freshness.

This test is performed by experienced dairy technologists. Apart from the smell of spoilt milk or ‘mala’, milk can also acquire a strange smell if cows are fed on some shrubs or brewery products.

Lactometer test is used to check milk density, fresh milk density ranges from 1.026 to 1.034g/cm³. This test is done by a lactometer. Milk having a density lower than 1.026cm³ is assumed to have been adulterated with water.

To worsen the situation some go to an extra step to contaminate milk with water to make ‘huge’ profit. A few may be selling pasteurized milk from cooperatives.

The challenge here is that the consumers lack the expertise and equipment to check for milk contaminants.

The solution here is to buy milk from reputable farmers or packed milk from dairy processing factories. Pre-heated milk in this context means pasteurized milk, this is the milk in which all pathogenic and majority of spoilage microorganisms have been destroyed.

There is fermented milk, fresh milk, pasteurized milk and UHT. However, a small difference in flavor can be detected between pasteurized milk and sterilized milk because of the different heat treatment regimens applied.

The nutritional content table is a requirement on any processed food. This indicates the amount of each component of milk as a percentage or the total amount in 100ml of the milk. It is a requirement for example by the regulatory bodies that processed whole milk should have 3.5 percent milk fat.

Friday, 24 March 2017

Crop Rotation

When carrying out crop rotation, you should not rotate crops that belong to the same family. Onions belong to alliaceae family, carrots and coriander (dhania) belong to apiaceae family and tomatoes belong to the solanaceae family.

Therefore you should rotate onions and carrots, onions and coriander, tomatoes and carrots, tomatoes and coriander and tomatoes and onions.

You should never rotate carrots and coriander because they belong to the same family.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Vegetable farming start-up

The first step in establishing any enterprise is to write a business plan.

This document  will help you approach potential investors who can also be friends and relatives. An entrepreneur’s commitment to a course is often determined by how well written their business plans are.

Currently in Kenya there are a number of interventions by government , learning institutions and private businesses that seek to help entrepreneurs to start businesses.

Your case can only be considered if you have a business plan with clear business model.

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Top 5 Fungal Diseases in Dogs

Fungi are widely spread throughout the environment, and many types of fungi are spread via airborne spores, which can potentially gain entrance to the body through the respiratory tract or skin.

Fungi may either involve the skin or mucous membranes, or in some cases become widespread and involve multiple organs, including the lungs, liver, and brain.

While hygiene is important in managing and handling dogs with fungal infections, treatment involves the use of specific antifungal drugs.
Many of these diseases can be effectively controlled, but a cure is often difficult.

Aspergillosis is an opportunistic fungal infection caused by the aspergillus, a species of common mold found throughout the environment. This fungi may infect dogs usually after the immune system is compromised by stress, disease, and/or drug therapies.

In the local nasal form of this disease, aspergillosis is transmitted through direct contact with the fungus through your dog's nose and sinuses. In the more disseminated form of this disease occurring in other organs, it is not known how transmission occurs.

Symptoms of Aspergillosis: Symptoms of nasal aspergillosis may include sneezing, nasal pain, bleeding from the nose, decreased appetite, swollen nose, and long-term nasal discharge.

The disseminated form of this disease may develop suddenly or more gradually over many months, and may include signs of spinal pain or lameness, as well as non-specific signs of illness including fever, weight loss, vomiting, and loss of appetite.

Treatment Options: The imitazole class of antifungal drugs is most commonly used in fungal diseases including Ketoconazole, Itraconazole, and Fluconazole. In the nasal form of this disease, antifungals are commonly administered directly into the nose. The disseminated form is more difficult to treat and only rarely cured.

This systemic fungal disease occurs along the Eastern seaboard, in the Great Lakes region, and the Mississippi River valleys. The fungus is associated with moist rotting organic debris, often contaminated by bird droppings. The disease is typically acquired by a dog inhaling infected spores.

Symptoms of Blastomycosis: Most cases of acute blastomycosis involve the respiratory system, and cause signs of coughing and often pneumonia. Weight loss and lameness is also seen. Almost one half of the cases involve the skin and eyes, where nodules may be produced in the skin that may drain pus.

Treatment Options: Treatment options for blastomycosis include Ketoconazole, Itraconazole, and Fluconazole. Prognosis is usually good for reduction of symptoms, especially when treatment is started early in the course of infection.

This fungal disease is caused by a yeast-like fungus cryptococcus neoformans, and is acquired by inhaling spores found in soil contaminated by bird droppings. In dogs, cryptococcus involves the brain, eyes, lymph nodes, and skin.

Symptoms of Cryptococcus: Approximately one half of the dogs with this fungus show respiratory signs, including nasal discharge and sometimes coughing.

Signs of brain involvement include a wobbly gait, head pressing against the wall or hard surface, seizures, circling, blindness, and dementia. Eye involvement may cause varying degrees of eye inflammation, including blindness if the infection extends to the inner structures of the eyes.

Swollen lymph nodes of the throat and chest may be seen. In the less common skin form of infection, cryptococcus may produce firm nodules, especially in the head area that may ulcerate and drain varying colors of pus.

Treatment Options: Oral antifungal drugs of the imitazole class are most commonly used. However the prognosis is usually guarded to poor. These drugs are partially effective when started early in the  course of the disease.

Monday, 20 February 2017

What type of chicken should i keep?

I have tried poultry farming once but didn't reap much, so i still consider myself a beginner. I have pens that are secure and well ventilated with enough space. All i want is an advice on the type of chicken i can keep considering that this is what i want to do for long-term.

The type of chicken to keep highly depends on type of market you want to get into and the ease of tapping into that particular niche. Some markets focus on product quantity (mass production) and in such cases, you should consider rearing hybrids.

These could either be layers of broilers. Other markets focus on quality of product, in terms of consumer preference for organic products, therefore indigenous chicken serve the purpose.

Options between quantity and quality influence the type of production system to be used.

Mass production requires intensification where birds are fully confined, dependent on commercial feeds and high management to maximise on production.

In case of quality, a semi intensive system would be convenient in which birds are left out to fend for feed but supplemented with energy feeds.

Friday, 10 February 2017

Poultry health management

General sign of ill health
•Chicken huddling together
•Coughing, sneezing, rapid breathing
•Discharge from mouth and nostrils
•Dullness, poor appetite, drowsing/closed eyes
•Diarrhoea/ coloured droopping- greenish, yellow, white, bloody
•Ruffled feathers
•Pale combs & wattles
•Presence of worms in the faeces
•Paralysis of legs & wings and turned or twisted necks
Common Diseases

a)Newcastle Disease (NCD)
•It is a viral disease of poultry that spreads very fast via airborne droplets through sneezing of infected birds
•The virus can be carried by wild birds, through contaminated eggs, clothing, shoes & contaminated equipment.
•As mortality is often 100% in  young chickens, NCD is probably the most important constraint to family poultry development.
•The disease affects birds of any age but young ones are more susceptible. Mortality in older chicks is usually lower, but egg production is usually severely reduced.

Symptoms/ Signs
•Dullness, coughing, sneezing & gasping
•Nasal discharge & excessive mucous in the trachea
•Rapid breathing is accompanied by gurgling noise in the throat
•Nervous signs, characterised by twisting of neck, sometimes combined with dragging of wings & legs.
•Early loss of appetite resulting in greenish diarrhoea
•The most obvious sign of NCD is very sudden, high mortality often with a few symptoms having had time to develop.

b)Fowl pox
•It is a viral disease of poultry that can be transmitted by mosquitoes & other blood sucking insects.
•The disease tends to be seasonal, occurring after mosquito breeding times.

•Difficult breathing through open mouth, sneezing, gurgling noise in the throat.
•Loss of appetite
•Eyes & nose discharges
•Death mainly due to suffocation by mucous( cheesy growth in the trachea)
•Pox lesions also occuro
•Mortality rate can be 100% in growing chicken but lower in adult birds.

c) Fowl Cholera
• This is a contagious disease that affect all types of fowls. It is often transmitted by wild birds or other domestic birds, & spreads by contamination of the feeds or water & by oral or nasal discharges from infected birds.
• The incubation period is 4-9 days, but acute outbreaks can occur within 2 days of infection.

Symptoms/ Signs
• Sudden death within a few hours of showing the first signs
• The respiratory form is characterised by gaping, coughing & sneezing
• While in the septicaemic form there is diarrhoea with wet grey, yellow or green droppings.
• In the localized form is, the signs are lameness & swelling of the legs or wings joints.
• In acute cases, the head & comb colour change to dark red or purple. If infection is localized in the region of the ears, a twisted neck(torticolis) can sometimes be observed.
• In chronic cases the comb os usually pale, with swellings àround the eyes & discharge from the beak & nostrils.

d)Marek’s Disease

• The disease is caused by virus which is spread from an infected chicken to a non infected one through the air, poultry dust, by contact, sometimes by faeces. Greatest susceptibility is from 6-26 weeks of age.

• High mortality
• Paralysis of legs and / wings
• Difficult breathing
• Whistling & circling movements
• Unilateral & bilateral blindness

Control measures
- Vaccination of birds at day one (at hatchery)
-Procure genetically resistant stock
-Good hygiene/ sanitation.

e)Gumboro (Infectious Bursal disease)
• Acute, highly infectious disease of young chicken
• Has high morbidity & mortality in affected birds
• Reduces  bird’s ability to develop immunity against other diseases

• Direct contact (bird to bird), contaminated litter, faeces, air, equipment, feed, insects & wild birds.

• Ruffled feathers, tremors, strained defecation, loss of appetite & dehydration. Reduced movement coupled with unsteady gait, white diarrhoea, prostration & death
f)Fowl Typhoid
-Commonly affects adult fowls
-Incubation period is 4-5 days & 2 days later the bird becomes depressed & loses appetite
-The colour of the wattles &;combs becomes dark red
-The droppings becomes yellow
-The birds closes their eyes & keeps their heads down
-Usually the affected chickens die within 3-6 days.

• Caused by protozoan parasite of the intestine
• Causes very heavy losses in poultry particularly upto the age of 12 wks

-The chicks lose weight & their appetite
-Their feathers becomes ruffled & soiled
-Combs are pale
-They tend to huddle together in corners
-Droppings are watery & greenish/ brown in colour often containing blood.

Control measures
-Use of Bifuran / coccidiostat in feeds at all times
-Keep the litter dry  n loose & keep chicks isolated in freshly sterilised pens

Curative measures
-Use Bifuran in the water according to the manufacturer’s instructions
-Isolate sick birds
-When the attack dies down disinfect litter & sterilize pens