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Tips on How to Start an Aquaculture Farming in Kenya

Aquaculture business in Kenya and other parts of the world goes beyond the farming of fishes only, it comprises of other marine or aquatic lives which includes but is not limited to shrimps, shellfish, prawns, aquatic plants and lots more.

Though aquaculture farming is most times referred to as fish farming, it is because fishes compose a larger fraction of this kind of farming practice.

Some farmers in Kenya may want to go beyond fishing by incorporating other aquatic lives which includes both salt and fresh water organisms, and some entrepreneurs may also want to start this kind of business but may not know how to about. Don’t worry; these steps will help you on how to start aquaculture farming business in Kenya.

Best Tips of Growing Grapes In Kenya

What are The Requirements Before Starting?

  • Knowledge is Power – Always remember that knowledge is power and is the key to success too, so before going into this kind of farming business make sure you have a basic or an adequate knowledge of what aquaculture is all about, its pros and cons, how to get the fishes and others, so that you don’t start what you can’t finish.
  • Research on what kind of aquatic life will yield you lots of profits by checking the local markets including other local farmers, seafood stores, and others to know what their demand is and what kind of species they want in terms of volume, price and weight, this will make you to know what kind of aquaculture farming you will go into because making a choice blindly will affect your business profit.
  • Capital– You must have known what kind of aquaculture farming you will be going into, try as much as possible to know how much money or capital that you will need in establishing the business, also put into consideration the size of the business operation so that you wouldn’t be estimating too high or too low.
  • Land– Get a suitable land that best fits your practice, and depending on your market research you will know if you are basing on just fish farming or combining it with shrimps, prawns and others as it will help you in getting a sizeable land for the project. Make sure that the location is good and is near to markets and other potential buyers.
  • Know that aquaculture farming is wider than some people think and involves more work, so if have to consider so many things from feeding to labour, water quality and regulation, and other essential things which will make them survive and grow well.
  • License– Many countries requires that the farmer must have a license for such business, so try and find out from your local or county government so that you will be able to meet the necessary requirements for getting a permit or license in this kind of operation without being penalized.
  • It is good to join an association and organization that oversees the affairs of the aquaculturists in Kenya such as Fisheries and Aquaculture Department that will not only help to publicize your business but will provide you with an opportunity to see and interact with other prominent business fellows, and other numerous benefits which you are bound to gain from it.

Starting aquaculture business in Kenya may seem stressful but it is simpler than it looks, all you need is to put the above factors into consideration and then watch things fall into places. And you don’t have to worry about making profits because recently people are now focusing and switching their diets to seafood making the demand to be on the high side.

 

 

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How to start Kienyeji chicken farming for eggs/chicks production

Many farmers in Kenya have overlooked the potentials in Kienyeji chickens. Starting a Kienyeji chicken farming is a good, cheap means to boost eggs and chicks production. This guide will help you with starting a Kienyeji chicken farm, either for meat, eggs or chick production.

Introduction to Poultry Production

Poultry contributes to improved human nutrition and food security by being a leading source of high quality protein in form of eggs and meat. It acts as a key supplement to revenue from crops and other livestock enterprises, thus avoiding over dependency on traditional commodities with inconsistent prices. It has a high potential to generate foreign exchange earnings through export of poultry products to neighboring countries. Poultry is highly prized in many social-cultural functions such as dowry and festivities.

The poultry industry is rapidly growing. The industry is characterized by widely diverse methods of production which include the following: village flocks, small-scale commercial flocks and large-scale commercial farms.

Constraints in poultry production include:

  • Production related constraints
    • inadequate access to improved breed
    • Access and affordability of feed
    • Disease control
  • Lack of knowledge and skills
  • Inadequate capital at all levels and marketing.

Systems of Management in Poultry Production

  • Free range
  • Semi-intensive
  • Intensive

Housing

  • Housing space should be 2 metres by 3 metres or be a traditional brooding basket. The traditional brooding basket can be used as a brooder basket for chicks, either inside or outside the house.
  • House should be raised to protect birds from predators.
  • Perches should be provided in the house for chicken to roost on at night.
  • The house should be well ventilated.
  • Preferably have cemented floor for ease of cleaning and disinfecting
  • Be rat-proof
  • Using plenty of litter after cleaning the poultry house
  • Keeping the right number of birds in poultry houses
  • Separating chicks from old birds

Management of chicks

  • Before chicks arrive at home; make sure that;
    • A brooder is in place
    • Paraffin lamps/electric bulbs/charcoal stove is available
    • Litter for the floor is available
    • 1m2 will accommodate 20 chicks up to 4 weeks old.
  • Temperature control: 35C for day-old chicks, 24-27C for 1 week. Reduce heat as they grow especially at night.

Physical features of a good Kienyeji layer chicken

  • Bright red comb and wattles
  • Alert eyes
  • Width between pelvic bones should measure at least 2 fingers
  • The beak and claws should look bleached
  • The cloaca should be moist

Cost and returns of establishing successful dairy farm

Advantages in choosing Kienyeji chickens for farming

  • They are self-sustaining i.e. can raise their own replacement stock
  • They are hardy birds that can survive hard conditions
  • Management requirements are not critical as those of commercial exotic breeds
  • They are immune to some diseases and parasites
  • Their products fetch more money than those from exotic birds

Limitations in choosing Kienyeji chickens for farming

  • They have low growth rate
  • They produce fewer small sized eggs and comparatively little meat
  • People keep them without commercial purposes
  • They have been neglected by breeders/scientists despite their potential

How to Improving the production of Kienyeji chickens

Control of parasites and diseases

  • External parasites that affect Kienyeji chicken include: poultry body louse, stick tight flea, poultry lice, ticks, feather mites and leg mites.
  • Control can be done using commercial/synthetic or herbal insecticide.
  • Herbal preparations are cheaper for Kienyeji chicken but a lot of research is still needed in this area to establish proper dosage.
  • Internal parasites include worms and coccidia.
  • Worms can be eliminated using a potent dewormer preferably given as a tablet because these chickens have low water consumption.
  • Deworming should be done at least every month.
  • Commercial coccidiostats can be used alternately with herbal preparation. These must be given to birds on 8th, 9th, and 10th days of age. Repeat as directed by veterinarian.
  • In early days, vitamins-mineral mixtures should be given to chicks to minimize losses.
  • Vaccination of birds especially against New Castle Disease. Target first vaccination at the beginning of the dry seasons, repeat after one month and every four months thereafter.

Interested in the fruit farming and export business in Kenya?

 Feeding Kienyeji Chickens

  • Farmers can mix their own feeds using the abundant carbohydrate and protein feed available in their area.
  • Feeding should be accompanied by green feeds and fruits such as pawpaw.
  • Only palatable green feeds should be given to birds.

The following should be done in rearing Kienyeji chickens:

  • Vaccination against Newcastle disease
  • De-worming
  • Remove mites and lice manually or better still using medicated powder
  • Provide water as much as possible
  • May supplement free range with other feeds e.g. maize bran and concentrates
  • Avoid buying chicken in dry seasons because diseases, especially Newcastle, are more rampant in dry seasons
  • Avoid buying birds when there is a disease outbreak
  • Buy birds of almost the same age i.e. 2-3 months are more ideal. Avoid buying old birds
  • Plan for synchronised mating and therefore synchronized reproduction and production to ease management

Precautions to take during egg storage

  • Do not store eggs in a kitchen where it is hot. Heat may partially incubate the egg and kill the embryos in them
  • Do not store them on top of a cupboard because heat from roof may incubate them.
  • Keep eggs in a cool secure place.

Incubation by mother hens

  • Usually one hen starts incubating by staying overnight on the boiled egg
  • Leave this hen on the boiled egg for 10 days while it is waiting for other birds
  • After the 10 days, give all the birds that would have started incubating (within the 10 days) 17 selected but recently laid eggs
  • Leave the birds that refuse to incubate alone
  • If you want to eat or sell, eat/sell those which were laid first (old ones).
  • Avoid giving these eggs to birds for incubation: very small, round eggs, very dirty, cracked eggs, extremely pointed eggs, very big eggs, very old eggs.
  • When done this way, all birds will hatch on the same day. An egg takes 21 days, 6 hrs to hatch.

 General Disease Control Practices

The following can only be used as guidelines for disease control, for proper disease diagnosis and treatment, consult the veterinarian.

  • Don’t overcrowd brooders
  • Adequate ventilation
  • Feed must be of good quality
  • Give clean water ad-lib
  • Don’t mix young and older birds
  • Clean poultry house
  • Dispose of dead birds quickly and isolate sick ones
  • Provide disinfectant at entrance to house

Antibiotics should never be used to replace good management and should be used on prescription by a veterinarian.

Signs of ill health

  • Dullness
  • Reduced feed intake
  • Reduced water intake
  • Low egg production
  • Reduced growth rate
  • Rough coat

Record keeping

Records to keep include:

  • Production data such as number of eggs produced, number of egg hatched
  • Quantity of feed eaten
  • Health interventions e.g. treatment
  • Deaths
  • Sales and purchases

 

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Goat Farming in Kenya: how to start & make money

goat farming

A lot of people want to venture into agriculture business without passing through much stress. If you are looking for an animal farming business in Kenya which can fetch you good cash without much stress, then take a look at Goat Farming Business in Kenya

If you love goats and you want to enter into the goat rearing business or you are already into this business and looking for new tips on how to improve it , then you’re in the right place .

Goat rearing business is by far among the intensive animal farming business in which a lot of people have embarked on and are testifying of it income return.

Another amazing thing about goat farming is that anyone in any place can setup this business and soon enough, they will start making profit from it.

Do Kenyan people consume goat meat?

Aside from cow meat, goat meat is another type of meat widely loved, by many in Kenya. And the reason is because of its unique taste or aroma. Kenyans love nyama choma especially goat meat.

Apart from these, goat meat is highly nutritious because it has more Lean that is; it has low cholesterol which is very good for people who have a preference for low energy diet and most times Doctors do recommend it to some patients .

So allow me to conclude that many Kenyans eat goat meat every day and this should drive you to the zeal of starting up your own commercial goat farming in Kenya.

Is Goat Farming Business Profitable in Kenya?

If I invest into goat farming, how much will be my income flow be? Are you asking this question?

Let’s make a possible estimation ;

A healthy and well-matured goat could weigh about 35-40 Kg (So, for that Kilos, a goat should cost roughly Ksh 7,000 or even more . And let’s say you have about 100 goats in your goat farm, you would be selling for about Ksh 700,000.

Let’s assume that the cost of feeding and labour is even as high as Ksh 100,000, you could still be making as much as Ksh 600,000 every year.

Incredible! Right? So you see, goat farming is a good investment, though no business makes you rich overnight. There’s always a time of little beginning.

How much capital do I need to setup my goat farming business?

Compared to rearing other livestock, goat farming business requires little or less capital.

You don’t need millions of Shillings to set up a goat farm, unless if you want to make it larger. But nevertheless, you can set up your goat farming business with not so much amount.

Just bear in mind that you are setting up a commercial goat farming. When you’re in the business, as profits flows in, you can then put in more goats.

 

Other byproducts from goat farming in Kenya

As interesting as it might be, the amazing fact about rearing goats is that goat is a multifunctional animal. You don’t only gain from selling your goats as meats, but you can also gain more from some of its byproducts such as milk, fibers, skin, and manure.

I will explain each of this a bit for better understanding.

Goat Milk; though it may not be that popular or widely consumed in Kenya, goat milk can be produced from goat. Goat milk is said to have low cholesterol and it is non-allergic compared to cow milk.

The nutrients in goat milk are said to help in improving appetite and digestive efficiency. It also has anti-fungal and antibacterial properties which can be used for the treatment urinogenital diseases of fungal origin. Other dairy products derived from goat aside milk are yoghurt, cheese, and butter.

Fibers; some breed of goats like the Cashmere and Angora can produce high-quality fibers. These can also be sold for maximum profit.

Hides and skin; every breed of goats produce hides and skin, which can serve or use in the production of leather items. But know that the breed which produces high quality hides and skin are the Black Bengal goats or Kalahari Red goats (can be mostly found in Kenya).

They have thick hides and skin which is not only sold in Kenya but also internationally, and because of it extravagantly quality, their skin has a high demand. If you intend to deal with in goat hides and skin, make a market research about it and know who your buyers are.

Manure; Most farmers love and prefer to use organic manure than using artificial fertilizers to grow their crops. Goat’s faeces are high organic manure (fertilizers) that are used for the rapid growth of farm crops. You as a goat seller can make a good income from these.

What weather condition is suitable for rearing goats in Kenya?

Unlike some livestock farming like chickens , Fish and the likes, goat is one animal that is never selective of weather condition. And to top it all, Kenya weather is very suitable for rearing goats in any state.

Now we have discussed the considerable factors, let’s move to the main point; How to start goat farming in Kenya.

Goat farming business plan; a good business should have a business plan. This will assist you to pinpoint things you should do to improve your goat farm. Alongside, you should have record keeping if need maybe, it should document what has been sold, purchased. To know when you are gaining or losing.

The reason why you are rearing goat; when setting up your goat rearing business, you should determine the main reason why you are rearing goat; are you rearing them for meat, for milk, or for their skin?

Make a market research of the one that has a high demand and will also profit you more and go into it.

Land location; when you want to get a land for your goat farming, select a location that is good for pasture or grazing (just as you would do in cattle farming).

Make sure the land is not far from town or market for easy access. If possible, let there be a market near the farm land, so you can have easy access to get any types of equipment you might need.

Housing; when building a pen for your goat, build one that will shed them from rain and the sun. You can put electricity if need may be. The shed should be well fenced to prevent thief and burglaries. Also, the pen should be clean, should be free from dampness and well it should be well ventilated.

The goat pens should also be free from pest and rodents. You should always use fresh hay or straw for bedding. Initiate activities like introducing toys or so your goats can move around. This also helps in making them healthy and active.

Buying your goat breed

After you have set up the housing (goat pens) for keeping your goat, the next step is to purchase your breed. You should purchase high-quality breed.

Dairy Goat Breeds in Kenya

There are many dairy goat breeds in Kenya today. These are the goats reared for milk. You will find farmers with dairy goats in Kenya for sale. You can also check out your local classifieds or online for dairy goats in Kenya for sale. While choosing the Dairy Goat Breeds in Kenya ensure that the breed have high production and quality milk. Here are the popular Dairy Goat Breeds in Kenya.

  • Saanen
  • Toggenburg
  • Barbari
  • Jamunapari

Meat Goat breeds in Kenya

There are many meat goat breeds in Kenya. If you are considering goat rearing for meat, then this is what you should consider. Look for meat goat breeds in Kenya that are highly productive and produce good quality meat. Here are the popular Meat Goat Breeds in Kenya.

  • Boer
  • Mato
  • Black Bengal

If you are purchasing a baby goat, make sure that they are properly vaccinated.

Feeding your goat

You can feed your goat any types of crops, corns, and leaves since goats are ruminant’s animals (though like human, they have their different taste, i.e, certain goat may not eat something other goats eat). However, it is advisable that you should have a grazing place so that the cost of feed can be lowered.

There are also specially formulated feeds you can buy in the market; these feeds can make your goat grow faster and big. The little disadvantage of it is that, these feeds can be costly compares to pastures. Sometimes, most farmers do produce their own feed; you can make yours if you can just make sure the feed has about 11%-18% of protein.

Get the Services of a Veterinary doctor; A lot of you might frown on this; you might be asking if rearing goat is easy, why then do I need the service of a veterinary?

Here is the point, When you are starting up your goat farming business that you should bear in mind that you are setting up a commercial goat farming business. The reason is you will be rearing lots of goats in larger quantity for business.

You don’t want to use your goats for experimenting like those who are rearing two or few goats. With the help of a veterinary, you will know the right nutrient, mineral or medicine that will be administered to your livestock that will maximum your profit and also you can learn new tips from them.

If you want to do it yourself be cautioned that you might lose quite a number of goats in the process.

Goats Maturation; this is the process of goats becoming mature. In goat, puberty age is between six and 12 months (though it can most times vary in breeds. Some breeds maybe more other mat be less. Sometimes, nutrients can also contribute to this. You should note that female goats (doe) go into estrus every 21 days for three to 50 hours.

At this stage, some enough natural mating can begin. But since the advance of technology, some modern farmers practices artificial insemination. It is said that it allocates straight forward entrance to a wide variety of bloodlines.

Marketing your goats; before you fully start your own goat farming, you should make a market research to know how much others are selling in the market so you’ll have a better understanding of goat business in your area and so that you won’t sell your goat below the market price.

Some common disease to look out for when rearing your goat;

Tapeworm; you will notice symptoms like; Diarrhea, constipation, some part of tapeworm may be seen in the faeces.

Tuberculosis; you will notice difficulty in respiration, coughing, Irregular low-grade fever of long period, loss of body weight and anemia.

Salmonella infection; noticeable symptoms are like loss of weight and low milk production. This disease is mostly caused by using or giving the dirty or contaminated drinking water.

Rinderpest; the symptoms are Ulcerative lesions will appear inside the lower lip and on the gums. There will also be a mild thermal reaction and diarrhea.

Nitrate/nitrite Poisoning; noticeable symptoms include; urine tested positive for nitrate/nitrite, respiratory difficulty staggering gait, the goat blood becomes chocolate brown in color. Most times death might occur.

This diseases listed above are just a few to mention, there are still many of them. These are the more reason why appointing a veterinary is highly recommend.

If your goat farming business is well managed by a good veterinary, your goats will grow healthy and you will gain more than lose.

On November this year we have the biggest farm tour that will focus on goat farming. Don’t miss make a date with us and you will learn more.

Read this for details.

DAIRY GOAT – Farm tour & training 10th November 2018

 

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What you need to know to start a hatchery business

Getting live chick from eggs has been made simple with the innovation of hatchery and despite the fact that working a hatchery, brooding eggs and dealing with the incubation needs some level of aptitude and specialized know-how, egg hatchery business is one that can be done easily with little supervision.

Points to note:

  • Fertilized eggs ought to be gathered from the hen three times each day based on the production framework that is placed.
  • To disinfect the eggs before setting, keep up the privilege barometrical condition amid incubation. Also, test run the hatchery before you set eggs inside. it’s imperative to permit the satisfactory escape of Co2 from the hatchery and;
  • Put the hatchery far from wells and light eggs logically.
  • disinfect hatchery before setting

There are various things required before delving into business, but here, we will be discussing only the most critical aspects.

The Incubation Process

A procedure called incubation is the basic system whereby treated eggs are hatched into chicks. Incubation is the procedure by which prepared eggs are given ideal states of temperature, relative dampness and ventilation essential for the improvement of chicks and their effective hatching.

Since you have now come to terms with the meaning of incubation, it is also imperative to understand that there are two kinds of incubation and they are the natural incubation and Artificial incubation respectively.

The natural incubation entails:

  • Incubation is independent of anyone else after the hen may have laid a few eggs up to 15.
  • The hen gets broody and stops laying.
  • The hen sits on the eggs and gives the required climatic condition, heat, for an effective incubation of the eggs in twenty-one days.

The artificial incubation entails:

  • It utilizes man-made gadget called INCUBATOR, which gives the ideal conditions under a logical framework for the advancement of egg hatchery to chicks.

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Steps to Start an Egg Hatchery Business

Beginning a poultry hatchery is a profitable venture to take to in Kenya. However, it’s imperative to plan out the business in detail before you begin. Here are some pieces of information to enhance your startup procedure:

  1. Get A Business Plan

The business plan eliminates the mystery of business failure, protecting your poultry hatchery from the likelihood of basic oversights. A poultry business plan coordinate with different applications will help you to streamline the procedure, functionality and prospects of your business much further.

  1. Research Your Competitors

Sometime before you open a poultry hatchery in your vicinity, it’s a smart thought to perceive how you will fit in the prospective business environment. It’s always good to “look around” and see what is already on the ground. This will help you to discover competitors close to you. Simply enter your proposed business environment to get a rundown of poultry incubation facilities and businesses in your locality.

Search for Poultry Hatcheries near You. Is the nearby, prevailing market sufficiently huge enough to accommodate another poultry hatchery? If not, it is advised to make certain adjustments, perhaps change location or devise a means of fitting in.

  1. Follow a Well-Guided Master-plan

Develop a hatchery business master plan such that treated eggs are kept for a time of 21 days, and they are then hatched to day-old chicks. The day-old chicks are then sold to poultry farmers and others in the Agro-allied industries.

Generally, the first port of call is to prepare a storage where eggs laid are stored. The eggs are later moved to hatcheries where they will be hatched in 21 days. It is ethical and also helpful to make provision for good health practices in your eggs hatchery business to forestall future contingencies.

As touching finance, your egg hatchery business can be financed by the Agricultural bank, Bank of Industry and Business banks if where you are able to convince them to support your enterprise.

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  1. Network With People Who Are Already in The Hatchery Business

If you are keen on beginning a poultry hatchery business, it’s a savvy move to network with some person who has been in the business for a considerable number of years. Debunk the idea that every competitor is a threat. It’s not always so. Besides, many experienced business people appreciate offering guidance to start-up business visionaries like yourself. If you are tenacious, you can discover a business coach who will bail you out.

The significant position of this stage provides for artificial incubation where a hen doesn’t necessarily have to sit on eggs for 21 days. With the use of the technology available in artificial incubation process, a large number of eggs can be hatched after the stipulated time-frame, within minutes. Today, we have hatcheries with the capacity of more than 100,000 eggs hatchery limit per day.

If you are looking to start hatchery business and you are in need of poultry equipment’s, don’t hesitate, contact us and we will help you out.

 

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How to start commercial Bee keeping in Kenya

Bee keeping (apiculture) is done for several purposes. In Kenya, farmers keep bees to produce honey for own consumption, however, it is another thing altogether to keep bees for commercial purposes. With the current technology and modern bee-keeping methods, it is easy to produce honey today than it was years before. When it comes to producing honey commercially, a farmer must prepare correctly.

What are the starter requirements for bee keeping?

  • For starters, you need a strong, durable beehive to house your bees that will also protect them from predators and harsh weather. The common beehives in Kenya include, Langstroth Hive, Kenya Top Bar Hive and the most common, the traditional log hive. The best hive should be easy to maintain, have a simple design of the top covers and supers, have ample space between brood chambers and supers, removable frames for easy hive inspection and a hive stand. For these reasons, the Langstroth hive is the most preferred for commercial purposes.
  • A pair of gloves is another apparatus you need, preferably one made of leather but very flexible to use. Bee wax is also necessary for the colony to occupy. Look for a smoker that burns for longer periods, preserves fuel and has a nozzle that will perfectly guide the smoke accurately.
  • An uncapping fork is effective for removing comb caps without damaging the comb. During hive inspection, a bee brush with soft thistles is of great help to clear bees from the comb without making them aggressive.
  • Of great importance too is the hive tool to aid you move frames and clean propolis.
  • A bee suit is also a must-have. This should include the head veil to offer you maximum protection from bee stings. Be careful when putting on the bee suit. It should always be worn over or on top of a pair of gumboots; if you tuck in the suit into your gumboots, bees will sting you. When you harvest honey, you will need a clean honey extractor and a sieve.

What is the best location to keep your hives?

Once you have all those gadgets, you need to set up your apiary. Look for a place that is less disturbed, far from noise or human activities. This place should be well-drained lest the bees abscond due to high humidity. Avoid fields frequently sprayed with chemical pesticides to reduce bee poisoning and honey contamination; thus, if a must, use bee friendly pesticides.

The apiary should also be close to water and nectar sources. Set the hives under trees or away from direct sunlight, flooded places or areas with strong winds. If your site is exposed, erect a small shade above the hives. Leave enough space – 1.2-1.5m – to give you a working area. Where space is limited, pair up the hives.

Place all the hives at a height that you will find comfortable to work. If placed on wooden stands or wire suspensions, paint the stands and wires using used oil to drive away crawling ants. If resources allow, fence your apiary to protect it from vandals and predators like honey badgers, humans and monkeys.

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What Are The Best Plants For Bees

The nearby plants should be producing high quality nectar. Bees love wild flowers, berries, flowering herbs and a variety of flowering fruits and vegetables. You can plant agricultural crops yielding abundant nectar such as sunflower, coffee, legumes, trees, bananas, lavender, strawberries, cucumbers, tomato, squash, pumpkins, watermelons, flowering broccoli, tulips and clovers.

Fruit trees also make perfect forage materials, with trees such as acacia producing good nectar for sweet honey.  Some institutions support bee keeping by selling stingless bees, which you can go for. Some hives, however, get stocked readily with the African bees that forage around and then they make their queen bee. To stock the hives easily, spray it with sugar syrup or hang sugar syrups around. Also, smear with melted bees wax or site the hives where bees have lived before. A catcher box can also be used to trap bees and transport them to the new hive.

Earn more than 10 million per acre with 40k investment.

How Do You Avoid Absconding?

Once the bees are in the hive, they can forage from the nearby plants. During dry seasons, however, supplement the bees with food. This is very important to avoid absconding; a case where bees leave the hive completely, not considering your heavy investment.

Absconding is caused by several factors that include lack of food and water. Offer the bees sugar syrup or provide little honey and water during drought. Frequent attacks by pests are also dangerous to a colony. Careless handling also frustrates bees and may make them abscond.

This include breaking combs, excess hive smoking, banging the hive, clumsiness and roughness. Excess heat in the hive or excess cold also causes absconding. To control these, position hives in a shaded place when hot or in a sunny position with minimal shade.

You will always come in contact with bees during hive inspection or honey harvesting. During these times, wear a full bee suit and avoid woolen clothes that bees stick on. Do not visit the site when smelling alcohol, strong scent perfumes or soaps, which may smell sweet to the bees and make them follow you. Always start with the least aggressive colonies to give you adequate time to handle the pleasant colonies first.

Bees are best handled in the cool evenings. Remain confident and don’t crush the insects. If by mistake they get into you, walk away and remove them plus the stings by scraping off using your nails. Do not squeeze lest the venom spread into your body.

When done with handling, don’t walk home straight, pass through plantations of maize or trees to rub off the bees from you. One bee sting is not dangerous, in most cases it will be beneficial while in a few people it may cause allergy.

If done right, bee keeping is a venture that can sustain your lifestyle. The market is highly increasing both domestically and internationally. Focus more on the business side of bee keeping.

 

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what you should do to stop your chickens from fighting and pecking

Every farmer looks forward for a healthy flock, however at times farmers have had an experience where their birds fight and peck at each other. Below are a few things you can do to stop it from happening. Keeping a peaceful flock requires interpreting behaviors to decipher what chickens are communicating. When chickens are spending more time in the pen, boredom can bring out changes in behavior, such as pecking.

Chickens are naturally inquisitive, but they don’t have arms and hands to inspect things. They use their beaks to explore instead. Pecking is a natural chicken behavior that allows them to check out their surroundings, including their flock mates.

Though hen pecking is a natural occurrence, the nature of this behavior can change when birds spend more time inside.

Understanding the difference between curious and aggressive hen pecking is key to knowing when there is a problem. Not all pecking is bad. When it is gentle, this behavior is fun to watch. If pecking becomes aggressive, it can be problematic to other birds in the flock.

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How do you stop Chickens from Pecking at Each Other?

Explore on the reason as to why they are Pecking

If the hen pecking behavior becomes aggressive, first is to determine if something is causing birds to act out. Start by asking yourself these questions;

  • Are the hens too crowded?
  • Do they ever run out of chicken feed or water?
  • Are they too hot or cold?
  • Is there a predator in the area?
  • Is there something outside of the coop that is causing them to be stressed?.

After the stressor has been identified, the next step is easy: remove the problem and the behavior may go away or diminish.To maintain this newfound peace, make sure your birds have a minimum of 4 square feet indoors and 10 square feet outdoors per bird. Adequate feeder and waterer space is also critical. If a new hen is added to the flock, there may be a period of uneasiness.

Note, there will always be some dominance in the flock as part of the pecking order. There are typically one or two boss hens who rule the roost. Once the pecking order is determined, the birds usually live together peacefully.

Sustainable Farming Methods A Substitute For Pesticides

Ensure Cleanliness and Hygiene

The next step to prevent feather picking is to keep birds clean. Chickens take a different type of bath then you might expect. They often dig a shallow hole, loosen up all the dirt and then cover themselves in it. This process is called a dust bath. Dust bathing is an instinct that helps keep birds clean. Follow these steps to make dust baths;

  • Find a container at least 12” deep, 15” wide and 24” long;
  • Combine an equal blend of sand, wood ash, and natural soil;
  • Watch your birds roll around in the bath and clean themselves.”

Dust baths can also prevent external parasites such as mites and lice. If external parasites are an issue, supplement your birds’ dust bath with a cup or two of food-grade diatomaceous earth. If you add diatomaceous earth, be sure to mix it in well. Diatomaceous earth can be harmful if inhaled in large amounts. By mixing the diatomaceous earth into the dust bath, it has less probability to become airborne while still helping prevent external parasites.

Offer an alternative place for birds to peck

Next, provide your birds with something to keep their minds busy. Perhaps the most fun of it all is to find toys for chickens that bring out their natural instincts. Interactive objects can make the chicken coop more complex and exciting. Logs, sturdy branches or chicken swings are a few flock favorites. These ‘toys’ provide unique retreats for hens who may be lower in the pecking order.

Farming is fun and cool if done with the right mind and attitude. Always contact us whenever you need ideas on crop or livestock farming and we will advise.

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Can poultry farming make you enough money to quit your job?

How many of you dream of becoming their own boss? What about considering poultry farming? Many of you are worried whether they will still make as much money as they do while employed. Take for example a poultry farmer in Nyeri, Mr Muturi. Mr Muturi a trained salesperson quit his job in 2013 and he is now making millions.

Muturi who worked with an established company in Nairobi told Oxfarm how his peers laughed him off after he told them that he was quitting to start poultry farming. “my friend, are you insane?” One of his friend asked him; Muturi recalls. To his friends, this was a huge gamble but never the less he was convinced that the time was ripe for him to go into self-employment.

His desire to be his own boss saw him become one of the most successful poultry farmer in Nyeri.

As he was narrating his story, Muturi remembered how he started five years ago with just a small capital. He didn’t any formal training on poultry farming, but he decided to give it a short.

With just 20,000, he embarked on a journey. This came after he has done a market study and realized that most of Kenyan traders who sell chicken products import them from Uganda and Tanzania. He knew there was money in this kind of business and he had to try no matter what. So Muturi bought 100, 1-day old chicks and some feeds. The rest as they say is history.

What you Need to Make Money from Poultry Farming

Nevertheless, Muturi notes that you should be careful if you want to make money through poultry farming and you should do the following few things;

  • Housing system:

According to Muturi, this is a very critical factor to consider, regardless of the number of birds, housing can make or destroy your success in poultry farming. If you successfully construct a good housing system, then more than 40% of your problems are solved. Note that housing is the second most expensive thing in poultry farming after feeds.

  • Feeds and feeding:

Before you kick up the project, you need to conduct a feasibility study which will go a long way in helping you achieve your goals and succeed. Feeds and feeding carries a big weight in poultry farming and enough plans should be put I place. One can choose between producing feeds or buying from distributors. Proper feeding makes the birds grow well and to a larger extend their health is secured.

According to Muturi who produces his own feeds, making your own will cut the cots by almost 50%. However, he notes that new farmers should wait until they break through to produce their own food.

Profitable poultry farming and production in Kenya

  • Record keeping:

This is also another vital factor towards success. A proper book-keeping will foster your poultry business development, it will help you determine your success or failures and where change is required. Always keep a proper record for your poultry farm in order to increase your production level always.

  • Changes and differences:

You need to be sensitive to changes and differences in your poultry farm, which includes the growth, feeding, their droppings, the laying capacities, number of birds, sound amongst others.

This will help you as a farmer to be sensitive to changes in the system. For instances: when layers are about to start laying, they makes a lot of noise, feeding rate and body weight increases, and sometimes when there is disease outbreak you can quickly take note of this happenings by their droppings, if it changes from what it use to be when they are healthy then something is wrong, you can call on your vet doctor for inspection. Be sensitive to regular changes in your poultry farm always.

  • Types of birds:

This is another important factor you should consider in a poultry farming business what are the types of birds you want to raise? Chicken? (Layers or Broilers as applicable to other birds) Turkey? Goose? Duck? You should source for quality chicks from breeders. First generation chicks f1 are the best. Only source chicks from reputable breeders.

  • Areas of concentration:

This is a very important factor to consider in a poultry farming business. Do you want to keep them for: Egg production, meat production, breeding (hatching of eggs into chicks), feed processing and production, packaging of poultry products, marketing and lots more?

  • Capital:

Capital is one of the major factor that determine what happens and what goes on in the system. Capital is the fund (total amount of money you are investing into a business) the main reason why poultry needs enough fund is that you can’t be managing poultry birds you have to provide the best for them in order for you to get the required products at the end of your production.

  • Poultry Equipment and facilities:

It is very important to get adequate equipment ready and set before starting a poultry farm so that you don’t get stocked on the way. Some of the necessary equipment includes:

  • Feeders and drinkers,
  • egg trays
  • heat source,
  • waste disposal,
  • incubator,
  • culling cage (for keeping sick birds),
  • clean water, and
  • feeds,

How to Be Smart in The World of Agribusiness

  • Poultry location:

Poultry farming should be conducted in a place where the smell cannot affect people living around them and disposal of waste is easy, actually you can run a poultry farm at home as well in your backyard but in a situation where you are considering thousands of birds, try and locate the house in an environment with less population of people and settlement so that you can run your business without any interference and disturbance .

If you look into the above factors and keep your eyes open, you just like Muturi can make money in this business. Be your own boss.

Future billionaires will be farmers!

 

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Modern beehives will make you more money in bee-keeping in Kenya

BeeBee keeping (Apiculture) is a livestock subsector with great potential of contributing to Kenyan’s food basket as well as foreign earnings. It is an easy task to venture in as it is cheap, and it also enhances the environment through pollination. However, the type of beehives you have determines the amount of honey you harvest.

Apiculture is good for small-scale farmers and resource humble farmers due to the fact that it’s completely sustainable, has better income and needs less input (just land, some capital and labor)

Nevertheless, traditional beekeeping in Kenya has over years been producing low volumes of honey produced as well as income generated. This is largely due to beekeepers’ ignorance, poor harvesting techniques and use of ‘old school’ type hives. Lack of knowledge and outlets that buy honey exposes beekeepers to exploitation by unscrupulous middlemen and many end up selling their harvest to producers of local liquor for a song.

Types of beehives and their advantages

Traditional beehive

There are several types all made from cheap and locally available materials such as logs, pots and baskets. However, bee management and honey harvesting is difficult in such hives and usually the quality and quantity of honey is compromised.

During harvesting, combs — including brood combs — are cut off, destroying a generation of bees within a hive’s colony. Such colonies end up spending most of their time and energy (honey) rebuilding combs and replacing brood, thus remaining at a redevelopment phase at the expense of honey production.

Advantages of Traditional beehives

  • Inexpensive to make.
  • They can be produced locally and require little knowledge of carpentry.
  • They can house large amounts of bees.
  • They are the best hive if one is looking to get large quantities of wax.
  • When occupied, these hives are very hard to steal due to many cracks and openings that bees utilize to protect their colony

The Demand For Honey Is Big, How About You Think Of Bee Keeping

Kenya Top Bar Beehives

Modern BeehivesThis hive resembles a wedge box with wooden bars of specific measurements at the wide top part and a roof above the bars. Bee management is possible with this hive, making it easier to harvest and manipulate colonies for more honey production compared to traditional hives.

However, combs in the top bar hive are not supported and can break if not handled carefully. Since wax is harvested with honey, the bees are forced to build more wax to replace harvested combs, which results in lower honey yields albeit with more harvested wax.

In addition, the volume, like in the traditional hive, is fixed, so the hive can fill and get congested very quickly in the honey flow season. An overcrowded hive can divide and swarm, leading to reduced honey production.

Advantages Kenyan Top Bar (KTB) beehives

  • Colony splitting and multiplication easy.
  • Control of swarming is possible.
  • Easy to inspect to know the condition of the colony
  • Harvesting is easy and possible to select sealed combed (ripe) honey.
  • Materials for construction are available
  • Durable

Langstroth beehive (Frame Hive)

Box shaped with several compartments and frames that make the combs very strong. A mesh (queen excluder) is placed above the lowermost compartment known as the brood chamber allowing only the worker bees (non-laying) to move through.

Since entry to the hive is located at the base of the brood chamber, the queen cannot lay eggs in the compartments above the brood chamber (known as super chambers) thus combs in these chambers will contain honey only.

The honey is extracted by centrifuge, returning the combs relatively intact to the bees to shorten harvesting intervals and potentially increase yield. Combined with the fact that honey is separated completely from the brood, this extraction method ensures high quality honey.

By adding more supers, additional space can be created in the hive, which is important during honey flow period.

Advantages of Langstroth/Dadant Beehives:

  • Transportable.
  • High honey yield.
  • Easy to inspect and harvest.
  • Easy to control swarming.
  • Bee breeding and queen rearing possible.
  • Long lasting.

Success on bee keeping: This is what you need to know!

If you are a farmer, either fruit farmer of livestock farmer, having a few beehives won’t hurt you. Honey is considered as one of the best natural medicine for many ailments. Its sweet, healthy and has so many benefits. You have nothing to lose.

 

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Mastitis in heifers: Prevention and control

One of the most common problems that causes massive economic losses in dairy farms is Mastitis. This disease results in massive losses to the farmers whose animals are affected. Losses include cost of veterinary care, discarded milk, involuntary culling and yield reduction because of permanent damage to udders. Mastitis is the inflammation of the udder tissue and the mammary glands due to immune response to the infection of the teat canal. Most common bacteria are Staphylococcus aureus. In addition, the disease can also originate from thermal, chemical or mechanical injury to cow’s udder.

The disease can also originate from chemical, thermal or mechanical injury to cow’s udder. Severe acute mastitis can be fatal, and even the cows that recover may bear the consequences for the rest of their lactation periods.

The disease in heifers is a major problem that causes massive economic losses on most dairy farms. When optimizing farm management does not result in a significant reduction of the heifer’s udder health status, the administration of a three-way broad spectrum dry cow product has been shown to be effective in reducing the number of clinical mastitis cases in first lactation dairy cows. It is becoming painfully clear that heifers can also be affected by udder infections, even prior to calving. Approximately 60% of all heifers have an infra-mammary infection at calving. Some 16% of these heifers will suffer from clinical mastitis during their first lactation and 30% of these mastitis cases will occur within 14 days after calving. This results in a reduced milk yield in the first lactation, causing severe economic losses.

Route of infection

Most are the times that farmers ask why heifers are infected when they have never been in contact with milking machines, well they can be affected due to the following reasons;

  • Bacteria on the teat skin.
  • Bacteria in the environment of the heifer.
  • Bacteria transmitted by flies
  • ‘Sucklers’ (animals that suckle other animals) in a group of young stock.

The same bacteria that are found in older dairy cows can be detected in heifers. Most frequently isolated are E. coli, Staphylococci (coagulase negative staphylococci (CNS) and Staphylococcus aureus) and streptococci.

Economic consequences of Mastitis

The economic loss from one single case of clinical mastitis in Western Europe ranges from 200-300 euro. The magnitude of loss depends upon the bacteria involved, the herd’s production level, and the accuracy of veterinarian and farmer in detecting and treating animals with clinical mastitis.

The losses consist of veterinary costs (treatment and visits), the value of milk discarded during treatment and withholding periods, additional farm labor, reduced production for the remaining lactation period, occasional deaths and involuntary culling.

Most clinical mastitis cases occur in the first trimester of lactation. The proportion of heifers with mastitis around calving varies from 30-35%; stress, negative energy status and metabolic disorders are believed to be important risk factors. However, heifers can already be infected several weeks before their first calving.

How to make Silage for your Dairy Cows in Kenya

Ways of Preventing Mastitis

Mastitis in heifers can be prevented. In the first place by managerial measures that eliminate the sources of infection:

  • Optimize hygiene, starting directly after birth.
  • Reduce the amount of bacteria in the environment (clean housing and bedding).
  • Optimize insect control.
  • Remove ‘sucklers’ from groups of young stock.

In addition, changes that reduce or eliminate risk factors associated with mastitis should be considered:

  • Reduce stress on the animals.
  • Optimize nutrition.
  • Optimize ventilation.
  • Optimize housing.

When the above measures do not result in a significant improvement then the treatment of heifers with a dry cow product can be considered. This treatment should be applied approximately six weeks prior to the expected calving date.

What to consider when starting a dairy farm

Mastitis in heifers is a major problem that causes massive economic losses on most dairy farms. When optimizing farm management does not result in a significant reduction of the heifer’s udder health status, the administration of a three-way broad spectrum dry cow product has been shown to be effective in reducing the number of clinical mastitis cases in first lactation dairy cows.

 

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How to make Silage for your Dairy Cows in Kenya

Hay and silage are preserved feed for dairy animals that come in handy during dry seasons when the green forage is unavailable. Silage making involves fermentation under anaerobic conditions preventing fresh fodder from decomposing and allowing it to keep its nutrient quality.

The process needs sufficient soluble carbohydrates (sugars) for organic acid production. It is recommended that you add molasses to the fodder for its rich in sugars, that allow bacteria to produce organic acids immediately. Acidification and preservation process is catalyzed by the amount of molasses that is added. The more the molasses the faster the process.

Read: How to make millions from watermelons farming

Why you should feed your cows on Silage

It improves high milk production as well as healthy dairy animals, particularly during dry seasons. It is laxative, palatable, digestible, nutritious and requires less space as compared to hay. 

Preparation of Silage

Silage Making process
Suitable Maize for Silage

In Kenya, silage making from maize is popular and forage can be cut from baby maize (at this stage it has highest nutrition value) and can produce maize silage.

Step 1. A farmer needs to decide on the type of crop to be grown for forage or silage. You need to choose hybrid and perennial varieties of crops which can be grown in short duration and produced multiple times.

Step 2. Choose a dry place to dig a pit on slightly sloping ground and depth of the pit should decrease from the higher side of the sloping ground to the lower side by giving wedge like shape. Normally, size and dimension of the pit size depends on the amount of the forage to be stored. For instance, to make 20 bags of forage, you need to dig the pit of 2 cubic metres and 10 m polythene bag and 30 liters of molasses.

Step 3. Using chaff cutter, cut the forage to be preserved into 1 inch pieces.

Step 4. To prevent the forage contact with soil, place the polythene sheet by covering the bottom of the pit and all sides of the pit.

Step 5. Chopped forage should be placed into the pit and spread into a thinlayer and the process repeated until a third of the pit is covered.

Step6. One liter of mollases should be diluted with three liters of water and sprinkled evenly on the forage to be preserved.

Step7. To prevent the forage from rotting, use garden sprayer to evenly distribute the solution (from step 6) throughout silage pit and this will also help in feeding micro-organisms to make the silage ferment quickly and save the silage from rotting.

Step 8. The forage should be pressed with feet to make the air out and protect from fungal attack. This ought to be done with caution as little air causes the fungus and damage the forage.

Step 9. Add more bags of chopped forage after making the room with diluted mollases. Repeat the process of adding forage with diluted molases and pressing until the pit is filled in a doom shape.

Step 10. Pit should be covered after final processing with polythene sheet on top to prevent from any water contact and diga small trench around the sides of the pit.

Step 11. Now the pit should be covered with soil to make the sir out and prevent the polythene damage from rain, birds or any other animals.

Step. 12 The conversation through fermentation may take weeks. Leave the pit until there is a shortage of fodder. The silage can last up to 2 years if it is prepared with well sheeting and good soil cover.

Step 13. To use the silage, open the pit from the lower side of the slope, take the enough silage fodder for one day and close the pit again.

It takes about 30 to 40 days for the silage to mature and be ready for feeding. Never open the whole silage pit at once.

Read: Water storage can help farmers during dry seasons

Silage quality

Silage can be classified as good quality depending on its physical characteristics like taste, smell, and colour but more precisely by measuring the pH in the pit.

A pH of 3.5 to 4.2 indicates excellent fresh acidic/sweetish silage, 4.2 to 4.5 for good acidic, 4.5 to 5.0 fair less acidic and above 5.0 for poor pungent/rancid smelling silage.

Good silage should be light greenish or greenish brown or golden in colour. It should have a pleasant smell like that of vinegar, and acidic in taste, and should not contain mould.

Black indicates poor silage. Overheated silage has the smell of burnt sugar and dry in texture. Badly fermented silage has offensive taste, strong smell, slimy soft texture when rubbed from the fibre or leaf.

Read: Why buy vegetables while you can have your own bag garden?

Feeding Dairy cows with silage

A cow is fed with silage depending on the body weight or generally be given about 6kg to 15kg of silage per day. It is advisable not to feed silage immediately before or during milking especially when the quality is poor as the milk can easily take the smell of the feeds. During these times, a cow can be fed fresh grass, hay, legumes and concentrates. After feeding silage, the bunks and corners of the feeding troughs should be cleaned immediately to prevent contamination.

Read: Profitable poultry farming and production in Kenya

Dairy farmers in Kenya should consider making their own silage rather than buying from outside. If you are planning on having your own silage, plant maize.