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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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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.


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8 deadly cattle diseases and how to control/treat them

Cattle Disease is a big challenge in the general success of any dairy farm. You may have learnt by now that dairy farming is one of the best agribusiness investment in Kenya today. Nevertheless, pests and diseases have still hindered many farmers from achieving their goals. Below are some of the fatal diseases and how to control them.

Mastitis cattle disease

In Kenya, Mastitis, or inflammation of the mammary gland, is the most common and the most expensive disease of dairy cattle. Although stress and physical injuries may cause inflammation of the gland, infection by invading bacteria or other microorganisms (fungi, yeasts and possibly viruses) is the primary cause of mastitis. Infections begin when microorganisms penetrate the teat canal and multiply in the mammary gland.

Treatment of Mastitis

  • Success depends on the nature of the etiological agent involved, the severity of the disease and the extent of fibrosis.
  • Complete recovery with freedom from bacterial infection can be obtained in cases of recent infection and in those where fibrosis has taken place only to a small extent.
  • Such drugs as acriflavine, gramicidin and tyrothricin have now ceased to be in use, and have given place to the more effective drugs, such as sulphonamides, penicillin and streptomycin.

Anthrax cattle disease

It is a highly infectious and fatal disease of cattle, caused by a relatively large spore-forming rectangular shaped bacterium called Bacillus anthracis. Anthrax occurs on all the continents, causes acute mortality in ruminants. The bacteria produce extremely potent toxins which are responsible for the ill effects, causing a high mortality rate. The bacteria produce spores on contact with oxygen. Signs of the illness usually appear 3 to 7 days after the spores are swallowed or inhaled. Once signs begin in animals, they usually die within two days. Hoofed animals, such as deer, cattle, goats, and sheep, are the main animals affected by this disease. They usually get the disease by swallowing anthrax spores while grazing on pasture contaminated (made impure) with anthrax spores. Inhaling (breathing in) the spores, which are odorless, colorless, and tasteless, may also cause infection in animals and people. In the case of terrorism, large numbers of anthrax spores may be released into the air.

Symptoms of Anthrax

  • Sudden death (often within 2 or 3 hours of being apparently normal) is by far the most common sign;
  • Very occasionally some animals may show trembling, a high temperature
  • Difficulty breathing, collapse and convulsions before death. This usually occurs over a period of 24 hours;
  • After death blood may not clot, resulting in a small amount of bloody discharge from the nose, mouth and other openings

How to control and treat Anthrax

  • Due to the acute nature of the disease resulting in sudden death, treatment is usually not possible in animals even though anthrax bacilli are clines. Treatment is of use in cases showing sub-acute form of the disease.
  • In most cases, early treatment can cure anthrax. The cutaneous (skin) form of anthrax can be treated with common antibiotics such as penicillin, tetracycline, erythromycin, and ciprofloxacin (Cipro).

Black Quarter (Black – leg) Cattle disease

It is an acute infectious and highly fatal, bacterial disease of cattle. It also infects sheep and goats. Young cattle between 6-24 months of age, in good body condition are mostly affected. It is soil-borne infection which generally occurs during rainy season. It is a bacterial disease caused by Clostridium chauvoei

Symptoms of Black Quarter

  • Loss of appetite, Depression, Fever, and dullness
  • Suspended rumination
  • Rapid pulse and heart rates
  • Difficult breathing (dyspnoea)
  • Lameness in affected leg
  • Crepitation swelling over hip, back & shoulder.
  • Swelling is hot & painful in early stages whereas cold and painless inter.
  • Recumbency (prostration) followed by death within 12-48 hrs.

How to Treat Black Quarter

  • Penicillin @ 10,000 units /Kg body weight 1M & locally daily for 5-6 days
  • Oxytetracycline in high doses i.e. 5-10 mg/Kg body weight 1M or IV
  • Indcse the swelling and drain off
  • Q. antiserum in large does, if available.
  • Avil / Cadistin @ 5-10 ml IM

Foot-and-mouth cattle disease

Foot and Mouth Cattle disease
Foot and Mouth Disease

The foot-and-mouth disease is a highly communicable disease affecting cloven-footed animals. It is characterized by fever, formation of vesicles and blisters in the mouth, udder, teats and on the skin between the toes and above the hoofs. Animals recovered from the disease present a characteristically rough coat and deformation of the hoof. In Kenya, the disease is widespread and assumes a position of importance in livestock industry. The disease spreads by direct contact or indirectly through infected water, manure, hay and pastures. It is also conveyed by cattle attendants. It is known to spread through recovered animals, field rats, and birds.

Symptoms of foot and mouth cattle disease

  • Fever
  • Profuse salivation ropes of stringy saliva hangs from mouth
  • Vesicles appear in mouth and in the inter digital space
  • Lameness observed
  • Cross bred cattle are highly susceptible to it

Treatment of foot and Mouth cattle disease

  • The external application of antiseptics contributes to the healing of the ulcers and wards off attacks by flies.
  • A common and inexpensive dressing for the lesions in the feet is a mixture of coal-tar and copper sulphate in the proportion of 5:1.

Related: Reasons Why You Should Start an Agribusiness in Kenya Today

Ringworm cattle disease

This is the most common infectious skin  cattle disease affecting beef cattle. It is caused by a fungus, and is transmissible to man. Typically the disease appears as crusty grey patches usually in the region of the head and neck and particularly around the eyes.

As a first step in controlling this cattle disease, it is recommended that, whenever possible, affected animals should be segregated and their pens or stalls cleaned and disinfected. Clean cattle which have been in contact with the disease should be watched closely for the appearance of lesions and treated promptly. Proper nutrition, particularly high levels of Vitamin A, copper and zinc while not a cure, will help to raise the resistance of the animal and in so doing offer some measure of control. Contact your vet and or feed store for products to treat this disease. Using a wormer will kill lice and help prevent cattle from scratching causing skin damage and a place for the fungus to enter.

Milk fever cattle disease

Milk fever cattle disease, also known as parturient hypocalcemia and parturient paresis, is a disease which has assumed considerable importance with the development of heavy milking cows. Decrease in the levels of ionized calcium in tissue fluids is basically the cause of the disease. In all adult cows there is a fall in serum-calcium level with the onset of lactation at calving. The disease usually occurs in 5 to 10 year old cows, and is chiefly caused by a sudden decrease in blood-calcium level, generally within 48 hours after calving.

Symptoms of milk Cattle disease

In classical cases, hypocalcemia is the cause of clinical symptoms. Hypophosphatasemia and variations in the concentration of serum-magnesium may play some subsidiary role. The clinical symptoms develop usually in one to three days after calving. They are characterized by loss of appetite, constipation and restlessness, but there is no rise in temperature.

Rinder pest Cattle Disease

Rinderpest is the most destructive of the virus diseases of cloven-footed animals, such as cattle, buffaloes, sheep, goats, pigs and wild ruminants. Its control was a major issue till recently all over the world. Organized efforts over half a century have brought about a total eradication of the disease in the Western Hemisphere. The virus is found notable in the saliva, discharge from eyes and nostrils, and in the urine and faeces. It is present in the circulating blood during the febrile stage and is later concentrated in different organs, especially in the spleen, lymph nodes and liver. Outside the animal body, the virus is rapidly destroyed by direct sunlight and disinfectants. Cold preserves the virus. The virus is usually spread by contaminated feed and water.  Lacrimation and redness of eye. Foul odour from mouth. Discrete necrotic foci develop in the buccal mucosa, inside lip, and on the tongue. Bloody mucoid diarrhoea is noticed

Treatment of Rinder pest

  • Symptomatic treatment with penicillin, streptomycin, sulphadimidine and intestinal antiseptics has no action on the virus, but may help in the recovery of less severe cases of rinderpest, as these control secondary complications caused by bacteria.

Related: How to control various soil diseases in our farms

Footrot Cattle Disease

Footrot is a common cause of lameness in cattle and occurs most frequently when cattle on pasture are forced to walk through mud to obtain water and feed. However, it may occur among cattle in paddocks as well, under apparently excellent conditions. Footrot is caused when a cut or scratch in the skin allows infection to penetrate between the claws or around the top of the hoof. Individual cases should be kept in a dry place and treated promptly with medication as directed by a veterinarian. If the disease becomes a herd problem a foot bath containing a 5% solution of copper sulphate placed where cattle are forced to walk though it once or twice a day will help to reduce the number of new infections. In addition, drain mud holes and cement areas around the water troughs where cattle are likely to pick up the infection. Keep pens and areas where cattle gather as clean as possible. Proper nutrition regarding protein, minerals and vitamins will maximize hoof health.


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What to consider when starting a dairy farm

Whatever your experience and background, there are a few things you should know before you begin milking dairy animals.

Build up a Business Plan and SWOT Analysis

Remember that a dairy farm is a business. Advancement of detailed marketable strategy and a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) of your plan and the assets you readily have will be basic to the accomplishment of your business. What number of cows will you milk? Where will you sell your milk? Will you hire workers? What amount of cash do you have to live on after the dairy bills are altogether paid? Your marketable strategy ought to incorporate an income plan that will enable you to set sensible projections for your expenses and cost of production.

Consult the Experts

Regardless of whether you experienced childhood with a dairy cow and figured out how to cater and milk cows from your folks and grandparents it is imperative to seek guidance from specialists in the dairy business as you build up your strategy for success and plan your management framework. Other dairy producers are awesome resources. Attend field days and open houses on dairy farming in your general vicinity and different parts of the county or country. When going to different homesteads find out what has functioned admirably on those farms and what has not worked, but rather remember that since something worked well at one farm does not mean it will work for you on your homestead.

Notwithstanding farmers, converse with veterinarians, nutritionists, agronomists, brokers, expansion tutors, and others that can give alternate points of view on management of your dairy. Lack of milk and milk products in Kenya is a genuine concern. Luckily, this implies business visionaries and farmers can consider this to be a lucrative investment they can attempt. Basically, knowing how to take off in this financially valuable undertaking is the most basic factor.

Read: How to grow Williams Hybrid Banana

Availability of Land

Dairy farming can be practiced on a piece of land ranging from 0.1-1,000,000 acres, depending on the scale of farming. This is the first requirement that any prospective farmer ought to meet.

Dairy farming can be done on a land running from 0.1-1,000,000 acres, depending upon the size of the scale of farming. This is the primary prerequisite that any forthcoming farmer should meet.

Distinguishing the Right Livestock Breeds

There are different variety of dairy cows in Kenya including both local and exotic breeds. For more returns, a farmer should go for exotic breeds, for example, Friesian, Ayrshire, Jersey and Guernsey. The farmer should consider acquisition and upkeep expenses, and possible returns given a specific breed. A decent dairy cow may cost between KSh. 100,000-500,000.

Getting Money (Capital)

Dairy farming is a genuine business venture. Capital is, in this way, obligatory for purchasing domesticated animals, farm equipment, establishment of structures and purchasing of animal feed, among other basic prerequisites. You can draw this from a bank account, wage or loan.

Setting Up Necessary Structures

Dairy cows must be kept under favorable living conditions free from rains, winds and unnecessary human interference. This calls for establishment of suitable structures

Supply of Feed

Feeds are the most basic prerequisites for any fruitful dairy farming undertaking. It is essential to have a solid source of animal feed even before the animals get onto the farm.

Other than the above, a farmer needs to acquire adequate information the care of the animals and general maintenance of the farm.

Read: Production and marketing of capsicum crop

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Successful dairy farming in Kenya

Great Feed

Every Farmer should bolster the dairy animals as required keeping in mind the end goal to enhance productivity. Numerous daily farmers wind up with lessened drain creation in the wake of spending a great deal of cash purchasing quality breeds however fizzle with regards to nourishing them.

Great Breeds

Having quality breeds helps a ton with regards to milk productivity. Farmers can get these bovines from big farms that sell heifers. This nearly guarantees you of good milk production if you bolster the bovines right. It is in this way exhorted farmers learn however much as could be expected about the dairy animals when they buy it. You wouldn’t have any desire to subject it to entirely unexpected conditions to the one it is used to as it might influence production.

Having a decent breed implies that you can likewise raise your own particular herd and furthermore enhance it through manual sperm injection.

Affordable Feeds

To increase benefits from a dairy investment, ensure you drive the cost of feeds down. Reports have it that the fundamental cost in dairy farming in Kenya is from animal feed which records to between 40%-60% of the aggregate expenses.

There are a few ways by which farmers can drive the expenses down for instance planting their own animal feeds if there is sufficient land accessible. Farmers can likewise make their own particular concentrates, for example, dairy meal. This will essentially diminish the cost of farming. There are new advances that assistance lessen the cost of feeds for dairy farming in Kenya, for example, hydroponics fodder where fodder is planted without water and is prepared in only 6 days.

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Good technical support

Every farmer requires good technical support to be successful. Having a qualified vetinary doctor to visit your farm regularly can save you lot of costs amounting from medical expenses. It is also important that a farmer has a nutritionist visit the farm once in a while to advice on the feed to give the cows in the different lactation stages. Soil analysts are also important because if your soil lacks certain nutrients needed for cow development, then the crops grown on it will most likely also lack the same.

Great specialized help

Each farmer requires great specialized help to be successful. Having a qualified veterinary specialist to visit your daily farm routinely can spare you part of expenses amounting from medicinal costs. It is likewise essential that a rancher has a nutritionist visit the farm on occasion to counsel on the feed to give the dairy animals in the distinctive lactation stages. Soil experts are likewise imperative in light of the fact that if your soil does not have certain supplements required for cow advancement, at that point the crops grown on it will in all likelihood lack the same.

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How to do a profitable zero-grazing

Many dairy farmers have raised inquiries concerning the most effective practices for a profitable zero-grazing enterprise. Dairy farmers ought to perceive that zero-grazing is different from zero feeding.

Many farmers have incurred huge prices in putting in place zero-grazing enterprises however have ended up failing miserably. Influential leaders haven’t been spared either. And all this is often because of an absence of understanding of the pertinent needs for a profitable zero-grazing investment.

Zero-grazing or stall feeding is essentially confining animals in an exceedingly stall and feeding them there. There’s minimum movement of cows because they’re not allowed to graze within the fields and so the term zero grazing. Several dairy farmers in Kenya hold the zero-grazing model of farm production attributable to the various advantages accruing from it. Issues like shortage of pasture, low productivity of dairy cows, caliber fodder, prevalence of diseases and lack of cash are handled during this system of farm production.

The zero-grazing unit

Zero-grazing unit aspect elevation

A farmer milking his cows (Source: Farmers trend)

Cows are unbroken and fed within the stall all year. The positioning where the unit is constructed determines the potency of operations throughout the zero-grazing enterprise. It ought to be close to as potential to the supply of forage to scale back labor prices of carrying the cut grass to the cows and carrying manure back to the farm. Zero-grazing needs an increased level of labor input, due to the requirement to chop grass daily. The time demand is about three-man hours/cow/day. Proximity to the homestead in respect to the biogas plant is additionally a very important thought.

The quality and amount of construction material ought to be assessed completely to work out the smallest amount potential value whereas maintaining quality of the house. Quality materials that are regionally accessible will greatly scale back prices. The cow shed should be practical, low cost and long lasting. The selection of a skilled worker is vital as a result of plenty of high-priced material may be wasted by hiring a foul skilled worker. Note that the foremost expensively engineered stable isn’t perpetually the most effective and most economical one. Farmers are advised to use recommended zero-grazing housing plans.

Improved dairy breeds

In order to extend milk production, you would like to target fewer, higher fed and higher quality animals. Stock the units with dairy cows that are bred specifically for milk yield. Vital dairy breeds of cows in Kenya for high-milk yield are Jersey, Ayrshire, Guernsey, milk cow and Sahiwal.

Maintain the farm breeds by upgrading your stock through AI exploitation tested dairy-bull semen. choosing sensible cows and culling non-playacting ones let alone sensible calf rearing for replacement stock ought to be an integral part of the system.

Adequate forage resource base

Grassland management and adaptability are the keys to the effectiveness of this method. Planning is vital to confirm there’s perpetually adequate forage accessible for the animals. Zero-grazing will offer opportunities for herd growth by increased forage utilization or through accessing land on the far side cow walking distance for grazing. Assume commercially and recognize the most forage production potential of your farm holding and therefore the potential quantity of off farm forage accessible to your herd in an exceedingly given year. This may change you to work out the most range of animals your zero-grazing enterprise can support. The quantity of forage, if obtained inside or outside the farm, is really the one most resource that determines the quantity of cows or animals which will be sustained within the unit because of.

  • In feeding the cows the forage to concentrate quantitative relation cannot surpass 60:40 %. A quantitative relation of 70:30 is suggested.
  • Forages take time to ascertain as hostile concentrates which might be purchased on demand.

Elephant (nappier) grass (penisetum puperum) grass is most well-liked because the main fodder crop as a result of it’s advantage of being comparatively simple to grow and re-grows apace when cutting. Different helpful crops or grasses are fodder maize and fodder sorghum. Opt for the foremost appropriate fodder to your section.

Replenish soil fertility by utilization of all manure on the Napier crop each two to three days. Apply four luggage of fifty kg of fertilizer NPK fertilizer (20-10-10) per acre per annum. This could additionally apply once establishing different quite fodder. Harvest the mature Napier grass when it’s mature to 60-90cm tall. The aim should be to supply the best quantity of dry matter (DM) per unit area of fodder.

Plant 0.75 – one acre of Napier grass per mature cow and her offspring.  A daily intake of 75-100kg of recent grass/cow may be achieved with sensible management to give a dry matter intake of 14-16kg/day. A recent weight intake of 100kg/cow/day would be needed for 15kg DM of grass.

Become brilliant at manufacturing and preserving feed for the season to confirm that milk production is maintained at a gentle rate throughout the year. one in all the best issues is providing sensible quality feed to the herd throughout the season. Dig a silage pit to store and preserve animal feed. Learn to store grass to be used throughout the season by creating your own silage and fodder. The increased utilization of off farm fodder will provide a rise of stocking rate on the farm. You’ll be able to get or rent additional land for animal feed or purchase feed from neighbors.

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Cows fed to capability on grasses alone have the potential to supply up to a most of seven kilos of milk per day. Extra milk is supported by concentrates. Keep in mind that it’s pointless to feed supplements once forage needs don’t seem to be met.

Give concentrate supplement because the main supply of energy and energy. Most farmers like giving farm meal to the cows at milking time. Supplement at a rate of one kilo for every 1.5 liters of milk the cow produces on prime of the seven kilos of milk contributed by grass. Different concentrates like edible seed cake, cotton seed cake and bran are accessible. For instance, farmers say that the employment of brewer’s waste as a feeding supplement, ad lib, will increase milk production by seven liters per day.

But the foremost vital factor is to own your ration formula right. Ration formulation could be an advanced method and any farmer cannot simply bed. You may want the talents of skilled professional to return up with the proper mixture of the feeds accessible to your cows. Invest in an exceedingly chaff-cutter to mill crop residues for feed so nothing goes to waste. Cows should have adequate feeding house, and wastage should be monitored, to confirm feed intake is maximized. Wastage ought to be but five-hitter, and refused material should be far away from the feeding space daily, as this can decompose rapidly.

Innovative dairy farmers have come back up with home-mix farm rations. An example composition of a one hundred kilo of home-mix farm ration is forty kilo flower cake, forty kilo maize grain, ten kilo sorghums, five kilo Glycine max beans and five kilo dried cassava chips. The mixture is dried and processed. Farmers who use this home-mix state that they get double as much milk from their home combine as they are doing for constant amount of purchased business dairy meal.

Mineral lick ought to be offered to the cows ad libitum within the mineral box. Water ought to be accessible throughout the day because it makes most of the milk.

Stable manure production

Manure ought to be treated rigorously to reap most get benefit from it. Manure contain high content of organic matter and minerals that improve soil fertility so forage yields and is supply of material for biogas production. Cover the manure pit to stop nitrogen losses.

One cow will produce up to twenty tons of compost per year depending on accessibility of crop residues. Twenty tons of compost contains close to eighty kilos of nitrogen, forty kilos of phosphate and ten kilos of hydroxide. If valued against current fertilizer costs, this composition is valued at KSh. 2000.

The manure made from three cows is comfortable to supply the quantity of gas required for cooking and lighting within the farm.

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