December 16, 2014

BEEKEEPING AND ITS BENEFITS

  • Bee farming is a rewarding and enjoyable occupation with many benefits. It has a number of advantages over other farm enterprises
  • Requires little land (50 colonies require a ¼ acre ) which does not have to be fertile
  • Honey is a source of non-perishable food
  • Capital investment is low compared to other farm enterprises
  • Beekeeping or bee farming is cheap and relatively not competitive to other Agricultural enterprises i.e. does not compete for resources
  • Labour required is low.
  • Many products can be obtained which are great source of income i.e. honey, beeswax, pollen, propolis, bee venom, royal jelly, bee colonies, bee brood, queen bees, and package bees.
  • Encourages environmental conservation.
  • Bees are good pollinators of plants, trees, fruits and crops, thus playing a big role in bio-diversity and improvement of crop yields
  • The therapeutic value of most hive products provide remedy for a number of ailments (Apitherapy)
To get the network information in bee keeping visit: 

 http://www.nafis.go.ke/livestock/bee-keeping/

MAASAI WOMEN BENEFIT FROM POULTRY FARMING

Ewaso Ngiro in Narok County is a semi –arid zone and sparsely populated area stretching across 153 square kilometers.  Plagued by drought, famine and other effects of climate change resulting in more and more limited availability of pasture and water. The poverty level is generally high owing to among other factors; marginalization of women in economic development, governance and decision-making both at household and community level. Pastoralism remains the main economic activity of the Maasai people of this region and continues to support majority of the households.

Looking after the homestead and caring for children as they wait for their men to return home from the grazing fields is the routine for most Maasai Women. However, groups of women through Farmer Field Schools (FFSs) established by Mainstreaming Sustainable Land Management in Agro-Pastoral Production Systems of Kenya Project that is financed by Global Environment Facility (GEF) and Supported by United Nations Development Programme - Kenya (UNDP- Kenya) and Implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries through the State Department of Livestock. Have defied this culture and are engaging in income generating activities to improve on their livelihoods.

FACTS ABOUT INDIGENOUS CHICKENS

  1. Meat and eggs are tastier and preferred by most consumers to those obtained from commercial breeds
  2. Initial investment is less than that needed to keep commercial breeds
  3. More tolerant of harsh conditions, including diseases, than commercial breeds
  4. Can be fed on cheap, locally available feeds
  5. When allowed to range freely, they need little feeding or other care
  6. Women and youth often control income from chickens
  7. Local markets are readily available for both eggs and chickens
  8. Droppings are rich in nutrients: can be used for compost making, pond fertilizing and feed for livestock.
 Why improved management?

  • Survival rate of chicks can be increased from three to eight out of ten.
  • If you hatch your eggs and sell chicks, earnings can be much higher (up to 7-times higher) than if you simply sell the eggs.
  • Simultaneous hatching of hens (so all chicks hatch at the same time) makes planning for vaccinations easier.
  • By cooperating with neighbors, farmers with small flocks can access vaccines at more affordable rates.
  • Planning your production to meet high seasonal demand – such as at Christmas, Easter and other festivals can greatly increase your profits.
  • If hens are prevented from hatching their own eggs or brooding chicks, they will start to lay again more quickly – after just 21 days, instead of the usual three months.
 
download full article here
 

HOW TO SET UP A PROFITABLE POULTRY FARMING BUSINESS IN KENYA

Poultry farming in Kenya requires having the right knowledge to be able to the right things to get the right result. It requires hard work and prompt attention to details. Poultry Farming is little capital intensive but if you are starting on a micro scale (Home back yard) where you have a small space at your back yard, it is not. Starting small is the best way to enter and learn the business. Before you venture into poultry farming business in Kenya, you need to seat back and do proper planning; make sure you have an idea of all the costs involved. Currently they seem to be no high poultry farms in Kenya like the ones in Europe, USA and other counties. Any investor who has the needed capital to venture into it will have reasons to smile within a short period of time. If you are ready to get started in poultry farming in Kenya, these are the basic requirements you need to set up your farm.

April 11, 2014

MORINGA OLEIFERA: THE MIRACLE TREE


Moringa tree (Moringa oleifera) has many names throughout the world, likely due to its profligate uses. It is called the ‘drumstick tree’ due to the shape of its seed pods, the ‘horseradish tree’ because of the faint scent and flavor of horseradish that the tree’s roots give off, and the ‘ben oil tree’ drawn from the oil that is pressed from the seeds. The most explicit of all its names, though, is the ‘miracle tree’ which is inspired by this unassuming tree’s seemingly endless benefits. Ayurvedic medicine (the millenia-old tradition of herbal and dietary medicinal practices from India) has long made use of the Moringa, but now, having been inspected through the lens of modern science it has increasingly come of interest to people all over the world as a solution to several disparate problems. Having value as a food item, a medicinal stock, a source of food oil and biofuel, and a water purifier, there is little wonder why it came to be known as the ‘miracle tree’.

Nearly every part of the tree is in some way edible. The roots, with their horseradish flavor, are stripped of their bark because of its high alkaloid content, mixed with vinegar and used as a condiment (Parrotta, 2009). According to Ted Radovich, young green seed pods which are high in ascorbic acid are boiled, steamed or pickled like string beans or asparagus and are a common addition to soups and stews in the tree’s native areas (2009). The seeds contain 30-35% oil  that is high in palmetic, stearic, behmic, and oleic acids and has similar flavor and properties to olive oil making it a highly nutritive alternative to other vegetable oils (Garcia-Fayos et al, 2010). The flowers are also sometimes eaten, though this practice will prevent seed pod growth. The real nutritional value of the Moringa tree, however, is in the leaves. Small, tripinnate and tender, they are similar in appearance to the leaves of North America’s native Black Locust tree. They are typically eaten or cooked fresh, though powders, extracts and teas do manage to retain much of the nutritional value of the leaves. The Moringa leaves’ nutritional contents are eye-popping to say the least.


INVESTING IN INDIGENOUS CHICKEN FOR SUSTAINABLE LIVELIHOODS


The unprecedented population surge in Kenya has left the country with near 43 million people and continues to steadily increase. This has led to competition and depletion of land and natural resources. In many parts of the country, available land is shrinking, either due to urbanization or cultural land dividing traditions. For many families struggling to make ends meet, the sale of their land is viewed as the only option. Most households in urban areas nowadays must depend on ¼ acre plots to meet their daily needs in times when unpredictable climactic conditions are making it even harder to farm. The depletion of farm land has caused harsh economic times that result in a rise in food prices, farm inputs, and animal feeds. These factors have made the production of enough food unattainable, aggravating hungry and poverty-stricken households. However, small-scale farmers in urban areas can better utilize their land through sustainable agricultural methods.  These methods are often low cost, practical, and can contribute to their daily food needs. One of the best opportunities for small-scale farmers can be through indigenous poultry production.

 The four main benefits of raising indigenous chickens are:
  • They are easy to establish for low-income families.
  • They are more prolific and unproblematic to rear on small plots of land.
  • They are more genetically diverse, well adapted, and more resistant to local pests and diseases.
  • They are vital for future food security, leading towards self-employment and self-reliance.
The chicken (Gallus domesticus) is a fowl that is said to be one of the most widely domesticated animals in recorded history. Charles Darwin considered chickens descendants of a single wild species, the red jungle fowl, which is found in the wild from India through Southeast Asia to the Philippines. Genetic analyses have shown that every breed of domestic chicken can be traced to the red jungle fowl. Scientists estimate that they were domesticated roughly 8,000 years ago in what is now Thailand and Vietnam (Encarta DVD, 2008).

April 10, 2014

FACTS ABOUT ORGANIC POULTRY FARMING FOR MEAT

  • Organic poultry may be grown starting from conventional day-old chicks, poults (young turkeys), ducklings etc. The parent stock does need not need to be organic, conventional hatcheries may be utilized to purchase your stock.
  • Birds must be treated organically from the second day of life. This includes following all aspects of the National Organic Standards (I don't know if we have them in Kenya), including 100% organic feed and using only allowed health treatments.
  • Organic poultry must have access to the outdoors, as seasonally appropriate. Outdoor areas don’t have to be vegetated; however, grass-fed poultry can be an important selling factor in some markets and is claimed by some to produce healthier birds and better tasting poultry products.  The land used for outdoor access must be certified organic.
  • 100% certified organic feed is required and must be either purchased or produced on your own certified organic farm. All agricultural feed products and the feed supplements must be organic. This includes secondary ingredients such as soy oil or wheat middlings. Non-agricultural, natural ingredients, such as kelp, grit, calcium, or fishmeal must be approved before use in organic operations.
  • No synthetic preservatives, colors, flowing agents or dust suppressants are allowed. Feed may not include mammalian or poultry slaughter byproducts. Adding organic flax meal to your ration  can increase the presence of Omega 3 fatty acids. FDA approved vitamins and trace minerals are allowed as feed additives. DL-Methionine has been approved as poultry feed additive for use through October of 2012. Methionine is necessary for proper feather and egg production.
  • Hormones and antibiotics are not allowed in organic meat production. Medicated feed may not be fed. Health issues should be treated through prevention, as most poultry diseases are very difficult to treat. Cleanliness is the best form of defense in disease management. If necessary, only allowed health treatments should be administered. Healthcare alternatives include homeopathy, probiotics, herbs, hydrogen peroxide or vinegar in water, organic raw milk or turmeric added to food for coccidiosis.
  • Farm biosecurity is very important to prevent transfer of diseases; from farm to farm, from wild birds to domestic, and from one batch of poultry to another. When working with multiple flocks on your farm, move from young to old and not visa-versa. Allow some down-time between flocks so you can clean and sanitize the equipment and facilities.
  • ·         Vaccines are allowed, although mostly used in larger operations. Typical vaccines that may be considered include: Newcastle disease, coccidiosis, MG M. gallisepticum and MS M. synoviae. Vaccines may be administered via water, through the air or orally.
  • Cannibalism may be caused by overcrowding or a ration imbalance. Correct these conditions to reduce the problem. Poultry will peck at bloody spots and will gang up on weak birds. If a bird is injured, it should be isolated from others and allowed to recover.
  • Predators can be a significant loss factor for small-scale poultry production. Predators can include raccoons, dogs, fox, coyotes, mink, weasels, opossums, rats, and aerial predators including owls and hawks. Poisons are not allowed. Common control methods include live-trapping, tightly constructed facilities to prevent access, electric net fencing, guard animals and flashing lights.
  • Housing must allow for exercise, freedom of movement and reduction of stress. Cages are not allowed except for short periods of time when an animal is being moved from one location to another. Stationary houses are acceptable, and moveable pens/moveable houses may be used. Bedding must be certified organic if it is something that the  poultry will typically consume (i.e. hay or straw). Typical bedding may be wood shavings (not from treated wood), organic corncobs, organic hay or straw or organic corn fodder.
  • Processing of meat birds must take place in a certified organic processing facility. Those processing on-farm may butcher and sell organic poultry if their processing operation is included in their farm plan, inspection and organic certification.
  • Documentation. Records must be kept on: source of poultry, feed and supplement use and sources, use and source of any health products, vaccinations, mortalities, outside access, house sanitation practices between flocks, and sale of finished product. An audit trail is necessary to show conformation with the National Organic Standards.
  • Certification. Any operation selling $5,000 or more in organic product per year must be certified. You must contact an independent third party certification agency, fill out a farm plan, and have an annual inspection. For more information see the MOSES. “Guidebook for Organic Certification” or fact sheet series on certification.
  • Marketing. Those that receive certification from an accredited certifying agency may label their poultry as “certified organic.” Labeling and packaging must meet organic and state labeling regulations and list the certifying agency. The USDA organic seal may be used.

More information on small-scale poultry production can be found from ATTRA, www.attra.ncat.org, and from the American Pastured Poultry Producers Association, www.apppa.org
Acknowledgements: Dr. Muyale Nicholas (Poultry Veterinarian); Dr. Wameyo Kenneth (vetkenya@googlegroups.com )

June 08, 2012

VACCINATION AND DISEASE CONTROL IN LAYERS

Age at vaccination
Disease
Day 1
Mareks
Day 7
Newcastle & IBD
Day 10- 14
Gumboro
Day 21
Newcastle & IBD
Day 24- 28
Gumboro
Week 6- 8
Fowl Pox
Boost Week 12, every 3 month
Newcastle & IBD

This program can be adopted with limited modification for the Indigenous chicken.
Note the following:
1. Buy vaccination from recognized Veterinary pharmacy
2. Ensure the vaccines are not expired 
3. Carry vaccines in cooler boxes/ flask with ice and avoid exposing it to the direct sunlight 
4. Use vaccines as soon as possible after purchase