Sunday May 21 2017

Why do birds continue to die even after vaccination?


Dear reader:
Vaccination is the practice of artificially, and in a controlled manner, introducing disease causing agents or their parts into a chicken (in this context), with the aim of stimulating an immune response. That immune response then provides a general protection to the bird so that when a similar disease strikes, the bird’s immune system can deal with it decisively.
Immunity from vaccination takes some time to set in and many a time it elicits stress in the body and weakness.

It is thus not advisable to vaccinate birds that are already sick. One must wait for them to fully recover, and seek a veterinary doctor’s guidance before vaccination. Vaccination re-introduces more work for an already fighting and possibly weakened immune system. This actually leads to more deaths of those already weak.
Remember, vaccination by any means does not provide cure to a disease. It is just a means of preventing disease from establishing itself in the body. When your birds get sick, first get the means of improving their health by providing suitable medicines, water, feed and a good environment.
Answered by Samuel Ssewagudde, a veterinary doctor

What organic fertilisers can I use in my garden?

Organic fertilisers provide the food needed for a plant to grow after a seed has germinated in the soil. This food consists of plant nutrients. The most important of these nutrients are nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K).
Human urine is high in nitrogen. Urea contains more phosphorous and potassium than most fertilisers from the store. A good ratio of urine to water would be one to eight. You can collect a cup of urine and pour it into eight cups of water in a plastic bucket used outside for fertilising plants. Pour two cups around the perimeter of each small plant. For the medium plants, add four cups and for big plants use six cups.
Banana peels; collect the banana peels next to the plant and cover to allow them compose naturally. Later supply the composite manure around the plant and mulch and water the plant to grow well.
Weeds; use them before they flower. Dry them in the sun and chop them to use as mulch. They are high in nitrogen and will not rob the plants of nutrients. Borage (starflower) is a herb but for some people it is a weed. It has the same nutritional properties as comfrey.
Egg shells; wash them first and then crush. Sprinkle the shell pieces into the soil near tomatoes or green peppers. The calcium helps fend off blossom end rot. Eggshells are 93 per cent calcium carbonate. The home-made organic fertiliser will help you get the good tomatoes in your garden.
Molasses; mix one to three tablespoons of molasses into a gallon of water. Water your plants with this concoction and watch them grow bigger and healthier. Using molasses in compost tea supposedly increases microbes and the beneficial bacteria that microbes feed on.
Coffee grounds; Acid loving plants such as tomatoes, blueberries may get a jolt out of coffee grounds mixed into the soil. But more likely it’s the nitrogen that helps. With these, sprinkle on top of the ground before watering. If using as a soil drench, soak six cups of coffee grounds in a five gallon bucket of water. Leave it for two to three days and then soak the soil around the plants.
Improve your soil, save money and grow organic vegetables, herbs and fruit. Find out which edibles to use them on, why they might work, and at what stage in the growth cycle they are most effective. Discover why some fertilisers fail to give you results to help never to apply the wrong nutrient at the wrong time.

Joseph Male, an agronomist

What can compost be used for?
Because compost is made up of humus, it can be used to improve the soil as follows:
• It provides plant nutrients that are released throughout the growing season. The plant nutrients dissolve in the water, in the soil and are taken in by the roots.
• It improves soil structure so that plant roots can easily reach into the soil. In sandy soil, the humus makes the sand particles stick together.
• It improves the moisture-holding capacity of the soil. The humus is a dark brown or black soft spongy or jelly-like substance that holds water and plant nutrients. One kilogramme of humus can hold up to six litres of water. In dry times, soil with good humus in it can hold water longer than soil with little humus.
• It helps to control weeds, pests and diseases. When weeds are used to make compost, the high temperature of the compost-making process kills many, but not all, of the weed seeds. Even the noxious weed, parthenium, has most of its seeds killed when it is made into compost following the instructions given in this document. Fertile soil produces strong plants able to resist pests and diseases. When crop residues are used to make compost, many pests and diseases cannot survive to infect the next season’s crops.
• It helps the soil resist erosion by wind and water. This is because: Water can enter the soil better and this can stop showers building up into a flood.
• Compost helps farmers improve the productivity of land and incomes since there are no cost implications. But to make and use compost properly farmers, either individually or working in groups, have to work hard.

Joseph Male, an agronomist

What is the best way to set up poultry housing with little space?

Dear reader: Housing determines the number of poultry stock one can keep in a commercial setting. Chicken, just like all other animals, need space. As adults, every bird needs to feel comfortable going about its normal (chicken) life. If that space is abused (through congestion and over stocking), the birds get stressed and they start pecking each other. The result is; failure to eat for the weak ones, slow growth, un-uniform growth, low production, injuries and death.
During construction of your poultry house, it is advisable to seek advice from a nearby extension officer or veterinary officer. Ask them about the stocking rate (in warm climate) for the type of birds you plan to rear.
Stocking rate refers to the number of birds that can occupy a square metre of a house. In warm climate, with open sided houses, on deep litter, it is advisable to stock five birds per square for adult layers and 10 birds per square metre for broilers. These are just guiding rates.
Answered by Samuel Ssewagudde, a veterinary doctor

What is the difference between using natural and artificial pesticides?

Natural pesticides are a cheap and safer alternative to safeguard plants from deadly pests. Unfortunately, these recipes are being lost as advertising to use modern chemicals increases. This is the smart use of the natural resources such as leaves, bark, seeds and wood can have toxic effects on different plant pests. Natural pesticides take longer to work than synthetic pesticides. Thus, it is important to apply them as soon as plants show evidence of pests. When preparing a pesticide from plants, always let them dry in the shade, because direct sunlight could break down the active ingredients. Strain or filter any liquid with a cloth to remove any loose material. Adding a little soap can be of help. When applying, wet both sides of the leaves. Some substances can burn young plant tissues unless they are diluted. It is wise to first try on a small patch before broadcasting.

Joseph Male, an agronomist