What to feed a cow after it has been served

Saturday August 31 2019

 

My name is Ezekiel. I have a Friesian cow which was served a week ago. What sort of feeds should I feed her? I was thinking of dairy meal every morning and evening, is it recommended?

Dear Ezekiel
The nutrient requirements for early pregnant cows will vary, depending on whether the cow is a heifer and still growing or it is nursing a calf and its nutrition can have long-lasting effects on its calf.

Make sure you provide adequate and well-balanced diet with no vitamin or mineral deficiencies.

Offer the animal high quality forage to improve dry matter intake and increase energy sources of feeds gradually.
Proper levels of trace minerals are also crucial for its immune system and reproduction.

Feeding on dairy meal will help boost milk production if the cow is lactating, and in required amounts as per milk produced to take care of problems such as acidosis.

However, too much nutrition can be as detrimental as too little, for instance, being too fat means fertility problems or difficulty in calving because of too much fat in the pelvic area.

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Answered by Felix Akatch Opinya of Egerton University.

Every time I read an article on dairy cows in Seeds of Gold, the term dry matter ratio is used but I do not understand it. I feed my cow with mainly Napier grass. What is dry matter content? David

Dear David
Feedstuffs are made up of two main components, namely the dry matter and water components. Dry matter contains the nutrients that the animal needs including carbohydrates, protein and minerals.

The two parts are usually expressed as fractions or ratio and most often as percentage of the total.
The higher the water content (moisture), the lower the dry matter content and vice versa.

Feedstuffs such as lush pastures have high moisture content, silage has 40 per cent, hay has about 18 per cent while minerals supplement have 0 per cent moisture content.

The higher the dry matter content, the more the nutrients provision to the animal. Napier grass has high dry matter content ranging from 150 to 300 per cent depending on maturity stage.

A common way of increasing the dry matter content in forage feedstuffs is by wilting.
Wilting should be done preferably under a shade and for the shortest time possible.
This is to ensure feedstuffs retain their nutrients, which can be judged by the level of original colour loss.
So when feeding feedstuffs in high moisture, ensure you supply feeds high in dry matter to enable animals have adequate nutrient intake.

Answered by James Chege of Egerton University

I have been a poultry farmer for the last seven years with close to 6,000 layers. The cost of feeds is becoming unmanageable as prices of eggs drop drastically. Can one add value to eggs so that he can make extra income if they do not want to sell them raw?
Jane

Dear Jane
Eggs can indeed be value added. Some of the value added products include egg powder, low cholesterol yolkless eggs (egg albumen) and shell-less eggs.
Another alternative for managing high feed costs is to formulate your own rations with the help of an animal nutritionist.

Answered by Ronald Kimitei of Egerton University

I am Peter Mendeli and I want to start rearing improved chicks

Dear Peter
The best chicken to rear will depend on your production objectives and resources available.
Indigenous chicken eggs and meat are highly valued and their market is available within your locality but more so in the urban areas. However, this will depend on the scale of production.
Answered by James Chege of Egerton University

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