If you are thinking of starting dairy farming in Kenya, here are some common faqs you need to know about.
Before we begin our Q&A discussion, we will first look at dairy farming requirements in Kenya.
This includes land size and climatic conditions, which play an essential role in cattle rearing.
Next, i:f you are thinking of starting dairy farming, it is essential to know which system you want to use to keep your dairy.
In Kenya, three systems are majorly used, and these are:
- The traditional Open Range System where animals can roam and feed independently.
- Zero Grazing where your dairy is confined in a given location on the homestead, and everything is brought to them.
- Lastly, Semi-Zero grazing is the combination of the above two systems.
Dairy Farming in Kenya FAQs for Beginners
In Kenya, different cattle breeds are meant for specific regions/areas. This is to say, in other words, that a cattle breed in Nyeri may not do well in the hot and humid environment of Kisumu.
Wait a minute. Did I get you startled? Don’t worry; KARI introduced Cross Breeds in Kenya to improve rearing and production characteristics such as milk and growth rate, among other things.
Generally speaking, the types of hybrid cattle in Kenya are another day’s topic. Let’s focus on what brought you to this site in the first place.
First, take a look at how you want to utilize the available space. Then, take a look also at how much pasture you have.
In short, these are some of the things to consider:
Shelter from wind and wet conditions.
The price of a cow depends on the type of breed and the cow’s age/condition. For example, a pregnant cow is more expensive than an average cow.
The cost of a calf in Kenya is also dependent on the type of breed you want. The average price of a single calf is between Ksh 9 000 – and Ksh 20,000, depending on your location.
Fleckvieh, a new type of breed in Kenya, is the most sought after and the best species to go to if you’re looking for meat & milk production in terms of quality and quantity.
In Kenya, the following cattle breed is the Friesian cow, followed by the Ayrshire, Guernsey, and Jersey. Note that all these are European breeds.
The average milk production in cows usually increases as the cows age and give more calves. For Fleckvieh, after the first calving, the average milk production of a well-fed Fleckvieh is between 25 -30 liters a day.
This, in turn, will increase to 30-35 and then 35-40 after the second and third calving, respectively.
Generally speaking, a cow gives birth every 12 to 14 months. This means that in its 6-8 years lifespan, a dairy cow can give birth 4 -5 times.
Cattle can live up to 20 -26 years on average. However, it is recommended to allow them to live up to 6-8 years of productive lives.
With new cattle breeds, one can milk the cow for between 10 -and 12 months. However, it is good to know that milk production volume gradually increases as the cow calves. This means that you can milk a cow probably its whole life.
The age of calving is depended upon the type of breed. However, the minimum calving age for crossbreeds and hybrids is two years. And that of a traditional cow is three years.
It takes about two years for the calf to mature for all cattle breeds and another six months to start breeding.
If you intend to use it for meat consumption, it takes three years for a bull to be fully matured.