Proper animal health practices key in increasing production

By Simon Munyeki

Livestock farmers drawn from Ol-Moran Ward in Laikipia West Sub County on November 3, 2015 benefited from a seminar on livestock production organized by Norbrook Kenya Ltd in collaboration with Laikipia Produce and Marketing Co-operative Society and Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN) through Ng’arua Maarifa Centre at Sipili Catholic Church Hall.

The 68 farmers present during the workshop looked at herd health management practices, treatment of animal illnesses, preventive measures, de-worming, vaccination, housing, nutrition, cleaning, and disinfection of premises as well as environmental sanitation.

Mr. Saya Onyango from Norbrook Kenya Ltd noted that healthy and productive livestock could make important contributions to food security and poverty alleviation. He said that the organization is working with some farmers from Kiambu County who are getting as much as 60 litres of milk per day.

When deciding on the breed of livestock, you have to consider factors like production level, breed history as well as the environment. This is to make sure that as a livestock farmer you have the right information on the best breeds which suites your environment,” said Mr. Onyango.

He took farmers through proper methods of controlling both external and internal parasites. He noted that parasites usually lead to loss in production levels and may cause death of the host animal.

He said that external parasites such as ticks, fleas and lice can be controlled using several methods such use of akalicides and controlled environment such as paddocking. Norbrook has gone a step further on production of akalicides such as Norotraz, sypertic, and Duo Dip, which kills all external parasites that transmits diseases such as East Coast Fever, anaplasmosis and may cause anaemia.

He took participant through various ways of safe chemical handling and methods of external parasites control such as dipping, dusting pour on, and hand spraying. For long dipping, has been the widely used method of parasites control. However, other methods such as hand spraying and dusting have proven effective and more economical for small-scale livestock farmers.

Internal parasites such as flukes, tapeworms, and roundworms can weaken animal performance, reduce productivity, and in some cases lead to death of animals. Flukes and tapeworm can seriously impair growth of young animals by causing loss of condition, scours, anaemia, and death in severe cases. Roundworms attack the gut wall in the intestine, consuming blood, causing anaemia and reducing the nutrient absorption capacity of the tissue.

Mr. Onyango said that Norbrook has developed chemicals to control and eradicate all kinds of internal worms. These chemical are Levafas diamond, Levafas drench, Levafas extra, Albafas, Duotech, and Closermectin.

Good nutrition and correct animal management will ensure reduced drug and pesticide usage thus avoiding residues in milk or meat and risk of development of drug resistance in parasites,” said Mr. Onyango.

He advised farmers to feed their livestock’s using the appropriate types of different feeds according to the breeds and purpose of livestock such as dairy meal for high milk production and pollad for heifers and beef cattle breeds.

Mineral supplements are also an import aspect when a farmer is feeding livestock for they provide them with micro-elements, which are not available in regular feeds for proper health and high production.

Farmers thanked the organizers of the workshop as they rarely get a chance to learn about animal husbandry. Some farmers noted that the training was a first step towards increasing milk production in the area.

Today has been the best day for livestock farmers for we have learned on ways of identifying the best breeds, parasites control as well as the right feeds and mineral supplements for our livestock,” said Mr. Paul Theuri, a livestock farmer from Sipili.

Since its foundation over 40 years ago, Norbrook has grown to be one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies by establishing itself as a global leader in the development of revolutionary veterinary and animal health medicines.