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Feedback: Dos and don'ts when giving chickens new feeds at various stages of growth.

INTRODUCING BIRDS TO LAYERS MASHI have a flock of 300 layers that are four months. They've done so well up to now.

When can I start feeding them layers mash? Julius JustinKeeping layers is a good business because demand for eggs is high. The fact that you said they have been doing so well tells us that few died, you have followed the layers' vaccination programme, you have housed them accordingly, they are safe and, therefore, less stressed, you have been offering them quality and in the right quantities of chick mash and growers mash.

To transit them from growers to layers mash, start from four-and a-half-months. You start with 75 per cent growers mash with 25 per cent layers mash.

Then you move to 50:50 per cent and then 25:75 per cent and lastly 0:100 per cent, meaning zero growers. The changes can be done weekly.

Dennis Kigiri, Department of Animal Sciences, Egerton University. GROWING EUCALYPTUSI am planning to venture into eucalyptus growing on my one acre.

Please guide me from sowing in the nursery seeds to planting and marketing after maturity. Also, where can I get Grandis eucalyptus seeds that I can start with?Stanley WaitageiAccording to Kefri, eucalyptus seeds are first sowed in a nursery where they take 7-14 days to germinate.

When the seedlings have two leaves, they are planted in individual containers or polythene sleeves. The seedlings should be protected from excess sunlight, wind, weeds, pests and diseases.

Watering should be done twice a day, preferably in the morning and evening. Avoid overwatering.

Root pruning should be done at least twice if seedlings are grown in pots. The seedlings are ready for transplanting when they are 25-35cm in height or after 4-5 months.

Planting should be done at the onset of the rains. The spacing to be used depends on the intended use of the tree and the agro-ecological zone.

In high potential areas, a spacing of 2-2.5m by 2-2.5m is adopted while in arid and semi-arid areas, a spacing of 3m by 3m is used. Make sure you scout for pests and diseases during the first two years of growth.

Harvesting depends on the use of the tree. For fuelwood and rails, harvest from three years, poles and pulp from 6-8 years, for power transmission poles from 8-10 years and for timber from 15-20 years.

Eucalyptus grandis can be used for timber, transmission and construction poles, firewood, charcoal and pulpwood. The seeds are available from Kefri, contact them through [emailprotected] or 0723500176.Carol Mutua,Department of Crops, Horticulture, and Soils, Egerton University.

YES, WATTLE TREES ARE A GOOD SOURCE OF CHARCOALI want to plant wattle trees on an idle land in Uasin Gishu County, with the main aim of selling them for charcoal making. I wish to know if wattle trees are best for charcoal.

There are many species of wattle trees. The trees are a good source of fuel (firewood and charcoal), timber, good quality bark, can be used for rayon and are a source of tannin dye.

Wattle trees also produce many flowers from where bees can get nectar thus are good for apiculture. The trees are also attractive and thus serve as ornamental trees.

They provide shelter or shade hence act as windbreaks or shelter belts. Lastly, they fix nitrogen into the soil and this improves soil fertility.

According to World Agro-forestry Centre, harvesting a 10-year-old wattle tree removes a lot of nutrients from the soil, therefore, it is advisable to apply NPK fertiliser before planting. Application of lime also improves yields.

Carol MutuaDepartment of Crops, Horticulture and Soils, Egerton University.MAKING HENS LOSE BROODINESSI need your advice on rearing Kienyeji hens for eggs.

Is there a way to make the hens not become broody but keep on laying eggs. Also, I want to put my three cows under zero-grazing, how many acres of land can I use to grow fodder like napier grass?Indigenous chicken hens normally go broody after laying eggs for some time.

If they are a few hens, you can put them in cold water and isolate them in a cage for three to four hours daily. If you intend to keep many, kindly check for improved Kienyeji chicken which have been bred and selected against brooding.

To keep three dairy cows, you need three acres of land which you can either purchase or lease. You can plant maize for silage and also grasses for the cows, which you harvest, make hay and store.

Dennis Kigiri, Department of Animal Sciences, Egerton University.I WANT TO PLANT CANOLAI have leased a 60-acre farm in Uganda and I am interested in growing crops that can be used for manufacturing animal feeds.

My target market is Kenya. Kindly advise me on the type of crops to grow.

I'm equally thinking of planting canola, which companies in Kenya process it?We plant both energy and protein ingredients for animal feeds. Energy feed ingredients include maize, wheat, rice, cassava, while protein ingredients include but not limited to sunflower, soybean, cotton, and canola.

Planting these feed ingredients targeting Kenyan market is better done if you are contracted by a Kenyan feed manufacturing company so that you are assured of the market. Create time to visit several of them and have a contract.

About canola, there are few companies that are growing it for making cooking oil in Kenya and using the cake for the animal feeds. Check online for their names.

Dennis Kigiri, Department of Animal Sciences, Egerton University.CONTROLLING PESTS IN PUMPKIN CROPI want to know more on pumpkin farming, especially when to set up pheromone traps and for which pests.

I have a problem with silver leaf flies, beetles and white flies which have rendered all of my fruits inedible.Phyl Ndung'u, Kenya Institute of Mass Communication.

Pheromone traps are set to curb fruit flies when the plants start fruiting. Fruit flies bore into the fruits when they are still young and cause rotting and falling.

In mature fruits, they cause rotting and a water-soaked appearance.Fruit flies can be controlled through: Use of fruit fly traps with pheromones Field sanitation Crop rotation Destroy infected fruits Covering the fruits at fruit set with paper bags or newspaper to prevent flies from laying eggs on them.

Use of insecticides like Kingcode, Presento, Lexus, Profile and Pentagon.There are two types of white flies: Silver leaf whitefly (Bemisia tabaci) and greenhouse whitefly (Trialeurodes vaporariorum).

Whiteflies can be controlled through: Use of biological agents like parasitoid wasps (Encarsia Formosa), predatory mites, lace wings and pathogenic fungi like Beauveria bassiana. Use of chemical pesticides like Kingcode Elite, Presento, TaurusUse of plant extracts like neem and pepper.

Crop rotation. Use of yellow sticky traps.

Use of trap crops like mint, African marigoldBeetles, especially, the epilachna beetle, can cause damage to young plants but older ones can tolerate leaf damage. But during flowering, fruit set may be affected.

The beetle is also a vector of squash mosaic virus. To control beetles, avoid growing pumpkin near crops that attract the beetles like maize, potatoes and other cucurbits.

Practise crop rotation, field hygiene and spray neem extracts.Carol Mutua,Department of Crops, Horticulture, and Soils, Egerton University I WANT TO KEEP WHITE LEGHORN CHICKENSWhere can I source birds laying white eggs, preferably White leghorns?Willy KoskeiThe White leghorn is a chicken breed originating from central Italy and was later exported to North America.

Leghorns are prolific layers and have white feathers covering the whole body. They rarely sit on eggs.

Eggs are white and of good size and are laid throughout the year. Chicks are easy to rear.

They feather up quickly, are fast-growers and mature quickly. They are not good as table birds as they aren't very meaty.

There are companies and farms in Kenya that sell chicks. Check them online.

Dennis Kigiri, Department of Animal Sciences, Egerton University.KUROILER AND KENBROW CHICKSI am looking for original Kuroiler and Kenbro chicks and also fingerlings.

Kate, Kieni WestThe chickens are improved dual purpose birds. Kuroiler has the following characteristics they are raised for both meat and eggs, they mature early, lay 18 to 20 eggs per month, cocks weigh 2.

2 to 2.5kg when fully matured and hens weigh 1.

8 to 2kg when mature and have medium feeding requirements. Kenbros, on the other hand, are raised for eggs and meat, mature in four to five months, hens lay 20 to 25 eggs per month, cocks weigh 2.

2 to 2.5kg when mature, and hens 1.

9 to 2.2kg.

They have heavy feeding requirements. The government invested billions of money in fish farming in 2009 but the industry has been on the decline.

I want to thank you for deciding to venture into fish farming for income generation. You can get Kenbro chicks from Kenchic outlets while Kuroilers from farmers keeping them.

Dennis Kigiri, Department of Animal Sciences, Egerton University.I NEED A JOB IN THE AGRICULTURE FIELDI'm a diploma holder in general agriculture and extension.

I wish to be linked to any job in agriculture field.Langat, KerichoLangat, you must be aggressive when it comes to job searching.

You should be making applications to farms, companies and also in the counties. There are so many opportunities in the field.

Carol Mutua,Department of Crops, Horticulture, and Soils, Egerton University.GROWING QUALITY MUSHROOMSI have always wanted to grow mushrooms.

Please guide me on how to go about it? Mawji, EldoretThere are two types of mushrooms, namely button and oyster. In mushrooms, we plant spawns (seedlings).

They can be obtained from Kalro or other institutions. The biggest challenge in mushroom production is getting quality spawns.

You will also need a room where you will plant the mushrooms because they are not grown in the field. You will also need wheat straw, bean straw, millet straw or rice straw for preparation of compost on which the mushrooms will grow.

Compost is made by mixing the straw with molasses, cotton seed cake and urea. The straw should first be soaked in water and then mixed with the other ingredients.

The compost should be sterilised to avoid pests and diseases. After compost preparation, planting of the spawns follows and this is done by mixing the compost with the spawns in sacks.

The sacks are then taken to the growing room. The temperature around the bag should be maintained at 32C.

After about 10-14 days, the spawns start to emerge. When they are visible as small white grains, add some soil preferably from the forest in the sacks.

At this stage, humidity should be introduced by use of a humidifier or a knapsack sprayer. Make sure you use clean water and spray the air and the floors of the growing room.

Humidity is needed for growth of the mushrooms. Depending on the days the spawns took to emerge, mushrooms are ready for harvesting after 10-14 days and harvesting continues for one-and-a-half months.

Make sure that you observe high standards of hygiene.Carol Mutua,Department of Crops, Horticulture, and Soils, Egerton University.

MARKET FOR 100KG OF PURPLE PASSION FRUITSI am interested in buying purple passion fruits, 80-100kg per week.Ruth MoraaPlease contact Weldon Korir on 0717371312. He has just started harvesting his purple passion fruits in Bomet.

Carol Mutua,Department of Crops, Horticulture, and Soils, Egerton University.I AM LOOKING FOR A BUYER OF PASSION FRUITSI am Weldon Korir, a farmer in Bomet looking for a buyer of my passion fruits in Bomet.

Please help me. My contact is 0717371312.You cannot lack market for passion fruits.

They have a good market both locally and internationally. I have linked you with Ruth Moraa, [emailprotected], who wants to be supplied with 80-100kg of purple passion fruits weekly.

Carol Mutua,Department of Crops, Horticulture, and Soils, Egerton University.
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Publication:Daily Nation, Kenya (Nairobi, Kenya)
Date:Jul 24, 2019
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