Livestock Production IV (Livestock Rearing Practice) - Agriculture Form 3 Notes

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  • In the management of livestock there are many activities that are carried out on animals to enhance production.
  • They require care in feeding, health, breeding.
  • Specific management also important in bee and fish farming.

Routine Livestock Rearing Practices

  • A routine is a fixed/regular way of doing something.
  • done repeatedly after a certain period of time

Feeding Practice

- Animals are fed to cater for both maintenance and production requirements.
- These are special types of feeding carried out on certain animals to cater for specific needs.
- These include:

1. Flushing

  • The practice of giving extra quality feed to an animal around service time.
  • In sheep it is done 2-3 weeks before tupping and 3 weeks after tupping.
  • In pigs it is done 3-4 weeks before service.

Importance of Flushing

  • It increases conception rates.
  • It enhances implantation of the zy
  • In sheep it increases twinning percentage by 15-20%.


2. Steaming Up

  • Giving extra quality feed to an animal during the last weeks of gestation.
  • In cattle it is done 6-8 weeks before calving.

Importance Steaming Up

  • It provides nutrients for maximum foetal growth.
  • It helps in the build up of energy for parturition.
  • It ensures the birth of a healthy animal.
  • It promotes good health of the mother.
  • It increases and maintains high milk yield after birth.

3. Creep Feeding

  • Feeding of young animals from birth to weaning.


  • 10 days old - introduced to creep pellets.
  • 5 weeks old - creep pellets mixed with sow and weaner meals.
  • 8 weeks old - weaning.


  • Run with their mothers for natural suckling.
  • Bucks - introduced to succulent feeds and concentrates.


  • Meat goats kids suckle naturally.
  • Dairy goats, fed on milk artificially,
  • Given 0.5-1.25 litres up to the third week.
  • Introduced to concentrates at 3-4 months.
  • Weaned at 6-8 weeks of age.

Parasite and Disease Control Practices


  • Introducing active disease organsms which are reduced in strength or virulent into the animals' body to induce immunity.
  • Administration of vaccination is done through:
    • By injection.
    • Orally through the mouth.
    • By inhalation through the nose.
    • Eye drops.


  • Practice of killing/removing internal parasites by administering drugs known as dewormers / antihelmitics.



Hoof Trimming

  • Cutting back overgrown hooves with the help of a hoof trimming knife, a hoof cutter or a hoof rasp.


  • Facilitate easy movement.
  • Control of foot rot disease.
  • Facilitate mating - prevent the ram from injuring the ewe during tupping.


  • This is the removal (cutting oft) of tails in sheep during the first week after birth.


  • Even distribution of body fat.
  • Facilitate easy mating in adult life.
  • Minimise fouling of the wool with faeces.
  • Reduce incidences of blowfly infestation.

Methods of Docking /tailing

  • Cutting with sharp knife or scalpel.
  • Use of elastrator and rubber ring.

Dipping and Spraying

  • These are methods of applying acaricides on the animals to control external parasites.


  • It is the application of chemical powders on the animal body or on the walls of the animal house to control external parasites.
  • It is used to control stick-fast parasites and fleas in poultry.

Breeding Practices

  • These are practices carried out to enhance successful breeding.

Crutching and Ringing

  • Crutching - cutting of wool around the external reproductive organs of female sheep.
  • Ringing - trimming wool around the sheath of the penis of the rams to facilitate mating.

Tupping and Serving

  • Tupping refers to mating in sheep and goats.
  • Serving refers to mating in cattle and pigs.


  • This is the practice of fitting the rams with breeding chutes which are painted in different colours during mating
  • to identify mated ewes and to indicate the active rams hence help in culling of the weak rams.



The practice of putting identification marks on animal.

  • Branding - burning marks on the animals skin.
  • Ear tagging - placing marked plastic or metallic tags on the animals ears.
  • Ear notching - cutting different shapes bearing different values on the ear lobes.
  • Tattooing - use of permanent ink or dye to mark animals with light skin.
  • Neck strap or chain - Fixing of tags round the animals neck with a chain or a strap.

Importance/ purpose of Identification

  • record keeping
  • Setting disputes in case animals get mixed up in the pasture.


  • Cutting about 1/3 of the upper beak with a knife, scissors or hot iron.


  • Control egg eating.
  • Control cannibalism.

Tooth Clipping

  • The removal (clipping) of the needle (canine) teeth in piglets 24 hours after birth.


  • Removal of undesirable animals from a herd.


  • Removal of horns or horn buds from an animal.


  • It prevents animals from injuring each other.
  • It makes the animal docile and therefore easy to han
  • For easy transportation and feeding.
  • Prevents destruction of farm structures.


  • The practice of cutting wool from all over the body of a sheep.
  • It starts at the age of 8 months and then done once a year.
  • Should be done during the dry season.
  • Tools used: wool shears.
  • Care must be taken not to cut the skin, testicles, udder, vulva and penis.


  • It is the rendering unserviceable the testicles of a male animal.



  • To control breeding diseases.
  • To control breeding.
  • For faster growth rates.
  • Increase quality of meat by removing unpleasant smell especially in goats.

Methods Used:

  • Closed/bloodless method
    • involves use of burdizzo or rubber ring and ela
    • Animals do not bleed but may not be 100% effecti
  • Open method
    • A surgical method used for castrating cocks, piglets and rabbits whose testes are internal.
    • Also used for lambs, kids and calves.
    • Animals bleed a lot.
    • However, it is 100% effective.
    • It is not recommended for mature adults.
  • Caponisation
    • It is the practice of making male birds lose their male characteristics by use of hormones.
    • Hormones used include stilboestrol which is injected into the birds when they are one day old and female hormones implanted beneath the skin at the neck.
    • Birds which have lost their male characteristics in this way are referred to as capons.

Management During Parturition

  • Parturition is the act of giving birth to fully grown foetus.

Parturition in Cattle

  • It is referred to as calving.
  • Gestation period lasts 270-285 days after conception.
  • When the signs of parturition are observed the cow should be separated from the rest of the herd.
  • Normal calving should take 2 hours and the normal presentation is the muzzle, face or fore head on top of the forelegs first.
  • In case of other presentations the mother should be assisted.
  • Provide the mother with plenty of water and feed after par
  • If the after birth does not come out within 48 hours a veterinarian should be called to remove it.

Parturition in Sheep

  • It is referred to as lambing.
  • Gestation lasts 21 weeks (150 days) after conception.
  • The ewe lamb naturally without any problem.
  • If complications arise the ewes should be assisted.

Signs of Parturition in Sheep

  • Udder becomes full.
  • Teats are bright red in colour.
  • Restlessness and bleating.
  • Slackening of the hip muscles.


After these signs 'are seen the ewes should be separated from the others.

  • The normal presentation is forelegs and head first.
  • After birth the mother should be allowed to lick the lamb to ensure the coat is dry.

Parturition in Goats

  • It is referred to as kidding.
  • It takes place 150 days after conception.
  • Nannies carrying twins, kid a few days earlier.
  • Kidding nannies should be kept in a clean dry place which should be well sheltered.
  • Signs of parturition are similar to those of ewes.
  • Kidding nannies should be kept with another female for company.

Parturition in Pigs

  • It is referred to as farrowing.
  • Gestation period 113-117 days ( 4 months).

Signs of Farrowing

  • The sow becomes restless.
  • There is enlargement of the vulva .
  • Muscles on each side of the tail slacken.
  • There is loss of appetite.
  • The udder and the teats become enlarged.
  • The sow collects bedding material in one comer to build a nest.
  • Milk present in the teats 24 hours before farrowing.

After the signs are seen;

  • Farrowing takes about 2-6 hours under normal conditions
  • An attendant should be there to assist the mother and piglets.
  • Ensure the removal of the after birth to prevent the sow from eating it.
  • The sow should be fed well and given plenty of clean water.

Parturition in Rabbits

  • It is referred to as kindling.
  • It takes place 28-32 days after conception.
  • Provide a nesting box and plenty of dry soft beddings in the hutch towards the fourth week of gestation .

Signs of Parturition

  • The doe plucks off the fur from her body.
  • Uses the fur to build a nest about 3-10 days earlier.

Bee Keeping (Apiculture)

  • Bees are insects which live in very well organised colonies.

Each colony consists of:

  • Queens - fertile females that breed to ensure the continuity of the species.
  • Drones - fertile males that mate with the queen for reproduction process.
  • Workers - non-fertile or sterile females that maintain the colony.

Duties of Workers

  • They rear and nurse the brood (eggs, larvae and pupae), queen and drones.
  • They collect nectar and make honey.
  • They make the honey combs.
  • They protect the hives.
  • They clean the hive.

Importance of Bees

  • Collect nectar from flowers.
  • Make honey - a nutritious product used by man as food.
  • Helps in crops pollination of plants.
  • Bees produce wax used to make candles.
  • They make propolis - a bee product which is medicinal.

Routine Management

Siting/locating of an Apiary

Factors to consider;

  • Nearness or accessibility to nectar or flower-producing vegetation.
  • Areas with shade. Bees are sensitive to the sun's heat and require some shade to protect them.
  • Safe distance from human residence and other livestock.
  • Bees are stinging insects and can be a hazard to humans or other animals.
  • Nearness to a source of water for use in their nutrition.
  • A good distance from source of noise and other disturbances.
  • Safety from predators for example honey badgers, ants (safari ants), birds and other parasites such as wax moths.


  • Normally bees are self-sufficient in providing their food from the honey they make.
  • However, during the dry season, their feeding should be supplemented by providing a solution (syrup) of sugar water or giving molasses.
  • This should be placed strategically so that it is easily accessible to the bees.


  • Ants
  • Wax moths
  • Bee louse
  • Honey badger

Control of Parasites

  • Use of physical barriers such as Vaseline/grease to control ants.
  • Smoke the hive to control bee louse.
  • Suspend the hive to control honey badgers.
  • Burn infected combs to control wax moths.

Diseases and Control

  • African bees are seldom attacked by diseases.

Harvesting Honey

Factors to consider;

  • Stage of ripening: Honey must be harvested when it is fully matu
  • Season of the year: Harvested at the end of the rainy season.


  • Blow light smoke through the hole.
  • This makes bees suck honey and become engorged and docile.
  • Lower the hive to the ground.
  • Open the hive to expose honey combs.
  • Brush the bees off the honey combs.
  • Cut the honey combs, leaving a small margin on the bars and keep them in a closed container.

Honey Processing

  • Using heat in a water bath to melt the honey.
  • Crushing and straining.
  • Using a centrifugal extractor.

Precautions When Handling Bees

  • Avoid excessive smoking.
  • This kills the brood and lowers quality of the honey.
  • Use protective clothing to avoid sting.
  • Protect the hive from rain water.
  • Use clean equipment and containers to avoid contamination of the honey.
  • Use recommended method of extracting honey.
  • Use recommended type of hive such as Kenya top bar hive.

Fish Keeping (Aquaculture)


  • The rearing or keeping of fish is called fish farming and is normally carried out in specially prepared ponds.

A good fish-pond should have the following features:          

  • Site should be on a fairly level ground with a permanent supply or source of water.
  • The area should have clayey soil to avoid loss of water through seepage.
  • Water must be free from any pollutants such as chemicals and other wastes.

Construction should provide for:

  • an inlet for fresh supply of water,
  • a spill ­way channel to take off overflow or excess water,
  • an outlet to drain off the water when it is necessary to replace pond water,
  • a fence to keep off predators and other intruders.

Feeding Fish

  • Fish naturally feed on worms, insects and algae in the ponds.

These sources of food must be supplemented by throwing in the pond ;

  • kitchen wastes,
  • chopped vegetable materials such as cabbage leaves,
  • cereal brans
  • brewers' grain .

Management Practices to Ensure Maximum Harvest of Fish

  • Control of stocking rate, that is to, have the recommended population of fish in a pond at anyone time.
  • Harvest at the correct maturity stage.
  • This is done by using the fishing net with correct mesh sizes to avoid catching the fingerlings.
  • Avoid water pollution in the ponds which may poison fish.
  • Ensure adequate supply of food in the pond.
  • Water in the ponds should be kept in motion to facilitate aeration.
  • Maintain appropriate depth (level) of water.
  • Control predators and/or thieves.
  • Drain and refill ponds with fresh water as necessary.

Harvesting Fish

  • Harvesting or extracting fish from the fish­ ponds for consumption

Two main methods:

  • Hook-and-line method:
  • This is slow, injures small fish and is inefficient.
  • It is only suitable for small-scale fishing.
  • Use of fishing nets:
  • This is the most efficient method as long as a net with the correct mesh sizes is used.
  • Harvesting may be done 6-8 months after the introduction of fingerlings into the fish pond.

Maintenance of the Fish Pond

  • Repairing the dyke or any structure on it.
  • Cleaning the pond and removing foreign materials.
  • Planting grass where necessary.
  • Removing un desirable vegetation.
  • Removing the silt.

Fish Preservation

Practices before preservation:

  • Clean the fish to remove mud and any worms.
  • Removing scales and slime.
  • Opening the fish on the side to remove the gut and the intestines referred to as gutting.        .
  • Cleaning the abdominal cavity thoroughly.
  • Keeping fish in open containers.

Methods of Preservation

  • Freezing
  • Salting
  • Sun drying
  • Smoking

Appropriate Handling of Livestock During Management

  • Physical beating should be avoided.
  • Structures which help in restraining animals should be used whenever applicable.
  • The correct methods of securing and casting animals should be used.
  • Use as little force as possible.
  • Equipment such as ropes, halters, lead stick and bull rings are used to handle animals appropriately.
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