Archive of ‘Around The Kebun’ category

BUCK HOUSING AND MANAGEMENT

Herd Of Bucks

For me male goats that are good examples of their breed have only one purpose in life — breeding. The instinct to reproduce is stronger than anything else, even eating. Bucks will often go off-feed when in rut. That is why you will see that all bucks placed with females will for the most times look malnourished. Many farmers should give thought and preparation into buck housing, pasturing and overall management.

A primary consideration is good fencing. Good fences make good neighbors and prevent unplanned pregnancies by keeping does and bucks apart. Do not pen or pasture bucks across a common fence from breeding-age does. Typical fencing will not prevent through-the-fence breeding. Don’t depend upon gate chains or latches to keep does and bucks apart, wire gates shut and check them regularly. Rutting bucks and flagging does have been known to literally lift gates off hinges and ‘have fun’. You do not want unplanned pregnancies even more when it involves cross breeding.

The solution at The Kebun is to build a separate housing for them. Here we house the breeding bucks, who will always be ‘fit for action’ and ready for the job at hand as we prefer to opt of synchronized mating.

Polled (born without horns) bucks are pastured separately from horned bucks. When rutting season arrives, bucks in a given pasture will select a buck to chase, harass, mount, and generally treat as if he is a desired mate as they practice breeding techniques. If polled bucks are penned with horned bucks, that sought-after male is usually the less aggressive polled buck. Horns serve as radiators for removing heat from the goat’s body. Polled bucks by definition have no ‘radiators’ and if harassed too much in the hot weather will result in heat stroke and dying.

At The Kebun, there are two buck pastures. The old bucks (over eight years of age) are pastured together. Bucks 12-24 months old to eight years of age occupy another paddock. Males under 18 months of age live in a separate goat house but are given access to the paddock for the day. Since separate space for polled bucks usually isn’t available, they are pastured with the youngest group of bucks over whom they can exert dominance.

When moving bucks into buck paddocks, the producer should be prepared for male-on-male activity to establish the new members’ places in the pecking order. Goats are serious herd animals and have a fairly rigid pecking order within each herd. Minimize the problems that these actions will cause by 1. never introducing a single buck into a new herd, 2. taking weather into consideration and moving them during the most favorable time of the day and 3. penning bucks with other males of similar size and age. Example: Remove bucks from breeding pens and house two or more together for at least a week so that they can form their own mini-herd before moving them to the larger buck pasture. Think like a goat. Both you and your goats will be less stressed.

RAIN GUTTER = FEED TROUGH

Rain Gutter equals Feeding Trough

Rain Gutter equals Feeding Trough

After using wooden feeding troughs for so long i decided to ‘steal’ an idea to use rain gutters instead as feeding troughs. Works fantastic so far. Will see how it fairs before i install it in the other pens and sheds.

POKOK TURI CUTTINGS

I mentioned the Pokok Turi a while back and the cuttings are doing well. Today i moved the last batch out and have a total of 46 trees planted on the farm. They are growing fast and these pictured are only 3 weeks old.

AYU

Ayu is one of the dogs at The Kebun. Adopted her from the local SSPCA. I sometimes catch her giving an evil eye over the Sheep and Goats as they graze. I wonder what goes through her mind. Lamb chops?

PLANTING NAPIER GRASS

Napier grass is a fodder grass that produces a lot of high-protein forage. It is also known as “elephant grass”, “Sudan grass” or “king grass”. Its scientific name is Pennisetum purpureum.

Napier grass is best suited to high rainfall areas, but it is drought-tolerant and can also grow well in drier areas. It does not grow well in waterlogged areas. It can be grown along with fodder trees along field boundaries or along contour lines or terrace risers to help control erosion. It can be intercropped with crops such as legumes and fodder trees, or as a pure stand.

The advantage of napier grass is that it propagates easily. It has a soft stem that is easy to cut. It has deep roots, so is fairly drought-resistant. The tender, young leaves and stems are very palatable for livestock and grows very fast

The disadvantage is that it is an aggressive plant that spreads through rhizomes under the ground. If it is not controlled, it can invade crop fields and become a weed. The older stems and leaves are less palatable for Goats.

Plant them angled into the ground at about 30 degrees, so two of the nodes are buried in the soil and one is above the ground. Plant more rows with a spacing of about 90 cm (3 feet) between the rows. Planting “slips” or “splits”* If you planting “slips” or “splits”, you do not have to wait a long time for the grass to grow before you can multiply it. Seedlings from the slips become established more quickly than those grown from cuttings. Cut Napier grass stems at ground level to remove all the green material. Dig up the clump of roots and shoots growing under the ground. Separate each seedling from the clump. Each seedling must have both roots and a shoot. Trim the roots to about 5 cm (2 inches) long. Plant the seedlings in small holes or a furrow. Cover the roots with soil, but leave the shoots open to the air. Planting whole stems is useful during the heavy rains, and in hilly areas where you need the grass to sprout quickly to cover the ground. Plant them along the contour to control erosion. Cut whole young stems of Napier grass, about 2 m (6 feet) long. Put the stems end-to-end in a furrow, and cover them with soil. Water immediately.

Weed the Napier grass plot regularly. If any of the cuttings die, fill in the gaps with new ones. Harvest the grass when it is 90_120 cm (3_4 feet) high. Harvest the grass following a pattern. Beginning at one end of the row, cut enough grass to feed your animals for 1 day. The next day, cut the next grass along in the row. Carry on until you reach the end of the row. In this way, you will always be able to cut fodder for your livestock. Apply liquid manure by digging trenches in between the rows of grass. Pour liquid manure into the trenches If the livestock do not eat all the grass, use the remainder as mulch or compost. Cut the grass 15_25 cm (6_10 inches) above the ground. Some farmers have found it is better to cut at ground level, though this may damage the plant too much. Fill in any gaps in the rows with fresh cuttings. Don’t use older stems as planting materials, as they will not germinate well. Don’t intercrop with cereals, as the grass will compete with the crop for nutrients and light. Don’t allow animals to graze on the napier grass, as they may damage or kill the plants. Don’t allow the grass to overgrow, as it may become a weed. Don’t allow the grass to grow too high (more than 120 cm or 4 feet), as Goats will not eat the tough bits.

Happy Planting!

POKOK TURI

I have been trying out giving the Goats some ‘Pokok Turi’ cuttings and they seem to love it. Some cuttings have been planted and it will be many month’s before they will be large enough to start harvesting on a regular basis. For some reason this tree seems pretty hard to come by even when it supposedly is a herbal remedy.

Goats like a variety of forage so give it to them!

Linkshere in English and here for Bahasa Malaysia

LEAF MEALS

Leaf meals are leaves and twigs dried, ground, and used as livestock feed. Leucaena leucocephala is so far the best-known source of leaf meal because of its high nutritive value. However, it is highly susceptible to psyllid infestation. Leaf meals are not traditionally used in the ration of ruminants as these animals can be fed with fresh fodder. However, there are instances when leaf meal production is necessary and becomes the most practical way of conserving excess foliage. This is what we have been doing at the farm after getting a few cuttings from a friend.

Leguminous fodder species are generally unsuitable for silage making because of their high buffering capacity. Some have leaves that shatter very easily upon drying, rendering them also unsuitable for hay making. But a considerable amount of leaves can be conveniently prepared into leaf meals and serve as a high-protein feed source.

In preparing leaf meals, leaves and browseable twigs of these fodder trees/shrubs should be sun-dried for up to seven hours or air-dried under a roof for five days, and then ground and stored in sacks. For proper storage and to avoid spoilage, the leaves and twigs should be dried to 10-13% moisture content. The amount of herbage needed to prepare one kilogram of leaf meal and the crude protein (CP) content depend on the fodder species used. The CP contents of the leaf meals are obviously higher than the recommended level of 11% dietary CP required for favorable microbial synthesis and activity in the rumen.

Both the gliricidia leaf meal and the acacia leaf meal can be fed to dairy goats at 50% of the dry matter ration. Milk yield of goats supplemented with either of the meals is comparable with that of goats supplemented with concentrate. Likewise, milk composition was similar among goats supplemented with either leaf meals or concentrate.

Gliricidia sepium (gliricidia)

Income over feed cost with leaf meal supplementation was higher than that with concentrate supplementation. Since feed cost can represent 60% of the total cost to produce a liter of milk, leaf meal supplementation is indeed economically viable, particularly in small farms where concentrate feeding is not usually practiced owing to a lack of cash.

HOW TO EAR NOTCH YOUR GOAT?

Ear notching is commonly practiced in identifying goats. It has the advantage of being visible from a distance allowing identification without the necessity of catching the animal and can accommodate numbers up to 9999. An ear notching pliers are used to put “V”-shaped notches in the edges of the ear and a hole punch is used to punch holes in the middle of the ear, if necessary. The animal is restrained and notches and holes may be treated with iodine. As this process results in bleeding, the notching pliers should be disinfected between animals to prevent transmission of any blood-borne diseases. The notching system used is that begun in the Angora industry and adapted for meat goats. However, some producers may use alternate numbering system. Generally, notches on the goat’s left ear mean: 10 (top), 1 (bottom), 100 (end); and 1,000 (center hole). On the goat’s right ear, notch values are: 30 (top), 3 (bottom), 300 (end); and 3,000 (center hole). Thus, a goat with the number 135 would look as follows: 1 notch on end of left ear (100); 1 notch on top of right ear (30), 2 notches on bottom of left ear (2); 1 notch on bottom of right ear (3) with a total value equaling 135.

HOW TO TATTOO YOUR GOAT?

Tattooing your goat is important not only for personal identification purposes but also for registered stock and showing. Here in Sarawak the opportunity to register your Goat locally is none and getting to show your Goat is pretty far in between even non existant. But it’s a step towards good record keeping for mating records and commercially for those who sell their stock as breeders.

Step 1

Tattooing should be done while your goat is still a kid (baby). Get someone to help you hold the kid or use a kid holding box. If you must tattoo an older goat, place them in a stanchion.

Step 2

Be sure to clean the tattooer and it’s parts with alcohol, then air dry.

Step 3

Clean the ear with alcohol.

Step 4

Smear a good amount of ink in the inside of the ear (or tail web) where you intend to place the tattoo.

Step 5

Test your tattoo on a piece of paper and take note of the direction. Like a mirror, it will need to look backwards to end up readable in the end.

Step 6

Place your tattooer over the area and give a good, solid squeeze making sure to puncture all the way through the ear and then release. Try to be as quick as possible during this part. Think of it like piercing your ear.

Step 7

Roll on more ink and rub in gently with the toothbrush.

Step 8

Tattoo both ears. One for the year + your own ‘code’ I like to use numbers that correlate with which # of birth it was for that year and the other for your herd name abbreviation etc.

Goat Stanchion

Goat Stanchion

SERAI WANGI

Cymbopogon nardus (L.)

Cymbopogon Nardus (L.)

This is what we use regularly when we smoke the Goat houses. It smells great and all insects keep away, really helps keep those pesky mosquito’s and fly’s away. Also great from ache’s and pain when the oil is extracted and used to rub on affected area.