June 29, 2010

UNDERSTANDING BEE KEEPING AND HONEY BEES


Beekeeping is well established in Kenya and can be successfully carried out in about 80% of the country. It is especially suitable in the semi-arid areas where other modes of agriculture are not very possible. Beekeeping contributes to incomes as well as food security through provision of honey, beeswax and pollen as food and propolis, bees venom and royal jelly in medicine. It also contributes to seed and food production through crop pollination and conserves the natural environment. The country’s potential for apiculture development is estimated at over 100,000 metric tons of honey and 10,000 MT. of beeswax. At the moment only about one fifth of this potential is being exploited.
Roles Within the Honey Bee ColonyHoney bees enlist a caste system to accomplish the tasks that ensure survival of the colony. Each member of the community fulfills a need that serves the group. Tens of thousands of worker bees, all females, assume responsibility for feeding, cleaning, nursing, and defending the group. Male drones live only to mate with the queen, who is the only fertile female in the colony. The queen need not lift a wing, as workers tend to her every need.
The Queen: Don't get the idea the queen is lazy, though. A newly hatched queen begins her life in a duel to the death with any other queens present in the colony, and must destroy potential rivals that have not yet hatched. Once she accomplishes this, she takes her virgin mating flight. Throughout her life, she lays eggs and secretes a pheromone that keeps all other females in the colony sterile.
Drones: The drone's anatomical structure proves its limited role in the colony. Drones lack stingers, so they cannot help defend the hive. Without structures for collecting pollen or nectar, they cannot contribute to feeding the community. Upon mating, its only reason for existence, the drone dies. In the fall, worker bees prevent drones from entering the hive, effectively starving them to death.
Workers: Female worker bees accomplish every chore unrelated to reproduction. In their first days, workers tend to the queen. For the remainder of their short lives, workers keep busy - thus the expression "busy bees." They build the comb in which honey is stored and eggs are laid. Workers collect pollen and nectar, and evaporate the nectar to make honey for times when food is scarce. They tend to the queen, the young drones, and the larvae. When threatened, the workers defend the colony. New research suggests the workers also make the collective decision to move the colony, or swarm.

INDIGENOUS CHICKEN PRODUCTION: VALUE CHAIN ANALYSIS

While cattle and shoats are considered as insurance, chicken are an ‘easy’ form and source of quick income. However, markets are found at long distances from most of the producers and hence brokers capitalize on this challenge by offering non-competitive prices. Regardless, the frequency at which households sell chicken to satisfy basic home needs is relatively high. Chicken are sold throughout the year though the frequency is high at times of reduced food supply, school-opening, and during festive seasons.Local indigenous chicken.........................." (Value chain analysis)

June 22, 2010

BIOSECURITY RECOMMENDATIONS FOR SMALL FLOCK POULTRY OWNERS

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People who raise poultry for personal or limited commercial purposes, so-called "backyard flocks," should be aware of the risks to their birds, and to commercial poultry, from diseases such as Avian Influenza virus. Managing these risks by preventing the introduction and spread of diseases and other hazards is referred to as "biosecurity." The following recommendations are simple, inexpensive ways of minimizing the risk, but can be very effective in preventing a serious disease outbreak. Biosecurity

May 31, 2010

RURAL INTEGRATED CROP- LIVESTOCK PRODUCTION ACTIVITIES: WAY FORWARD

Development of alternatives for the reestablishment of the production capacity of cultivated pastures is fundamental to achieve the sustainability and intensification of the pastoral activity in the Kinango District, Coast Province Kenya. Some of the viable options suggested are the integration of the systems of grain and livestock production, together with direct planting. These systems have a potential to increase production and reduce risks of degradation while improving the soil chemical, physical and biological properties and the productive potential of grains as much as forage.
Innumerable benefits of the crop-livestock integration can be synthesized as: agronomic, through the recuperation and maintenance of the soil productive capacity; economic, by means of product diversification and higher yields and quality at less cost; ecological, through the reduction of crop pests and consequentially less pesticide use as well as erosion control; and socially by more uniform income distribution as the livestock and crop activities separately concentrate income generation. Higher generation of direct or indirect tributes as well as reduced urban migration will greatly be controlled. Cost of the creation of a new job in rural areas is much less than in urban, hence an attractive package with lots of potential.
 PREVALENCE OF ECTOPARASITES INFESTATIONS IN INDIGENOUS CHICKENS IN TWO AGRO-ECOLOGICAL ZONES, EASTERN PROVINCE,KENYA
A. Z. Sabuni a b, P. G. Mbuthia a , N. Maingi a, P. N. Nyaga a, L. W. Njagi a, L. C. Beboraa and J. N. Michieka a
aDepartment of Veterinary Pathology, Microbiology and Parasitology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Nairobi P.O Box 29053-00625 Nairobi Kenya
Abstract
Ectoparasitism is an important factor associated with the limited expansion of the village indigenous chickens in the rural areas. A cross-sectional study was carried out to determine the prevalence of ectoparasites in free ranging indigenous chicken from two different agro ecological zones: Lower highland 1 (LH1) in Embu district and Lower midland 5 (LM5) in Mbeere district, Eastern province, Kenya. A total of 144 indigenous chickens of matched age (chicks, growers and adults) and sex groups were examined for the presence of ectoparasites. Of these, 138 (95.8%) had one or more types of ectoparasites, namely; lice, mites, fleas and soft ticks. One thirty one birds had lice, 107 mites, 42 sticktight fleas and 8 had soft ticks. Of the 138 infested birds, 25 had single while 113 had mixed infestations. Lice were the most prevalent parasites. The study has documented 
Epidermoptes species, Laminosioptes cysticola and Megninia species for the first time in Africa as well as Lipeurus caponis and Goniodes gigas in Kenya. All adult birds were infected with ectoparasites followed by 97.7% grower and 89.6% chicks. Both male and female birds had the same prevalence (95.8%) of ectoparasites. Lower midland 5 had a higher prevalence of ectoparasites (98.6%) compared to LH1 (93.1%). Parasite intensity in chickens was significantly different among age groups and between agro-ecological zones, but not between sexes of birds.
Because of the high prevalence of ectoparasites revealed by this study, it is imperative that integrated control strategies need to be put in place to improve chicken productivity and enhance smallholder livelihood in this areas.
Key words: Chicken, Indigenous, Free range, Ages, Sexes, Agro ecological zones, Prevalence