Dairy Cattle Research Section Annual Report 1992 Naivasha

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Kenya Agricultural Research Institute
A survey was conducted on 106 dairy farms within three District of Kenya namely Nyandarua, Nakuru and Kiambu and involving 300 calves of both sexes to investigate factor limiting calf performance at the farm level. The survey was conducted using farm visit, questionnaire, laboratory analysis of the feeds and faecal egg counts for the gastro intestinal parasites and live weights measurements.Results indicates that nutritional factors such as the level of milk feeding, supplementation rates and roughage intake had significant (P<0.05) effect on growth performance of calves. The overall growth rate of calves in most of the farms was less than 300 gm/day which was possibly a reflection of low nutrient intake from poor quality roughages. Laboratory analysis on the faecal samples collected from the calves on the farms indicate significantly (P,0.05) lower egg counts for the calves under zero grazing system compared to those reared under extensive grazing systems. The overall calf mortality rate during the study was 19.7% which was contributed mainly by Sours and Pneumonia. Most of the calves which died were on the farms with poor calf housing systems. Results of this study indicate that calf performance can be improved through good nutrition, good housing systems and gastro intestinal parasites could be minimised by routine drenching and good pasture management.