Our Dairy Cows

The cows are housed in five separate cowsheds depending on their age, reproduction stage and milk production. However, the cows spend the entire day out in the resting field, and only come in the barn during feeding, milking and overnight stay. The open resting field enables the cows to stretch and exercise, but also gives us an opportunity to observe them for heat signs, lameness or any other sickness. The cow barns are fitted with rubber mats, which they stand on while feeding, and lay on at night. The clean mats provide cow comfort, and reduce cases of mastitis and lameness.

When calves are born, we keep the bulls for at least one month to ensure they have enough colostrum to sustain their immunity, before selling them to either KAGRC or local dairy farmers.

The young heifers are bred on the farm to add to our growing stock. They are fed on milk, hay, sweet potato vines, and calf pellets for the first three months. During this time, they are housed in their own barn fitted with a wooden floor due to their soft hooves. In the first month, the calves get to drink 6-9 litres of milk per day, but this is reduced gradually as we introduce calf pellets. By the end of the third month, they should be eating 2-3 kilos of pellets, thus, milk is no longer needed.  Thereafter, their diet consists of hay, Lucerne. napier grass, low protein concentrates, mineral salts and fresh water. After three months, the heifers are transferred to another barn where they stay for about one year. Heifers are artificially inseminated with sexed semen at fifteen months, in order to calve down at about two years of age.

Two months prior to calving, the in calf heifer and dry cows are steamed gradually to prepare for the first and subsequent lactation respectively. During this time, uttermost care is given to them, and are treated to highly nutritious feed rations. A week before calving down, the pregnant cows are moved to the maternity wing designed for two cows where they are watched round the clock.

67705917_2385494585021277_173074395911159808_o

Two months prior to calving, the in calf heifer and dry cows are steamed gradually to prepare for the first and subsequent lactation respectively. During this time, uttermost care is given to them, and are treated to highly nutritious feed rations. A week before calving down, the pregnant cows are moved to the maternity wing designed for two cows where they are watched round the clock.

Lactating cows are fed mainly on a TMR consisting of maize silage, fresh nappier, high quality hay, Lucerne, high protein concentrates, molasses, and mineral premix. The cows drink very clean and fresh water that originates from our own spring, thus ensuring very high quality milk. (It is worth noting that milk is composed of 82.4% water and 12.6 % milk solids such as protein, carbohydrates, fats and minerals). Our cows are milked three times a day to maximize on the milk production.

All the cows are cleaned and sprayed against ticks once every week, whilst the cow barns are scrubbed daily and disinfected weekly to ensure maximum hygiene. Deworming is done monthly on the young heifers and every two months on the mature cows.
We have observed that clean cows are happier, healthier and more productive.

The standby veterinary visits the farm every day for a routine check, and
gets an update of any new development in regards to the animal health. In addition, Karatina town is one of the very few places with a government run veterinary laboratory, and this comes in very handy.

Want to Learn More About Dairy Cows?

Book an Educational Trip to Imani Dairy FarmToday!

Shopping Basket