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Keep livestock for money, not as pets

By Othieno Joseph | Published Sat, January 7th 2017 at 00:00, Updated January 6th 2017 at 22:28 GMT +3
Some farmers practise livestock farming as a hobby. (Photo: Courtesy)

There are farmers who practise farming as a hobby; they take pleasure in seeing livestock dot their farms and love to talk about them among their friends. Though they endeavour to get some monetary gain, they quite don’t; nonetheless, that does not bother them in anyway, but it should.

However, the funny bit is that they don’t quit neither do they bother to question the state of affairs. In other words, they keep their livestock as if they are pets. Pets offer company but not monetary gain.

This is what commercial agriculture is all about; don’t keep animals if they cannot feed you and themselves. Yes, don’t keep a dairy animal that you go back to your savings every day to treat and feed. That is not what animals were tamed to do. For example, population pressure and subsequent sub-division of land has made it uneconomical to keep huge herds of Zebu cattle.

Part of this is due to the limited grazing grounds, forcing farmers to supplement grazing with fodder, even as the animals don’t produce a lot of milk or attain the market weight.

Strong cultural practices have turned many livestock farmers into pet keepers year in year out. So this year, assess where you lie and if you find that you have been keeping livestock as pets, purpose to start commercial agriculture. Only dig into your pocket to start farming but not to sustain it all through.

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