How to make Homemade Dairy Feed in Kenya: A Guide

worker spreading homemade animal feed

Are you looking for a cheaper source of quality dairy feed? Dairy farming is one of the most profitable livestock farming in Kenya. However, the cost of commercial feeds is the biggest expense for small-scale farmers. The cheapest solution for you to reduce this cost is making your own feed at home. In this blog post, you will get a guide on how to make homemade dairy feed in Kenya.

What is Homemade Dairy Feed Rations

Homemade animal feed has many benefits including being cheap, quality and more sustainable than commercial feeds.

Homemade dairy feed ration is a specially formulated mixture of ingredients used to provide balanced nutrition to dairy cows. You can make it using the available ingredients at home such as grains, protein sources, minerals, and vitamins. Given the many benefits of home animal feed, it has become a common practice among many successful dairy farmers in Kenya. Those benefits include controlling the quality, costs and nutrients of your cows for optimal milk production and overall health.

Are there benefits of using Homemade dairy feed at home?

  1. Cost-effectiveness: Making your own animal feed rations is cheaper compared to purchasing pre-formulated commercial feeds.
  2. Quality: When you make homemade feed, you can carefully select high-quality ingredients, ensuring the feed is free from harmful additives or contaminants.
  3. Sustainability: Utilisation of local resources and ingredients, helps your local economy grow and is beneficial for the environment.
  4. Increased farm self-sufficiency: Making your own feed gives you greater control over your production process and reduces the risk of disruptions in feed availability.
  5. Improved nutritional control: Homemade feeds help you to optimise your cows’ feeding for a well-balanced diet, optimal milk production, reproduction, and overall herd health.

Why you should not use Homemade dairy feed at home

Are there any disadvantages to making homemade dairy feed rations? Some veterinarians are opposed to dairy farmers making animal feed at home. Among the main demerits cited are expertise, quality and cost issues as follows.

  1. Lack of expertise: Lack of expertise in feed formulation can lead to imbalanced diets, which may have negative effects on cow health and milk production.
  2. Time-consuming: Creating homemade feed rations can be a time-consuming process in sourcing ingredients, calculating ratios, and proper mixing, which can add complexity to the daily routine of a dairy farmer.
  3. Variability in nutrient content: Homemade feed nutrition quality may vary due to fluctuations in ingredient quality and availability. This can impact your cows’ health and milk production.
  4. Risk of contamination: Improper handling, storage, or contamination of ingredients can pose a risk of feed spoilage or contamination, leading to health issues in cows or reduced feed quality

Which Dairy feed rations can you make at home?

There are several homemade rations that can be used to feed dairy cows. These include dairy homemade ration, lupin and maize flour, pineapple waste, brewers’ yeast, and poultry waste, maize germ, and wheat bran.

Homemade Dairy Ration

The dairy homemade ration is the most common DIY animal feed in Kenya. It is a mixture of different ingredients that provide the necessary nutrients for dairy cows. The ingredients include wheat bran, cotton seed cake, maize germ, maize grain flour, soybean meal/cake, sunflower, limestone, and salt (Magadi). The proportions of each ingredient to make a 50 kg ration  are as follows: 

  • 6 kg wheat bran
  • 6 kg cotton seed cake
  • 17.5 kg maize germ
  • 12.5 kg maize grain flour
  • 2.5 kg soybean meal/cake
  • 5 kg sunflower
  • 0.25 kg limestone
  • 0.33 kg salt (magadi)+C

Wheat bran is high in fibre and acts as a source of energy. The Cotton seed cake is rich in protein while the maize germ and maize grain flour provide carbohydrates and additional energy. Soybean meal/cake is an excellent source of protein, essential amino acids, and minerals. Sunflower contributes to the overall fat content. Finally, the Limestone supplies calcium for strong bones and, salt (magadi) provides necessary minerals. 

Lupin and Maize Flour

Lupin and maize flour is another cheap homemade dairy feed ration that can be used to feed dairy cows. The proportions of each ingredient are 1 kg lupin to 3 kg maize flour.

Lupin is a legume that is rich in protein, making it an excellent source of essential amino acids for dairy cows. It also contains carbohydrates and fibre.

When you combine lupin and maize flour in the above ratios, Your dairy feed will have a balanced mix of protein, carbohydrates, and fibre for your milking cows. Apart from meeting their nutritional needs, it will improve their overall health and milk production.

Pineapple Waste

Do you have huge access to Napier grass? One way to improve your milk yields is to mix it with dry pineapple waste to make homemade dairy feed for your milking cows. The proportion of each ingredient is 15 kg Napier grass for 5 kg pineapple waste.

  • 15 kg Napier grass 
  •  5 kg pineapple waste

Napier grass, or Elephant grass, is a common forage crop that provides a good source of fibre for cows. It is rich in structural carbohydrates and has moderate protein content

Pineapple juice and by-products without the crown have a higher energy value than maize silage. The nutritional value of pineapple waste is high, with a dry matter content of 88.6%, and crude protein content of 4.5%. In terms of gross energy, pineapple waste has a Gross Energy (GE) value of 17.0 MJ/Kg DM and a Metabolizable Energy (ME) value of 10.8 MJ/Kg DM. Pineapple waste is also very tasty for cows and can be mixed with other feed sources

Brewers’ Yeast

Brewers’ yeast is a byproduct of the brewing industry that you can use to make homemade ratios for dairy cows. The ingredients include 5 litres of water, 3 kg of brewers’ waste, and 3 kg of homemade ration.

  • 5 liters H₂O
  • 3 kg brewers’ waste
  • 3 kg homemade ration

Brewers’ yeast iis a source of protein that can be used to increase milk yields. Brewers’ yeast contains 50%  dry matter (DM), which means that it is a concentrated source of nutrients. The CP, or crude protein, content of Brewers’ yeast is between 40-50%, which is a measure of the amount of protein in the feed. 

Poultry Waste, Maize Germ, and Wheat Bran:

Are you a dairy farmer who also rears chicken? You can use poultry waste to make high-protein dairy feed at home. You will need to mix it with, maize germ, and wheat bran. The proportions needed to make 1000kg of dairy ration of each ingredient are 

  • 16 x 10 kg of poultry waste
  • 19 x 50 kg bags of maize germ
  • 14 x 50 kg bags of wheat bran

Generally, the total digestible nutrient (TDN) value of poultry litter is approximately 50%, and the crude protein content averages between 21% to 28%. However, it is recommended to analyze the specific nutritional composition of the poultry litter being considered for use in dairy rations.

There is a possibility that pharmaceutical residues used in poultry production can contaminate the quality and safety of the milk produced. As such, only small amounts (up to 10% of complete rations for lactating dairy cows) of dried poultry waste can be included in dairy rations.

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