Livestock Rearing Practices

Bee Keeping (Apiculture)

Bees are insects which live in very well organised colonies.

Each colony consists of:

Queens - fertile females that breed to ensure the continuity of the species.

Drones - fertile males that mate with the queen for reproduction process. Workers - non-fertile or sterile females that maintain the colony.

Duties of Workers

They rear and nurse the brood (eggs, larvae and pupae), queen and drones.

They collect nectar and make honey.

They make the honey combs.

They protect the hives.

They clean the hive.

Importance of Bees

Collect nectar from flowers.

Make honey - a nutritious product used by man as food.

Helps in crops pollination of plants.

Bees produce wax used to make candles.

They make propolis - a bee product which is medicinal.

Routine Management

Siting/locating of an Apiary

Factors to consider;

Nearness or accessibility to nectar or flower-producing vegetation.

Areas with shade. Bees are sensitive to the sun's heat and require some shade to protect them.

Safe distance from human residence and other livestock.

Bees are stinging insects and can be a hazard to humans or other animals.

Nearness to a source of water for use in their nutrition.

A good distance from source of noise and other disturbances.

Safety from predators for example honey badgers, ants (safari ants), birds and other parasites such as wax moths.


Normally bees are self-sufficient in providing their food from the honey they make.

However, during the dry season, their feeding should be supplemented by providing a solution (syrup) of sugar water or giving molasses.

This should be placed strategically so that it is easily accessible to the bees.



Wax moths

Bee louse

Honey badger

Control of Parasites

Use of physical barriers such as Vaseline/grease to control ants.

Smoke the hive to control bee louse.

Suspend the hive to control honey badgers.

Burn infected combs to control wax moths.

Diseases and Control

African bees are seldom attacked by diseases.

Harvesting Honey

Factors to consider;

Stage of ripening: Honey must be harvested when it is fully mature.

Season of the year: Harvested at the end of the rainy season.


Blow light smoke through the hole.

This makes bees suck honey and become engorged and docile. Lower the hive to the ground.

Open the hive to expose honey combs.

Brush the bees off the honey combs.

Cut the honey combs, leaving a small margin on the bars and keep them in a closed container.

Honey Processing

Using heat in a water bath to melt the honey.

Crushing and straining.

Using a centrifugal extractor.

Precautions When Handling Bees

Avoid excessive smoking.

This kills the brood and lowers quality of the honey. Use protective clothing to avoid sting.

Protect the hive from rain water.

Use clean equipment and containers to avoid contamination of the honey.

Use recommended method of extracting honey.

Use recommended type of hive such as Kenya top bar hive.

Breeding Practices

Breeding Practices

These are practices carried out to enhance successful breeding.

Crutching and Ringing

  • Crutching - cutting of wool around the external reproductive organs of female sheep.

  • Ringing - trimming wool around the sheath of the penis of the rams to facilitate mating.

Tupping and Serving

  • Tupping refers to mating in sheep and goats.

  • Serving refers to mating in cattle and pigs.


  • This is the practice of fitting the rams with breeding chutes which are painted in different colours during mating

  • to identify mated ewes and to indicate the active rams hence help in culling of the weak rams.


It is the rendering unserviceable the testicles of a male animal.


To control breeding diseases.

To control breeding.

For faster growth rates.

Increase quality of meat by removing unpleasant smell especially in goats.

Methods Used: Closed/bloodless method

  • involves use of burdizzo or rubber ring and ela

  • Animals do not bleed but may not be 100% effecti

Open method

  • A surgical method used for castrating cocks, piglets and rabbits whose testes are internal.

  • Also used for lambs, kids and calves.

  • Animals bleed a lot.

  • However, it is 100% effective.

  • It is not recommended for mature adults.


  • It is the practice of making male birds lose their male characteristics by use of hormones.

  • Hormones used include stilboestrol which is injected into the birds when they are one day old and female hormones implanted beneath the skin at the neck.

  • Birds which have lost their male characteristics in this way are referred to as capons.

Fish Keeping (Aquaculture)


The rearing or keeping of fish is called fish farming and is normally carried out in specially prepared ponds.

A good fish-pond should have the following features:

Site should be on a fairly level ground with a permanent supply or source of water. The area should have clayey soil to avoid loss of water through seepage.

Water must be free from any pollutants such as chemicals and other wastes.

Construction should provide for:

an inlet for fresh supply of water,

a spill way channel to take off overflow or excess water,

an outlet to drain off the water when it is necessary to replace pond water, a fence to keep off predators and other intruders.

Feeding Fish

Fish naturally feed on worms, insects and algae in the ponds.

These sources of food must be supplemented by throwing in the pond ; kitchen wastes,

chopped vegetable materials such as cabbage leaves, cereal brans

brewers' grain .

Management Practices to Ensure Maximum Harvest of Fish

Control of stocking rate, that is to, have the recommended population of fish in a pond at anyone time.

Harvest at the correct maturity stage.

This is done by using the fishing net with correct mesh sizes to avoid catching the fingerlings.

Avoid water pollution in the ponds which may poison fish.

Ensure adequate supply of food in the pond.

Water in the ponds should be kept in motion to facilitate aeration. Maintain appropriate depth (level) of water.

Control predators and/or thieves.

Drain and refill ponds with fresh water as necessary.

Harvesting Fish

Harvesting or extracting fish from the fish ponds for consumption

Two main methods:

Hook-and-line method:

  • This is slow, injures small fish and is inefficient.

  • It is only suitable for small-scale fishing.

Use of fishing nets:

  • This is the most efficient method as long as a net with the correct mesh sizes is used.

  • Harvesting may be done 6-8 months after the introduction of fingerlings into the fish pond.

Maintenance of the Fish Pond

Repairing the dyke or any structure on it.

Cleaning the pond and removing foreign materials.

Planting grass where necessary.

Removing un desirable vegetation.

Removing the silt.

Fish Preservation

Practices before preservation:

Clean the fish to remove mud and any worms. Removing scales and slime.

Opening the fish on the side to remove the gut and the intestines referred to as

gutting. .

Cleaning the abdominal cavity thoroughly.

Keeping fish in open containers.

Methods of Preservation



Sun drying


Appropriate Handling of Livestock During Management

Physical beating should be avoided.

Structures which help in restraining animals should be used whenever applicable. The correct methods of securing and casting animals should be used.

Use as little force as possible.

Equipment such as ropes, halters, lead stick and bull rings are used to handle animals appropriately.



The practice of putting identification marks on animal.

Branding - burning marks on the animals skin.

Ear tagging - placing marked plastic or metallic tags on the animals ears.

Ear notching - cutting different shapes bearing different values on the ear lobes.

Tattooing - use of permanent ink or dye to mark animals with light skin.

Neck strap or chain - Fixing of tags round the animals neck with a chain or a strap.

Importance/ purpose of Identification

record keeping

  • Setting disputes in case animals get mixed up in the pasture.

Management During Parturition

Parturition is the act of giving birth to fully grown foetus.

Parturition in Cattle

It is referred to as calving.

Gestation period lasts 270-285 days after conception.

When the signs of parturition are observed the cow should be separated from the rest of the herd.

Normal calving should take 2 hours and the normal presentation is the muzzle, face or fore head on top of the forelegs first.

In case of other presentations the mother should be assisted. Provide the mother with plenty of water and feed after parturition.

If the after birth does not come out within 48 hours a veterinarian should be called to remove it.

Parturition in Sheep

It is referred to as lambing.

Gestation lasts 21 weeks (150 days) after conception.

The ewe lamb naturally without any problem.

If complications arise the ewes should be assisted.

Signs of Parturition in Sheep

Udder becomes full.

Teats are bright red in colour.

Restlessness and bleating.

Slackening of the hip muscles.

After these signs 'are seen the ewes should be separated from the others.

The normal presentation is forelegs and head first.

After birth the mother should be allowed to lick the lamb to ensure the coat is dry.

Parturition in Goats

It is referred to as kidding.

It takes place 150 days after conception. Nannies carrying twins, kid a few days earlier.

Kidding nannies should be kept in a clean dry place which should be well sheltered.

Signs of parturition are similar to those of ewes.

Kidding nannies should be kept with another female for company.

Parturition in Pigs

It is referred to as farrowing.

Gestation period 113-117 days ( 4 months).

Signs of Farrowing

The sow becomes restless.

There is enlargement of the vulva .

Muscles on each side of the tail slacken. There is loss of appetite.

The udder and the teats become enlarged.

The sow collects bedding material in one comer to build a nest.

Milk present in the teats 24 hours before farrowing.

After the signs are seen;

Farrowing takes about 2-6 hours under normal condition.

An attendant should be there to assist the mother and piglets.

Ensure the removal of the after birth to prevent the sow from eating it.

The sow should be fed well and given plenty of clean water.

Parturition in Rabbits

It is referred to as kindling.

It takes place 28-32 days after conception.

Provide a nesting box and plenty of dry soft beddings in the hutch towards the fourth week of gestation .

Signs of Parturition

The doe plucks off the fur from her body.

Uses the fur to build a nest about 3-10 days earlier.

Parasite and Disease Control Practices


Introducing active disease organsms which are reduced in strength or virulent into the animals' body to induce immunity.

Administration of Vaccination done through:

By injection.

Orally through the mouth.

By inhalation through the nose. Eye drops.


Practice of killing/removing internal parasites by administering drugs known as dewormers / antihelmitics.

Hoof Trimming

Cutting back overgrown hooves with the help of a hoof trimming knife, a hoof cutter or a hoof rasp.


Facilitate easy movement.

Control of foot rot disease.

Facilitate mating - prevent the ram from injuring the ewe during tupping.

Docking /tailing

This is the removal (cutting oft) of tails in sheep during the first week after birth.


Even distribution of body fat.

Facilitate easy mating in adult life.

Minimise fouling of the wool with faeces.

Reduce incidences of blowfly infestation.

Methods of Docking /tailing

Cutting with sharp knife or scalpel.

Use of elastrator and rubber ring.

Dipping and Spraying

These are methods of applying acaricides on the animals to control external parasites.


It is the application of chemical powders on the animal body or on the walls of the animal house to control external parasites.

It is used to control stick-fast parasites and fleas in poultry.

Routing livestock rearing practices.

A routine is a fixed/regular way of doing something.

done repeatedly after a certain period of time

Feeding Practice

Animals are fed to cater for both maintenance and production requirements.

These are special types of feeding carried out on certain animals to cater for specific needs.

These include:


The practice of giv ing extra quality feed to an animal around service time. In sheep it is done 2-3 weeks before tupping and 3 weeks after tupping.

In pigs it is done 3-4 weeks before service.

Importance of Flushing

It increases conception rates. It enhances implantation of the zygote.

In sheep it increases twinning percentage by 15-20%.

Steaming Up

Giving extra quality feed to an animal during the last weeks of gestation. In cattle it is done 6-8 weeks before calving.

Importance Steaming Up

It provides nutrients for maximum foetal growth.

It helps in the build up of energy for parturition.

It ensures the birth of a healthy animal.

It promotes good health of the mother.

It increases and maintains high milk yield after birth.

Creep Feeding

Feeding of young animals from birth to weaning.


10 days old - introduced to creep pellets.

5 weeks old - creep pellets mixed with sow and weaner meals. 8 weeks old - weaning.


Run with their mothers for natural suckling.

Bucks - introduced to succulent feeds and concentrates.


Meat goats kids suckle naturally.

Dairy goats, fed on milk artificially,

Given 0.5-1.25 litres up to the third week.

Introduced to concentrates at 3-4 months.

Weaned at 6-8 weeks of age.


The practice of cutting wool from all over the body of a sheep. It starts at the age of 8 months and then done once a year. Should be done during the dry season.

Tools used: wool shears.

Care must be taken not to cut the skin, testicles, udder, vulva and penis.

Tooth Clipping


Cutting about 1/3 of the upper beak with a knife, scissors or hot iron.


Control egg eating.

Control cannibalism.

Tooth Clipping

The removal (clipping) of the needle (canine) teeth in piglets 24 hours after birth.


Removal of undesirable animals from a herd.


Removal of horns or horn buds from an animal.


It prevents animals from injuring each other.

It makes the animal docile and therefore easy to handle.

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