We know that the pellets produced by pellet mill have high nutritional value and increase the palatability of livestock. Today Richi introduces feed blocks to everyone. Although it is not comparable to the quality and taste of feed pellets, it is also a good way for farmers in arid areas to make feed blocks for storage.
To make the feed blocks, one puts two litres of molasses mixed with one litre of warm water into a basin, then adds 2kg of dry brachiaria grass or any other kind of fodder grass.
Well-dried fodder mixes easily with molasses and minimises the risk of rotting later. The mixture, placed in a normal basin, makes between 2-3 feed blocks.
“In the mixture add two handfuls of dolichos beans powder for protein, two tea spoonfuls of table salt for taste and lemon rinds that act as a preservative, then you stir the mixture thoroughly until no fluid leaks out. Then put the mixture in the machine used in brickmaking or a similar gadget that can be made easily on the farm to attain a rectangular or square shaped feed blocks” he says, noting besides dolichos, one can use dried and ground desmodium or lucerne leaves.
The blocks are then put under the shade for about three to four days. The highly nutritious feeds are ready to be given to the animals thereafter.
“One can also put the feed blocks inside a greenhouse for drying. In fact, this is the best place because temperatures are usually higher inside, which speeds up the process of hardening the feed blocks.”
Miriam Wangare, a farmer in Wanyororo A in Lanet feeds her dairy cattle with the feed blocks. They are used to help livestock farmers take care of the changing climate pattern.
He notes that if one intends to make feed blocks from napier grass, it must be dried thoroughly unlike brachiaria which can be used while raw. Moreover, brachiaria has fine particles and crude protein that are easier to digest compared to napier.
“Maize stalks cannot make good feed blocks because they are concentrated with much starch and sugars, unless you choose the protein source from desmodium or lucerne grass.”
He says Kalro introduced the blocks to improve the yields of production in dairy animals, especially in arid areas of Samburu, Garissa, Marsabit and Kajiado but they can be made and used by all farmers.
1. Feed blocks not only extends the shelf-life of fodder grasses like brachiaria but also improves their quality and palatability.
2. To make the feed blocks, one puts two litres of molasses mixed with one litre of warm water into a basin, then adds 2kg of dry brachiaria grass or any other kind of fodder grass.
3. Well-dried fodder mixes easily with molasses and minimises the risk of rotting later. The mixture, placed in a normal basin, makes between 2-3 feed blocks.
4. The blocks are high quality feeds that are readily available all year round, says Dr Ondabu, adding that they are cost-effective and easy to make and store.
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