Cattle management on a farm

There are various ways of cattle management on a farm. These include;

1. Numbering                                      2. Dehorning/Disbudding 

 3. Hoof trimming                                4. Castration

5. Dehorning                                       6. Spraying 

  7. Dipping                                           8. Dusting 


This means putting a mark or label on the body of animals. Numbering enables farmers to identify animals easily.

Ways of numbering 

a) Branding                                         b) Ear Notching 

c) Ear tagging                                      d) Number lacing

e) Ear tattooing                                   f) Tail Bobbing

g) Grueling 

Ear notching 

This is the cutting of the edge of the ears of animals with marks.


Cattle management on a farm

Ear Tagging 

This means fixing tags with numbers on the ear of animals.


Cattle management on a farm

Numbering lacing 

This is the putting of a wooden o iron piece of plate around the neck of animals.

Ear tattooing 

This means putting permanent mark on the ears of animals using pliers carrying numbers on them.


Cattle management on a farm

Tail bobbing 

This means trimming long hair on the animals’ tail (switch).

N:B Cows are not usually docked i.e. tails are not shortened.


This means trimming long hair around the anus and genital parts.

Dehorning /disbudding 

This is the removal of horn buds from the calf’s head.

Materials used for dehorning 

i)    Dehorning iron ii)        Chemicals such as caustic sticks.

Advantages of dehorning 

  • It makes animals easy to handle.
  • It reduces the risks of injuries among animals and people.
  • It increases space in the Kraal/Many animals can be kept in a small space.
  • Hoof trimming 
  • This means cutting off over grown hooves of animals.


It reduces the risk of injuries among cattle.

It reduces the risk of transmission of diseases.


This is the removal of  testicles from a male animal.

Methods of castration 

There are three methods of castration;

i)    Open Operation (open castration or Surgery)

ii) Closed operation (closed castration)

iii)  Use of a loop (Rubber ring)

Open operation 

This is the removal of testicle from a male animal by using a sharp knife or blade to slit the scrotum.

Closed operation 

This is the crushing of sperm ducts by using a burdizzo which has blunt pincers.

Uses of a loop 

  • This means squeezing sperm ducts using an elastic rubber band.
  • When the sperm ducts, (spermatic cords) and blood vessels are broken, the testes shrink and die.


Advantages of castration 

  • It prevents the spread of STDs among cattle.
  • Castrated animals become humble (docile) and easy to handle.
  • Castrated animals fattens for more beef.
  • Castrated animals graze with females without disturbing them.
  • It prevents inbreeding
  • It prevents poor breeds since bulls with poor breeds are castrated..

Disadvantages of castration 

Castrated animals may lose a lot of blood and die.

Wounds may become septic and cause pain and death.

Animals are denied the right of mating.


This means giving drugs to domestic animals and birds.

Why deworm?

To remove endo parasites from the body.

Methods of deworming 

  1. Drenching 
    1. Dozing 


This means giving liquid medicine to animals.

Drenching can be done using a drenching gun or a bottle.

Diagram of a drenching gun


This means giving solid medicine to cattle (animals) The solid medicine is in form of tablets or capsules.


This is the removal of ecto parasites on the body of an animal by sprinkling acaricides using a knapsack sprayer or spray race.


This means applying  the body of animals with powdered chemicals to kill ecto parasites.


This is the picking of ticks from the skin of animals using hands.


This means making animals to swim through water mixed with acaricides  in a dip tank/pool.

Diagram of a dip tank

Removal of extra teats

This means cutting extra teats from the udder of a cow. There should be only four teats.


This is the removal of milk from the udder of a cow through teats.

Milk let down 

Milk let down is the flow of milk from the udder of a cow.

Types of milking 

There are two types of milking namely;

  1. hand milking 
  2. Machine Milking

Hand milking 

Hand milking is the drawing of milk from the udder of a cow by squeezing teats using hands. Hand milking is also called full hand milking.

Machine milking 

This is the use of a machine to draw milk from the udder of a cow.

The parts of a milking machine must be washed to avoid milk contamination.

Preparation for milking 

  • Assemble the milking equipment.
  • Clean all the milking equipment to make them in good working order.
  • Put the cow in a milking place and tie the hind legs with a rope.
  • Give the cow some feeds to keep it busy and relaxed during milking.
  • Wash the udder and teats to encourage milk let down.
  • Wash your hands clean.
  • From each teat, draw one or two streams of milk through a strip cup to detect the presence of mastitis in milk.
  • If the cow has mastitis, blood stains will be seen in milk drawn through a strip cup.
  • A cow with mastitis should be milked last.
  • After milking, wash the milking place and equipment using disinfectants.


This is an instrument used to detect the presence of mastitis in milk.

Diagram of a strip cup


This is an equipment used to;

  1. detect the presence of water if added  in milk 
    1. detect the presence of fats in milk.

A lactometer is a closed weighed tube graduated to make the level of normal milk.

How a lactometer works  

  • A lactometer is dipped in a container having milk.
  • If water has been added to milk or fats have been removed, it will not get enough support to float and therefore it will sink deeper.

Diagram of a lactometer.

Preserving milk 

Milk is a good environment for bacteria to multiply.

It should therefore be preserved for future use otherwise it will go bad.

Methods of preserving milk

1. Sterilization                                     2. Refrigeration 

3. Boiling                                           

Sterilization /pasteurization 

  • This means killing germs in milk by maximum boiling followed by cooling and boiling.
  • It is also called pasteurization.
  • The heating kills germs and quick cooling prevents bacteria from entering milk and multiplying in it.
  • This method was named after Louis Pasteur, a French Scientist who discovered that milk goes bad because of bacteria.


This means putting milk in a refrigerator where germs can’t easily and quickly multiply because of very low temperature.


This means killing germs by boiling milk from time to time.


This is a way of treating milk so that fats are broken and then cream is mixed with the rest. Homogenizing is not a way of preserving milk.

Products from milk 

Butter                          Cheese                         cream

Ghee                            Yoghurt                        


This is the part left after butter has been removed from milk.

Casein can be used as a raw material for making shinny paper.


This is the liquid part left after sour milk has formed curd. Whey can be used as a source to accompany food.

Examples of processed milk 

Whole milk                             Skimmed Milk 

Pasteurized Milk                     Fortified Milk

Condensed Milk


Uses of housing on a farm 

  • Houses keep farm produce 

Houses keep farm records.

  • Houses store animal feeds, utensils and farm tools farm (equipment)
  • Houses are used as milking shades for animals.
  • Houses are used as treating places for animals.

Types of houses on a farm

There are two types of houses on a farm. These are;

  1. Semi-Permanent houses
    1. Permanent houses

Semi-Permanent houses

These are houses made from simple local materials, (mud, reeds, cow dung, grass, poles, nails) Examples include; Kraals and byres.

Permanent Houses 

These are made from strong durable materials such as timber, bricks, concrete, iron sheets.

Roofing houses on a farm 

Roofing farm houses depends on available materials.

The cheapest form of roofing is using grass, banana fibres, bamboo or straws.

Advantages of thatching 

  • It protects animals from bad weather.
  • It prevents water from entering the house.
  • It is cheap in construction.

Disadvantages of thatching using grass

  • Thatching materials can easily catch fire and burn animals.
  • Materials can easily rot.
  • Thatch can easily leak if not well done.


A fence is a barrier of live or dead materials used to divide land into plots or paddocks.

Fencing means putting a barrier of live or dead materials on land to divide or separate it into sizeable pieces.

Types of fences

  • Natural fences (live Fences)
  • Artificial fences (dead fences)

Natural Fences 

These are planted plants along boarders (margins) of land to be fenced.

Examples of plants used to make natural fences include; bamboo, sisal, cypress, conifers, hedges, thorny plants, tatropa, cedar (x-mas tree)

Artificial fences 

These are fences made out of dead materials

Examples of materials used include; chain links, barbed wire, wire nets, concrete, bricks, treated poles, nails.

Importance of fencing 

  • Natural fences act as wind breaks.
  • Natural fences maintain soil fertility by adding humus.
  • Fencing controls the spread of diseases by controlling animal movements.
  • Fencing allows proper use of pasture.
  • Fences keep off intruders such as thieves and wild animals.
  • Fences prevent the straying of animals.
  • Fences make culling easy.
  • Fences make separation of animals according to age, sex, type, size and health easy.


Pasture is an open grassland on which animals graze.

Types of pasture 

There are mainly two types of pasture, namely;

  1. Natural pasture
    1. Prepared Pasture

Natural pasture 

This is pasture that grows by itself. It is eaten by animals in its raw form.

Examples of natural pasture.

a) Kikuyu grass  b) Guinea grass
c) Nandi grass   d) Elephant grass 
e) Guatamala grass   f) Alfa alfa

Prepared pasture 

This is pasture made out of fodder crops.

Fodder crops are crops grown for feeding animals.

Examples of prepared pasture

  • Silage 
  • Hay 
  • Cloves 
  • Millet crops
  • Desmodium

Importance of pasture 

  • Pasture is used for feeding animals 

Pasture adds humus to the soil.

  • It provides bedding materials for animals 
  • It provides thatching materials for houses 
  • Leguminous pastures fix nitrogen in the soil.

The digestive system of a cow

Uses of each part  Mouth 

For chewing food by the action of the teeth.

It passes food to the gullet.


It passes food to the rumen

Rumen (pouch)

To store food temporarily before it is returned to the mouth for chewing.

It is where food is fermented

It is the largest of the four stomachs  Reticulum (honey comb)

Bacterial action continues here. Foreign bodies are retained here.


It churns and grinds food into fine particles  Water is absorbed here also.

Abomasum (true stomach)

Digestion by enzymes takes place here.

NB; from abomasum to the rectum, digestion is the same as in non ruminants.

Types of food stuffs





They include hay (dried grass), silages (preserved green pasture), green grass, pasture, legumes, straws, maize stalks.


These include cereals, oily seeds and legumes.


These include proteins and vitamins added to feeds.


These are drugs, flavours and hormones added to feeds.


Maintenance rations 

These are feeds given to animals to sustain their usual feeds.

Production rations 

These are extra feeds given to animals for production of either beef or milk.

Salt supply 

Animals are given salt in order to;

  1. stimulate milk production 
  2. control some diseases such as milk fever.


This is the amount of food eaten by an animal.


  • Meat  • Fats 
  • Hides
  • Bones
  • Cattle dung and urine
  • Milk
  • Horns and hooves


Grazing is the proper use of grass land by animals

  • Systems of grazing 
  • Herding/free range/open grazing 
  • Rotational grazing 
  • Zero grazing 


This means looking after animals as they graze by a herdsman. The herdsman guides animals to good pasture and water.

Advantages of herding 

  • Animals eat a variety of feeds.
  • Manure is evenly distributed on the farm.
  • Animals are not easily stolen because they are easily and closely watched by a herdsman.


  • Animals can easily get diseases and parasites 
  • Animals may stray and destroy crops.
  • Animals are likely to starve if the land is small.

Animals are likely to overgraze the pasture.


This is a method of grazing in which animals graze on one portion of pasture at a time. There are three methods of rotational grazing;

i) Paddocking 

ii) Strip grazing 

iii) Tethering 

Paddock grazing

  • This means grazing animals on small fenced plots.
  • The small fenced plots are called paddocks.
  • The animals are allowed to graze in one paddock for a few weeks before they are moved to another paddock.

Illustration of paddock grazing 

Drinking water for animals is found in paddocks.

Advantages of paddock grazing 

  • Paddock grazing allows proper use of pasture.
  • It gives the farmer time to do other activities.
  • Manure is evenly distributed on the farm.
  • Paddocks break the life cycle of ticks.
  • It gives grass time to grow back.
  • It controls over grazing.


Fencing paddocks is expensive 

Paddocking requires a big piece of land.

Strip grazing

This means grazing animals on small plots separated by a temporary wire.

The wire sometimes carries small(low) current (electricity) that controls the movement of animals in selected pasture areas (strips).

Animals graze in one strip at a time until they have gone through the pasture and back to the first strip.

Illustration of strip grazing 

Advantages of strip grazing  •            

Pasture is well used.

Parasites and diseases are easily controlled 

It requires less labour 


Maintaining strips is expensive (costly) It is only suitable for few animals.


This is the tying of animals to a peg or tree using a rope.

The animals tethered can be moved to a new place when necessary.

Advantages of tethering 

  • It is cheap to maintain 
  • It does not require much attention  • Animals do not easily destroy corps 
  • Animals do not get astray.


  • Animals lack body exercises 
  • Animals may be restricted on one type of grass.
  • Ropes may easily strangle animals 
  • Replacing ropes during the rainy season is costly.
  • It is suitable for few animals.
  • Animals may be easily stolen
  • Animals may be easily killed by wild animals.

Zero gracing

This means keeping animals in a special built structure.

Water and food are provided to animals.

Requirements for zero grazing 

  • A well constructed shade
  • A store 
  • A feeding trough 
  • A water trough 
  • Workers 
  • Garden where fodders is grown 
  • Chaff cutter for cutting fodder crops.

Illustration showing zero grazing 

Advantages of zero grazing  • Feeds are well used.

Collecting manure is easy

Sick animals are easily identified and culled 

Many animals are kept in a small area.

Animals have less chances of getting diseases.

Animals grow fat and produce more meat and milk.

Disadvantages of zero grazing 

Constructing the structure is costly.Feeds have to be grown or bought.

Cleaning the built structure daily is tiresome.

Spread of diseases is easy in case of out break.