How to Make Hay Feeders

Making hay while the sun shines is an old English saying. Basically it means using good times to provide for the bad times!

The same is true for providing enough feeds to your dairy cows during the good times ( the wet season when grass grows well) and during the bad times (the dry/ winter season or droughts).

During the growing season grass grows at a fast pace. It is at its greatest nutritive value when all leaves are fully developed and seed or flower heads are almost mature. At this stage the pasture is cut.

Hay cut too early will not cure as easily due to its high moisture content. It will also produce a lower yield per acre than longer, more mature grass. But hay cut too late is coarser, loses some of its nutrients and has a lower feed value.

There is usually approximately a two-week window of time during which hay is at its ideal stage for harvesting.

During the drying period, which should take 1 to 2 days under East African conditions, the process can be spaded up by turning the cut hay by hand, or by spreading it out with a tending machine pulled by a tractor. If it rains while the hay is drying, turning the windrow can also allow it to dry faster.

Turning the hay too often or too roughly can also cause drying leaf matter to fall off, reducing the nutrients available to animals. Once hay is cut, dried and raked into windrows, it is usually gathered into bales or bundles, then hauled to a central location for storage. Bales are blocks of compressed hay that can be easily handled and stacked.

In some places, depending on climate and culture, hay is gathered and stacked loose.

How to make hay

  • Build a wooden box for baling.
  • Store hay in a dry place away from sun and rain.
  • Destroy termite mounds within a radius of 100 m from the storage place.
  • Cut hay should be dried as quickly as possible.
  • Spread the hay with a rake.
  • Dry the hay for about 4 hours.
  • Bale hay for easy storage.
  • You can also dig a hole 1 m x 0.5 m x 0.5 m.
  • Fill with hay, compress and ties together

How to make a multi-nutrient blocks

One of the least costly methods of improving the nutritional value of crop residues, is through multi-nutrient blocks which are rich in minerals and are used as feeding supplement for cattle.

Multi-nutrient blocks are cheap, easy to make on small scale and easy to store and handle.

Ingredients vary depending on price, availability and nutritional value. However, a block should consist of protein, energy, mineral and roughage based ingredients such as:

  • Protein-based ingredients: Ground caliandra leaf hay, ground lucerne, cotton cake, sunflower, soy bean, poultry waste and urea.
  • Roughage-based ingredients: Chopped hay grass, cereal bran, ground husks, ground husks, ground stovers.
  • Energy-based ingredients: Molasses, bagasse, maize germ and flour(whole maize, sorghum and cassava).
  • Minerals source: From the different mineral powders on the market.
  • Binder-based ingredients: Cement, clay soil, banana and cassava flour, and lime stone.
  • Kitchen waste: banana peels, potato peels.

How to make a multi-nutrient blocks

  • Weigh the different ingredients by using similar units such as a 2 kg tin. Mix the weighed ingredients thoroughly to get uniform mixture.
  • Add molasses and binding ingredients to the mixture. Mix well to get a uniform mixture which is easy to mould.
  • Put the mixture in a mould. Once the mould is well-compacted, remove the mould. Your multi-nutrient block is ready for drying. The mould should measure 25 x 15 x 10 cm.
  • One can can use different moulds. Once the blocks are ready, dry them in the shade for 48-72 hours before using them for feeding.

Note: The block should be used as a supplement. Take great care when using urea and avoid overfeeding, which could result in urea poisoning.

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