|Better Farming Series 08 - Animal Husbandry: Feeding and Care of Animals (FAO - INADES, 1976, 38 p.)|
During the rainy season, grass grows a lot. The cattle do not eat all of it. Grass can be stored in the form of silage or hay.
Dig a pit 1.50 to 2 metres deep and 1.50 to 2 metres wide.
This pit is called a silo. It has to be made rather long, so that all the cut grass can be put into it. At the bottom of the silo put some large stones. On these stones put the grass to be stored. Tread the grass down well by trampling on it. On top of the full silo, on the pressed- down grass, put earth and stones.
The silo must be well closed, so that air and rain cannot get in, and the grass will not rot. Grass so kept stays good for a long time, for several months. Animals eat it readily.
So that the grass stays good, you must not take more than two days to fill, tread down and close the silo.
You can also dry grass. Cut the grass when it is green and let it dry. The dried grass is called hay.
Many farmers keep the dried stalks and leaves of groundnuts in order to feed them to animals. This is groundnut hay.
Hay is nearly as good a food as green grass.
For hay to be good food, you must cut the grass when it is still green, before it starts going to seed, and before it becomes too hard. Cut the grass when it is young, and you'll get good hay. If you wait too long before cutting the grass, you will get not hay, but straw.
Animals do eat straw, but it is not easy to digest. Straw is used for making manure.
· How to make hay
You can cut grass with a machete. But you will get the work done more quickly if you cut the grass with a scythe.
Cutting grass with a machete
When the grass is cut, let it dry in the sun.
Then turn it over and leave in the sun the parts that are not yet dry.
This work is done with a fork. When all the grass is quite dry, make it into a big heap next to the animal shed.
Then you can give the animals food during the dry season.
When the grass is dry on one side, turn it over to dry on the other side
Sun is needed to dry grass.
So you must wait for the end of the rainy season before you make hay.
In addition to grass and hay, give a feed supplement (see page 14).
Give oil cake to oxen when they are working, to cows when they are pregnant and are feeding the calves with their milk.