Zimbabwe Farmers' Union

Healthy Cattle for juicy steak!

01 Feb 2017

Sadza and a sizzling beef steak is one of the most popular lunchtime meals you hear being requested by many at various food courts but not many understand the work that is put into producing that mouth watering meal.

Understanding the hard work put into farming, Zimbabwe’s music icon Oliver Mutukudzi has a line, “kuve mukuru, kudya, kana kapwere kudya zvemurimi”.

Kudos to our farmers for keeping us healthy and taking care of our taste buds’ needs.

To our farmers here is more information on how to take care of cattle so the nation can continue enjoying that sizzling beef steak.

  1. Having a good animal health care management system

It is very important to maintain good health for your cattle so as to ensure good growth as well as preventing animal loss.

Farmers are expected to be up to date with vaccinations and de-worming/de-licing programs.

It is crucial for farmers to always be in touch with their local veterinary offices.

 

  1. Nutritious Feed

 Nutritious feed is an important aspect in ensuring healthy livestock growth, I believe many will agree with me that it is a disheartening sight looking at poor fleshed cattle.

During this time of the year the land is green because of the rains, the ground is rich with grazing therefore beef cattle can be let to graze out on pasture but if pasture is no longer available farmers are advised to confine the animals to a “sacrifice area” where you have to feed them hay regularly, preferably by bales.

Just like we feed babies taking consideration of  their physiological needs, we must do the same for our cattle.

Beef cattle should be fed according to what stage of reproduction they are in, physiological needs, body condition.

Like breastfeeding mothers will take up more food than the usual, lactating cows with a suckling calf need good quality hay and supplementation.

  1. Good, Clean shelter

One satisfying fact about having healthy looking, strong cattle is the opportunity to show them off to your children or visitors that come through to your farm.

 Imagine a situation whereby your visitors refuse to get inside the cattle kraal because of the manure and mud, discouraging, is it not?

Farmers are encouraged to reduce the build-up of manure and mud as this makes not only humans uncomfortable but animals too and it is also a prerequisite to getting sick.

Farmers do themselves and their cattle a favour when they constantly use fresh sand, woodchip and gravel to keep the kraal floor clean.

  1. Ensure the availability of clean water

For healthy growth ensure that your cattle have access to clean water and loose mineral.

Water helps regulate body temperature.

In cold situations, it is encouraged to give your cattle warm water because cold water will lower their body temperature therefore they would need to burn more calories to increase their body temperature and this will require you to feed them more. 

  1. Check your cattle regularly for signs of illness or injury

It’s only human beings who were given the gift of speech and it is unfortunate human beings cannot communicate with animals yet these creatures rely on us to take care of them.

To avoid animal loss due to sickness and diseases famers need to constantly check their cattle for signs of illness/ diseases.