- The farm is a spectacle, hosting hundreds of imported beef breeds that include the famous Ankole from Uganda and Brangus, Charolais, Hereford and Brahman.
- The farm employs about 30 workers to take care of the more than 1000 animals.
A tour of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Gicheha Farm which hosts more than 1,000 animals
The more than 4,000-acre farm hosts more than 1,000 animals, a majority of them imported from South Africa.
Few people would ever imagine that Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta is a farmer and not just a farmer but a proud farmer of more than 1,000 exotic animals.
When he is not busy ‘building the nation’ and crisscrossing the country launching one development after another, President Kenyatta actually likes to retire to his expansive Gicheha Farm, located a kilometre off Nakuru — Eldoret highway.
“The President loves the beef cattle so much. Whenever he comes, we drive on a pickup truck and visit virtually every corner of the farm inspecting the herd and making inquiries as he seeks to know how every animal is fairing,” David Njoroge, the farm manager and a livestock expert, told Daily Nation.
Njoroge has a rich livestock management background, having worked at Agricultural Development Corporation (ADC) and other top beef farms in the country.
Should you ever get a chance to visit the farm, a canopy of well-manicured grevillea robusta trees will welcome you to the farm, stretching some 500 metres away from the gate, with Boma Rhodes grass sitting in the field on either side of the driveway.
The farm is a spectacle, hosting hundreds of imported beef breeds that include the famous Ankole from Uganda and Brangus, Charolais, Hereford and Brahman. Local breeds include the Borans and Sahiwals.
“The Ankoles from Uganda are our latest addition and we have 200 of them. We are also home to 200 Dorper sheep and Galla goats, all which we keep for meat,” says Njoroge.
According to him, the Ankoles are excellent grazers, since they grow very fast, can walk for long distances within the farm in search for greener pasture and have high resistance against diseases.
The farm goes a step further to stop any transmission of diseases and all visitors entering the farm, whether on foot or vehicles, must disinfect themselves in several of the footbaths at the entrance.
“With such a massive farmland that has more than 1,000 animals, you don’t want to mess up with your management style and daily work plan,” says Njoroge.
During the day, the animals graze in the field and in the evening, they retire in the sheds where they are fed minerals, salts and hay, which is mixed in special troughs.
“Large-scale beef farming is an expensive venture that requires round-the-clock supervision so that diseases do not mess you up. We also have a strict feeding programme that we adhere to and constantly monitor the weight of the cattle, water supply and pasture farming to ensure we have feeds all the time,” he says, adding they take the animals every Tuesday to a dip within the farm.
The farm also recently introduced 42 Boer goats from South Africa, which are being raised for milk.
“In the next two months, we look forward to start milking them. A litre of goat milk goes for between Sh150 and Sh180, the reason why we want to keep them for commercial purposes,”
To ensure the animals are in good health, the farm has employed a veterinary officer, who monitors the bulls 24 hours. A tight vaccination regime religiously followed to the letter has further helped the farm remain disease-free, two years after it was launched.
“Our animals are vaccinated against foot and mouth disease, anthrax, and Rift Valley fever twice a year while lumpy skin disease is done once a year,” explains Njoroge, adding deworming is done every three months.
Each animal on the farm has a file that documents their history, breed name, date of birth, parent breed, hardiness, weight at birth, disease history, the reason for disposing it and expected maturity date for the market.
Bull calves are castrated after seven months to avoid breeding.
The farm employs about 30 workers to take care of the more than 1000 animals.
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