Last updated on: 16 June, 2014 by Musa Kurhula Baloyi
PurchaseWhen we bought the first few cows we had not built a kraal, so the shepherd had to keep them at a different location. This was strenuous for us because we could not frequently check on them to ensure that all was well. The other stressful thing was that we could not readily recognise them while sharing a kraal with others that were not our own. The other fear was that they might acclimatize to this kraal and have orientation issues when moved for the second time (the first was when we bought them).
Preparing the KraalWe soon built a kraal and brought the cattle closet to the house. This way we are aware of everything that happens to them.
Purchase and Preparing the Kraal
Drought and Related Challenges2016 has been afflicted with drought. Our cattle were not eating well as a result. Government relief was nowhere to be found even after inquiring. It turned out that the feed was not free and quantities one farmer could buy was limited. We resolved to stocking our own, which was not exactly cheap but was necessary to supplement inadequate grazing.
ProductionEventually we got healthy calves and the herd grew by about 50 percent within 3 years. We have had to cull one cow that fell into a ditch and broke its leg. At this point we were confronted with the question of what to do with the meat since we had not anticipated selling. We were not able to sell enough on time such that we had to donate and consume some of it. The idea was to use the money from the sales to buy a new cow as replacement for the loss. Unfortunately we could not meet the financial target. We hope to handle this situation better in future in case it recurs.
Herd StrengthCurrently things are going well for our heard of 15. From the calves we were able to get a bull too! We continue to think of ways to better manage the processes as well as make a profit for our efforts.