Rainy season during the farming period is a double edged sword, while it is a natural irrigation system for plants, it could also be a medium to spread disease which can be detrimental to plant and animal growth. When it comes to managing livestock during this season, certain precautions have to be taken to prevent the widespread of diseases.
The diseases listed below are some of the diseases that have become widespread as a result of rain.
– Foot rot disease:
Foot rot disease is caused by the dichelobacter nodosus and Fusobacterium necrophorum, both of which thrive in moist soil conditions. Hoofed animals are at the risk of getting this disease especially during the rainy season. When a hoofed animal is exposed to the viruses by stepping on wet or damp soil, the bacteria enters the hoof, leading to fungal growth.
Some of the symptoms of foot rot include limping and soreness of the affected animal. A hoofed animal with foot rot disease is in so much pain that it has to kneel to eat grass and some animals even try to walk on their knees.
– Fowl pox:
Fowl pox, as the name implies is a poultry disease. It is caused by viruses of the genus avipoxvirus. The disease is highly contagious and some of its symptoms are weight loss and difficulty in opening eyelids. It can also cause mucus which can obstruct the trachea, making it difficult for the bird to breathe.
Fowl pox is transmitted through mosquitoes and other blood sucking insects. It is rampant during the rainy season because of the presence of stagnant water which provides a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
– Lumpy skin disease:
Lumpy skin disease is peculiar to cattle and can be spread through direct contact as well as insect bites. It causes the cattle to have swollen lymph glands, decrease in milk production, and causes small lumps on the cattle which could lead to wounds.
These diseases, if not properly managed can be spread to other animals and lead to their death. The well being of livestock should be a priority because their infection or death could lead to financial loss.
Below are some tips you can apply to make livestock farming more efficient during the rainy season:
1. Make sure there are no leaks in your shed:
Livestock should be housed in suitable, sturdy sheds to protect them from rainfall and excessive heat. However, when the rainy season draws near, you should inspect the sheds to make sure there are no leaking areas
Leaks allow water into the shed and if the floor is not cemented, this water could dampen the soil and cause infections for the animals who are walking and sleeping on it. It can also lead to the production of chemicals such as ammonia, which could affect the eyes of the animals.
For effective livestock farming, build sheds with materials that can withstand heavy rainfall.
2. Watch out for slippery floors:
Managing livestock can be a tough task especially when there are slippery floors all around. To avoid farm accidents, ensure that floors are properly cleaned and dried after a downpour or place signs on walkway so people are aware they are about to walk on a wet floor.
This safety tip is also important for the animals you care for. For instance, cows could fall and break their limbs on a slippery floor. This damage could affect their performance and could also cost you to fix.
3. Be mindful of grazing during the rainy season:
One of the general tips for managing livestock is being wary of what your animals consume. During the rainy season, you should take extra precautions. Sometimes, rain causes new grass to sprout but before you let your animals graze on it, you should know that the grass is not necessarily healthy. The grass usually contains more water than fiber and fiber is what animals need for proper digestion.
If they must feed on this grass, cut it up, and dry it to reduce the moisture content before feeding animals. The grass could fill the animal with water and cause the animal to pass watery stool.
4. Keep livestock feed away from rain:
During the rainy season, it is not just the animals you should keep dry always; you should also protect their feed from rain. If animal feed is exposed to water (rain), it could develop molds and if it is fed to animals that way, they could fall sick.
Storage unit should also be built with materials which are resistant to rain. If livestock falls sick from poor feeds, sales will be affected.
5. Build roosts for your poultry:
As stated earlier, chickens could get fowl pox during the rainy season. Although foot rot is only common among hoofed animals, chickens should also be protected against the disease and one way to do this is by building roosts for poultry. Sleeping off the ground makes them less susceptible to bacteria and pathogens.
6. Weather can affect Hen’s ability to lay eggs:
Chickens need about 14 – 16 hours of light to lay eggs efficiently. When the rainy season comes and sunlight is reduced, this could be a problem to farmers.
This can be combated by using artificial lighting such as fluorescent in the chicken cages.
7. Moisture also brings worms and ticks:
Worms live in the ground but when it rains, the soil pores and oxygen flows slower to the worms. This makes it difficult for the worms to breathe when it rains so they come to the surface for air. These worms can infect livestock and affect their performance. During rainy season, livestock de-worming should be done regularly.
Another parasite which the rain season could cause to spread faster are ticks. Ticks can lead to blood loss in cattle and heavy infestation could kill cattle. If a cattle is infected with ticks, let a professional vet examine it and treat it. If you are not managing livestock diseases properly,, it could spread and cause damage among other animals.
Applying these tips will reduce the chances of your crops and livestock getting infected. Do you know any other tips which work for you during the rainy season? Let us know in the comments section below.