Cattle are the most common type of large domesticatedungulates. They are a prominent modern member of the subfamily Bovinae, are the most widespread species of the genus Bos, and are most commonly classified collectively as Bostaurus.
Cattle are commonly raised as livestock for meat (beef and veal), as dairy animals for milk and other dairy products, and as draft animals (oxen or bullocks that pull carts, plows and other implements). Other products include leather and dung for manure or fuel. In some regions, such as parts of India, cattle have significant religious meaning.
Rearing Of Cattle
Weather condition for cattle rearing in Nigeria
Most times, some breed of foreign cattle do find it difficult to live in a hot weather; you will see them panting, which could arise to some diseases (respiratory difficulties).
But as times goes on, most times they get used to the harsh weather. But local cattle are already used to the hot weather when it comes. Though, foreign cattle from countries that have harsh weather like that of Nigeria, will adapt just well.
Other gains you can derive when you rear cattle- Byproducts
If you think that cattle are rear just for meats, then you are wrong! Aside from meat, there are many byproducts of cattle. Below are the lists of them with vivid explanations.
Meat; okay, we already know this one. Most farmers rear cattle for meat (beef) production.
If you are interested in this, you can start your own meat production company, package them and supply them to supermarkets or local market sellers.
Milk; a lot of people love fresh dairy milk. Milk is another popular byproduct of cattle that has high demand; several liters can be produced if managed effectively. So marketing and selling your milk won’t be a problem.
Cheese; is a food derived from milk that can be formed into many ranges of flavors, textures, and forms. It contains proteins and fat from cattle milk. Having several vitamins and minerals, especially calcium, it is said to cut the risk of both heart disease and osteoporosis when eaten in modest amounts.
Hide & skin; the hide and skin of cows can be used for the production of leather items like shoe, bag, footwear etc.
Cow bones; a lot of us might think that cow bones are useless, well they are not. Cow bones can be used for producing, flutes, jewelry, fertilizers (bone meal), chinaware’s (dishes) and plastics. A good reason why you should not dispose off your cow’s bones, gather them up for business!
Cow hooves; is an excellent product for producing fire extinguishing foam. Keratin, a protein extracted from cow hooves is used in creating a fire extinguishing foam which is commonly used in the airport.
Cow offal or organs; some of the cow’s organs are used in the pharmaceutical industries for the production for fever, asthma, anemia etc. for example, cow pancreas is used for producing Insulin.
Cow Dung; Cow feces is a good source of organic manure for farm produce.
We can go on and on listing the byproducts of a cow from their hair, the horns and so much more. In other to stick to our main topic; How to start Cattle Farming business in Nigeria we wouldn’t want to waste more time.
So here we go;
The first step we need to take in setting up a cattle farm is;
- Make a business plan
- Determine your reason for rearing cow
- Get a good location for your cattle
- Get good land for your cattle farming
- Get or prepare the necessary facilities for your cow business
- Get good cattle breed
- Work with an experienced farmer
- Be business-minded
Make a plan; have a good realistic business plan. Make a list of what you should do, the number of cows you want to have, the type of farm you want to have. Determine how long you want to be in this business. And also remember that you will be starting small.
Am not saying that you can’t start big if you want to but it is wise that you should grow this business in a gradual steady process for great success.
Determine your reason for rearing cows; you should give yourself the reason for rearing cows. Are you rearing them for meat, milk, hooves, horns, for their hides & skins? Or do you want to sell to those who are producing these products? If you are really sure of this, then you can proceed to the next step.
Get a good location; find a location for rearing your cattle. This is you should like and be confident with the location. The location should not be far to the nearest market or it should not be far from the town. This is because of easy transportation of your cows.
Get a good land for your cow business; this is very important. It is advisable that you should acquire a land that is big for space purpose (for wandering and farmstead). The land can be purchased or leased. When leasing or buy the land, you should have in mind that the land should have good green pasture because grasses are the essential for cows.
Get or prepare the necessary facilities; you won’t only stop on merely buying a land. The next step is for you to set up this land to a suitable standard and condition for your cows. You should construct a fence around the land to prevent thieves and burglaries. You should construct a sheds for the cows, so that they can rest under during hot weathers.
It is also considerate to build a house for your employee (that is if you are planning to have any). And make a supply of good water for your cows. You can either dig a well or construct an artificial stream. You can also get feeding equipment if possible if you are not using pasture method of feeding.
Get the best cow breeds; after setting up your land, then the next step is purchasing your cows. Buy a male cow and a female cow for reproduction. There are different types of breeds that serve different purpose, either for meat production or milk production. For those entering into dairy production, here are the lists of breeds you can purchase;
- Adamawa Gudali
- White Fulani
However, those who are interested in meat production can purchase breeds like;
- West African Dwarf Shorthorn (Muturu)
- Kuri… etc
Availability of pasture for your cattle business in Nigeria
You have to determine if the pasture in your land will be enough for your cows. If it won’t be enough, then you might consider growing or purchasing hays.
Employ the service of a veterinarian
The service of a good veterinarian is required for the effective running of your cattle farming business. Being an expert, they will assist you in managing your cows to reduce or prevent diseases, and reproduction. Unlike the veterinarian, there are some things which you might not understand, watch and learn from them and ask them question if things don’t seem right.
If you are thinking of rearing your cows alone, then I must warn you that it won’t be easy especially when you are rearing many cows. Consider employing a herdsman who can assist you.
Cattle’s Growth; for a calf to mature into a grown cow, it takes up to 2-3 years. And a full and a healthy grown cow weights about 450kg-550kg. By then, you are free to sell them if you want to.
Cattle Marketing; when you are ready to sell your cow(s), first make a market research on how much a cow; so you won’t lose while others are gaining.
Some other things you should know about are;
Capital; if you mean to start up this business but not sure of where to get capital, then you can loan from the bank or some Microfinance. Other commercial banks like First bank, Access bank etc can also be of help, if you’re able to convince them with your business plan.
How to know if your cow is sick;
These are signs that show when your cattle are sick
- High temperature (fever)
- Loss of appetite (less food and water consumption)
- Aborted breathing
- Weight loss
- Deep coughing
- Nasal and eyes discharges
- Bloody diarrhea or feces.
- Depression; cows do have depression you will notice (drooping head and ears, excessively slow movement, lagging behind the rest of the herd, and lack of enthusiasm to get up when approached.)
- Low activities; a sick cow will trim back from the daily activities.
This is why it’s required for you to have the service of a veterinarian who will help in administering them with adequate minerals and medicine for better upkeep.
Pests and diseases of cows; below are the listed possible pests and diseases that might affect your cows-
- Redwater; it is caused by the blue tick. The Signs of red water are fever, lack of appetite, red urine, pale to yellow gums and eyes, and sometimes nervous signs such as difficulty in walking.
- Heartwater; the Signs of this disease are fever, depression, high-stepping, leading to convulsions and death. Heartwater can be treated with Tetracycline.
- Gall sickness; this diseases can be spread among cattle by blood, for example by biting insects, or injecting the animals with the same needle used with infected cattle. The signs of this disease are depression, lack of appetite, fever, pale to yellow gums and eyes, as well as constipation.
- Tick damage; Ticks can cause severe damage to cattle, particularly around the udder and ears. The wounds will often get infected with microorganisms and might be hit by flies.
To avoid all this cattle diseases or pest from affecting your cattle, the service of a veterinarian is highly recommended.
Signs that shows your cows is in heat
A heating period means when a cow is ready to mate with a male cow. Cows typically show estrus, or signs of heat, approximately every 21 days. The signs you can notice when a cow is in heat are;
- The cow’s milk production drops.
- Its produces a clear discharge from the vulva.
- Mounting other cows and allowing other cows to mount it.
- Pressing its chin on other cows.
- Increased urination
- Displaying aggressive behavior like butting.
- Alert and restless behavior.
- Dilated and enlarged vulva (the external reproductive organ of the cow)
- Sniffing, licking of the vulva, lip curling.
Signs that shows a cow is pregnant
- Bulls will not show any interest to any cow that is pregnant.
- The cow’s udder begins to fill out more and reach maturity.
- Forming a seal in the cervix to protect the fetus from foreign bodies (bacteria and soil from entering the uterus.)
- Pregnant cattle will not or should not come into estrus or “heat” for the entire duration of the 9.34-month (285 days) of a gestation period.
- You will notice the fetal or fetus heart beat.
Starting a cattle farming business in Nigeria is a good business opportunity that could result in good profits if given a try with effective strategies as explained above. We wish you best of luck!