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Dealing with irritating fleas – Daily Nation





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I am a small-scale farmer with some 10 dairy cows of which five have calves. I recently discovered that the pen is terribly infested with fleas and on checking on the calves, especially in the ears, I realised the animals are suffering.

I have applied Dudu dust and an acaricide and they seem not to clear them. Please help.

Fleas multiply and propagate faster that getting rid of them can become a great challenge. They are tiny and almost invisible creatures that mostly hide in the hair, crotch or armpits, causing irritating bites and loss in production in animals if left unattended.

Controlling them involves maintaining good hygiene, use of chemicals such as insecticides and acaricides.

Whereas there are different external parasiticides that can be used, the most-effective and specific are pyrethrin based, which act on a broad range of ectoparasites like flies, ticks, mites, fleas and lice.

They are used for dipping, spraying, as ear tags, pour-ons and spot-ons among different livestock species.

They are also effective on infestations both outside and inside the livestock house. In agrovets, the acaricides are mostly sold with typical formulations as emulsifiable concentrates (EC), meaning they are liquid concentrates which can be diluted with water to form an emulsion before being used as dips or sprays.

After buying, dress in a protective clothing and apply on the animals and the barn. If there is a poultry house around, apply there too and repeat this procedure weekly until all the fleas disappear.

You might be tempted to overdose because of heavy infestation but note that although pyrethroids are generally regarded as safe to animals, they can be poisonous due to excessive use.

Follow the recommended application rates.

Felix Akatch Opinya,
Department of Animal Science, Egerton University.

I would like advice on growing snow peas, especially in Ngong.

Snow peas do well at altitudes of up to 2,600m and with temperatures from 12 to 20°C. An annual rainfall of at least 2,000mm is best and should be evenly distributed throughout the entire growing season.

Supplemental irrigation is recommended. Edible pod peas can be produced in the field but yields are higher when the crop is produced in either a greenhouse or a screen house. Peas are relatively cold-tolerant and can withstand a mild frost.

Soils should be deeply ploughed and harrowed to a fine tilth. Seeds are sowed at a depth of about 2.5cm in wide rows and emerge after about one week.

The seed rate is 50 to 60kg per hectare and the crop responds well to added compost.

At planting time, 250kg of DAP fertiliser is applied, and at flowering 200kg CAN is applied. Snow peas requires support through use of stakes or wires. Two layers of wires may be required to allow the plants to grow to their full stem length.

Varieties: Dwarf grey sugar, Oregon sugar pod, Mommoth melting sugar, Sugar snap, and Toledo.
Pests and diseases are controlled using appropriate chemicals.


Harvesting: Starts 60 to 70 days from planting and continues for up to two months. The pods should be picked twice a week.

They are twisted off the stems and stored in a container under a moist cloth to keep them cool. Dirty pods should be washed and all crop debris removed from the container and the pods sorted by size.

Carol Mutua,
Department of Crops, Horticulture and Soils, Egerton University.

I am planning to plant watermelons in Mwingi using chicken manure because I also rear Kienyeji chicken. Any advice.

To get a robust harvest of watermelons, there is need to augment soil nutrient status to meet the needs of the crop and maintain soil fertility. One way is by using inorganic fertilisers or organic manure and yes, such as poultry (chicken) manure.

Basically, watermelon is a heavy feeder of nitrogen among other nutrients, whose rate of fertilisation depends much on the soil type and test results. It is a good practice to start off watermelons in a mix of manure or fertiliser and soil.

Of late, there are increasing concerns with food safety, which involve issues of application of fertiliser and chemicals.

Therefore, poultry manure, which is a good source of nitrogen, offers a good option for fertiliser and going organic.

However, you do not apply fresh chicken manure, if possible, compost it with a carbonaceous material before application.

Poultry manure helps in establising and maintaining optimum physical condition of the soil and for plant growth. In addition, it is very cheap and effective, however, its sustainable availability is an issue.

You can also integrate the use of organic manure and inorganic fertilisers for supply of adequate nutrients to your watermelon but be vigilant of impacts to the environment.

Felix Akatch Opinya,
Department of Animal Science, Egerton University.


We are in the process of establishing a farm of 60 hectares for animal feeds such as maize, sorghum, sesame and various fodder in Hargeisa, Somaliland.

We drilled two boreholes and we will build a dam too. Therefore, we are looking for a specialist to run the farm. Salary and remuneration will be discussed.

One way to reduce the cost of milk production is to produce or grow your own fodder and for commercial purposes, this value chain remains hugely untapped.

Success in this venture involves working with an expert through forage establishment, management, harvesting and storage.

We have personnel at our disposal, both with some experience and new from class but have adequate practical skills and willing to further learn.

For the latter category, we can recommend those trained for diploma and degree programmes. Depending on your desired candidate, you will then be able to select those fitting your requirements.

Felix Akatch Opinya,
Department of Animal Science, Egerton University.


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Public officers above 58 years and with pre-existing conditions told to work from home: The Standard




Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua. [File, Standard]
In a document from Head of Public Service, Joseph Kinyua new measure have been outlined to curb the bulging spread of covid-19. Public officers with underlying health conditions and those who are over 58 years -a group that experts have classified as most vulnerable to the virus will be required to execute their duties from home.


However, the new rule excluded personnel in the security sector and other critical and essential services.
“All State and public officers with pre-existing medical conditions and/or aged 58 years and above serving in CSG5 (job group ‘S’) and below or their equivalents should forthwith work from home,” read the document,” read the document.
To ensure that those working from home deliver, the Public Service directs that there be clear assignments and targets tasked for the period designated and a clear reporting line to monitor and review work done.
SEE ALSO: Thinking inside the cardboard box for post-lockdown work stations
Others measures outlined in the document include the provision of personal protective equipment to staff, provision of sanitizers and access to washing facilities fitted with soap and water, temperature checks for all staff and clients entering public offices regular fumigation of office premises and vehicles and minimizing of visitors except by prior appointments.
Officers who contract the virus and come back to work after quarantine or isolation period will be required to follow specific directives such as obtaining clearance from the isolation facility certified by the designated persons indicating that the public officer is free and safe from Covid-19. The officer will also be required to stay away from duty station for a period of seven days after the date of medical certification.
“The period a public officer spends in quarantine or isolation due to Covid-19, shall be treated as sick leave and shall be subject to the Provisions of the Human Resource Policy and procedures Manual for the Public Service(May,2016),” read the document.
The service has also made discrimination and stigmatization an offence and has guaranteed those affected with the virus to receive adequate access to mental health and psychosocial supported offered by the government.
The new directives targeting the Public Services come at a time when Kenyans have increasingly shown lack of strict observance of the issued guidelines even as the number of positive Covid-19 cases skyrocket to 13,771 and leaving 238 dead as of today.
SEE ALSO: Working from home could be blessing in disguise for persons with disabilities
Principal Secretaries/ Accounting Officers will be personally responsible for effective enforcement and compliance of the current guidelines and any future directives issued to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.

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Uhuru convenes summit to review rising Covid-19 cases: The Standard




President Uhuru Kenyatta (pictured) will on Friday, July 24, meet governors following the ballooning Covid-19 infections in recent days.
The session will among other things review the efficacy of the containment measures in place and review the impact of the phased easing of the restrictions, State House said in a statement.
This story is being updated.
SEE ALSO: Sakaja resigns from Covid-19 Senate committee, in court tomorrow

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Drastic life changes affecting mental health




Kenya has been ranked 6th among African countries with the highest cases of depression, this has triggered anxiety by the World Health Organization (WHO), with 1.9 million people suffering from a form of mental conditions such as depression, substance abuse.

KBC Radio_KICD Timetable

Globally, one in four people is affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives, this is according to the WHO.

Currently, around 450 million people suffer from such conditions, placing mental disorders among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide.

The pandemic has also been known to cause significant distress, mostly affecting the state of one’s mental well-being.

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With the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic attributed to the novel Coronavirus disease, millions have been affected globally with over 14 million infections and half a million deaths as to date. This has brought about uncertainty coupled with difficult situations, including job loss and the risk of contracting the deadly virus.

In Kenya the first Coronavirus case was reported in Nairobi by the Ministry of Health on the 12th March 2020.  It was not until the government put in place precautionary measures including a curfew and lockdown (the latter having being lifted) due to an increase in the number of infections that people began feeling its effect both economically and socially.

A study by Dr. Habil Otanga,  a Lecturer at the University of Nairobi, Department of Psychology says  that such measures can in turn lead to surge in mental related illnesses including depression, feelings of confusion, anger and fear, and even substance abuse. It also brings with it a sense of boredom, loneliness, anger, isolation and frustration. In the post-quarantine/isolation period, loss of employment due to the depressed economy and the stigma around the disease are also likely to lead to mental health problems.

The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) states that at least 300,000 Kenyans have lost their jobs due to the Coronavirus pandemic between the period of January and March this year.

KNBC noted that the number of employed Kenyans plunged to 17.8 million as of March from 18.1 million people as compared to last year in December. The Report states that the unemployment rate in Kenya stands at 13.7 per cent as of March this year while it stood 12.4 per cent in December 2019.


Mama T (not her real name) is among millions of Kenyans who have been affected by containment measures put in place to curb the spread of the virus, either by losing their source of income or having to work under tough guidelines put in place by the MOH.

As young mother and an event organizer, she has found it hard to explain to her children why they cannot go to school or socialize freely with their peers as before.

“Sometimes it gets difficult as they do not understand what is happening due to their age, this at times becomes hard on me as they often think I am punishing them,”

Her contract was put on hold as no event or public gatherings can take place due to the pandemic. This has brought other challenges along with it, as she has to find means of fending for her family expenditures that including rent and food.

“I often wake up in the middle of the night with worries about my next move as the pandemic does not exhibit any signs of easing up,” she says. She adds that she has been forced to sort for manual jobs to keep her family afloat.

Ms. Mary Wahome, a Counseling Psychologist and Programs Director at ‘The Reason to Hope,’ in Karen, Nairobi says that such kind of drastic life changes have an adverse effect on one’s mental status including their family members and if not addressed early can lead to depression among other issues.

“We have had cases of people indulging in substance abuse to deal with the uncertainty and stress brought about by the pandemic, this in turn leads to dependence and also domestic abuse,”

Sam Njoroge , a waiter at a local hotel in Kiambu, has found himself indulging in substance abuse due to challenges he is facing after the hotel he was working in was closed down as it has not yet met the standards required by the MOH to open.

“My day starts at 6am where I go to a local pub, here I can get a drink for as little as Sh30, It makes me suppress the frustration I feel.” he says.

Sam is among the many who have found themselves in the same predicament and resulted to substance abuse finding ways to beat strict measures put in place by the government on the sale of alcohol so as to cope.

Mary says, situations like Sam’s are dangerous and if not addressed early can lead to serious complications, including addiction and dependency, violent behavior and also early death due to health complications.

She has, however, lauded the government for encouraging mental wellness and also launching the Psychological First Aid (PFA) guide in the wake of the virus putting emphasis on the three action principal of look, listen and link. “When we follow this it will be easy to identify an individual in distress and also offer assistance”.

Mary has urged anyone feeling the weight of the virus taking a toll on them not to hesitate but look for someone to talk to.

“You should not only seek help from a specialist but also talk to a friend, let them know what you are undergoing and how you feel, this will help ease their emotional stress and also find ways of dealing with the situation they are facing,” She added

Mary continued to stress on the need to perform frequent body exercises as a form of stress relief, reading and also taking advantage of this unfortunate COVID-19 period to engage in hobbies and talent development.

“Let people take this as an opportunity to kip fit, get in touch with one’s inner self and  also engage in   reading that would  help expand their knowledge.

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