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Protect your livestock in times of emergency

This week’s featured story by Lilianne Nyatcha looks at how the rising cost of grains has put some Cameroonian farmers in the difficult position of having to sell their poultry at a loss. Other situations that cause food scarcity can put farmers in a similar situation – but there are steps farmers can take to protect their investment in livestock. This week’s script recommends stocking at least one week’s feed supply for livestock, and following other precautionary measures. You can view this script online at: http://www.farmradio.org/english/radio-scripts/64-3script_en.asp [1].

Notes to broadcaster

How do farmers in your community prepare their livestock for disasters? If nothing comes to mind, then there’s a good chance that your listeners need information on this topic. Even though many farmers depend on their livestock for food and security, livestock often get forgotten in times of emergency. Let farmers know that they should plan ahead to make sure their cattle, camels, donkeys, pigs and poultry are provided for in emergencies. Advise farmers to take the following precautions:

Make a checklist of all farm animals, and if possible, give them identification marks.
Store enough feed, water and medicines for each animal for a week. Store these supplies at least two feet above ground in dry, flood-resistant areas.
Make sure that livestock housing is sturdy and secure.
Prune tree branches next to livestock housing, so that no branches will fall and hurt the housing/livestock.
If floods are predicted, take livestock to higher ground.
We suggest that you use this program in the Farm Radio International series, “The adventures of Neddy the ParaVet”. See Farm Radio package 63, scripts 7 and 8 (“The value of indigenous veterinary practices” and “Fodder trees provide nutritious livestock feed all year”).



Program Host
Neddy: Animal Health Worker. Young man, enthusiastic and energetic.
Uncle Chekwa: Farmer. Neddy’s uncle.

Host: Neddy, a local Animal Health Worker is making his rounds, several days after serious flooding affected the farm communities that he serves. One of the first farmers he meets in his travels, is his own uncle.

Neddy: Greetings, Uncle Chekwa!

Uncle Chekwa: Hi Neddy. You look well – I’m so glad! I’ve been worried about the family since the flooding. How is your mother?

Neddy: Mother and the rest of the family are well, thank you, Uncle. In our district, we were not badly affected by the flooding. But I see it is a different story here! All the animal health workers in the region, including myself, have been asked to visit farmers, to see if their livestock need any special care after the flood. Did your hens survive?

Uncle Chekwa: (pause) Neddy…um…I’m sorry to say… my hens are gone.

Neddy: They’re gone? Oh, Uncle… did they drown in the flood? Weren’t you able to save them?

Uncle Chekwa: (sadly) Well…actually…I had to sell them.

Neddy: You sold your chickens? At a time like this? When food is in such short supply?

Uncle Chekwa: I had no choice! We had very little grain stored, and we needed it ourselves, for our own food! I didn’t even have enough clean water for my hens! With no feed and water for the hens… I couldn’t watch them die. So, I sold them. But now we are suffering even more – without the fresh eggs. And our grain stores are gone too.

Neddy: Uncle Chekwa, I know that you depended on those eggs for your daily meals. But listen – next month I can bring you some new chicks. Also, I’ll bring you some maize – if you are still in need.

Uncle Chekwa: Do you mean that you have extra grain to spare?

Neddy: Because this flooding is happening regularly in the country now – every two or three years – I try to be prepared. I keep an extra portion of grain stored for my livestock. I keep enough feed and water to last them for one week. Of course I also keep extra stores for my family. So, yes, I have enough to spare.

Uncle Chekwa: From now on I will keep an extra supply of stored grain and water. But, where should I keep it?

Neddy: Keep it in a safe, dry place, above the ground. And remember, keep enough to last each animal for one week.

Host: Remember the value of your livestock. Prepare ahead to keep them safe and healthy in times of emergency. Here are some things to remember:

Make a checklist of all your animals.
Store extra livestock feed in a high and dry place. Keep enough to last a week.
Store enough water for livestock to last at least one week.
Check that animal housing is safe and secure.

– END –


Contributed by: Jennifer Pittet, Thornbury, Ontario, Canada.
Reviewed by: Terry Wollen, DVM, Coordinator of Animal Health, Heifer International.

Information Source
“Communicating hurricane preparedness for agriculture, forestry and fisheries in the Caribbean,” by Maria Protz, in SD Dimensions, 1999, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).