Over 50 livestock drop dead after feeding on ‘killer’ grass


Tens of farmers in Rongai sub-county are counting losses after their livestock died minutes after grazing on suspected poisonous plants.

The more than 50 animals including cows, goats and sheep are said to have died in a span of two days after consuming the plants at Kimangu and Rift Valley villages.

The animals, according to farmers, did not show any signs of sickness but died instantly after consuming the plants.

Jonathan Kemei, a farmer from Kimangu village, said he lost five dairy cows after he fed them on grass he had collected from Ngonga farm.

Kemei said after consuming the feeds, the cows looked weak and died within a span of 20 minutes.

“I collected grass that had been cut in a nearby farm but the cows appeared uncomfortable after consuming the grass. I rushed to seek advice from a vet but on arrival, I found the animals dead,” said Mr Kemei.

Another farmer, Jane Njeri, lost two cows, two goats and sheep under unclear circumstances on Wednesday night.

Njeri said she fed the stock with grass that was collected from the farm and after consuming it, the animals looked weak and thirsty.

She provided the cows with clean drinking water and alongside a mineral boost but they died after taking the water.

Losing more animals

Another farmer, Patrick Karemi, lost five goats and two sheep and now fears he might end up losing more animals.

Karemi, a father of four, said he had be dealt a blow as goat production was his new agribusiness venture and that he used to produce two-and-a-half litres of milk per dairy goat, selling at Sh70 a litre.

The farmer asked the Ministry of Agriculture to conduct quick investigations about cause of the stock to ensure no more stocks would be lost.

The area agricultural extension officer Nelson Mwangi asked farmers to dispose of the carcasses in a proper manner to avoid spread of diseases.

Mr Mwangi said the stock may have died as a result of accumulated acid in the grass attributed to prolonged dry spell that was witnessed in the sub county.

Nakuru Agriculture Executive Stanley Chepkwony confirmed the deaths and said samples had been taken to the Rift Valley veterinary laboratory for examination.

Chepkwony said livestock experts were ready to take action against any disease outbreak.

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