A fish farmer from Likipia County has been able to reduce fish feeds expenditure from Sh3,000 to nil by keeping geese for purposes of mutual benefit.
Peter Wambugu after constructing his fishpond in 2017 July did online research on how to make home-made feeds so that he could spend less in production before stumbling upon how keeping fish and geese are is a complementary venture.
“At first, I contracted feed suppliers to deliver the feeds but this was expensive as I used to pay Sh3,000 per 50 kilos which could last for a month. So when I learned of how geese droppings can provide good food for fish I decided to give it a try,” said Wambugu.
He, therefore, bought some 50 geese in August the same year to rear. His plan was that the birds would have a swimming and recreation ground in the pond and their droppings to benefit the fish.
According to ReseachGate, birds living in or very near water in aquatic or wetland habitats, live in a symbiotic relationship with the fish, whereby a cycle is closed when the bird droppings enhance the development of zooplankton and phytoplankton, which provides the basis for fish nutrition.
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Currently, Wambugu has 50 geese after selling out 100 of them as they had multiplied to 150 in number. In addition, he keeps chicken which also provides droppings that are collected and dumped in the fishpond as feeds.
On the other hand, the geese feed on the plants that grow in the fishpond and help to keep the pond free of plants, weeds and snails.
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The farmer who also keeps dairy goats says that the animals’ manure is very beneficial in algae development in fishpond as the plants produce food resources that fish are adapted to consume.
“Goats manure has also been so important. I collect them and after some time, I dump them in the pond where they act as fertiliser to speed up the growth of algae which very rich in the natural foods for the fish,” said Wambugu.
Previous studies have proven that the inclusion of small amounts (less than 10 per cent of the diet) of algae in the fish feed (aquafeed) resulted in positive effects on growth performance and feed utilisation efficiency.
Today Wambugu has 3,000 fish in his fishpond. He never spends a coin in buying feeds or fertilise for his crops such as apple, passion and grape fruits that he is growing. Instead, he channels the pond water which is very humus into the farm for the plants.
“I no longer spend much on growing my crops with this farming method. This has increased my earnings and reduced my expenditures,” he said.
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He sells 50 kilos of fish per month where a kilo goes for Sh500 while the geese sell at Sh3,000 each.
Wambugu’s farm is a classic example of how fish, animals and plants live and grow in different ways and produce different things that can help all of them to live and grow better.
He has learned that he can manage his fishpond together with his farm animals, gardens and fields so that they will all grow better and produce more.
Photo: Wambugu’s geese
Wambugu can be reached on +254 727 964458