Communal farmers best dog breeders

This  is chiefly because in most municipal areas in Zimbabwe, it is illegal to breed dogs.

These are pre-independence regulations that have never been reviewed.

But of course in Chief Bushu area located in Mashonaland Central, or Chief Murinye in Masvingo, you can freely do that because there are no laws that prohibit anyone to do so. Dog breeding has become phenomenon of late with farmers making as much as US$16 000 annually from two breeding females.

In a year, a well fed dog can deliver 10 puppies twice. If it is a good breed or the most sort breeds, the puppies will sale for not less than US$400 each. If you do the maths, you will actually realise that dog breeding is real business that can make you good money.

The demand for puppies is actually shocking and those in the business claim that business is quite brisk. The set up for dog breeding is actually quite simple, and unlike many other animals you can think of, dogs’ growth and maturity is hardly affected by changing weather conditions.

Dog feed is readily available and can be altered with traditional meals, which makes it even more exciting and stress free.

You will, however, have to consider which breeds you will specialise in. Breeds like Chihuahuas are common as pets for ladies. Then breeds like German Shepherds and Rottweilers are perfect as family pets. This is because of their size, ability to safeguard territories, and their obedient natures.

One of the most common dog breeds in Zimbabwe is the Boerboel.

 For those owning a male that they hire out for mating, you can charge at least US$40 per mating. If you want to enhance your prospects, study and research more about dog breeding. You will learn some things that will set you apart in the farming industry.

Dog breeding is not particularly labour-intensive; one person can handle the daily management processes.However, it requires a  significant amount of capital because for you to get good breeds you would have to part with more money for start-up.

Pure breeds are very expensive. You will also need vaccinations, pests and disease control, dog food, working equipment, accessories, and more. Female dogs have a  heat cycle by 24 months of age. An average female goes through heat about every seven months.

 A bitch is not considered abnormal unless she has not had an obvious heat cycle for one year. Depending on how many puppies she whelped the first season and how well she maintained her body condition during pregnancy, whelping, and lactation,  is possible to breed a bitch in back-to-back heat seasons. If she had several puppies and was thin by the time they were weaned, she probably cannot regain normal body condition before she is in heat again and thus should not be bred. If she had a few puppies at the first breeding and is in excellent body condition, she potentially could be bred again. Every circumstance and every bitch should be evaluated individually.

While at it, it is important to remind each other that a growth or performance food is best to feed a pregnant bitch because they are nutrient-dense and thus require less food to sustain her increasing energy needs.

Particularly later in the pregnancy when her uterus takes up much of the space of the abdomen, she may have trouble eating a significant amount of food.

At whelping, a bitch should weigh 5-to-10% more than before breeding. Avoiding  obesity is important as it is associated with difficulty whelping, increased birth defects in neonates, and stillbirths. Likewise, a thin body condition can cause conception failure, loss of pregnancy, and low-weight pups. after being born, puppies cannot make their own antibodies at birth, so it is important that they receive their dam’s first milk, colostrum, which is rich in disease-protecting antibodies.  Puppies can absorb these antibodies from their intestinal tract for only about the first 24 hours of life. Do not be concerned if your bitch does not nurse until all the puppies are born. This is a common behaviour that generally causes no risk to puppies.It is of paramount importance that a farmer breeds at the right time because if not, you will produce small litter that will not be easy to sell.

The optimal breeding day for litter size is two days post-ovulation, as determined by your veterinarian based on progesterone measurements.

Other possible causes of small litters are hypothyroidism, uterine infection, and advanced age of the bitch.

In a nutshell, dog breeding is a project worth trying, if you have the patience.

  • Gwabanayi is a practising journalist and a farmer in his own right. — 0772 865 703 or [email protected]

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