Meet former Chief Registrar of Kenya’s High Court Gladys Boss Shollei who is now the Uasin Gishu Woman Rep . While she would have settled for a white-collar job after her exit from the Judiciary in 2013, Boss Shollei went into farming – before she plunged into politics.
Even with her new role, Mrs Shollei is at peace in her farm.
In a recent interview she gave to a Kenyan publication, Boss Shollei was found tending to her dairy cows, “her new found passion” at Plateau in Uasin Gishu County. Here, she keeps hundreds of pedigree cattle including Friesian, Holsteins, Guernsey and Brown Swiss, which are considered superior breeds because of their high milk production and good fat content.
“I enjoy taking care of these animals and I find great satisfaction in this. This is my new hobby”
“I enjoy taking care of these animals and I find great satisfaction in this. This is my new hobby: spending time on the farm. It is very relaxing and rewarding,” she says. One of the things that strikes you when you walk into the farm, is how Gladys has embraced technology and integrated it into farm operations to make things run smoothly. Another aspect that stands out is the silage storage. Spotlessly clean, the cows are housed in well constructed structures.
“We treat our cows with tender care because that goes a long way in boosting milk production. You see when cows are stressed their milk levels dip, so they have to be fed well and kept in comfortable and clean structures,” she says. The sheds are clean and it is rare to see those nagging flies. Top hygiene, she says also keeps diseases at bay. Much as she has perfected the art of dairy farming, it is interesting to learn that at some point she loathed farming.
“You will be surprised to learn that when I was young, I disliked animal rearing. Actually I used to tell my mother that I will have to work extra hard in life so that I would venture into other businesses. But look now the narrative has however changed, it has become part of our family and a business life,” she says. For closer monitoring, the animals are grouped in cubicles ranging from the youngest calf to the expectant cow. This way, she is able to monitor the lactation and feeding cycle.
“Most farmers group their herds and fail to remember that it is ideal for them to be in cubicles. There is a consistent programme strictly monitored from a three-day old calf calving to the next cycle,” she says. Gladys says the cubicles can host more than two calves isolated from the parent mother three days after giving birth.
“The reason we put them separately is to ensure the calves get constant attention and not get used to the mother. But at the same time, it is important for the young calf to suckle so that they get enough colostrum from its mother at that tender age. This is important to boost the animal’s immunity,” she says. The farm has installed a synchronised mobile application to assist in checking on the feeding and milk production programme of every cow. This app particularly comes in handy because she is able to monitor the animals without having to be there physically.