Just how realistically profitable is farming chicken in Kenya? This is a question that has often divided opinion among Kenyans. There are those who think that profits from poultry farming are exaggerated. There are also those who feel that when done well, poultry farming can make you rich. So what is the factual and what isn’t? This is the question that this feature by poultry expert Okuta Ngura sought to answer:
1.) Is farming poultry easy?
Yes it is. A chicken is the easiest domestic fowl to keep. It is among the most prolific breeders among the domestic flock. If you start off with three kienyeji (local or indigenous chicken) hens and one cock at the beginning of the year you will end up with more than 100 chicken at the end of the year.
2.) Is farming poultry profitable?
Of course yes. Among millionaires and billionaires, we have poultry farmers.The good thing with chicken farming is that it rewards anyone despite your background. Whether you are a teacher, a student, a casual labourer, a mkokoteni pusher(cart pusher), a mjengo man (mason) poultry farming will reward you handsomely.
Take it this way. At the beginning of the year you started off with three hens and one cock. Let’s be realistic. Hens won’t lay eggs every other day but a good breed will give utmost 5 eggs per week. The three hens decide to give you 15 eggs in a week.
You collect 30 eggs after two weeks and synchronise them to brood at the same time (let’s assume you have no money for an egg incubator). After 3 weeks you get 21 chicks from your 3 hens assuming the hatching rate is 70% and you decide to take the chicks from the mothers on the day of the hatching and keep them in a brooder.
After some days the 3 mothers returns to laying and you repeat the same procedure again and again. I kid you not in less than an year you will have more than 100 birds in your compound.
By vaccinating your birds against common diseases such as newcastle and fowl pox diseases and deworming them every 3 months, maintaining proper hygiene and good biosecurity you will achieve this under a minimum budget.
Just make sure you change the cockerel after 1 year to avoid inbreeding by exchanging with your neighbours who are very keen on the bird’s health.
3.) Do I have to spend a lot on farming poultry?
Why should you if your income levels are not sustainable? You can use whatever is at your disposal. Drinkers can be made of plastic buckets or small tins and containers, laying boxes can be made of buckets which are cut off.
You have old car bodies or buses in your compound which are not in use? Convert them into poultry houses. A vacant house in your compound? Renovate it and put wire mesh for ventilations and rear your chicken in peace. You don’t have enough building materials? Use mud and grass on the roof.
4.) What feeds will I feed them on?
Make it simple:
Broken maize( = 34 kg
Soya meal = 12 kg
Omena(silver cyprinid) = 8 kg
wheat bran = 10 kg
Lime = 6 kg
Plenty of vegetables for vitamins.
In addition to this give the food left-overs as a treat, fruit peelings. Let them roam the whole compound searching for earthworms, maggots and termites. Let them feed on grass too. I can assure you of a very healthy bird. Ladies and gentlemen, poultry farming can be done by anyone.
Don’t wait until retirement or until you are fired from your job. Poultry farming will never send you to retirement. Life rewards those who work not only hard but smart.