Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Japhet Mwenda: Do this before investing in ornamental birds farming

Japhet Mwenda Ichaba, a farmer based in Isiolo, is among the few farmers in the country earning big from the ornamental bird business.

His farm, Smart Link Farm, at Kulamawe, on the outskirts of Isiolo town, hosts over 300 birds, including chickens, mainly the silkish bantam, sultan bantam, and satin bantam varieties.

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Mwenda also rears a variety of exotic ducks, which include pekin, muscovy, Indian runner and black Swedish, geese, guinea fowl (guinea hen) and quails.

“I decided to venture into this type of farming because the birds only occupy a small space and are easy to feed and take care of. Many people have come to love the birds not only for their eggs and meat, but also because they beautify the landscape,” Ichaba says.

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The birds’ house is divided into various cubicles, each hosting a unique variety of birds. The farmer who started with 50 birds says to ensure that the birds thrive well, good management practices must be observed.

This includes proper sanitation, good feeding, clean water provision, and strict vaccination as they grow to ensure longevity.

“In the first week after they are hatched, we give them the vaccine, but before they are vaccinated, we give them multivitamins to help them become strong and develop well.

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“We vaccinate them again after 14 days and 21 days, and after one month they are usually strong enough to fight against any disease that may affect them, such as Newcastle, Fowl Pox and other bacterial infections,’’ he notes.

The birds are fed on chick mash when they are still young and as they grow, they are introduced to layers mash.

The farmer notes that while the ornamental birds are easy to keep, they are very profitable compared to chicken farming.

“In a good month, I get a profit of between Sh50,000 and Sh100,000 from the sale of the birds.

One egg of the exotic ducks is equivalent to two eggs of the ordinary chicken and costs between Sh200 and Sh250. For the quails, one egg costs Sh30 while for the guinea fowls, each egg costs Sh100.

He sources the birds from different counties, such as Mombasa, Nairobi and Kisumu.

According to him, the supply of the birds is lower than the demand since there is a growing demand for ornamental birds in Kenya, which has opened up more business opportunities for poultry farmers.

He however admitted some challenges in the venture including diseases and high starting capital.

He advises people intending to venture in ornamental birds business start off with other birds, such as chicken and progress to the ornamental varieties.

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