Friday, July 19, 2024

Making Money From the Most Expensive Birds: These Birds Fetch up to Sh320,000

The growing demand for ornamental birds in Kenya has given farmers new businesses. One such farmer is Joyce Kiara from Nakuru County, who is a jack of all trades in agriculture.

Her farm, christened Charis Farm, is located at Nyondia along Kinangop Road on the outskirts of Naivasha town. The farm hosts various agribusiness activities such as dairy goat farming, fish farming, mushroom farming, and ornamental bird rearing, among others.

Narrating her journey in an interview,  the farmer revealed she started with goat farming before diverting to poultry farming on a balcony of her then-residential house.

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Driven by her passion for farming, she decided to look for a unique venture since normal chicken farming is saturated. It was through Google that she learned about ornamental birds, a venture she highly credits for the big earnings from her farm.

Charis Farm is one of the pioneers in the field of ornamental bird rearing in the country and hosts various species of birds, including peacocks, Brahma, Guineafowl, Pheasant, Silkie, Bantam, and Brown Turkey, among others.

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Kiara got her first flock from a farmer in Mombasa. She says one major advantage of ornamental bird rearing is that they have a short maturity period similar to that of chickens but are more profitable than chickens.

Peacocks are the highest-selling birds at her farm, with a pair of the mature ones going for up to Sh320,000, giving her maximum returns compared to chicken farmers, who get about Sh1,500 per sale of one bird. She has 6 pairs of peacocks. Her Brahma chicken breed goes for Sh10,000 per pair.

”These birds are very profitable. For instance, for the Turkeys, I rear them for six months, they give me 5-6kgs, and when selling a couple, I get about Sh8,000; this is the same duration you rear a chicken and get Sh1,000 or even Sh800,’’ said Kiara.

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”A single Guineafowl goes for Sh10,000, and its maturity period is also six months the same as a normal chicken.  They can lay an egg every day per season, which runs for three months, meaning they will give you 90 eggs in a season. The egg goes for Sh250 compared to a chicken egg that is sold at Sh15.’’ She added.

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Kiara adds that ornamental birds are economical as they feed less compared to chickens, and some of them are disease resistant.

According to her, for one to venture into ornamental bird rearing, one must obtain a permit from the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS). She pays Sh4,500 for all her birds per year, noting that some permits go for as low as Sh1,500.

”The KWS officials advise you on how to do your cages because ornamental birds must be caged to avoid crossbreeding and mortality because some are small and others are very big, so you cannot just mix them.’’

Farmers should also have enough capital for managing the birds as well as do research on the type of feeds the birds take to avoid falling into losses.

”You cannot just start farming when you don’t know what to feed the birds. Do your calculations well. First of all, understand the animal, what it takes, where to get the feeds, and whether you have the money. For peacocks, they feed on cereals such as maize, rice, sorghum, and others,’’ she advised.

Kiara, who is an award-winning farmer, was feted in the 2022 Nakuru Agricultural Society of Kenya Trade Fair for the farm’s exemplary performance.

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