Chicken is one component of those meals we love to prepare. For a long time, we were used to the broilers sold in most hotels and fast food points. However, those who know how the birds are bred and feed will tell you that you would rather buy kienyeji chicken. As more Kenyans realize this, the demand for these chicken has over the last few years increased tremendously. This is the opportunity that Regina saw and tapped into to make a kill.
Regina started her business in 2009 with 2 hens and a cockerel. Today she has more than 100 layers and breeding cockerels and can hatch more than 700 chicks in a month, using her incubator. Here are a few tips that we got from Regina that might help you to commercialize your indigenous poultry project like she did.
Hatching Chicks Using an Incubator
Regina has an incubator that has a capacity of 750 eggs. The incubator operates on electricity but can also be powered by the use of a generator or solar energy. She also has invented a cheap way of providing the eggs with warmth incase of power loss. "I boil water and put it in 5-litre jericans which I place in the incubator. I change the water with freshly boiled after every three hours. This to keep the incubator warm," She explained. Incubated eggs hatch after 21 days. The egg to chick turnover is directly attributable to the layers and how the eggs were handled.
Choice of Layers and Handling of Eggs
Below are some of the best practices in selection and handling of incubating eggs.
Layers of incubating eggs should be served by cockerel at the rate if 1 cockerel for 10 hens to ensure that the eggs are fertilized.
Incubating eggs should be incubated not more than two weeks after being laid. The more the eggs are kept before being incubated, the more you reduce hatching probability.
The eggs should be kept in well aerated places before being incubated. This is to ensure good supply of air to the York.
Eggs should be handled with clean hand and well labeled to ensure that openings in the shell are left open. Eggs should not be handled with oily hands as this may cause the York to suffocate.
Handling Young Chicks
After hatching, young chicks should be placed in brooders; structures that are well aerated and regulated heat to keep the chicks warm. Chicks should be kept in brooders for up to two months when they have fully developed wings.
Chicks should be fed with broiler starter marsh for up to eight weeks as they are easily introduced to other types of food that are more traditional such as grains and food leftovers. The good thing is that kienyeji chickens are hardy and once fed in the morning, they spend the rest of the day scavenging for food outside.
If well fed and taken care of, the indigenous chicken matures in between four to five months and hens start laying eggs.
Kienyeji chicks are resistance to diseases though it is advisable that you vaccinate them and also give them antibiotics regularly.
Indigenous chickens have a large unsatisfied market in Kenya. According to Regina, she is not able to satisfy the demand for chicks that she receives. "Marketing of kienyeji chicks is not a problem. They are usually ordered before they hatch", she explained. "Chicks that are left to grow to maturity are used as layers and fetch between Kshs. 1000 to Kshs. 1200 in Nairobi", she added.
Fertilized eggs are sold for between Kshs. 15 to 25 depending on where you are buying them.
Now that is a great opportunity to make huge profits.