Monday, 6 October 2014

Why I Gave Up Keeping Layers and Turned To Hatching Kienyeji Chicks

Keeping chicken for egg production used to be a very lucrative business. But that was before many other farmers ventured into the business and the feeds manufacturers inflated their prices to more than double. Today, keeping layers can still be profitable but only if one has a constant market and knows how to provide alternate feeding. If you are looking for real money from chicken farming, you ought to go Richard’s way.

Richard Rono hails from Kapchekoro village in Bomet County. He is now a seasoned poultry farmer having started more than five years ago. Initially, he was keeping exotic chicken breeds for egg production. He was selling the eggs in the local market before many other farmers got into the business and saturated the market.

“I realized that the profit margins had greatly reduced so I figured out that I had to do something to keep the profitability of my business”, he says.

Looking at the poultry business, Rono realized that there was little competition in hatching chicks. It was even better with the kienyeji breed since no one at the time was hatching kienyeji chicks for sale.

Seeing the new opportunity, Rono went ahead and bought a number of Kienyeji hens and a manual incubator. The 360-egg capacity incubator cost him Ksh.50,000. On realizing that the market he served was bigger than he had envisioned, he bought another incubator, this time a 480-egg capacity automatic incubator for sh.150,000. He also constructed a semi-permanent shelter for his mature chicken and other pens for the chicks.

How much money does he make?
Today, he keeps about 100 hens at any time. To ensure that the eggs produced by the hens are fertile and ready for incubation, he ensures that he keeps the recommended ratio of 1 cock to 7 hens. He therefore keeps about 15 cocks at any given time. All the mature chicken are allowed to browse his compound after being fed in the morning.

With an average of 100 hens, it takes Rono less than 10 days to get enough eggs for the two incubators. He sells the surplus eggs at Sh.20 each.

“In every month, I make about Sh.20,000 from selling the eggs. That is after deducting the cost of feeds and other expenses.” He says.

He hatches about 500 chicks every month. The rest of the space he uses to hatch eggs for other farmers in his village and charges them Sh.1 per egg per day. Rono says that he raises about Sh.10,000 from this venture, money he uses to foot electricity bills and for buying charcoal that he uses in the brooders.

After hatching, Rono first keeps the young chicks in a brooder for about a month before selling them off. Each chick is then sold for Sh.150. In a good month, he will sell all the chicks.

“It costs me about Sh.20,000 to vaccinate and feed the chicks for a month. That leaves me with a good profit of about Sh.45,000 every month. Sometimes I am not able to sell all the chicks within the first month. In that case I keep them and after feeding them for another month, I sell them at 250 each which makes even more profit.”

Do the math and you realize that, with only 100 hens, the young man makes about Sh.65,000 every month. He uses less than half an acre of land to do the farming and only spends about an hour to feed the chicken in the morning.

Kwa kweli, vijana tunawaza make doh na farming.