I have previously done stories about people who are making millions from chicken farming; the likes of billionaire Nelson Muguku and multi-millionaire Geoffrey Kago. I even recently told the story of a 23-year old man who was making about 200K a month from raring chicken while still in campus. But believe me none of this stories ever inspired me like the story of 17-year old Robi Lemayian.
It’s not the much that he makes from his small kienyeji chicken farm in an interior village of Narok county that is inspiring, but the passion, the dedication and the zeal with which he does his farming to make as much as many university graduates in the country are making today.
Joining a day secondary school near his village after garnering an impressive 312 out of possible 500 marks at KCPE may not have been his dream. However, the inability of his parents to pay for his school fees in a better boarding school came as a blessing in disguise. Since he would go back home every day after 4 pm, he figured out that he could use the few hours before darkness set in to do something constructive.
When he joined secondary school in 2012, many were the times when Robi’s parents could really struggle to raise the few thousand shillings he needed to pay for his fees. During such times, they would resolve to sell the few chickens they had and the proceeds went a long way to help them settle the fees problem. Seeing how the small birds helped them in times of economic crises, Robi developed an interest in raring them.
Starting from scratch
While in form one, during one of the school holidays, Robi started constructing a chicken cage. He would go to the nearby forest to get materials for his project. He constructed the walls of the cage using interwoven twigs which he plastered with mud to protect the chicken from cold at night. He then collected and cut open metal tins that are used to package different products such as cooking oil. This served as the roofing material.
The first mile to success
Since he couldn’t afford to buy the starting stock, he borrowed a hen from his mother. Thanks to the village life, he didn’t need a cock since the many neighbour’s cocks would provide free serving.
Things were working well for Robi and being in school, he could collect the food remains every day during lunch time. He used this to feed the hen every morning before he went to school. It was not long before he started collecting an egg each day. He did not get tempted to sell the eggs since he knew that this was a seed for a better future. He kept all the eggs and by the time the hen showed signs that it was ready to incubate the eggs, he had about 15 of them, all of which he incubated.
That was the beginning of Robi’s journey to success. It was a successful hatch that saw him get about 12 chicks which he took so good care of that they all grew to maturity. He doesn’t remember exactly how many the hens were, but he says he sold off the cocks to pay school fees while he kept the hens which he used to increase his stock.
With several hens, Robi’s chicken multiplied so fast that by the end of 2013, he had about 70 hens. He used his holiday time to expand the cages, all the while using the locally available materials and doing the construction himself. By this time, he could manage to sell a crate of eggs every day. His market was the teachers in the nearby schools. The demand for eggs was surprisingly high and this is what motivated him to continue with his chicken business.
Three years down the line…
Today, Robi has more than 200 kienyeji chickens which he keeps on free range and sells about 4 crates of eggs every day at 330 each. He makes enough money to take him to any school of his choice but he says that he doesn’t wish to leave his current school. He now realizes the lack of fees in his early years of school was a blessing. He makes so much money at 17 years that people, including his teachers, now come to learn from him.