How to Start a Poultry Hatchery Business in Kenya

 

Poultry hatching or incubator business is one of the most profitable ventures in Kenya right now but you need to have the right equipment, right skills for hatching in order to achieve a very high hatch rate along with knowledge of the market requirements. With good expertise, you can slowly build your business into a major player in the country, supplying farmers with tens of thousands of day old chicks every year or every month depending on the scale of your operations.

Go for training in hatchery management

This is highly advisable. There are various organizations and entrepreneurs offering this kind of training in Kenya. Buy manuals on hatching and look out for training opportunities for hatchery and incubation business.  Visit poultry hatcheries and interview owners and operators to determine how they do the business in order to ensure high hatch rate and the best practices that they use for hatching or incubation such as egg candling. You can even take up a part-time job or internship at a poultry hatchery or incubation centre in order for you to gain some practical hands-on skills before you begin your own operation.

Develop a Parent Stock

The supply of eggs is always unreliable so one way to ensure reliability is by developing your own parent stock. This will take time. Buy day-old chicks from KARI, Breedtech, Kukuchic and other major poultry breeding farms in Kenya and rear them for five months. Maintain a cock to hen ratio of 1 to 10. When they start laying, pick the fertilized eggs and put them in the incubators.

Work out a business plan

If you are going into the poultry hatchery business, there will be lots of things working in your favor. For example, the demand for one-day old chicks is at an all-time high at this time as more Kenyans are investing in chicken farming due to high demand. Existing farmers are expanding their flock so the market for day-old chicks of the right breed is virtually unlimited at this time.

What capacity would you want to start with?

Work out your capacity requirements first and budget for that. Do not wait for funding or loans to purchase that 3000 or 5000 egg incubator. You can even begin with a 42, 48, 60, 96, 176, 264, 352, 528, 880 or 1056 capacity poultry egg incubators in Kenya with prices ranging from Ksh.10,000 to Ksh.100,000 and begin from there. If you cannot afford a Ksh.300,000 incubator, start with the Ksh.60,000 incubator and start earning money while honing your skills at a smaller scale.

A large capacity chicken egg incubator
A large capacity chicken egg incubator

Where will you buy your incubator?

There are numerous poultry egg incubator or hatchery retailers in Kenya. Some are specialized companies that manufacture and offer support for your hatchery business while others are merchants that import incubators and may also offer you support. Some of the leading providers of poultry egg incubators in Kenya include the following:-

  • Ecochicks
  • Neochicks
  • Kuku Engokho
  • SureHatch
  • Pagak Incubators
  • Abreban Company
  • Best Hatch

Word of advice: When buying an incubator, look at the reputation of the company along with the range of support services which they offer users. How long have they been in the industry? What is their product and service range? Do they look like a reputable and trusted service who knows what they are doing? Can you afford their prices? Check out our post on prices of poultry egg incubators in Kenya.

Decide on the breeds that you plan to hatch

Here again, you need to evaluate the market conditions and determine what most farmers want. The eggs that you should hatch include the following:-

  • Commercial Layers: By the most profitable for farmers but requires intensive management
  • Broilers
  • KARI Improved Kienyeji Chicken: Buy fertilized eggs from trusted farmers
  • Rainbow Rooster Chicken
  • Kuroiler: You may have to purchase eggs from Uganda

Where will you source your eggs?

Eggs must be very high quality and you must therefore, carry out research on where to source the best quality eggs from parent stock of the poultry breeds that you want to hatch. It is good to specialize or have various verticals such as hatchery cycle for Improved Kienyeji, Rainbow Rooster, Indbro etc. Do not mix eggs and do not source eggs from different sellers. Buy from one reputable supplier for a particular breed. Buyers will want a specific breed of day old chicks so if you will be mixing eggs from all over, you are not going to get any value. Additionally, ensure the eggs you are purchasing are all fertilized.

Eggs inside poultry hatchery
Eggs inside poultry hatchery

Power Considerations

Do you have reliable power supply? If not you may need to invest in a generator or solar incubator.

Transport and Delivery Considerations

How will you transport and deliver the chicks to the market. The best places for starting a poultry hatchery business is where there is a large population of commercial farmers. High demand markets include Nairobi, Kiambu, Nakuru, Meru, Eldoret, Kisumu, Kakamega and Mombasa. You will not be able to make deliveries for all orders but you can put a threshold on the number of chicks that you can deliver. You can also charge additional costs for deliveries so that this does not eat into your profits. For example, you can decide that you will deliver for orders of over 500 chicks.

Chicken Hatchery
Chicken Hatchery

When investing in a poultry hatchery or incubator, you will have invest in special delivery cardboards or crates.  Good transportation in a timely fashion will allow you to reach the market faster and reduce stress and high mortality in the day old chicks.

Health and Safety Concerns

Implement good health practices at the hatchery as pertains to hygiene and vaccination. The day old chicks must, for example, be vaccinated for Marek’s disease. All personnel working at the hatchery must understand and adhere to the health and safety regulations put in place.

Make Arrangements for Caring for Chicks Before You Sell All of them

While you will get numerous orders, you will not be able to easily sell all your day old chicks on day 1. You must  make arrangements to care for these before you take them to the market. Have a brooding house for chick placement.

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