All posts by kienyeji

Where Can One Get Funding to Establish a Poultry Business in Kenya?

Everyone trying to venture into a poultry farming enterprise in Kenya generally decries the general lack of funding to set up the business.

You have to realize that you don’t have to start big. You can start with as little as 40 chicks and that costs only Ksh.4000 to Ksh.6000. Surely, if you are dreaming about venturing into a poultry farming enterprise, you must be able to raise this amount of money to start you off on your poultry farm.

You don’t have to start with a mega poultry house. You can always improvise and partition a little space in your existing home or shed where you can house your chickens.

Yet, there are people who might still need extra funding  running into hundreds of thousands of shillings or even millions with which they can scale up their operations pr start a poultry farming enterprise from scratch. For that, you can tap into various sources of funding for your poultry farming enterprise which can be both formal and informal. Let us look at some of the options when it comes to funding access for your poultry farming ventures in Kenya:-

Agricultural Finance Corporation

If you are already doing something slightly big such as a poultry farm with thousands of chickens, a poultry feed processing plant or a poultry hatchery business, you can explore the funding opportunity offered by the Agricultural Finance Corporation. For more information on their financing activities, you can check out the Agricultural Finance Corporation website.

Youth Enterprise Development Fund

Many young Kenyans have used the Youth Enterprise Development Fund to access crucial funding for their agribusiness projects. However, there are certain mandatory requirements that you may need to fulfill before you access the funding. For more information on this funding opportunity, send an email to info@youthfund.go.ke.

Commercial Bank Loan

This is the least favourite option for many Kenyans due to high interest rates but if you are looking for urgent financing for your poultry project, you can discuss the loan options with your bank. There are commercial banks that have set special loan packages for agricultural enterprises that may carry lower interest rates. A couple of years ago, Equity Bank Kenya Ltd had such a package. You could get financing through this option at fairly flexible terms.

Crowdsourcing

There are various crowdsourcing websites now available that Kenyans can use to raise money for their agricultural enterprises. One of the most popular is Zidisha crowdfunding platform which is an online microledning community that connects lenders directly to borrowers. However, you will have to start small and work your way up before you are able to borrow large sums of money on the platform. You can also use a mobile fundraising platform such as M-Changa to raise money for your poultry farming initiatives. You can check out the website here http://changa.co.ke.

There are various other organizations that support poultry farmers in Kenya that you may approach for assistance. Examples of such organizations include TechnoServe and Farm Africa.

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Kienyeji Chicken Feed Formulation

Poultry feed formulation is both an art and science; a science in the sense that you have get the empirical side right and an art because you need to understand your poultry feed ingredients and use what is locally available. You have to use the right ingredients and mix them in the right proportion.

Formulating Poultry Feeds
Formulating Poultry Feeds

That requires understanding the nutritional needs of the chickens at every growing stage and then formulating a poultry feed that will meet their growth needs.

The feed formulation should both be accurate and economical so as to help the poultry flock hit their genetic potential of productivity without necessarily stretching your budget.

You need to understand each of the feed ingredients that you will in the feed formulation in terms of their nutritional composition, the nutritional constraints, ease of processing as well as the availability of these poultry feed ingredients in your locality. Poultry feeds account for 70% of the production costs so the economical side of poultry feed formulation must be looked at very closely.

In some cases where a certain raw material is not readily available at an affordable pricing, you will have to substitute it with another. You have to ensure that the raw material that you will be using as a substitute must nutritionally complement the one that you are replacing, otherwise you are going to meet the nutritional needs of your kienyeji chickens or commercial chicken breeds.

Poultry feed formulation is generally a very delicate process. Any slight mistake is going to have a serious impact on the feed utilization and long term productivity of your flock. This can be a serious issue where you have a large flock numbering in their thousands and their yields are going down considerably due to poor quality feeds, while the cost of feeding is remaining largely constant.

In commercial production systems, this will be characterized by decreased egg laying performance along with poor growth and underweight birds.

We have written widely on poultry feed formulation over the years. Please refer to the numerous articles, tips and guides that we have covered in this area:-

Kienyeji Chicken Feed Formulation Guide

Learn Kienyeji Chicken Feed Formulation

Kienyeji Chicken Feed Formulation

Kienyeji Chicken Feed Formulation Manual and Training

Kienyeji Feeds: Supplementing the Diet for Your Kienyeji Feeds

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Kienyeji Chicken Vaccination Schedule

 

The kienyeji chicken might be hardy but they still get sick and get infected by the common  poultry diseases in Kenya. The best shield against potentially deadly poultry diseases is timely vaccination. Follow the schedule below to vaccinate your kienyeji chickens in time and offer them maximum protection from critical diseases that could potentially wipe off your stock:-

Kienyeji Chicken Vaccination Schedule
Kienyeji Chicken Vaccination Schedule

Some of these vaccinations must be done at the hatchery so you must buy your day old chicks from a reputable hatchery that will not leave anything to chance to ensure the optimal health of its chicks.

 

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Are Your Kienyeji Chicken Going to Blind?

There are many reasons why your kienyeji chicken may go blind. For example, they may have suffered an eye trauma following a fight or scratching by other chickens or they may get blind due to diseases such as sinusitis.

Ammonia is One of the Major Causes of Blindness in Chickens
Ammonia burns is One of the Major Causes of Blindness in Chickens

A common reason, though, why your chickens may suffer full or partial blindness is due to the effect of ammonia burns caused by poor ventilation.

If the poultry housing is not well ventilated, there will be an accumulation of ammonia gas in the poultry shed. Ammonia is a highly irritating gas and can lead to ammonia burns on the eyes that causes full or partial blindness.

The ammonia burns on the eyes of your chickens will begin with watery eyes and then progress to an accumulation of solidified pus-like substance in the eyes. This will eventually lead to a condition called keratoconjuctivitis.

There are various steps that you can undertake in order to reduce the accumulation of ammonia gas in your poultry house. These include the following:-

  • Avoid fully covering the poultry house at night. There are harmful gases and substances emitted by the poultry waste that must be taken out via the ventilation system in the poultry house. These are ammonia gas, carbon-dioxide and even dust. Fresh air from outside also needs to get into the poultry house.
  • Make sure that litter in the poultry house is not wet. If the litter is accumulated, remove it after every four weeks and add fresh litter in the poultry house. Water spillage can cause a lot of sanitation problems in the poultry house so these must be removed as quickly as possible.
  • The bird should be spaced out well in the poultry house so as to avoid overcrowding. When constructing a poultry house, you must also take into account the number of chickens that you are planning to raise. The size of the poultry house must support the desired stocking density.

Treatment for Blind Chickens

There are certain blindness in chicken that still be reversed while others such as those caused by trauma are irreversible.

For birds affected by ammonia burns, you can use eye ointments such as Probeta or even a tetracycline eye ointment. Make sure that you apply the eye ointment twice a day for three .days and check if you see any improvement. You can also contact your nearest vet.

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Poultry Layers in Kenya: Why Do Chickens Stop Laying?

With proper management, the mortality rate for your poultry layers should be very low. At rearing, the mortality rate generally does not exceed 5%. At lay, the mortality rate shouldn’t exceed 8% with proper rearing techniques. The age of lay in your chickens should start at between 18 to 20 weeks for the commercial layers.

However, one issue that some farmers may grapple with is where the chicken starts to lay eggs and then stops along the way. There are several reasons why your chickens can stop laying eggs. Typically, a high performing hen should lay over 24 eggs per month. Chickens lay 2 eggs every 3 days in their peak performance as the egg formation process takes anywhere from 25 to 26 hours.

But egg production may reduce below this level or stop entirely for a number of reasons. These include the following:-

  • The hen has been laying for more than 12 months.
  • Change in the weather condition that leads to stress. Chickens react badly to stress and this can severely affect their productivity resulting in fewer eggs or the hen stopping to lay altogether.
  • Stresses caused by transportation, vaccination or debeaking. As stated above, chickens are creatures of habit and have very poor coping mechanisms. If you will be taking your laying or point of lay hens through a stressful experience such as transportation, make sure that you take precautions to reduce the stress as much as possible.
  • Disturbances in their surroundings such as litter removals, noises or even predators.
  • Feed Rationing: Are you rationing the feeds to cut down on costs? That will just result in a sudden drop in egg production.
  • Poor quality feeds: Take care where you source your layer mash. If the feed is poorly formulated, it is most likely going to impact the layer performance.
  • Lack of sufficient clean drinking water: Your chickens need lots of fresh and clean drinking it water. An insufficient amount of it or poor quality drinking water is going to impact egg laying performance.
  • Lack of sufficient lighting.
  • Internal and external parasites in your poultry such as dust mites can impact egg production.

As a farmer, you can always make an intervention in order to address many of these factors and restore your egg production to the previous levels.

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