Category Archives: Kienyeji Chicken Commercialization

The Dos and Don’ts When it Comes to Chick Brooding

The toughest phase in raising your kienyeji chickens is during the chick brooding. This is the period when they are most delicate and where mistakes can be quite costly.

Many farmers prefer to start raising the chicks on their own right from the first day when the chicks are one day old. It is generally cheaper to acquire chicks at this stage so you can build a fairly large flock within a very short period of time.

Diagram of Chick Brooder Setup
Diagram of Chick Brooder Setup

However, the chick brooding stage requires special as well as intensive care in order to boost the survivability of the chicks. The problem is that many of the farmers who acquire the chicks are generally insufficiently prepared for the first few weeks. As a result, they end up incurring high mortality and huge losses that can easily be avoided.

The first few weeks of the chicks’ life is important not just for the survivability. The chicks may survive but if you didn’t give them optimal care during this stage, it may still end up impacting their physiological and development processes and thus impacting their yield.

One of the most critical factors during this stage is warmth. It is imperative that the chicks are given optimal warmth and protection. In natural brooding setting, the mother’s body and feathers is sufficient to supply the kids with optimal natural warmth.

However, in an artificial brooding environment, you have to try and recreate this environment to boost the chicks chances. You have to ensure that you are getting the artificial brooding conditions. That will require consulting widely and acquiring the right equipment for the task. The type of brooding conditions that you provide will have an impact on the chicks’ growth.

The Brooder

To prevent the chicks from huddling in one corner and thereby overcrowding and getting injured or suffocated, it is advisable that you use the brooder rings which are quite advantageous as they do not have corners.

Infrared Chick Brooder
Infrared Chick Brooder

Additionally, you must make sure that you have fumigated and disinfected the poultry house before you introduce the chicks into the poultry house.

The chicks are generally quite sensitive and delicate while they are still young so the farmer must go the extra mile to provide a sterile environment where they can grow safely.

Make sure that the litter and the bedding is disinfected and dried before they are spread on the brooder ring to line the flooring.

You can also use a newspaper layer to line the litter in the poultry house. This should also be sprayed lightly with some disinfectant. Make sure that you change the newspaper lining on a regular basis, at least after every two to three days. When it comes to raising day old chicks, you must never compromise on the hygiene.

Temperature

Chicks are covered in light feathers that offer very little insulation from the temperature extremes. This makes them fully reliant on the external heat source for survival. If you don’t provide optimal brooding temperatures, the chicks are either going to die from cold or heat stress.

Low temperatures will stunt the growth of the chicks as the feeds they take in is converted into heat instead of being used to power their growth. In brooding conditions, you must there provide a reliable external heat source such as infra-red heating system or just the normal jikos or ovens that will provide the chicks with sufficient heat.

The heat source provided in the brooding area must be centrally situated inside the brooder ring. During the first week, maintain the temperatures at 32 degrees Celsius.

When introducing heat into the brooding area, make sure that you carefully observe the chick behavior. If it is too hot inside the brooder ring, the chicks will move away from the heat source. If it is too cold, the chicks are going to huddle together under the heat source. If the temperatures are ok, the chicks will be evenly distributed inside the brooder ring.

Lighting

The brooder must be supplied with adequate lighting. The lighting is necessary to help the day old chicks locate the food and water inside the brooder ring. During the first 7 days after the chick placement, make sure that you provide bright lighting inside the brooder ring.

However, as the chicks grow older, make sure that you reduce or step down the lighting gradually so as to prevent cannibalism in the birds.

Ventilation

You must maintain very good air quality inside the brooder ring. This is particularly important if you are using the charcoal burners to keep the poultry house warm. A high accumulation of carbon monoxide in the poultry house is likely to lead to gas poisoning. On the other hand, a high concentration of ammonia gas in the poultry house is likely to cause ammonia burns and blindness in your chickens.

Vaccination

We have provided a vaccination schedule for your kienyeji chicken on this website that you must make sure you follow religiously. Also, make sure you provide the chicks with multivitamins before and after the vaccination.

Feed and Water

You can start your chicks off with a starter mash and eventually, you will introduce them into a grower mash. Make sure you provide the chicks with clean and fresh water at all times. Chickens will never forgive you if you fail to meet their water needs. It is likely to impact their development and productivity over the long term. During the early stages, you can also supply the chicks with a chick booster which is a mixture of glucose and vitamins.

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SELLING HIS PASSION, BUILDING OTHER FARMERS, ONE CHICKEN AT A TIME

One of our success stories is 25 year old Ken Tuju. Ken developed his love for chicken as a primary school pupil when his maternal grandmother gifted him with a 3 month old hen during a visit. Back home he tendered the young hen to maturity ensuring it raised its own 12 chicks months later. He would months down the line make his first sales and first income from selling his cocks in the local market earning Kshs. 1,400 and planting the mustard seed that would grow his passion for chicken to the young entrepreneur he is today.

The budding chicken farmer kept his growing flock of chicken in a corner of their house in West Uyoma where the flock now numbered 18. Overtime he juggled between his education and keeping chicken on a very small scale, but he had become conspicuous in his village due to his passion.

After his forth form, Ken continued his college education and at the same time researched in the internet how he could commercialize his chicken production to earn him sustainable income and reach out to other farmers. In this effort he came across KIENYEJI PARTNERS who would walk him through the process of commercialization of chicken production that involved training on production, financial and market linkages.

Ken bought our manuals and we also facilitated on farm training on ideal housing design and construction, record keeping, chick management, breeding, market requirements among others. We then linked him to our team of business advisors who took him through business performance tracking and poultry business advice.

Ken realized that most farmers feared venturing into the poultry business because they didn’t brooding fearing the risk of mortality when chicken were between one day and one month old. We trained him in set up and management of a mother unit and he has since relocated to Kisumu to set up a big mother unit selling 2,000 Rainbow Rooster month old chicks to smallholder farmers thereby saving the risks and costs associated with brooding and placing them on the path to commercialization.

Our first market linkage for ken was with local farmer organizations and NGOs supporting farmers through economic empowerment. He has built on this to create a big market for his month old chicks across the Republic of Kenya.
You can order month old Rainbow Rooster chicks from Ken Tuju through his number +254718 223 408, or Email: tujuken@gmail.com,   Twitter: @ktuju

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Business Opportunities in the Poultry Value Chain

The survival and profitability of a small scale enterprise like a small poultry business depends on the qualities of the person who starts the business.

Entrepreneurs have special traits that are measurable through some psychological tests and social indices. People possessing these traits and social indices at a certain level are expected to be more successful than those without them.

Original decision has to be checked continuously against personal objectives one has in life. The first step in starting one own poultry business and indeed any other business is a purely private and personal affair in which nobody can be of help. Poultry farmers need to keep scanning and analyzing the poultry environment and industry with an objective of identifying business opportunities in the poultry value chain.

There is still a gap in poultry production and consumption in Kenya which farmers need to strive to bridge and gain incomes. Chicken constitutes 98% of the entire poultry population of about 36 million birds in Kenya. Annual chicken offtake is estimated at Kes. 4.6 billion and kes. 10 Billion from eggs.

The per capita poultry meat and eggs consumption are 3.5kgs and 36 respectively against WHO recommended of 12kgs and 182 hence high demand. Farmers can therefore be either producers, breeders, input suppliers, service providers, processors or consumers.

A number of business options are therefore available to farmers or business savvy people intending to benefit from the value chain as follows:

  • Farmers can grow poultry feed components like soya, maize, millet, sorghum, sunflower, rice, cotton and sell to feed manufacturing companies or to farmers mixing their own feed at home. Check our manual on how to make your own poultry feeds.
  • Farmers can brood day old chicks into month old chicks and sell to farmers who fear the process and risks involved in brooding and make huge margins.
  • Farmers can raise their chicken to maturity and sell meat or eggs through contract selling to organized markets.
  • Farmers can collect the highly effective chicken manure and sell to other farmers planting other crops.
  • Shrewd business people can seek knowledge on feed formulation, mix the various categories of feed for layers, growers and chick marsh and sell to other poultry farmers.
  • Business people can act as agro-vet dealers and stockists for poultry related inputs like vaccines, feed, feeders and drinkers among others to serve farmers in a given region.
  • Accounts clerks can help local farmers in record keeping and book keeping to ensure they keep track of their expenses and incomes at a fee.
  • Local extension service providers can offer training and extension services to farmers at a fee.
  • A slaughter house can be constructed to safely process chicken for farmers before sale to buyers who require dressed chicken.
  • Traders can bulk chicken from farmers, buying at farm gate price and re-selling at a margin to organized markets.
  • Bodaboda operators can take advantage of the organized value chain to transport chicken, eggs and inputs to and from farmers.

These, among others are significant opportunities in the poultry value chain that shrewd business operators can take advantage of. It is however important to increase the production of chicken first to meet the required demand to be able to jumpstart the other related poultry businesses.

In order to be that entrepreneur who will benefit from this value chain, you therefore need to possess certain attributes or characteristics;

  • Initiative
  • You must be a go getter or opportunity seeker through a careful scanning of the needs of your environment.
  • You need to be persistent to be able to support business growth.
  • You should constantly be seeking information.
  • You should have the highest regard for good quality work.
  • You should have utmost commitment to work contract e.g. in servicing markets or other supplies.
  • You should adhere to systematic planning and efficiency orientation.
  • You should possess self-confidence and the drive to achieve your targeted objectives.
  • You should be persuasive i.e. use influence strategy to build your business and foster effective networking.
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10,000 Facebook Kienyeji Fans!!

If you have been following up on our progress the last few weeks, you will know that we have a fairly robust online presence in order to disseminate our services and information as much as possible. Apart from this informational blog on Kienyeji Chicken Farming, we also have our website where you can order your Kienyeji Chicken Farming Manual at KienyejiChicken.com. Our very first blog before we built the two websites was http://kienyejichicken.blogspot.com.

We also built a Facebook Page where we share various tips, updates and get to interact with Kienyeji Chicken Farmers. That Facebook Page can be found here https://www.facebook.com/KienyejiChickenFarmingManual. And that Facebook page has now hit 10,000 fans. To celebrate that milestone, we are offering the Kienyeji Chicken Farming Manual for only Ksh.400 this weekend.

We have more products and services lined up for you in May in order to support your Kienyeji Chicken business. These include the following:-

  • Kienyeji Chicken Feed Formulation Manual
  • Kienyeji Chicken Feed Formulation Weekly Training Programs
  • Kienyeji Supplies in Nairobi

Watch this space and we will let you know as we roll out new services. Happy weekend everyone.

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