Starting a poultry farming business is one of the best routes to wealth creation in Kenya. You can make a lot of money by carrying out poultry farming but you need to understand various facts and requirements before you venture deep. There are certain questions that you need to ask yourself when planning a poultry farming venture:-
- What kind of poultry farming do you want to venture into? Do you want to rear layers and produce eggs? Do you want to raise broilers and produce meat? Do you want to raise hybrid breeds such as Rainbow Rooster, Kuroiler, Kenbro, Indbro or Improved Kienyeji?
- Are you planning a small scale or extensive farming venture? For example do you plan on keeping 300 birds or 5000 birds?
- How much money are you planning to invest in poultry farming? This will depend on the scale and the kind of farming you are planning to venture into?
- Where will you get the cash for poultry venture? There are various sources including savings, bank loan, SACCO or business partners.
- Do you have land ready?
- Are you planning to buy day old chicks or will you hatch your own chicks via an incubator?
How much money do you have for your poultry farming business?
Once you have worked out on your vision or what you want to achieve with your poultry farm over the next few years, you need to move on to more practical considerations like the amount of money that you can raise in order to put up the business. This depends on your ambition. Before you work out the money issue, first decide on the number of chicks that you are planning to keep in the premises.
There are certain startup costs that you will need to meet:
- The cost of buying materials and building chicken house: Will depend on the number of chickens you plan to keep as well as the materials that you will use for construction
- Cost of setting up a brooder
- Cost of buying feeds
- Cost of labor
- Cost of buying poultry equipment
- Cost buying and transporting day old chicks
- Cost of heating/maintaining desirable temperatures
- Cost of vaccinations during the first eight weeks
Build your poultry house
Decide on the number of chicks. Get your house design and dimensions right. You can check out our housing dimensions on our Kienyeji Housing Manual. Take the house design to a Fundi in order to get a quote. Please note that a Fundi is likely to give you a quotation that is up to 30% higher than the actual cost so it is important to be cautious when buying materials in order to avoid overspending. Labor cost should be 15-20% of the material cost at most. Check out our housing manual for all the details on how to build an ideal poultry house for your chickens.
Buy Poultry Equipment
These are the feeders, drinkers, jikos, infra-red lamps, feeding trays, feed crushers and mixers and many other equipment that will be necessary for efficient poultry keeping. Poultry equipment in Kenya are generally cheap, but the local market doesn’t have some sophisticated ones such as the nipple drinkers of pan-feeding systems. You may need to import these ones. Some foreign companies such as BigDutchman have now entered the local market and supply a variety of innovative poultry equipment and machinery.
Buy Poultry Feeds
For the first 8 weeks, you are going to feed them on chick mash before you transition to growers mash. But how much should you feed? For example, one-week old chicks should eat 12 to 15g per day. Assuming you have 500 chicks, you will be feeding them between 6000 and 7500gm per day or 6Kg to 7.5Kg per day. If you are buying the chick mash that is 50Kg, it is supposed to last you anywhere between 6 and 8 days in the first week. So the feeding cost for week 1 is going to be roughly Ksh.2700.
In week 2, you are still feeding chick mash but the rate of intake has increased to between 15g and 21gm. So assuming 500 chicks, you are going to need anywhere between 7500gm and 10,500gm. So a 50Kg bag of chick mash will last you anywhere from 5 to 6 days. The cost is slightly more than Ksh.2700.
In week 3, you are still feeding chick mash. The rate of feeding per chick has now more than doubled to 35-50gm. The 500 chicks will be consuming anywhere from 17,500gm to 25,000gm. You 50kg bag of chick mash will last anywhere from 2-3 days and so on. Put the feeds in the feeders and the chicks will share it roughly equally. If there are weak chicks which are not feeding well, you can isolate them and put them where they are alone and away from more aggressive chicks. For additional information on poultry feeding requirements, check out our POULTRY FEED FORMULATION MANUAL.
You can purchase a commercial brooding equipment or you may simply improvise with timber and ordinary jiko to provide heating.
There are various chick breeds that you can purchase if you are planning to start a poultry farming business in Kenya. These include the following:-
- Commercial layers: the New Hampshire, Lohmann, Hi-line and the White Leghorn chicken breeds. These are by far the most profitable but they also come with costly and very intensive management. They are the pure egg-type breeds and produce plenty of eggs. Ideally, you should hit up to 350 eggs per year per chicken but you will most likely hit about 250-270 because it is very difficult to reach the genetic potential of a particular chicken breed. That requires super-efficient management.
- Broilers: These are reared for meat production. They put on weight pretty fast and will be ready for slaughter in less than two weeks.
- Hybrid Breeds: These are hybrid and dual purpose birds which can be kept in free range conditions and be kept for both eggs and meat. Examples include Rainbow Rooster, Kuroiler, KARI Improved Kienyeji, Indbro and Kenbro amongst others.
The type of poultry breed that you choose to rear will depend on your farming objectives. Do you want to produce eggs or meat? Are you looking for a free range suitable breed or a commercial chicken breed?
There is so much that goes into poultry management in order to help maximize on production and deliver value. Biosecurity is very important including proper hygiene when handling the property. Offer vaccinations in time. Observe poultry for any unusual behavior and administer medication in time. Check out the variety of biosecurity measures that you need to take in order to ensure 90% production levels in our poultry farming manual.
Proper record keeping is very key to success. Record every minute detail including mortality, cost of feeds, number of days the feed lasts, vaccinations administered, cost of vaccination, number of eggs laid every day, weight of eggs, sales and many more. We have designed some great records that you can use in your record keeping. Check them out in our Kienyeji chicken farming manual.
You will basically have personal responsibility for marketing your poultry so you need to work that out early as you build your poultry business. If you are profitable in year 1, you may choose to scale this up and introduce more chicks so that you can hit a true commercial scale. Anything we left out? Don’t hesitate to get touch with us in case you need a little more information.