Category Archives: Poultry Farming in Kenya

Poultry Farming in Kenya: A Success Story

In Kenya, the story of the poultry industry is one that is full of many successes. There is a billionaire poultry farmer in Kenya who has built up an entire value chain around the poultry industry including factories for manufacturing feeds, processing poultry, incubation facilities, eggs and poultry supermarkets and which employees thousands of Kenyans.  There are also many poultry millionaires and “thousandnaires” in Kenya who have been able to build good cash flows and revenue streams from poultry farming. First, here is a brief overview of some of the most successful poultry companies in Kenya:-

Brade Gate Poultry Industries

Started by Dr. Thuo Mathenge, these are a group of companies that are active in the entire poultry value chain in Kenya. The company was established in 2011 to help transform the poultry industry in Kenya and also take it to the next level. Today, the group runs a series of companies including a breeding farm, a plant for hatching chicks, a chicken processing plant as well as a feed mill where quality commercial poultry feeds are manufactured.  Brade Gate Poultry Industry also runs a supermarket where farmers can purchase all their poultry related materials such as the equipment, poultry feeds as well as information on poultry farming. Through its Chicken Republic brand, the company supplies quality poultry products locally, regionally and internationally to diverse clientele. This is a company that is generating billions of shillings through poultry farming. The company even has a hotel where it serves some of the finest chicken tastes from the Brade Gate Poultry Industries.

Breedtech

This is one of the largest if not the largest poultry farm in Western Kenya. The company is situated in Trans Nzoia County, some 20km from Kitale town and is mainly involved in the breeding of the indigenous Kienyeji chicken in order to come up with better chicken breeds. The proprietor, Dr. Mwangale, has spent many years in poultry consultancy and established his indigenous poultry breeding farm after seven years of breeding research.

Today the company is one of the largest suppliers of fertilized eggs to hatcheries and chicks to farmers in the Western and the Nyanza region. The company also trains farmers in the Nyanza and Western region in improved poultry farming techniques that will lead to an improvement in the yields.

Kukuchic

Based in Eldoret, Kukuchic is the leading producer of the breeder as well as supplier of the Rainbow Rooster birds and the Fast White Rainbow chicks in East Africa. The company has a hatchery and three breeder farms in Eldoret.  It has more than 20,000 parent stock of the Rainbow Rooster. The company has  a massive hatchery with a capacity of 240,000 chicks per month. KukuChic has also ventured cross-border in Uganda where it has established a hatchery and a breeder farm.  Its latest investment are the poultry feed mills which it is now constructing and which it hopes will help farmers lower their cost of production through high quality but lower costs poultry feeds.

Wendy Farms

Caleb Karuga’s story has been widely publicized in both the local and international media. He quit his media career and ventured into poultry farming, particularly of the kienyeji breed. After a few years of hard work, he now runs a multi-million shilling poultry farm in Kiambu, Wendy Farms, where he rears kienyeji chicken but also does large scale hatching of chicks.

But that is just one part of the poultry farming in Kenya. The other successes are in the thousands of Kenyans who start with as little as Ksh.5000 and go on to build successful poultry farming that earns them incomes of as much as Ksh.100,000 per month in just a few years.

Many Kenyans from all over the country have seen the great potential of poultry farming in Kenya. They are no longer raising chickens just for Christmas and Easter. People have began thinking critically on how they can commercialize this lucrative industry and make lots of money while meeting the poultry consumption demands of Kenyans. There are many factors which work in Kenyans’ favor and which can enable them to quickly establish a poultry farming business in Kenya. These include the following:-

  • The low cost of the day old chicks
  • A large network of farmers and vets from which you can draw support
  • A large and ready market for poultry products
  • Solid research into the industry guided by KARI
  • Good investment in poultry farming by non-governmental organizations such as Technoserve

Poultry Farming Techniques in Kenya

As discussed in our poultry farming manuals, there are numerous farming systems which you can adopt as a poultry farmer. These include the small scale confined farming system, the improved semi-free range poultry farming system in Kenya and the intensive commercial poultry farming system. The free range system is not productive enough nor is it suitable for a commercial scale where you would wish to make some good money from your poultry investments.

Commercial poultry farming in Kenya means that you have to invest in better housing, better feeding, better health management and better feeding in order to improve the yield of your poultry. There is a technique that you need to use in order to build an ideal poultry house that will lead to higher survival rates for your poultry. These simple models are covered in our poultry farming guidebook and manuals.

Exotic Versus Kienyeji Breeds

The Poultry products which are currently commanding the Kenyan market are the broilers. These can be produced in very efficient conditions within a very short time. They typically mature very fast but they also consume vast amounts of feeds. In the recent years, there have been concerns that some Kenyan farmers are injecting these broilers with growth hormones in order to accelerate their growth. This has led many Kenyans to embrace more organic poultry products in the form of the Kienyeji chicken breeds.

Since the old kienyeji chicken is not as productive, the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute carried out an extensive research over 10 years and came up with an IMPROVED version of the traditional kienyeji chickens which has higher yields both in terms of meat and eggs and which matures relatively faster.

As a Kenyan kienyeji farmer, there are many other kienyeji-like breeds that you can also opt for. These include the following:-

  • The Rainbow Rooster hens
  • Kenbro
  • Kuroiler
  • KARI Improved Kienyeji Chicken

The advantage with all of these birds is that they can easily do well in the hardy conditions in which many Kenyans rear their kienyeji chickens. They are also cheap to source with the one day old chicks costing only Ksh.100 each. The hard part would be in the brooding of the chicks. If you do not take adequate preparations during the brooding management and fail to regulate temperature adequately, you are likely to see a very high mortality rate in your chicks.

What Chicken Breeds Should You Choose

If you are going to invest in the commercial production of both meat and eggs, then you can go for the broiler and layers respectively which mature faster and also lay very many eggs. You can source these from the hatcheries.

However, as mentioned above, one of the new trends in Kenya is kienyeji chicken farming because many Kenyans now want ORGANIC chicken meat which is free of chemicals or growth hormones. They want chicken which have grown naturally and matured at the right age without any boosters, chemicals or hormones because these are not only healthy, they are also very sweet chicken. In Kienyeji chicken farming business, one of the requirements that you need to incorporate is a chicken run where you provide the hens some pasture land or grazing area where they can scavenge, eat some grass, termites and get exposed to sunshine. This is one of the main factors that contributes to a very good quality and nutritious meat and eggs.

If you want to buy the KARI Improved Kienyeji chicken, you can place an order at the KARI Naivasha and wait three weeks for these to be delivered to you. Alternatively, you can use any of the local hatcheries which are available and which have a reputation for good quality.

Housing

We have written extensively on this blog and on our manuals about the kind of housing that you should build for your birds. It should have the right density as too much congestion will contribute to a poor living environment which in turn impacts the yield of your farm. It should have the right ventilation. You can choose to go with the deep litter system based on the ground or with the raised floor system which can accommodate a larger number of birds.

Housing can be as expensive as you wish it to be or as cheap as you wish it to be. There are certain materials which when used, will significantly lower the costs of building a house. For example, when constructing housing for one of our clients, we used the timber offsets or planks of wood with lengths of up to 12 or 24 feet and each of these cost us only Ksh.80. We purchased 200 timber offsets which were sufficient to build a 30 feet by 15 feet chicken house capable of accommodating up to 500 birds.

In some places in Kenya, the timber offsets are likely more expensive and thus the costs are likely higher than this. Two rolls of chicken wire was sufficient for us for the Kienyeji Chicken house. Some people use bricks and concrete and some even iron sheets or clay in order to build the outer structure. As long as you have the right density and the right ventilation for the chicken house, you shouldn’t really be limited with the kinds of materials that you will use for the chicken house.

The other issue with chicken house is that you will have to construct a chicken run where the hens can graze and feed during the day and get exposed. Here, you can use barbed wire and the chain link wire on top of it. Make sure the chicken run fence is at least six feet in height.

If you will be building multiple chicken houses in rows for a truly large scale commercial chicken farming, make sure they are spaced out at least 40 feet apart if you have sufficient space to work with. Ensure the litter is removed on a daily basis and the houses replenished with clean food and water.

Feeding

We have plenty of details on chicken feeding covered on our feed formulation manual. This includes what you should feed and at what age. With the kienyeji breeds, you can supplement the commercial feeds with feeds such as grains, fishmeal etc in order to lower the cost of production. Getting the hens to also graze outside is also a way of lowering the cost of your production and management.

Care Management

Cleanliness and good feeding is very key to the success of your poultry farming venture. Know the vaccinate schedule for the chicken and make sure you do it on time. Whenever you notice anything unusual such as the sudden or mysterious deaths of the chicks, ensure you call the vets as soon as possible. Good housing and good fencing will also help keep out many predators, both animals and humans.

Record Keeping

Do not just rear your poultry in a vacuum. Good record keeping will help you keep tabs on various aspects of your poultry production including mortality rates, vaccination, amount of feeding, feeding costs and many others.

Poultry Marketing

Once you have reared your birds to maturity, this should really be the easier part. There are numerous places where you can sell your poultry produce such as restaurants, hotels, schools, events, Facebook, local markets and many more. You can also sign up on our Kienyeji Marketing Network for Ksh.500 and let us market your poultry produce for you.

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Start Your Own Poultry Farming Business in Kenya

There are plenty of opportunities in Kenya for generating a steady and sustainable income. One of them is investing in poultry farming in Kenya. Some might be a bit intimated by this business but the truth is that getting started with poultry farming is much easier than you would imagine.

Poultry farming in Kenya is worth billions of shillings and the industry continues to grow steadily. Tens of millions of chickens are slaughtered every year with more Kenyans embracing poultry meat over red meat from cows for example. Another thing is that Kenyans are embracing the free range or kienyeji variety of poultry due to the bad reputation of some of the commercial exotic breeds where farmers are always tempted to inject the chicks with growth hormones for faster growth.

This high and increasingly growing demand is part of the main reasons why there are so many opportunities when it comes to poultry farming in Kenya. The poultry farming in Kenya is not just for the large commercial producers. Whether you are a small or medium scale producer, it is still possible for you to get a piece of pie when it comes to the poultry industry which will help you in earning a sustainable income source over several years. Kenyan’s appetite for chicken is now at an all-time high. The population and economy are growing really fast and millions of Kenyans have been lifted into the middle-class income bracket.

From a glance, the poultry industry seems like one that is dominated by the big players in Kenya but the truth is that the tens or hundreds of thousands keeping 10-1000 chickens command a significant portion of this market. This means that the small and medium scale producers of poultry in Kenya currently have a market that is worth billions of shillings a year.

How to Get Going

If you have small capital to start with, it is important for you to figure out the segments of the poultry industry where you want to specialize in. This will impact how you will set up your poultry business and generate cash from your business. For example, you can start a hatchery and begin hatching and selling those chicks which are in high demand and sell to both small scale and large producers who have built the infrastructure for keeping the chicks. Hatching the chicks means that you are involved in the first phase of poultry farming in Kenya and the demand for your services will be quite high.

The second option through which you can join the industry is by buying desired day old chicks from a reliable supplier, growing and then selling them for meat or selling the eggs in order to generate the revenues. There are some poultry investors who are involved in the entire process of poultry production including the hatching, growing, making feeds, selling farm equipment and inputs, slaughtering, selling and marketing of the poultry products.

Poultry Farming in Kenya Delivers Quick Returns

Poultry farming in Kenya is not one of those investments where you will wait for years before you start reaping your returns. Within only a few months, you will already be selling your poultry products to the marketplace.  Combine that with the fact that you do not need a large capital outlay to get started on the investment and you have a winner which will generate great profits for you within a very short time.

You can begin with capital of as little as Ksh.20,000 and within five months, you will have doubled on that to Ksh.40,000 or more. By constantly introducing new chicks every month, you can have an ongoing poultry production business that will keep your cash flow throughout the year. The situation is even better if you invest in a poultry incubator in which case you can have chicks hatching every week and keep your cash flow rolling on a weekly basis. There is no other business in Kenya that provides such a quick turnaround like the poultry farming business in Kenya.

If you are planning to produce the day old chicks, then you must first invest in the incubators that you will use in order to start your hatchery. Selling your day old chicks for Ksh.100 each will be one of the fastest ways of generating income. Through clever placement of eggs inside the incubators that have been innovatively built to support multiple hatching cycles, it will be possible for you to hatch chicks on a weekly basis.

With a very good hatch rate which you can get through expertise and good incubators, you will also have very good margins for your hatching business. With hatcheries, you will not foot the cost of feeding the chicks as you can generate orders before the chicks hatch so that you can easily deliver them to the market upon hatching. When the chicks are one day old, they will be off your hands and there is very little cost that you will foot afterwards apart from the cost of vaccination. This is one of the reasons why the well-run hatcheries are generally very profitable.

Growing the Chicks

This is the alternative way for making money when it comes to poultry farming in Kenya. Here, you can simple invest in your one day old chicks, whether they are KARI Improved Kienyeji Chicken, Kuroiler, Rainbow Roosters or Kenbro, grow them over several weeks and then resell them in the market. When growing your chicks, you have to take note of several factors such as the cost of feeding, cost of medicine, cost of housing and labor, as well as the cost of the various facilities which are required for successful Kienyeji farming. You should also have good sources of a suitable market for your hens once they mature up. We specialize in marketing chicks through our Kienyeji Marketing Network that you can sign up on for only Ksh.500.

Profitable poultry farming in Kenya is no longer the preserve of the large companies or the more experienced poultry farmers. With a little investment and a little initiative, anyone can start running a very successful and profitable poultry farm in Kenya.

Try to invest in knowledge when it comes to poultry farming in Kenya. We have some of the most informative poultry farming manuals focusing on Kienyeji chicken farming that you can purchase so that you can embark on the path to successful kienyeji farming.

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How to Start Poultry Farming in Kenya-Hatchery Business

In the previous articles, we have discussed how you can start your poultry farming in Kenya as a farmer where you are buying chicks from the hatcheries and then giving them tender loving care so that they can survive and mature into adult birds that you can sell for profits. But there is another lucrative side to poultry farming in Kenya that can also be a great revenue generator if you do the right things and get it right so that you can realize a great hatch rate.

Unlike other poultry farming businesses in Kenya, hatchery requires a little specialized knowledge which is why it is generally carried out by only a small subset of farmers in the country. If you are planning to go into poultry hatchery, I would strongly advise you to start with the small commercial hatcheries first before you scale up to the larger hatcheries as you build your poultry farming expertise. The small scale commercial incubators will have a capacity of 500 or less and are generally ideal for those small to medium scale business entrepreneurs who are interested in starting their own hatcheries.

If you start small, the capital requirements are generally very small and you can easily run a highly profitable business. Some of the companies selling the commercial charities will also offer you all the required training as well the information pack to help you run your hatchery successfully. If you are planning to buy an incubator, one of the most important factors that you should verify is whether the incubator supplier offers training and support. This is always true of most suppliers in Kenya. This will smoothen the way for you as you set up an incubator that will generate money for you over the longer term.

During your business planning stage, you must decide on the best incubator suppliers in Kenya that you plan to work with. There are numerous of these companies in Kenya and you have to decide which of these will best suit your needs. Most of the incubators sold in the Kenyan market are imported from China. Some may be of good quality while some are not. Some are assembled in Kenya according to your specifications while some are manufactured in South Africa.

Why the Hatchery Business is a Good One in Kenya

The most obvious reason why should invest in a hatchery is that it is one of the most profitable businesses in the country. You can buy eggs cheaply and after 21 days, sell them as one day old chicks for Ksh.100 and above. If you have a good hatch rate which comes from knowing what to do and having a good incubator, you can get very good results and good money from your hatchery. There is a high demand for one day old chicks in Kenya, particularly of the improved kienyeji variety but also the layers and the broilers so as long as you market your products smartly, you can always have a very good cash flow when you run your hatchery business.

How Much Do You Need to Start a Hatching Business?

Fortunately, not much. You can start hatching your chicks with very little money and then as you make the profits, you can expand your hatching capacity over time. You can even start with an incubator that hatches 48 or 96 eggs and then move up slowly as your business grows.

How the Weekly Hatching Production Works

The incubation process involves two main procedures. There is the SETTING Phase. During this phase, the eggs in the incubator turn automatically or are turned manually depending on the incubator type. This takes place during the first 18 days inside the setter incubator. The next phase after the SETTING phase is the HATCHING phase. This occurs in the last three days of your incubation cycle, from day 18 to day 21.  The eggs will lay still on the hatcher for the 3 days until they have hatched on the 21stday. There are certain incubators that have been designed in an innovative way so that you can load them with the eggs after every 9 days so that you can hatch your eggs on a continuous basis and maintain a continuous cash flow for your business.

A Simple Overview of The Process of Hatching Your Chicks:-

  1. Buy Fertile Eggs from a Reliable Supplier
  2. Place the Fertile Eggs in the Incubator
  3.  Incubator Produces Chicks
  4. Sell Day Old Chicks and Start Making Money
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How to Start Poultry Farming In Kenya

A common question we are often asked by many Kenyans is how to get started in poultry farming. Some people simply have the “vision” of generating wealth through poultry farming in Kenya but they are clueless on the steps that they need to undertake in order to make this a success. If you have the desire but lack the details, here is a simple step by step guide on how you can move from the idea to the execution stage of poultry farming.

Planning stage

This is the most important stage when it comes to poultry farming in Kenya. If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail! You need to evaluate your current financial situation as well as resources available and determine if they will be adequate for poultry farming. As we have stated in previous blogs, you do not need a fortune to venture into poultry farming in Kenya. You can begin with as little as Ksh.5000 and then scale up from there. Here are some of the questions that you should ask yourself when planning to venture into poultry farming:-

  • How ambitious are you? Whenever someone calls me and asks about how to start keeping poultry, this is the first question which I always ask them. Are you planning to keep 20, 50, 100, 200, 300, 500, 700, 1000 or more chickens? Give yourself an annual target for the first year before you go to the next details.
  • Do you have the money? For committed farmers, money is not always an issue. Only the will. You do not need Ksh.180,000 to start poultry farming. Based on your first annual target, you can budget accordingly. For example, if your budget is Ksh.10,000, you can start with 50 chicks and then improvise on the space where you will keep them and also spend a little on feeders, drinkers and chick mash.
  • Do you have land or space to keep your poultry? You can rear your chickens on air. You will need land in a safe area where you can put up your structures for rearing your chickens. If you will be rearing the improved kienyeji chickens, then you might need even more land since you must leave some space that will serve as a chicken run where the chickens can graze and get exposed to sunshine which is key for quality meat and egg production.
  • What breeds are you planning to keep: If you are planning to keep poultry, you must also decide on your preferred breed of birds that you will keep. If you will be keeping kienyeji birds in the improved chicken management system, you can opt for the KARI improved kienyeji chickens, the Rainbow Rooster chickens, Kenbro chickens or even Kuroiler although this is not generally easy to find. One day Chicks typically cost Ksh.100 each.
  • Do you have access to ready and reliable labor? Most of the prospective poultry farming investors calling us are generally working class people who want to put something back home to supplement their income as their focus on their professional pursuits. If that is the case, you will need to look for a reliable farmhand that can take good care of the chickens.
  • Do you have a vet nearby? Chickens are generally affected with various diseases and conditions ranging from the viral infections to nutrition-based diseases. You need a good vet who you can call up to ensure that your hens are being fed adequately and immunized for the common diseases.
  • Where is Your Market? If you are rearing your kienyeji, you must also make plans for where you will market your produce including eggs and the hens themselves. You can sell these in restaurants, hotels or even local markets. You can also check out our Kienyeji Chicken Marketing Network in case you need assistance marketing your kienyeji chickens.

This is all there is to it when it comes to poultry farming in Kenya. It is not rocket science. You just need to take the initiative and plunge in right away. There are a lot of things that you will also learn along the way as you make the mistakes. You can buy our Kienyeji Farming Manuals in order to get the right information on your fingertips for success in Kienyeji farming.

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