Western province is the home of chicken and chicken-loving people. The mention of the word chicken and everyone knows or rather thinks of the luhya people. The Luhya’s are famed for their love for the birds so much that they would do anything to get a piece of it. The trouble with this notion is that, many of the people from this region, just rear chicken for consumption purposes, while others see the bird as an ideal business venture that can earn one millions.
The Kimiya’s however, know better. With their over 500 chicken, they hope to make their first million by the end of the year. They have just started the process of ensuring that they shall be laughing all the way to the bank in the coming few months. During my visit to the region, this was the first family I met that had taken up this business venture seriously and theirs was arguably the best chicken-rearing farm I had come across during my visit.
“Chicken rearing is not easy and that’s why many people would rather just keep a few which they can eat rather than for business purposes as various challenges abound from this venture. A squirrel in an enemy of the chickens and once they discover a place where chickens are in plenty, they come in droves,” stated Evans Kimiya.
“We however, have not been deterred from trying our hand. For those of us who have done proper research, we know that if well taken care of, chicken rearing, is lucrative. Another challenge is the common sicknesses that the fowls normally get. If and when one chick falls sick, there is trouble in the poultry house. Many will follow suit and die if proper and quick action is not taken,” added Evans.
Evans and Kezia Kimiya have 550 chicken currently. They started by constructing netted housing for them as they needed to be contained unlike the traditional chicken. They thought about rearing broilers as many had suggested to them. But after proper research they concluded that the layers are a better choice for many reasons. The fact that after a certain period, the broilers don’t seem to continue growing and thus one has to sell them according to much they weigh was one reason.
The fact that they can always get a market for the eggs was motivation enough. An egg costs Shillings 12 each. For the over 500 chicken they have, they could be getting over Shillings 5,000 daily. This means that in a good month Shillings 150,000 is theirs for the taking. In a year, 3,600,000. This is interesting.
Joseph Ayiego, a son of the Kimiya’s was the one who was tasked with ensuring that proper housing for the chicken business is up and running. He was also responsible for ensuring that he knew where to get the best deals for chicken feed as it can sometimes prove to be dear.
They started the business in early March this year. The fact that AYODEF came in handy with information on the agri-business for chicken and not just for subsistence farming was a great boost to their knowledge bank.
They however, know that once they layers grow old and are not as productive as they should be, they will be slaughtered for sale. This is just the beginning, they tell me and they might consider keeping the broilers too once they establish a market.
This venture cost them:
For this business to take place, one needs chicks. I day old chick costs Shillings 100 and one has to get them in Kisumu. When they started they first bought 600 chicks but some died as a result of being chocked by the saw dust that perhaps looked like feed to them. Saw dust is normally put on the floor of the poultry house in order to cover it and keep dumbness from it as well as ensuring that the chicks are warm.
Considering that rural electrification has not yet made headway in their village, they have to buy paraffin to ensure that the lighting is on all day and night. They use up to 20 litres of paraffin in a week. Keeping them warm ensures that productivity is high.
To put up the netted chicken housing with proper lighting, it cost them approximately Shillings 40,000.
Drinkers- the water jars for chicken to drink water from – cost them Shillings 700 each. They have 8 of them. This meant Shillings 5,600 for drinkers alone.
Appropriate feeders which are raised from the ground each cost them Shillings 1,400. They bought 11 of them. This meant Shillings 15,400 for feeders.
They stated that they used approximately Shillings 120,000 to ensure that that the chicken-rearing business was up and running.
“We believe that the returns are going to be high. We are the only people from around this area that rear chicken, thus our neighbours will definitely buy eggs from us. Layers take about 6 months before they start to lay eggs. They don’t need a cock before they can lay eggs,” stated Ayiego.
Feeding the chicks can also be a task. Chick mash costs Shillings 3,600 per bag and they use one bag per day to feed them. They give the chick mash to chicks under 2 months.
After the 2nd month, they are now fed on growers which costs Shillings 2500 per bag. As they grow older their feed reduces in price. They are fed in the morning and in the evening.
“So far so good. The thing that we are afraid of is the illnesses that fowls are prone to. Otherwise, we are taking all the precaution to ensure that extreme care and cleanliness is accorded to the birds. Not everyone is allowed to enter the chicken house,” stated Kimiya.
“Theft is also an issue that we will have to grapple with. We have heard instances where people just come and steal people’s chicken at night and one wakes up to the shock of an empty poultry house yet they did not hear any commotion,” added Ayiego.
Their main market is in Kisumu which is actually near than Kakamega.
After one year of production, the layers can now be slaughtered for meat purposes. Each could be sold for Shillings 500. If they sell 500 of them they get Shillings 250,000.
They are grateful to AYODEF that assisted them in various ways. From advice to sometimes coming through for them in term so loans.
Apart from the chicken rearing, they also practice similar kind of farming that most of the people in Gambogi are practise.
They are hopeful that the fruits of their hard work will be seen before the end of the year.
By: Fiona Imbali, OAIC Communications