Indigenous (Kienyeji) chickens are not only common in Kenyan homesteads but across Africa. They are kept for both home consumption and for commercial production of eggs and meat. Farmers keeping such poultry invest little to negligible money in their investment and at the same time, reap a small amount of money from the chickens.
Despite this common phenomenon, several farmers in Kenya have turned this into a lucrative business venture, making hundreds of thousands to millions. If you’re considering starting a poultry farm in Kenya, this post will take you through how to start kienyeji poultry farming in Kenya and techniques to employ to reap profits from this simple business venture.
Let’s dive in…
Step 1: Conduct Thorough Research
As lucrative as kienyeji poultry may sound, it doesn’t come without its share of challenges. As a farmer, you will need the right information to get maximum productivity.
Research the industry, local market conditions, consumer preferences, and the specific requirements for poultry farming in Kenya.
You should understand the different poultry breeds, their growth rates, feed requirements, and diseases prevalent in the region. Visiting existing poultry farms and speaking to experienced farmers will provide valuable insights and practical tips.
Further, you should visit any local poultry clinic near you and get all the necessary information you need about rearing Kienyeji chicken. If clinics are scarce, agro-vet shop owners usually have much information about poultry farming and can provide good insight.
Kenya Agricultural Research Institute occasionally holds one-week training sessions in poultry farming. Making an effort of attending these courses will place you on the right path. In the course, you will learn:
- How to keep chicken
- Caring for poultry
- Culturing management
- Improved Kienyeji farming techniques
Step 2: Develop a Business Plan
Any business increases its chances of success by having a simple business plan. A business plan aims to:
- Outline your goals, the scale of the farm, the target market, marketing strategies, and financial projections.
- Calculate the estimated costs for acquiring land, constructing poultry houses, purchasing equipment, and obtaining poultry stock.
- Lay out an operational plan, contingency measures, and a timeline for achieving profitability.
- Guide your decision-making and help secure financing, if needed.
If you choose to seek funding for your business, you will need to write a more professional business plan. Here is a brief tutorial.
Step 3: Choose the Right Poultry Housing and Equipment
Before you start your poultry farm, you must understand that poultry are easily infected by diseases and therefore, biosecurity is a crucial part of your business.
As you set up poultry housing and equipment, you must ensure that your hygiene is upheld, lest you risk losing all your investment in a single day.
Proper sanitization equipment should be placed at the entrance to the poultry farm and proper clothing should be provided for anyone who wants to visit the poultry. Such clothing includes;
- Masks (Optional)
Setting up the poultry house
Poultry houses play a crucial role in providing a suitable environment for the birds. You should consider factors such as space requirements, ventilation, lighting, and insulation when constructing or selecting your housing.
Popular housing techniques in Kenya include free-range and deep-litter housing. Download our tutorial on both housing techniques below.
Budgeting for your poultry farm
Depending on your budget and the scale of your operation, you can opt for simple structures or more advanced facilities like battery cages or deep litter systems.
|Equipment||Approximate Price Range (KES)|
|Poultry House/Structure||20,000 – 500,000|
|Feeders (With a red base)||500 – 2,000|
|Drinkers||300 – 1,500|
|Brooders/Heaters||1,000 – 10,000|
|Egg Incubator/Hatcheries||10,000 – 100,000|
|Weighing Scale||2,000 – 5,000|
|Egg Trays||50 – 200|
|Nesting Boxes||500 – 3,000|
|Vaccination Equipment||500 – 2,000|
|Egg Grading Machine||20,000 – 100,000|
|Lighting Equipment||1,000 – 5,000|
|Ventilation System||10,000 – 50,000|
|Manure Removal System||5,000 – 20,000|
|Protective Clothing/Gear||500 – 3,000|
|Transportation Cages/Boxes||500 – 3,000|
|Generator/Power Backup||10,000 – 50,000|
|Water Storage Tanks||3,000 – 20,000|
|Average price range||54,900 – 1,810,200|
Note that the prices listed above are rough estimates and can vary depending on the brand, quality, and size of the equipment. Moreover, inflation and the Kenyan economy may also cause variations in prices.
More points on kienyeji poultry farming in Kenya
As you buy feeders, make sure you only buy those with a red base. This is because birds mainly identify red as compared to other colours in the spectrum of light. Therefore, choosing any other feeder design may make it difficult for your brood to identify the feeders.
Further, your poultry housing should have several perches.
A perch, is a raised platform or seat, such as one that is used by a bird to rest or roost. Perches can be made from a variety of materials, including wood, metal, and plastic.
These platforms make the birds busy and reduce their chances of getting bored and eating eggs.
Step 4: Select Suitable Poultry Breeds
Choose poultry breeds that are well-suited to the local climate, market demand, and your farming objectives. Here is the breakdown of popular kienyeji poultry farming breeds;
A: KARI Kienyeji Chicken
The Kenya Agricultural Research Foundation (KARI) developed a new breed of indigenous chicken that offers better yield. The KARI Kienyeji chicken is faster growing, more resilient against diseases, and has higher productivity than other indigenous breeds. Further, consumers report that meat from this breed is far more delicious than other indigenous breeds.
Some of its prominent characteristics include
- The growth rate of up to 1.5kg in about five months, while other indigenous breeds take up to 7 months or more.
- The chickens have a feathering system that helps them adjust to different climatic conditions, including arid and semi-arid regions.
- The KARI Kienyeji chicken is easy to maintain and can be kept under a free-range system or deep litter system.
- Farmers can choose to keep the KARI Kienyeji chicken for meat, eggs, or both.
- A hen can produce between 220 and 280 eggs per year, which is similar to the output of a white leghorn exotic layer kept in a deep litter system.
Other popular breeds in Kenya include:
- Rainbow Rooster
- Improved Kienyeji
Harvesting eggs for re-breeding
Before harvesting eggs, you have to make sure that your hands are clean, to reduce the risk of bacterial infection to the eggs.
Secondly, eggs are picked and placed directly on trays in an upside-down fashion i.e., the pointed edge should face down.
The logic behind this is that eggs have an air cell under the flatter surface of the egg. This air cell should be protected as chicks depend on this for growth.
This technique can still be used for eggs on sale.
Step 5: Ensure Proper Nutrition and Health Management
Providing the right nutrition is crucial for optimal poultry growth and productivity. Develop a feeding program based on the specific nutritional requirements of the poultry breed you choose.
Consult with a poultry nutritionist to formulate balanced rations that include a combination of grains, protein sources, minerals, and vitamins.
Water is also a crucial part of the growth of poultry. Therefore, ensure that you provide a lot of clean water for your brood.
Step 6: Marketing and Selling Your Poultry Products
In the modern Kenyan market, chicken price ranges from KES 1,000 to KES 1,500 depending on size and weight. Of course, these prices may vary according to the terms and conditions you set with your buyer or broker.
Identify your target market and develop effective marketing strategies to promote your poultry products.
Consider supplying to local markets, supermarkets, hotels, high schools and restaurants and finally, establish partnerships with retailers or wholesalers to reach a wider customer base.
Embracing digital marketing channels will also go a long way in attracting distant customers who may even order from outside the country.
A proper marketing strategy will increase your customer base and increase your income streams.
Starting a kienyeji poultry farming business in Kenya can be a very lucrative and rewarding endeavour. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can lay a strong foundation for success.
Remember to conduct thorough research, develop a comprehensive business plan, choose suitable housing and equipment, select the right poultry breeds, ensure proper nutrition and health management, implement effective marketing strategies, and continuously learn and improve.