Poultry keeping is one of the easiest and common forms of businesses among the small scale farmers. It requires very little capital to start and maintain providing a great income substitute to farmers. A common question received on the WeFarm system further explains this;
Stacy asks: why are chicken considered as successful poultry for rearing?
She had 2 answers, these are, Rebecca advises chicken are easy to handle and they require little capital, in my region they are very expensive and fetch good money the cheapest one can sell is KES 500! While another farmer advised that you can realise fast profit from young chicks, or from selling eggs daily from 6 months old layers and if keeping broilers sell their meat from as early as 42 days.
As brought out well by this question from one of the farmers who asked ‘what do I require to start poultry farming?’ One of the answers he received was that he needs a chicken house, which should have proper ventilation and the floor be well done. Some farmers use saw dust but it should be avoided to ensure that chicken are not feeding on the sawdust which maybe harmful, instead use wood chippings which they cannot eat. Another requirement is a balanced diet. Ensure that your chicken are constantly fed on the right diet for the various needs.
From day one to week 8- feed the chicks with chick or duck mash. Week 8 to week 20- the chicks are now pullets so give them growers mash. Week 20 to week 72- they are ready to start laying feed them layers mash.
Day one to week 4- starter mash. Week 4 to week 7 - follow up mash. NB/ Always provide clean water throughout.
Did you know?
Did you know for better digestion of chicken feed you can mix the feeds with a little yogurt to help in digestion or give the chicks Molaplus Culture for the same.
Buy young chicks from a reputable hatchery. These are quite widespread in the country with some of the famous ones being Kenchick, Muguku Kenbrid, Sigma,Rift Valley hatcheries, Wachanga hatcheries. There is also provision to buy from KALRO where they sell the new improved local chicken otherwise known as ‘Kenbro’ chicken. You can also opt for the indigenous type known as ‘kienyeji’ chicken. They are slower in growth but fetch higher prices in the market. As soon as you have the chicks, Vaccinate accordingly. Chicks are vaccinated from day one against Gumboro and this vaccine is usually administered by the hatchery so when purchasing chicks confirm this. However a general Chicken vaccination programme is as follows, Day 1-marek's, 2 wks- gumboro, 3 wks- newcastle, 6 wks- fowl pox, 8 wks- fowl typhoid and 19 wks-deworming. You can have subsequent Newcastle vaccinations at week 6, 10 and 13 depending on the prevalence of the disease in your area.As they get older, you will use different feeders, but for the first week or two, plastic chick feeders are quite accessible and easy to use and clean.
Have you noticed at times your chicks dying within the first few days?
Maybe it’s the cold. Ensure that you provide an artificial brooder that will keep them warm. This can be easily done by provision of a jiko that is well secured in the chicken house or even using a lamp to substitute in giving warmth to the chicks until they have enough feathers that will provide them with warmth. Did you know that if you observe your young chicks are unable to walk and have curled toes, then they are suffering from vitamin deficiency correct it by giving them vitamin supplements. A great tip from our agriculture expert Monica
Want to make your poultry worms free?
Add crushed garlic to the drinking water of poultry. Helps in controlling worm infestations in poultry flocks by making the gut inhospitable. Thanks Monica for the tip. One more thing, Victor Kigen advises: Do not just keep chicken for its meat and eggs, how about using Chicken Waste As Organic Manure it has higher nutrients content compare to other domestic waste materials or even the chemical fertilizers.
Did you learn something new? Do you keep chickens? What is your tip on this great and easy venture that other farmers can learn from?