IT consultant finds fortune in rare birds

An enterprising IT consultant is setting the agenda in poultry farming in Kenya with adoption of rare birds known as Bantams that are earning him a fortune.

As a young and ambitious IT consultant, many people did not expect James Mwaura to spare part of his valuable time into agribusiness. However, curiosity led Mwaura into one of the thriving part time job that earns him a monthly net of Sh40,000. Having done a lot of internet research, Mwaura had settled on keeping rare birds and to be specific the Bantam chicken breed. “These birds are so unique; they are half the size of the indigenous birds, have pretty colored feathers (golden, bluish) and ideal for pet purpose,” noted Mwaura. The breed which originates from Indonesia is rare in the country and therefore Mwaura knew that he may struggle to acquire his new parent.

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 A year down the line and Mwaura is now focused in scaling up his agribusiness venture due to the immense potential that it has got. As many Kenyan farmers are opting for the KARI Kienyeji and Kuroiler breeds, Mwaura noted that in turn they are leaving him and a handful of other farmers in the rare birds sector that generating great market interest.

Unlike other breeds, Bantam breeds according to Mwaura are low feeders and highly resistant to diseases. However, Mwaura advised that the birds must be subjected to the normal vaccination schedule for the local chicken. Mwaura has a variety of the Bantam chicken breed ranging from frizzle, polish and tilty.

The birds have an average laying capacity of five eggs per week although this schedule can be interrupted by external shocks like sudden change in weather. The birds are average mothers according to Mwaura as they can brood and hatch chicks when well attended to. Currently Mwaura retails each egg between Sh150-200. He mainly keeps the chicken for their eggs although their meat has high nutritional just like the indigenous ones.

The market for the birds is now booming and Mwaura admits that he cannot meet the supply demands in the market.  “In a week I receive over 40 inquiries. Many of my clients are acquiring the birds for ornamental purposes,” explained Mwaura. He has managed to multiply his parent stock to about 50 mature birds. On average mature bantam chicken costs between 3000 to 9500 depending on the locattion.

The success he has achieved with the birds in the spun of one year has seen him acquire other bird species that are also ideal for ornamental use. Additional species that Mwaura is keeping on his farm located in garden estate along Thika road Nairobi include white guinea fowl, fantail, pigeon and peacock.