Lucy Ngugi, a poultry farmer in Kiambu is rearing bantams, a variety of ornamental birds, rather than chicken for commercial purposes, a move that earns her 20 times more weekly.
“Despite their tiny size, I sell a week old bird at sh 800, one month old at sh 1200 and two month old at sh 1500. The eggs on the other hand earn me Sh 200 per egg on the minimum, in a week, I collects one tray of eggs which fetches me sh 3,000” says Ms. Ngugi. Chicken eggs on the other hand go for between sh.11 and sh. 15 meaning a chicken farmer earns less than a bantam keeper.
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Bantams laying interval is shorter unlike chickens with prolonged dry spells. A bantam lays about 150 eggs per year whilst their bigger cousins yield more than 250 eggs over the same period.
Bantams tend to be prolific layers. Although eggs are smaller (roughly two-thirds the size of a standard egg), they are good layers, which in the end may mean more eggs overall.
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Furthermore, the bantams require less space, therefore, more economical to rear. The space of one chicken is fit for two bantams. They can be raised in poultry house or be on free-range.They also mature faster; within four to five months, are easy to take care of because of the small amount of feed they require per day.
However, Ms Ngugi does not limit the amount of feeds she offers them; they consume between 60g and 80g per day but a laying bantam requires between 120g and 150g of feeds per day. The feed can be on pellets, ordinary chicken mash or kitchen remains and some greens if they are in confined areas.
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The income generated from the eggs has enabled her purchase different types of bantams including eight sizzle bantams, seven silkie bantams (one male and six female) and five booted bantams at sh 15,000. This she says will enable her meet the high demand for the birds in the current market.
Silkie bantam birds are cheap profitable birds to rear
Lucy uses WhatsApp, a freeware and cross-platform instant messaging service for smartphones to market her birds and eggs. She also advertises on Otugi television where she pays sh 100 for one advert every two weeks.
She can be reached on +254 717 019 511