Farmer Mary Njeri attending to chicks at her farm in Nakuru. Selling a month old chick is more profitable than a day old one. Photo by Laban Robert.
Selling one month old chicks can earn farmers three times more profits than those who dispose of the birds a day after hatching.
Although it requires more labour and resources in taking care of the day old chicks for a month, the selling price after this period is higher, allowing for more profit margins.
Nakuru’s Mary Poultry Farm owner Mary Njeri sold 600 chicks at Sh180,000 in early 2017.
The same chicks could have fetched the Langa Langa farmer a gross income of Sh60,000 a day after being hatched from the incubators.
From the Sh60,000, she could deduct Sh15,000 for the eggs, Sh3,000 for marek’s vaccine and Sh2,000 for electricity. Without labour, the farmers could have remained with a net profit of Sh40,000.
However, after keeping the chicks for a month, she made more than triple the profits, although she acknowledges that the risk in taking care of such a large stock is high.
Each of the chicks was sold at Sh300. This brought the gross sum to Sh180,000.
For the four weeks, the chicks consumed 150kg of chick mash. A 50kg bag costs Sh2,600. That is about Sh200 more than the regular price, when feeds are sufficient.
A mareks’ vaccine on the first day cost her Sh3,000. On the sixth day, new castle vaccine costing Sh800 was administered.
After 14 days, gumboro eye drop vaccine was administered followed by another one in drinking water after 21 days. Both of the vaccines cost Sh1,350.
On the fourth week, another new castle vaccine was administered, costing Sh550. Since the chicks were leaving, they were also vaccinated against fowl typhoid, costing Sh3,000.
The power bill for incubation, feeding and warmth for the one month was Sh4,000.
Njeri also incurred Sh8,000 in labour .
She remains with at least Sh138,000 net income after deducting the Sh15,000 of the eggs.
The cost of the chicks varies from Sh290 to Sh300 depending on the breed. But even after a discount of Sh50 from each of the chicks, still one can get Sh85,000 net profit after the mass sell out, the farmer said.
It is, however, easier said than done. Njeri said other challenges can accumulate from the loss of up to 30 percent of the eggs during incubation.
One may also have to raise more than 620 chicks to cover any losses that may occur during handling.
“If a farmer places an order of 600 chicks, I have to give a bigger margin during incubation to cater for loss of eggs or chicks along the way. But with my more than four years experience, I have learnt to minimise the losses where possible,” she said.
When www.farmbizafrica.com visited the farmer, the 1,360-eggs capacity incubator has just stopped turning the eggs, which were due for hatching in three days.
The rail, on which the trays rest as they tilt forth and backwards, had crashed dozens of eggs.
“When other people read our stories they think it is success all times. It is not always smooth for me. When I make profit from this side, it will cover a loss I made from another section the previous time,” she said.
Njeri can be reached on +254719216513