A bantam cock at the Mombasa International Trade Fair of 2016. Bantams are small but expensive ornamental birds farmers are turning to for more profits. Photo by Laban Robert.
Instead of rearing chickens like other farmers, Lucy Ngugi has chosen bantams as one of the ornamental birds which require less hustle in keeping, but give good returns after maturity.
The bantams, which she says mature within four to five months, are easy to take care of because of the small amount of feed they require per day.
Bantams are dwarf relatives of chickens. They lay eggs that are about a half of those of chickens in size.
“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. Their life is simple,” the Kiambu County farmer, who lives along Thika Road, said.
A bantam requires about one foot squire space.
Despite their small stature, bantams ‘hate those chickens despising’ them; they can attack a mature hen!
Although Ms Ngugi does not limit the amount of feeds she offers these short, but touty ornamental birds, they consume between 60g and 80g per day.
A laying chicken requires between 120g and 150g of feeds per day.
The feed can be in pellets, ordinary chicken mash or kitchen remains and some greens if they are in confined areas.
Despite their size, the Ruiru farmer-sells a-five-month-aged pair of the birds at Sh6,000 while the eggs fetch Sh50 on the minimum.
Their 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.
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Bantams are over three times more expensive despite their small size because they are not mainly for meat or eggs, but beauty.
She is remaining with about 8 of the bantams after selling the rest towards the end of 2016.Ms Ngugi also rears turkey, guinea fowls, among others.
Ms Ngugi can be reached on +254717019511