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Farming “fallback” option bears dividend for Nandi livestock farmer

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By George Munene

Nich­olas Kibet read­ily ad­mits that he fell back on farm­ing as a last re­sort. After tak­ing a failed stab at polit­ics in 2017—the 29 year old res­id­ent of Kapsa­bet town had been a can­did­ate for the mem­ber of county as­sembly seat—he’d spent most of his sav­ings and in his own words; ”Maisha ilikuwa imekuwa ngumu.”

One thing he still had though was land, and farm­ing with its low bar­rier of entry provided him with an op­por­tun­ity to build from hav­ing five chick­ens to now a flock of more than 200 and some 70 doper sheep.

He sup­plies 10 chicken daily to a local res­taur­ant, and hatches on av­er­age 100 chicks every month.  He also sells at least two rams each for between Sh8000-10,000 every month.

His reas­on­ing for opt­ing for pure kienyeji chicken: “The local de­mand for kienyeji chicken is in­sa­ti­able; they are hardy—res­ist­ant to most dis­eases and thrive fed on a little In the way of com­mer­cial feeds.”

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For his 200 ma­ture birds he says, eight kilo­grams of feed is all he needs for them in the morn­ing be­fore free ran­ging them on his one acre farm for the rest of the day­His ma­ture bird are fed on lay­ers mash, two 50 kilo­gram bags at a cost of Sh5000 last his 100 birds one month .His chick­ens reach three kilo­grams at a timely six months when he sells them in bulk at a local hotel for Sh700 or for Sh1000-900 to in­di­vidual buy­ers.  Chicks, more than grown chick­ens are the real money makers he says: one-day old chicks go for Sh100, two-month-olds for Sh250-200 while four month old sell for Sh450-400. A 50kg chick mash bag goes for between Sh2,000 and 2,500 and feeds 100 of his chick for a month. 

“In all the years I have been rais­ing kienyeji chicken, given they are well vac­cin­ated and reg­u­larly dewormed the only cause of dis­ease I can think off is hous­ing them in an un­clean, unaer­ated coop. Deworm­ing at the first month and every two or three months is para­mount too, given free ranged chicken go about in­gest­ing most of everything they come across,” Nich­olas ad­vices. His routine vac­cin­a­tions con­sti­tute New­castle at three weeks and fowl pox on the first month.

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His sheep pro­ject he says was birthed from the suc­cess of his poultry busi­ness. “Whatever profits I made from my chicken, I made sure to save some Sh10,000-5,000 every week which Id ear­marked as start­ing cap­ital for my sheep busi­ness; with the suc­cess of the poultry side of things it was far easier to start up he says.

Start­ing off with three in­di­gen­ous sheep he’s just fin­ished con­struc­tion of a new mod­ern shed hous­ing 70 sheep, 40 of which are pure-line dop­ers.  “The doper is hardy, is a light to mod­er­ate eater con­sum­ing about sven kilo­grams daily and a fast ma­turer that gath­ers weight quickly. Com­pared to other breeds its mut­ton also doesn’t have any char­ac­ter­istic sheep’s smell mak­ing it a fa­vour­ite for con­sumers.” “The mar­ket ap­pet­ite is cer­tainly there,” he says. With stand­ing or­ders from as far as Nairobi for one day old sheep at Sh3000; thus far, the busi­ness is prov­ing more than a good bet. He grazes his sheep on forest land sup­ple­ment­ing them with bhoma rhodes hay and 5 kilo­grams of dairy meal twice every week.

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