Indigenous chicken farmers can cut the cost of production by rising their own nutritious black soldier larvae to supplement the chickens’ feed and enable the birds to achieve maturity and market stage faster.
According to Sospeter Kabue, a technician at Ecodudu, a waste-to-value company that recycles organic waste into high-protein animal feed, black soldier larvae has 70 per cent protein and 15 per cent vitamins among other nutrients that help speed up growth in chicken.
“As the demand for sustainably produced animal feed increases in Kenya, insects are playing a key role in providing quality nutrients and boosting farmers’ production and income,” said Kabue.
He says farmers start witnessing enhanced growth within one and a half weeks after feeding on the larvae.
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How to grow black soldier larvae
To start, farmers need to go through 2-3 hours of training on how to raise black soldier fly eggs to the larvae stage. This training is offered by Ecodudu at Sh300 per head or Sh1,000 per group of five individuals on.
Trainings are offered daily based on appointments. “we advise farmers who are interested to go through training to notify us early so that we may prepare to meet them as sometimes we are involved in out-of-the company marketing hence we may not be available all time,” said Kabue.
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After training farmers buy the black soldier fly eggs at Sh600 per 1.5 kilos which they divide equally into three troughs full of organic wastes such as fruits left-overs, decomposing vegetable parts among others in a well-guarded place.
For industrial Ecodudu sell the same measure of eggs at Sh2,500.
The eggs hatch after some four days and the young ones start feeding on the wastes for about 7-9 days to reach the larvae stage when the nutrients in them are at maximum level.
“This is the right time to feed them to the chicken just before they transit to pupal stage when the nutrient level in them starts dropping,” said Kabue.
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However, black soldier larvae are not supposed to be fed to broilers or layers because of the high protein content in them which causes excess fat in broilers and slow down laying of eggs among the layers.
The feed is best for indigenous chicken who source their own food. The three toughs can serve chicken for one week on supplement with other feeds.
Caption: Black soldier production levels. Photo Zablon Oyugi.
Ecodudu can be reached on email@example.com or +254 725 888 071/721 237 009 while Kabue on +254 725 263 691