By Fredrique Achieng’
A poultry farmer from Kakamega County has reduced his bird feed expenditure from Sh23,500 a month to just Sh7,050 by substituting commercial feeds with maggots extracted from pig waste.
Pigs utilise only 60 per cent of the food they eat, with 40 per cent coming out as waste. But Kakamega farmer Bernard Njaramba realised he could use the waste to make bird food. He began collecting it into heaps and exposing it to the open air for at least six hours so as to attract flies to speed up the decomposition process. After this, he leaves the droppings for six days to cure and for the maggots to fully develop. He then harvests the maggots manually and uses them to feed his birds between the age of three months and adulthood.
“In our three-acre farm, we used to depend on commercial feeds to feed all our chicken, geese, ducks, guinea fowl and turkey and would spend Sh23,500 per 500 kilos each month. So when we discovered that maggots can be an exclusive alternative source of food for birds, we switched to that mode of feeding.” said Njaramba.“Now we spend Sh7,050 per 150 kilos a month to feed the younger birds from the age of one day to three months since their digestive system is not yet ready to break down maggots.”
Since maggots have a short life cycle Nyaramba recommends that the maggots be fed to the birds within 10 days of harvesting before they develop into adults.
Bernard Nyaramba learnt of the breeding strategy in 2015 through online research when he wanted to find out how to make home-based feed that would improve his overall bird health and weight.
According to Livestock Research for Rural Development, maggots are a high source of protein that helps in the development of birds. A single meal contains 47.1 per cent protein, 25.3 per cent fat, 7.5 per cent fiber and other nutrients such as calcium, amino acids and vitamins.
Bearing in mind that protein is a key component in the healthy development of poultry, feeding them with maggots directly compensates for nutrients that would come from silverfish or soya beans, which tend to be expensive for the majority of small scale farmers.
“In addition, the birds rarely fall sick, they are bigger, look health and always produce larger eggs,” said Nyaramba.
Currently, Nyaramba has 150 birds across chicken, geese, ducks, guinea fowl and turkey, which he feeds with the maggots, and he also produces maggots to sell to farmers around him at the cost of Sh1800 for a 50kg bag. He sources the pig waste from his pigsty.
He can be reached on 0791331636.