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.”
Related News: Kilifi farmer unable to meet growing brahma chicken demand
Related News: Dorper sheep resuscitates sheep rearing in Kenya
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.
Related News: Baringo County farmer ups his income tenfold after facing out red Maasai sheep for dorper breed
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.