An Eldoret security expert has ventured into poultry faming on part time, a business which he has done for over eight years now earning him over Sh0.5m annually thanks to his childhood hobby.
Dennis Chege, 30, remembers how he loved keeping some doves and indigenous chicken back in 1996 when he was in his lower primary school level, a practice he never forgot even as he grew into adulthood.
After graduating from Christ the King College in Nakuru with a diploma in Information Technology (IT) in 2008, as usual for most unemployed school leavers in Kenya, Chege was employed as an untrained instructor at Prime Time Institute in Nakuru between 2009 and 2010.
It is from this work where, after saving, he got his first capital to buy five chicken at a cost of Sh1,000 and used the rest of the capital in putting up a poultry structure in Nakuru.
“Because of limited capital, I decided to start small but with a view of increasing the investment and grow the venture,” said Chege.
At the end of 2010 he left the institute and joined Wells Fargo as an administration officer. He could run his young poultry farm on part time especially over the weekend, during holidays and his off days until 2012 when he resigned to focus on his poultry farming.
In order to gain more knowledge in poultry farming and business, Chege visited his brother-in-law who was already an established chicken farmer in Mombasa and stayed over for six months enabling him to acquire more skills, knowledge and some chicken to add to his farm back in Nakuru.
Luckily enough, just after two months after he embarked in improving his Nakuru poultry farm, he secured another job in September 2013 with Unga Group Limited, a company that manufacture animal health and nutrition products among other products, an opportunity he says was God-sent.
“Getting a chance to work at the company just came at the right time when I wanted to not only increase my investment in my poultry farm but also get proper poultry market connection,” said Chege.
As a security supervisor at the company’s Eldoret plant in charge of CCTV operations, Chege says he is not limited in going at any part of the plant. This gives him opportunity to learn about chicken feeds and their production process.
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Currently Chege runs two poultry businesses in Nakuru; Mary Poultry Farm which is located at Kiamuni and registered in his wife name, Mary Njeri and Clatch Kuku Shop Company which deals in all poultry products and services.
Mary Poultry Farm is divided into two potions with the first portion sitting on a 50x100m farm at Kiamuni where he keeps parent or mature chicken and another eighth of an acre at Langalanga which hosts ornamental birds and where he does hutching and incubation of indigenous chicken.
In total he is currently running a poultry farm of over 5500 birds; 5000 improved indigenous chicken and 500 ornamental birds such as bantams, fizzles and necked neck among others.
He sells fully grown chicken weighing about a kilo at Sh300-450 depending on the number of chicken a customer purchases. He also supplies several poultry farmers in Kisii and Siaya counties with over 1400 chicks every month.
Chege also sells both stable and fertilized eggs between Sh600 and Sh750 per tray for improved indigenous chicken while stable ornamental birds eggs goes at Sh1000-2000 per crate depending on the breed.
His wife, a business partner and other three employees manage the poultry business most of the time while he is away.