Rearing of turkeys is earning Kenyan farmers three to four times more income in six months, compared to chicken.
Chore Sunda, a poultry farmer who delved into free-range turkey farming in 1984, is not quitting soon after seeing this opportunity, which has paid school fees for his two sons from secondary to middle-level colleges.
“A turkey consumes about 40kg of feeds from day one to six months. It may consume more if it is confined to a poultry house. They are between four and five kilos. I sell each at Sh5,000,” said Sunda.
Gobblers-male turkeys- grow past six kilos, and if left until 10 months, they can clock ten kilos, he said.
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Twenty kilos of commercial feeds costs about Sh1,100.
While chicken market booms mostly on holidays and other celebrations like Christmas, turkey meat is on demand almost all times.
“One high-end hotel in Kisii town constantly asks me if I have chicks. They pay upfront to secure them even at one month. I know many people who are rearing chicken, including myself. But I know few rearing turkeys,” he said.
Sunda has seven turkeys- five of which have been paid for- after selling three younger ones and bought an indigenous calf at Sh12,000 in April, 2016.
The main challenge he faces in raring the exotic bird is rains, which lead to reduced temperature in the Kisii highlands.
In cushioning himself against shocks when he does not have turkeys to sell, the farmer rears kienyeji chicken, broiler-layers crossbreed, geese and guinea fowls.
“Extreme cold is an enemy to these birds. I constructed a perfect shelter after realising that in my early years of farming. And I have been improving it from time to time.
The 66-year-old farmer hopes to cash on the rising status of Kisii County headquarters, as more high-end hotels are being set up.
A six kilogramme Kenbro cock of eight months in the Kisii Show was sold at Sh2,500 while hens of four kilos fetched Sh1,200.
In ordinary cases, cocks fetch a maximum of Sh1,500 while chickens sell at Sh600 and Sh800 depending on their weight.
Broilers also fetch Sh400 while layers being sold for meat after reaching unproductive ages, earn as little as Sh200.
Chore can be reached on +254729217058.