Dennis Chege holding some of his chicken eggs at his Kiamuni poultry farm in Nakuru County. Photo courtesy.
Dennis Chege, 30, a security supervisor at a leading foods company in Kenya, is building a thriving pure local chicken breeds, improved indigenous chicken and ornamental birds farming, a venture which is earning him over Sh500,000 annually.
“I run two poultry businesses in Nakuru; Mary Poultry Farm which is located at Kiamuni and registered in my wife’s name, Mary Njeri and Clatch Kuku Shop Company which deals in all poultry products and services,” said Chege.
Mary Poultry Farm is divided into two portions. The first sits on a 50m by 100m farm at Kiamuni where he keeps 5000 parent or mature chicken and while the other occupies an eighth of an acre at Langalanga which hosts 500 ornamental birds such as bantams, fizzles, necked neck, pigeons and French mondain among others.
“I sell fully grown improved or pure kienyeji chicken weighing about a kilo at Sh300-Sh450 depending on the number of chicken a customer purchases. I also supply several poultry farmers in Kisii and Siaya counties with over 1400 chicks every month,” said Chege.
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The indigenous chicken are a favourite among farmers due to their tasty eggs and meat, earn him Sh300,000 gross a month while the ornamental birds which are more expensive at Sh3000 earn him Sh150,000 gross.
Chege also sells both stable (without yolk) and fertilized (with yolk) chicken eggs at between Sh600 and Sh750 per tray while stable ornamental birds eggs goes at Sh1,000- Sh2,000 per tray depending on the breed.
Currently in the market, an egg from indigenous chicken retails at Sh25-Sh30 compared to those from hybrid layers which retails for Sh12-Sh15, according to KALRO’s Non-Ruminant Research Center statistics,
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The 2008 graduate from the Christ the King College in Nakuru holds a diploma in Information Technology (IT). After graduating, he got a job as an untrained instructor at Prime Time Institute in Nakuru. He saved the money that earned and it would facilitate as his capital to start is poultry side-hustle.
“Due to limited capital, I decided to start small but with a view of increasing the investment and grow the venture,” said Chege.
With approximately Sh10,000, he bought five chicken for Sh1,000, he used Sh6000 to set up a temporary poultry house and the rest he used to buy chicken feeds as well as drugs. He would eventually set up a Sh100,000 poultry house as the number of birds increased over the years.
At the end of 2010 he left the institute and joined Wells Fargo as an administration officer and security consultant. He ran his young poultry farm on part time especially over the weekends, during holidays and his off days until 2012 when he resigned to focus on his poultry farming.
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However, a chance job position at Unga Group Limited as a security supervisor, a company that manufactures animal health and nutrition products among other products, would throw him back into the formal employment world in September 2013.
“Getting a chance to work at the company just came at the right time when I wanted to not only increase my knowledge and investment in poultry farming but also get proper poultry market connection,” said Chege.
As a security supervisor at the company’s Eldoret plant in charge of CCTV operations, it enables him to interact with all department in the plant, this gives him the opportunity to learn about chicken feeds and their production process.
While he is a supervisor from 8am to 5pm (Monday to Friday) Chege has entrusted the full management of his poultry business to his wife, a business partner and other three employees who operate day-to-day poultry activities when he is away.
His future aspirations include creating a leading poultry company in Kenya that deals in poultry products and services creating more employment opportunities.