In Summary
  • If you recall, I started my poultry project in Nairobi’s Parklands area in three rooms that housed my first batch of 100 Kari Improved Kienyeji chickens.
  • When I asked about the number of birds he planned to rear, he intimated that his plan was to start with 100 and increase his stock gradually.
  • But before I delved into the details of designing adequate space for chicken, I needed to know his primary objective for venturing into poultry farming. He said that his goal was to eventually commercialise the venture.
  • Because I can’t have all the answers for readers, I have also asked him to share with me other ideas he may have in dealing with space constraints. If you have any, kindly share.

The other day I received an email from Anthony Muli, which reminded me about my own journey starting a poultry project in Nairobi years back and the challenges I faced.

I will share with you so that you can know what to keep in mind if you plan to start a poultry project in Nairobi or any other urban centre.

Anthony had sent me a second reminder email, which is usually not the case because I always try to respond to readers’ enquiries as soon as possible. I had to first apologise to him for the delay.

“I have enjoyed reading your articles in the past one year,” he wrote. “I want to start rearing Kienyeji chickens in the backyard of my three-bedroom maisonette in Nairobi.” Now, to cut the chase, Anthony wanted a plan for a chicken house.

If you recall, I started my poultry project in Nairobi’s Parklands area in three rooms that housed my first batch of 100 Kari Improved Kienyeji chickens.

Within six months, they started laying eggs and because I was hatching chicks, within no time, I had hundreds of them literally pecking at my feet every time I opened the door.

I was lucky to sell off and keep a few, but space remained a challenge.

The first thing that came to my mind was how many birds he planned to keep and the size of space.

“Actually, I took measurements, my space is 10 by 10 feet squared,” he replied.

When I asked about the number of birds he planned to rear, he intimated that his plan was to start with 100 and increase his stock gradually.

CONGESTION INCREASES STRESS IN BIRDS

I liked his idea of starting small to learn from one’s mistakes before scaling up. I have narrated before that part of our learning comes from action and there is no level of prior planning and preparation that will compensate for what you learn on the job (Seeds of Gold, September 3, 2016; September 24, 2016).

But before I delved into the details of designing adequate space for chicken, I needed to know his primary objective for venturing into poultry farming. He said that his goal was to eventually commercialise the venture.

Based on my past experiences, I told him right away that the space was too small for 100 birds, let alone a commercial venture.

“Experts recommend 25, 10 and four chicks, growers and adult respectively birds per meter square of floor spacing.”
There is another challenge Anthony was going to face. According to Dr Omari, a long-time vet.

“If you squeeze many birds into a small space, the risk of spreading diseases increases and this can result in high mortality.”

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