In Summary
  • My poultry adventure began as a hobby about six years ago. I started with 30 hens and three roosters, which I bought from a neighbour.
  • I didn’t have my breakthrough until in October 2014 when I got my first order of 100 day-old chicks from Kalro, Naivasha.
  • Things started going haywire when a disease the vets diagnosed as infectious coryza (or acute respiratory disease) struck my flock.
  • If my past experience counts, after toiling to raise my chicken, come December when they are mature, I walk straight into the arms of middlemen who buy cheap to make a quick kill.

Around this time last year, I shared a mid-term report of my run in poultry. I called it the “State of the Union Address to the Poultry Nation”. I intend to do the same in this piece, but first some background.

My poultry adventure began as a hobby about six years ago. I started with 30 hens and three roosters, which I bought from a neighbour.

The problem was that for two years running, I couldn’t rear the chicks beyond two months and they kept dying despite vaccinating them.

In fact, mortality at two months was as high as 80 per cent and one farmer even told me that the birds had been bewitched.

I didn’t have my breakthrough until in October 2014 when I got my first order of 100 day-old chicks from Kalro, Naivasha.

For two years or so, things seemed to be going well. I was able to control diseases and even started formulating my own feeds and this lowered the cost by about 30 and 40 per cent.

I also bought an incubator and started hatching chicks for rearing and selling.

Further, I registered a company called Kienyeji Kenya Ltd with a matching slogan, “Fresh and flavoured by nature”.

I even received a Kenya Bureau of Standards mark meaning I could now supply my products to supermarkets.

Things started going haywire when a disease the vets diagnosed as infectious coryza (or acute respiratory disease) struck my flock (Seeds of Gold, Aug 27, 2016).

DIDN'T MINCE THEIR WORDS

At the peak of this infection in December last year, I had lost 594 (a 72 per cent death rate) of the flock.

My dream of becoming a major supplier to supermarkets came a cropper.

The good vets who kept visiting my farm didn’t mince their words. “Get rid of all your remaining stock, clean up the premises and leave it vacant for at least three months before you bring in any new stock,” one told me.

I did exactly what they told me and the results seem to be paying off. I first cleaned up the infected chicken pen (Seeds of Gold, May 20) and then I disinfected it (Seeds of Gold May 27).

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