In Summary
  • The farm, which sits on half-acre, has been operational for 12 years, with the former high school teacher noting she began farming as a hobby before she resigned to do it as a business.
  • Chickens are delicate since one disease can wipe all of them out in a day.
  • There are also compartments along the walls of the houses that are covered with a black paper to provide privacy for the birds when laying and keep the eggs safe. Susan advises farmers to feed mature birds 140g of feeds per day.

With 10,000 layers and 30 dairy cattle, Susan Chege’s Hilltop Agribusiness Enterprise in Lanet, on the outskirts of Nakuru town, is a remarkable spectacle.

The farm, which sits on half-acre, has been operational for 12 years, with the former high school teacher noting she began farming as a hobby before she resigned to do it as a business.

“I started with two cows and about 10 chickens to keep me busy during the long holidays and provide milk and eggs for the family. A few months later, neighbours started placing orders for both milk and eggs and that was when I decided to make it my full time business,” Susan told us this week.

She then resigned from her job and bought 1,200 chicks as she sunk Sh100,000 into the business.

Paul Kamau, a veterinary doctor who works closely with Susan, guided us and visiting farmers around, explaining best practices on the farm.

“Each bird sits on 2 square feet and are kept in a rectangular house that is properly ventilated,” he said.

The chicken houses are built facing away from the sun so as not to disturb the birds when they start laying eggs. For every 50 birds, one feeder and drinker is provided.

In the layers’ house, there are troughs snaking across the room and covered by wood. The troughs ensure that the birds have a continuous supply of clean water while the wood protects water from contamination.

IMPORTANT FOR SOCIALISATION

There are also compartments along the walls of the houses that are covered with a black paper to provide privacy for the birds when laying and keep the eggs safe. Susan advises farmers to feed mature birds 140g of feeds per day.

“We feed them at 4pm every day because the chickens lays eggs in the evening. During the day, they finish up on the food given previously and drink water until the next batch of food is provided,” said the former English and Literature teacher at Kenyatta Secondary in Nakuru.

She collects a minimum of 200 trays of eggs per day, which already have market in supermarkets at Sh300 each. “I also sell four eggs with broken shells at Sh20 to individuals, so there is no loss.” Apart from food and water, according to Susan, vaccination is key in attaining best production.

“It helps to stop diseases that would otherwise have affected the chicks at that tender age,” Susan noted.

At the cowsheds, cubicles of her animals of the Fleckvieh, Ayrshire and Friesian breeds are made in such a way that they face each other, which Kamau said is important for socialisation.

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