Focused farmer makes a fortune from rearing and selling chicken
By Sharon Githambo
Poultry farming in Kenya is playing an important role in the growth of our economy. It has gone a long way in meeting the ever growing demand for nutritious food in Kenya. There are many cases of successful entrepreneurs in the country who have made a fortune from commercial poultry farming.
Most farmers in Kenya raise layers (for eggs) or broiler (for meat) chicken. Interest in backyard urban poultry farming is an international phenomenon whose benefits include human to animal bonding and production of eggs and meat.
Poultry farming in Kenya is mostly small-scale, and predominantly for domestic consumption. It is fast gaining popularity as a business activity that can earn you extra bucks real quick. More people (especially those in the urban areas) are finally embracing the fact that chicken farming is an enterprise that supplements their income.
When we arrived at her farm, Susan Wanjiku was busy attending to her three customers at the garage. They had come to purchase her chicks. Susan’s big smile showed how well she relates with her customers. After she lost her husband in 2011, Susan did not know where to start since she was unemployed and had a young family to take care of. With just three chickens, she decided to start a poultry business in order to generate some income for her family’s upkeep. It was never an easy thing since majority of her friends would turn their backs on her whenever she asked for financial assistance.
After selling eggs from her three chickens, she managed to buy an incubator where she put her eggs till they hatched. “I started this project after I lost my husband in 2011,” she says adding that in the beginning, she had only three chickens. She religiously collected eggs from the three birds and put them in the incubator to hatch.
She used the money she got from selling eggs and chicks to buy a pick up that made it easier for her to deliver the products to her many clients. With time, her income grew steadily and this enabled her to complete constructing the family house which her late husband had started. In addition, she bought a five acre piece of land, besides paying school fees for her children. “As much as this work is demanding, it is very rewarding; it earns me between Kshs. 100,000 and Kshs. 200,000 per month,” she happily says.
A few years later, the chickens increased in numbers. This really worried her because the space in her compound is very limited. To address this challenge, she used her garage and the space underneath her house staircase, to keep the extra chicken.
Currently she has 400 layers, 200 growers and 1000 chicks while the rest are cocks. Each cage contains at least 30 chickens. She has also been able to purchase two incubators where one accommodates 1,056 eggs and the other one 528 eggs.
Advice to the upcoming entrepreneurs
Susan’s advice to the upcoming entrepreneurs is that they should never forget where they have come from no matter how successful they become. She emphasizes that entrepreneurs should draw lessons from the adage – pride comes before a fall. “This business needs someone who is hardworking and with a lot of patience,” she says adding that despite that, it is very fulfilling.