Business

Engineer who fell in love with poultry

Engineer who fell in love with poultry
  • Using the incubator, the farmer hatches 180 chicks at a go for sale at Sh100 for day-olds, besides selling poultry feeds that he also makes on the farm.
  • His main market for chicken meat comprises households and events like weddings.
  • His dream is to start a poultry shop to sell products such as feeds, chicks and eggs.

Philip Ngunyi bends to check his incubator, where many eggs are neatly placed.

“These ones will hatch in a week’s time,” says the Mombasa-based farmer.

Ngunyi keeps 360 hens and 40 cocks of the naked neck or Turken, Kienyeji, Kuroiler and Rainbow breeds for their eggs, meat and chicks that he hatches using the incubator. He also rears 150 ducks.

“Of all the breeds, the naked necks are my favourite and they are in high demand because they are resistant to diseases and are good mothers,” says the 34-year-old, whose farm named Equinox is located in Kisauni.

Using the incubator, the farmer hatches 180 chicks at a go for sale at Sh100 for day-olds, besides selling poultry feeds that he also makes on the farm.

“I make the feeds from maize germ, omena or soya and wheat pollard, among other ingredients. I also offer my birds vegetables and red worms that I keep in my backyard,” he says.

He sells mature cocks weighing 4kg for up to Sh1,500 and hens at Sh1,000. He sells a 50kg bag of the feeds at Sh1,000 to fellow farmers, a price that is lower than that of commercial feeds.

“Feeding poultry is very expensive and if you rely mainly on commercial feeds, the business can become unsustainable,” says the farmer who got into the business in 2016 and makes up to Sh80,000 in a good month.

His main market for chicken meat comprises households and events like weddings. “Demand for poultry products is high, yet there are few farmers. The other day I got an order to supply 1,000 chickens for a wedding but I could not meet it despite trying to source birds from other farmers,” says Ngunyi, who holds a Bachelor of Science (Electrical and Electronic Engineering) from the Technical University of Mombasa.

His dream is to start a poultry shop to sell products such as feeds, chicks and eggs. Malindi sub-county veterinary officer Godrick Mwaringa says the naked neck breed has a good mothering ability and protects its chicks against predators, which makes it a good breed for free-ranging.

Dr Mwaringa says for a good commercial chicks’ business, farmers should use incubators.

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Taking care of chicks in brooders

Chicks must stay in the brooder from the time they are day-old to three to four weeks.

Use a supplemental heat source that would ensure they are not burnt or don’t die due to anoxia.

A simple brooder can be made from a circular cardboard and inside one places source of heat like jiko, lamp or bulb.

Circular brooders ensure chicks do not crowd in corners.