Irene Chepkoech holds sukumawiki and a feeder as hundreds of her chickens scramble for the leaves. She has found solace in poultry keeping, specialising in the rainbow rooster chicken variety.
The mother of two and a resident of Kaptebeswet village, Kericho County, ventured into chicken farming with a capital of just Sh10,000 in 2018. The birds’ coops are 10×12 feet. There are several on the farm.
“I started with 100 chicks, which I bought from Kukuchic in Eldoret,” said the farmer, who also rears dairy cattle.
Chepkoech, who uses half-an-acre piece for her poultry farming, gives her birds various kinds of feeds.
“They get growers mash, vegetables, nappier and other feeds,” the farmer said, adding that the birds are fed two times a day.
Chepkoech also allows her chickens to move freely on the farm looking for insects and other types of food.
She buys feed from Tulwet Agrovet in Kericho town and currently has about 400 birds.
The number would have been far much higher she sells a bird occasionally. “I usually sell them before they reach full maturity. I however don’t sell the eggs,” she said.
Since she has other businesses to attend to in Kericho town, Chepkoech has to plan her time accordingly. She must ensure her birds are fed adequately and on time.
A one-and-a-half-month-old chick goes for Sh350, while a two to three-month-old is sold for Sh500.
“Social media, particularly Facebook and WhatsApp, help me get customers fast. Farming groups also come in handy,” Chepkoech told Seeds Of Gold.
Birds of prey, especially hawks, attack her birds at times. The other challenge to her venture, she says, is getting a good and reliable market for her birds. The bounty season is when the December and New Year festivities approach.
Chepkoech uses the manure she gets from her birds to grow vegetables, bananas, maize, beans nappier grass, flowers and other crops.
For those who would want to venture into poultry keeping, Chepkoech has a piece of advice. “Poultry farming is easy to start and manage,” she says, adding that it requires very little capital.
Chepkoech, who hopes to become a large-scale poultry farmer, says she makes about Sh20,000 monthly sales. The sales, however, keep fluctuating for a number of reasons, mainly the forces of supply and demand.
“The highest that I can make is Sh20,000, and sometimes it depends on the market,” says Chepkoech.