On the day of this visit, Daniel Mang’ong’o is administering antibiotics to his flock. Mang’ong’o, 40, rears chicken, geese, turkeys, ducks and guinea fowl on his three-quarter-acre farm in Muraka village, Kakamega County.
“The birds have a bad flu which is common during wet season. I was told that this antibiotic helps manage the flu,” says Mang’ong’o.
Although Mang’ong’o has chosen to administer the medicine on his own, farmers are usually advised to seek the expertise of vets before administering such drugs.
The farmer started the poultry business in 2017 to meet the huge demand for white meat in Kakamega.
“I also discovered there was a shortage of fertilised eggs laid by indigenous hens. Locals prefer them compared to the exotic breed,” says Mang’ong’o who began with 20 hens.
The farmer also runs a shop where he sells eggs at between Sh20 and Sh25.
He sells the birds at between Sh1,000 and Sh1,200 depending on the weight, age and sex.
“I sell the cock at slightly a higher price because of their weight,” says Mang’ong’o.
Economical use of resources
At the farm, nothing goes to waste. Chicken droppings are used at the vegetables and indigenous bananas farm.
“As you can see, vegetables and the banana crop are doing well because of the chicken droppings which are prepared decomposed well to make manure then it is applied on the farm,” he says.
To perfect his game, the farmer is keen on research.
“I learnt how to identify quality eggs with high chances of hatching from the Internet,” he explains.
Mang’ong’o hatches some of the eggs collected on the farm in a commercial incubator. He is charged Sh20 for each egg by the incubator owner. After 21 days, he collects the chicks and rears them at the farm.
“When transporting the young birds, it is important to ensure the chicks are vaccinated before they are transported to the farm. This is repeated after every three months,” he says,
To keep the birds healthy, the farmer, rears them in separate compartments depending on their age. This also helps minimise cannibalism.
He has put bulbs in strategic places within the structure to provide warmth to the poultry. The farmer says it is easy to monitor the birds health, control feeding and follow the vaccination routine when the birds are separated.
He receives orders of chicken from villagers, local schools and hotels in Kakamega, Siaya and Kisumu.
On a good week, Mang’ong’o can sell up to 50 birds translating to Sh50,000.
Like any other poultry farmer, Mang’ong’o has experienced hurdles along the way.
Skyrocketing price of poultry feeds and diseases is top on the list.
To feed the birds as recommended, Mang’ong’o requires 70 kilos of poultry feeds every week.
And since a bag of it goes at Sh2,000, it means the farmer spends almost Sh8,000 in a month on feeds alone. Maintaining cleanliness, collecting droppings and administering the vaccines is also a labour-intensive process.
“Sometimes, while I am away, the farm hand is overwhelmed with the work. I have lost part of my flock in the past as a result of this. I am forced to hire extra hands to help out which is costly.”
Despite the odds, Mang’ong’o soldiers on.
“I have big plans for the future. I want to go large scale, start formulating my own feeds and also embrace value addition for maximum yields,” he says.
From his savings, the farmer has bought at least two plots which he intends to develop.
“My wife advised me to shelve initial plans to buy a family car and focus on putting up rental houses on the two plots. We are in the processing of actualising that dream,” says Mang’ong’o.