Esther Philip, a farmer from Machakos County can confirm that it makes agri-business sense to engage in poultry farming. Using information provided by agricultural extension service providers, she has grown her small chicken project that started with only 20 birds two years ago, to an income generating enterprise, selling chicks to her community and earning an income that has enabled her improve her livelihood.
Esther is a farmer from Mutituni market in Machakos County who is reaping the benefits of indigenous poultry farming. She started her chicken project in 2014 with 20 hens. The project did well and she managed to multiply the flock five-fold, to 100 birds by close of the same year. She says, “I was able to earn KSh. 48,000 by selling 80 birds at Ksh.600 each and this enabled me pay school fees for my children and meet most of my other family needs “.
She continued to manage her remaining hens well and they managed to hatch 50 chicks. But things did not go on well and all the chicks died. She nearly gave up, but fortunately she met Anthony Musili, an extension officer with Biovision Africa Trust, who had been invited to train Nimutui farmers stake holder group of which she is a member. The group members were taken through the chicken value chain management. The areas covered included housing, feeding, and pest and disease management, The training emphasized on sanitation of the poultry house and daily maintenance of all feeding equipments. The poultry house also lacked perches as she did not consider them important. The extension agent supported his training by issuing her with a copy of ‘The Organic Farmer magazine for future reference.
Esther followed the officer’s advice and after several weeks, the health of her chicken improved significantly and eggs collection increased from 5 eggs to between 10 and 15 daily from the 20 hens. By the end of 2015, she managed to sell another flock of 100 birds, and bought a 60 eggs capacity incubator which she now uses to hatch eggs. She gets eggs for hatching from her project as well as from reputable neighbours. This has enabled her to become a supplier of chicks to other farmers in her locality and beyond. The income from the poultry project has enabled her to expand her salon business. She also plans to buy a bigger incubator to meet her customers’ needs. Esther is now a role model in the community and she extends invitations to other farmers to her farm for practical learning.