Prisca Njeri has been in the egg-laying chicken farming business for over seven years.
She ventured into poultry farming without prior knowledge of chicken husbandry, as she didn’t see anyone in her community raising chickens for commercial purposes.
Her understanding of chicken farming was limited to her parents and others in her community who kept indigenous chickens for home consumption and as a special holiday meal during Christmas.
As a wife whose primary role was taking care of her family, Prisca Njeri sought alternative ways to supplement her family’s income and support her husband.
Poultry farming seemed like a viable option, and with a capital of Sh450,000, including a loan, she embarked on her chicken project.
“I started with 400 chicks,” she reveals. However, she was unaware of the unique challenges posed by commercial poultry farming, such as the need for proper housing, specialized care, and disease prevention.
One critical aspect of successful chicken farming is ensuring that the chicks receive vaccinations against prevalent avian diseases like Newcastle disease, cough, Gumboro, and Marek’s disease. Prisca Njeri recalls the early days of her journey, where she faced the devastating loss of 250 chicks due to Marek’s disease, resulting in a significant financial setback.
Inadequate housing and overcrowding were among the challenges she encountered, prompting her to seek further education on optimal chicken rearing practices. This encompassed factors like the size of the coop, vaccination for the chicks, nutrition, healthcare, and access to clean water.
“Environmental conditions are also crucial, as well as following biosecurity measures to prevent the spread of diseases,” she explains.
Prisca Njeri has adopted a free-range system, allowing her chickens to roam in open spaces and engage in natural behaviors like scratching and foraging.
“Chickens should be free to move around to improve and strengthen their physical health, in accordance with national and international regulations on animal and poultry farming,” advises Dr. Apollo Gichane, an expert from Kenchic, a renowned poultry company in East Africa.
Prisca Njeri, now recognized as a successful poultry farmer, receives her day-old chicks from Kenchic, a company specializing in poultry breeding.
Residing in Kikuyu, Kiambu County, she manages her project on a piece of land measuring 50 feet by 100 feet, currently housing approximately 1,600 egg-laying chickens. These are improved indigenous breeds, and she mentions that her coops can accommodate up to 7,500 chickens.
“Given the emphasis on quality housing, proper standards, nutrition, healthcare, hygiene, and access to water, poultry farming can be profitable,” Njeri asserts.
A crate of eggs in the retail market sells for no less than Sh450, with each egg priced at Sh15. However, the current poultry farming landscape faces challenges due to rising feed costs