All posts by Mkulima wa Ecochicks

  1. Seek out neighbors and chicken farmers in the area

Yes, the internet is full of useful sites for raising chickens, but nothing beats the advice and knowledge of someone with whom you can talk in your area. Seeing other people’s setups will help you troubleshoot your own, and you can have people actually come see your operation and your chickens when you are having problems

2. Be prepared to stumble upon some horrible chicken deaths

Most of the times new beginners in poultry farming have little or nor experience in diseases controls and prevention.  When some diseases strike they sweep the entire flock

3. Don’t expect your chickens to lay eggs on a consistent schedule

The breed helps determines when your chickens should lay eggs, but chickens will often take longer than standard estimates and egg laying will vary with the seasons. Making sure they have good, whole grain food with at least 17 percent protein, a healthy amount of water and ample light will help

4. Plan to spend lot of time on “chicken blogs

Much like how parents pore over blogs and books about what’s ailing their sick children, when  chicken farmers’ hens get sick, they spend lots of time perusing sites

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We shall be using  The Pearson Square methodrelies on the Digestible Crude Protein (DCP) as the basic nutritional requirement for feed.

The most common ingredients used in poultry feed are whole maize, maize germ, cottonseed cake, soya beans, sunflower or omena (fishmeal).

The farmer needs to know the Digestible Crude Protein (DCP) of the raw materials. Whole maize (8.23 %DCP) Soya (45 % DCP) Omena (55 % DCP) and maize bran (7 % DCP) Sunflower (35 %DCP).

To make a 70 kg bag of feed

Layers require total crude protein content of at least 18 % to meet nutritional requirement.

34 kg of whole maize
12 kg of Soya
8 kg of omena
10 kg of maize bran
6 kg of Lime (as a calcium source)

Calculations

Whole maize = 34 kg x 8.23 ÷100 = 2.80kg
Soya bean = 12 kg x 45 ÷ 100 = 5.40 kg
Omena = 8 kg x 55 ÷ 100 = 4.40 kg
Maize bran = 10 kg x 7 ÷ 100 = 0.70 kg
Lime = 6 kg x 0 ÷ 100 = 0.00 kg
(Total crude protein 13.30 kg)

This means  in 70 kg bag,  the combined ingredients have a total crude protein content of  (13.30÷70) x 100 = 19.0 % which is higher than the requirement of 18%.

Feed for chickens meant for meat

Chickens meant for meat production require feed with a higher content of DCP. From the first to the fourth week, the chicks require feed with a DCP content of between 22% to 24%.

Whole maize = 40 kg
Omena = 12 kg
Soya beans = 14 kg
Lime = 4 kg

Calculations

Whole maize = 40 kg x 8.23 ÷ 100 = 3.20kg
Omena = 12 kg x 55 ÷ 100 = 6.60 kg
Soya beans = 14 kg x 45 ÷ 100 = 6.30 kg
Lime = 4 kg x 0 ÷ 100 = 0.00 kg
(Total crude protein 16.10 kg)

This means  in 70 kg bag,  the combined ingredients have a total crude protein content of (16. 10 ÷ 70) x 100= 23 %. which is higher than the requirement of  22%.

Feed for Kienyeji chicken

Indigenous chickens are less productive in terms of egg and meat increase. Farmers can constitute feeds with a DCP of between 15 – 16 %.

Whole maize = 34 kg
Soya bean = 12 kg
Omena = 8 kg
Maize bran = 10 kg
Lime = 6 kg

Calculations

Whole maize = 34 kg x 8.23 ÷100 = 2.80 kg
Soya bean = 12 kg x 45 ÷ 100 = 5.40 kg
Omena = 8 kg x 55 ÷ 100 = 4.40 kg
Maize bran = 10 kg x 7 ÷ 100 = 0.70 kg
Lime = 6 kg x 0 100 = 0.00 kg
(Total crude protein 13.30 kg)

This means  in 70 kg bag,  the combined ingredients have a total crude protein content of(10.68 ÷70) x 100 =15.25 %. which is higher than the requirement of  15%.

To be sure that their feed is of the right quality, farmers can send a sample of the constituted feeds for testing and advice to KARI Naivasha, which has modern equipment for testing feed quality.  Results are ready within a day.

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Are you worried about how to get funds to start or expand your poultry business? The best way to get funding for your poultry farm is to go as a group. You can join a group of poultry farmers or form one in your area; that way, it would be easier to get the attention of lenders. Some sources of capital for your poultry farm include

1. Agricultural finance cooperation it is a wholly owned Government Development Finance Institution (DFI). It provides loans to groups of individuals agriculture

2. Women Enterprise Fund is a Semi-Autonomous Government Agency in the Ministry of Public Service, Youth & Gender Affairs established in August 2007, to provide accessible and affordable credit to support women start and/or expand business for wealth and employment creation.

3. Youth Enterprise Development Fund  Provide loans for on-lending to youth enterprises

4. SACCOs  Start saving in a SACCO and you can apply for small low interest loans

5. Local Banks  Most of the local banks have loans tailored for  agricultural business

6. Online Lenders e.g https://www.kiva.org/, https://www.zidisha.org  You need to provide a clear write up to get a lender. Always be cautious with online lending sites.

 

7. Check research institutes and NGO’S Another place to search for grants is through research institute or other agencies that collaborate with the government. Such companies usually carry out projects that aim to help farmers achieve success. You may be lucky enough to qualify for grants under one of such schemes.

8. Write a Brilliant Proposal-: There are some organizations that have calls for funding proposals in Agriculture e.g USAID/Kenya Feed the Future Innovation Engine

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Poultry farming is profitable alright, but a lot of people still fail and incur lots of losses in this business all the same. A lot of investors have blamed themselves for going into the business.

Every business has its ‘trade secrets’ and a lot of people fail in business because they do not know the trade secrets of their business. Poultry, just like any other business out there has its trade secrets which you have to know to increase your chances at success.
1. Start small.: Don’t start large scale poultry farming if you are inexperienced in the business. Don’t read about how people are making millions from poultry farming and then go ahead to invest your life savings into the business or  go and obtain loans to start a business you are inexperienced at. For a business like poultry farming, you have to start small and then expand gradually as your business grows and demands for your products increase. You should also do a proper feasibility study before you go into the business. If there are too many competitors or if the supply for poultry products exceeds the demand in your area, then look for somewhere else to start your business or look for another business to start. There are several other lucrative businesses in the livestock farming industry that you can consider.

2. Consider Meat Packaging and Production-: A lot of people get their poultry products from grocery stores and supermarkets. Very few people still buy live animals because they feel it is less stressful when you buy already packaged meat which you can use to make your meal in few minutes. Therefore, you should really consider having your own meat production and packaging business to sell the products from your farm.

Once you have your poultry farm, starting a meat packaging company is fairly easy. Just create a space for butchering and cleaning the animals, hire butchers and buy equipment that would make the job mechanized and faster, some refrigerators and then approach food regulatory agencies in your area for a license and boom! You are ready to start packaging your own meat.

3. Have your own sales outlet-: Another way to expand your poultry business is to have your own sales outlet and not rely only on supplying to retailers. You don’t have to have too many sales outlets; you can start with just one. You can sell your own branded chickens and chicken parts and fresh eggs to consumers.

4. Offer Mobile Sales and Delivery Services-: Twenty-four hours in a day is just not enough for most of us because of the kind of busy lives we lead. Now, imagine having to cook, shop for groceries, tend to the kids and do all sort of other house chores and still maintain a 9-5 job. It’s really not easy for a lot of working parents and this is why mobile sales and delivery services always works. A lot of people see such services as a live saving one; a service that brings you necessities without dealing with stress and traffic. With a van or two, you are ready to start offering such services within your area and that is also an expansion of your income.

5. Employ sales representatives-: Don’t think that your business is too small to employ sales reps or that poultry business is not serious enough to have sales representatives. Right here in my office, I have someone who brings me fresh eggs weekly and frozen chicken when I feel like having chicken.

She’s a sales rep and earns commission for each item she sells. I have also been able to introduce her to my colleague and friends who also buy from her regularly. Now, her employer is a very smart poultry farmer because even when I buy from the grocery store, I only buy their products. Having a sales representative is a good way to increase awareness for your products and increase sales too.

6. Have your own Hatchery-: Instead of purchasing day old chicks, it’s more cost effective to have your own hatchery for hatching new chicks. You would be able to reduce the costs of hatching and also increase output compared to outsourcing the service to other people.

7. Produce your own feed-: Another tip for growing your poultry business is to have your own feed mill for producing chicken feed. Chicken feed production is not so hard; if you can learn how to raise chickens, then you can learn how to produce chicken feed and if you are able to reduce the costs of producing feed, you would be able to increase on the overall profitability of your business.

8. Employ Experienced Staff-: Another way to grow your poultry business is to employ people who are experienced to handle the operational aspects of the business. If you have a really large poultry farm, you can employ business consultants to suggest ways through which you can expand your poultry business.

9. Take Stock regularly-: You should also keep an eye on the output from your farm. You should have a store where eggs are stored and have some people who would be in charge of stock keeping and counting the chickens regularly. This would help to prevent thefts.

10. Apply for Government Grants-: Agriculture is something that the government is always interested in. And that is why there are a lot of support programs for investors in the agricultural sector. Such support programs come in the form of government backed loans and grants. You should look out for such grants and apply for them.

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  • The materials which are used should be:
    • durable (lasting)chicken house
    • easy to handle and easy to repair if damaged
    • readily available and as cheap as possible

Building and repairs should preferably be carried out by the poultry farm itself in order to reduce costs.

  • The width of the house should generally not exceed 9 metres when only natural ventilation is used. The length depends on the number of chickens that is going to be kept and the available building space.

The height of the poultry house should not be less than 2 metres anywhere in order to make the house easily accessible everywhere (without stooping). Moreover it provides more volume to the house resulting in a better air quality.

  • The floor should be made of concrete (this is the ideal floor for a chicken house because it is easy to clean) or be filled with 50 cm (sharp) sand. Wire netting should be placed under and around a floor made of sand in order to keep rats and other predators out.
  • In hot climates at least 3 sides should be open (wire netting!) in order to have enough fresh air (ventilation) for the chickens.

By means of boards or mats the sides may be temporarily and partially closed when there are young chickens inside.

  • The roof should protect the chickens against direct sunlight and rain and for that reason it should extend the walls for about 50 cm beyond the wall. The roof may be ridged or slope to one side. If the roof is ridged, this ridge should be open to permit heat to escape (the natural ventilation is im-proved by the stack effect).
  • The chickens should be protected against too much heat during the day. For that purpose a heat insulating layer may be installed under the roof. However, this is relatively expensive and gener-ally not very effective.

Materials which insulate rather well are cotton fibre board, PVC and certain plant materials such as palm leaves.

The canopy of tall trees can also cast shade on the roof.

  • Besides space for the birds, every (relatively large) chicken house should have
    • an entrance room, where people can change footwear and clothing and wash their hands before they go to the birds. Disinfection must take place here;
    • a feedstore with enough space for the feed that is needed for the birds for one or two weeks; dryness should be ensured as feed spoils rapidly in moist conditions.
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Disease Age Vaccine Name Method of administartionEstimate price 
Marek’s 1 dayMarek subcutaneously injection ksh 3500/1000doses
 Newcastle/infectious bronchitis 7th day NCD+IB Drinking waterksh 500/1000 doses
 Bursal disease(Gumboro) 14th Bursal disease(Gumboro) Drinking water ksh 650/1000 doses
 Bursal disease(Gumboro) 21st Bursal disease(Gumboro) Drinking water
Newcastle/infectious bronchitis 35th NCD+IB Drinking wate ksh 500/1000 doses
 fowl typhoid 56th fowl typhoid intramascular injection ksh 400/1000 doses
 fowl pox 70th fowl pox wing stab ksh 700/1000 doses

Other common poultry diseases

 Disease Drug Method of administration  Estimate price 
 Coccidiosis Amprolium Water ksh 2500/kg
 Worms piperazine Water ksh 2000/kg

Disease symptoms 

  • Marek disease

Marek’s disease occurs as the nervous form, appearing as a progressive paralysis of one or more of the limbs. The birds are unable to stand, become paralysed, appear uncoordinated and slowly waste away from lack of food and water. In most cases the paralysis comes on quickly. In some cases the eyes may be affected, resulting in blindness.

  • Gumboro

The feathers around the vent are usually stained with faeces containing plenty of urates.Also, diarrhoea, anorexia, depression, ruffled feathers, especially in the region of the head and the neck are present.

  • Coccidiosis

Infected birds or chicks become droopy, look unthrifty, and usually have ruffled feathers, pale beaks and shanks.  Caecal coccidiosis has bloody droppings.  Mortality may be high and sudden

  • Fowl chorela

There is yellowish colouration on birds’ droppings, which is followed by yellowish or greenish diarrhoea.  Infected birds become droopy, feverish and sleepy. The birds also sit with the head down or turned backwards or rested in feathers about the wing.

  • Fowl typhoid

Ruffled feathers, paleness of the head drooping comb, loss of appetite and pale orange coloured diarrhoea.

  • New Castle Disease

In chicks, gasping coughing and sneezing is observed and ater nervous systems.  Birds may be seen sitting on their back hock joints; others may walk backwards; or in circles; or hind their head between their legs.

  • Fowl Pox

It is characterized by typical pox lesions in the form of wart-like scabs on the face, comb and wattles.

NB. The above prices only serve as estimates and help in planning. Consult with your local vet in case of any of the above symtoms and before administering any drug to you flock

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Economics of Broiler Farming – at a Glance

1. Unit Size : 1000 broiler birds per month

2.250 broilers in a week

3. System of rearing : Deep litter system

Sr. NoParticularsSpecificationsPhysical  UnitsUnit cost(Ksh/ Unit)Total cost (Ksh)
1Sheds and other structures
a) Broiler sheds ( 4 sheds)1 sft. per bird1000 sft.150150000
b) Store room100 sft707,000
c)Labor quarter150 sft10015,000
d) Slaughter room100 sft909,000
e) Fencing750 rft2015,000
2Water supply system
a) Digging or construction water reservoir13’dia x33’depth10,00010,000
b) Water tank1000 liters19,000
c) 3 HP electric motor/pump set and other accessories and pipeline etc.60006,000
d) Electrical installation/equipment5,000
3Equipments
a) Feeders and waterers1000 birds99,000
b) Dressing equipment10,000
4Capitalization of recurring expenses for first 8 batches
a) Chick cost1000 day old6565000
b) Feed cost for 1080 birds3.2 kg/bird3456 kg55190,080
c) Overheads such as cost of, Medicines, vaccine, insurance, litterKsh 5.00/bird1080 birds55,400
d) Labour cost3 months10000330,000
5Total financial outlay (TFO) 

290,480

 

Contact Ecochicks Poultry at 0727087285 for eggs incubators, farm machinery and farm setups

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What is Cattle Feed Pellet

  • Cattle feed pellets are a kind of compound feed and mainly made from various raw materials such as, cereals, seed from oleaginous crops and legumes, forage and dried beet pulp and additives, such as, vitamins, minerals, chemical preservatives and other essential micro-ingredients
  • They are formulated according to the type of cattle
  • The cattle feed pellets are high in energy and balanced for protein, vitamins and minerals.

Cattle Feed Pellets VS Traditional Feed

In the eighties  researchers found that cows consumed the pelleted feed more rapidly than other forms of feed like coarse mix, crumbles and meal. Compared with traditional cattle feed, cattle feed pellets show more advantages. Cattle feed pellets can satisfy the nutritional need of cattle and help cattle gain weight fast, and produce more milk than traditional feed like chopped straw. As we all know, powder of chopped straw can stack in the cattle’s stomach and caused cattle tumor and indigestion diseases. However, with pelleted shape, the cattle feed pellets are with no such problems, and they contain more nutrition. Cattle feed pellets can not only improve the cattle performance but also improve the ratio of feed pellets conversion.

Advantages of dairy cow feed pellets
Besides easy storage and cost less, the advantages of pelletizing also include the following aspects:
1. Quality assured: ingredients to be targeted directly at your requirements and ensure the accuracy of each ingredient time after time.
2. Nutritionally balanced ration: meets the protein, energy and mineral requirements for optimum growth and feed conversion
3. High energy: rapid weight gain and efficient feed conversionCattle-feeds
4. Low dust: reduced inhalation of dust by people and cows which makes a safer, healthier and more pleasant work place.
5. No ingredient separation: even nutrient blend received by cows
6. No further processing required: pellets are ready for consumption; no extra labor to roll or mix rations.
7. Better starch utilization: up to 15% more and increased milk production per kilo of feed

Formulation for Home-made Cattle Feed Pellets Making Machine

According different kind of cattle, like dairy cattle and beef cattle, the feed pellets formulation is different.
♦ Dairy cattle. As dairy cattle are mainly fed for their milk and the materials of feed pellets may effect the quality of milk, the feed pellets should be produced carefully and the materials of making diary cattle feed pellets should be selected strictly.

Raw materials for making dairy cow feed pellets
1. Cereals: maize, barley, oat, wheat, triticale, rye and sorghum
2. Seed from oleaginous crops: soy, flax, and sunflower
3. Seed from legumes: broad beans, field bean and protein pea
4. Forage: flours of permitted forage essences
5. Dried beet pulp.
Furthermore, the following substances can be used as appetizers in feed pellets:
1. Carob-bean, up to a maximum of 3%;
2. Molasses, up to a maximum of 3%.
Note: for animals in lactation, dry animals, and heifers from the sixth month of pregnancy, maximum daily amount of feed pellets is 2 kg/head/day.

♦ Beef cattle. People feed beef for their meat. So the feed pellets should contain enough protein to meet the demand and help beef gain weight fast.
Feed ingredients
Alfalfa, hay, barley, bermuda grass, corn, cotton, cottonseed hulls, oats, sorghum, soybeans, soybean hulls, wheat, wheat bran, meal, Vitamin A acetate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin E supplement and so on.

How to Make Quality Cattle Feed Pellets ?

1. Crushing: crush raw materials by feed hammer mill to get fine grinded ingredients.
2. Mixing:all of the ingredients are mixed in a feed pellet blender for a period of time to get a uniform mix. Then a moist, cohesive mash was obtained at end of the final mixing.
3. Pelletizing: after mixing, the mash was delivered to the pellet mill feeder. It is fed into the feed pellet machine and then to the roller and die extruder. (Note: feed pellet  better for home use) When the mash is compacted through the die, soft, moist pellets were formed. The extruded pellets have a moisture content of 16-17%.
4. Drying: the wet pellets are dried  to obtain moisture content below 12%.

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  1. Can I rear Kienyeji for commercial purpose

Farmers have been calling Ecochicks Poultry with similar inquires and this is my take.  Yes but having considered the following. There are only 2 main ventures in poultry rearing, eggs or meat.

We mainly have 3 types of chicken for that. Layers, Broilers and Kienyeji.

  • Kienyeji feeds more than layers
  • Kienyeji best for scavenging
  • Layers have best laying rate and longest laying period
  • broilers achieve market value faster than Kienyeji
  • The market for eggs is bigger than meat
  • The market for Kienyeji meat is growing very fast
  • Kienyeji eggs fetches higher prices

My opinion Improved Kienyeji is more suitable for meat at commercial production scale.

    2. Do i need cages in poultry rearing.

  • Well, that depends on the no of birds you have. Cages are best for layers farming but also used in broiler production
  • Return on Investment(ROI) is the major considerations in cage system.
  • Cages  have alot of benefits but also expensive when calculated cost per bird
  • My opinion is to use deep litter system for less than 300 birds and consider cages for large  number of birds

3. Which venture is more profitable eggs or meat 

  • This also depends with the resources available. In the long run egg production is more profitable and in the short run meat production is more profitable
  • Consider meat producing chicken acheiving the market value in less tha 3 months and layers starting to lay after 5-6 months.

4. Which venture is easier to do eggs or meat 

  • Also depends with resources available. Meat production at commercial levels is easier to do as it does not involve tedious vaccination and disease control. Also the duration to its maturity is shorter.
  • However the cage system simplifies the layers production

5 .Which venture involves less risk

  • Kienyeji production has  less  risks compared to layers or broilers. The improved breeds are resistant to diseases and can be done for meat and eggs.

6 .Which is vaccination program  for layers 

  • 1st       day Marek(should be done at the hatchery)
  • 7th       day New Castle
  • 14th      day Bursal disease(Gumboro) in drinking water
  • 21st     day Bursal disease(Gumboro) in drinking water
  • 35th     New castle in drinking water
  • 56th     fowl typhoid intramascular
  • 70th     fowl pox wing stab
  • 112th   New castle in drinking water

7 .How can I hatch my own layers or broilers

  • Start by rearing your  breeding stock. This can be done by buying ex-layers and respective cocks and produce fertile eggs.
  • Obtain an egg incubator and hatch your own chicks
  • Get the eggs incubators here

8. Which is cheaper, buying feeds or making own feeds

  • Feeds constitute 80% of the total costs. Making your feeds would definitely lower these costs especially when raw materials are available and or  purchased in bulk
  • Also get the formula for making feeds

8. What do i need to make own feeds

  • Feed making machine
  • Raw materials
  • Feed formula
  • Get the feed making machine here

9.How much do i need to start layers, broilers or kienyeji production

The above is only an opinion and the decision of the best venture lies with the farmer.

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DiseaseAge

affected

 

SymptomsTreatment
NCDAllDepression, poor appetite, coughing and difficult breathing, diarrhea, nervous signs, twisted neck and death in large numbers in short time

 

Vaccination  antibiotic to control secondary infections

 

Fowl

pox

 

All but

serious

at point

of lay

 

Spreading eruption on comb, wattle nose & other featherless parts, poor appetite/egg production, depress ion. Deaths may result in chicks

 

Vaccination antibiotic  to control secondary infections

 

Infectious

Bronchitis

 

AllChicks /growers: Depression, huddling, poor appetite, coughing, gasping/difficult breathing, death. Adult: Coughing/noisy breathing, few eggs laid/with soft shells

 

Vaccination Antibiotics to control secondary infections

 

Avian

Influenza

 

AllDepression, coughing, discharge from eyes nostrils , swollen face, poor sight and feeding, nervous signs and diarrhea

 

Destroy sick birds

 

IBD

 

2-6 wkDepression, poor appetite, un-steady walk, pecking at vent and diarrhoea

 

Control by vaccination

 

 

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