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Can you give rice to chickens?

Uncooked rice: If you are going to feed your chickens rice, be sure you cook it first. Once chickens eat dry rice, it will blow up when moisture is introduced and this can cause serious digestive problems.

Salty foods: Too much salt can cause salt toxicity or hypernatremia. Chickens are not able to digest large amounts of salt so keep this in mind as you feed your chickens.

 Raw eggs: If you give your flock raw eggs then many turn cannibal.

 Candy, sugar, chocolate: Adding sugar and chocolate, in particular to your chicken’s diet can cause tremendous digestive problems. It is best to avoid it at all costs.

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How much does a chicken farmer make a year?

In recent years, chicken farming in Kenya has become so trendy as to be commonplace.

As chickens need care every day, year-round, chicken farmers are not known for taking extended vacations so it is a profession to which a person must be very dedicated or have a staff on hand they trust.

Becoming a profitable chicken farmer takes a great deal of research in different methods to raise chickens and different ways to make money based on your area.

Calculation example for layers


Cost per chick ksh 90/chick for 200 birds                                           ksh 18000

Chick  mash   8 weeks – 1.7 kg/chick ksh 52/kg                                 ksh  17680

Growers mash period 8 to 20 weeks of age 4.3 kg/bird ksh 43/kg          ksh 36980

Vaccination                                                                                         ksh 6000

Vitamins/drugs                                                                                    ksh 3000

Brooding                                                                                             ksh 5000

Others                                                                                                 ksh 3000 

Total                                                                                                   ksh  89660 

Cost per bird at 4-5 months(point of lay) ksh 449 

Cost analysis of the 200 Laying birds 

Layers mash for 62 weeks  feeding 110gm/day/bird  ksh45/kg         ksh 429660

Others                                                                                                 ksh 25000

Cost at the point of laying                                                                  ksh 89660

Total costs at the end of laying                                                         ksh  544320

Cost per bird at the end of laying                                                       ksh 2722


Laying rate  23 eggs/month/bird for 62weeks  357 eggs@10 for 200 birds   ksh 4000

Sale of  200 ex-layers  @350/bird   ksh   70000

Manure     ksh 7000

Total Income   ksh 791000

Margin/profit  (791000-544320)       ksh 246680


Feeding programe

Chick starter 0-8 weeks

Growers mash 8-18 weeks

Layers mash 62weeks

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Management of chicks in the brooder from 0-8 weeks


Chicks need heat at start of brooding until they emerge their own feather. Chicks reared through natural brooding get the heat they require from the hen. But in modern poultry production stations, the heat sources for chicks are brooders/Heaters. Kerosene lump, Charcoal heater, Bulb with 60-100 watt  as well as Hay box can be used as

  1. Provide 6 sq inches per chicks under the brooder.
  2. Brooding should be started at 95 F temperature and be reduced by 5 F  every week until 70 F is attained.
  3. De-beaking may be done at 3rd week of age.
  4. Provide continuous light during brooding period.
  5. Provision of clean fresh water.
  6. Daily inspect the condition of birds for any abnormalities.
  7. Height of the feeder should be adjusted to the convenience of the chicks.
  8. Keep a standby in case of emergency electricity failure.

Brooding Temperature:
Patterns of chick distribution under electric brooder-


Kerosene lump
This brooder type can support up to 100 chicks. The advantage of this heater include:

  • No risk of power failure, low investment, supplies light and it is portable
  • On the other hand, the disadvantage of this brooder include:
  • High fuel demand and fuel expensiveness, danger for fire, carbon dioxide production
  • Needs a lot of control, heat goes to wrong direction and needs ventilation

Charcoal heater
The advantage of this heat source include:

  • Charcoal is cheaper than kerosene and no risk of power failure
  • Require low investment and is portableOn the other hand, the disadvantage include
  • There is risk of fire and carbon dioxide production
  • Ventilation is necessary and it needs a lot of cont

Bulb with 60-100 watt/electric brooder

The advantage of this heat source include

  • It is easy to manage and there is no risk of fire
  • It is easy to adjust and supplies light

On the other hand, the disadvantage include

  • Electricity is expensive and there is risk for power failure
  • Life time not very long and can break easily

Hay box brooder

Hay box brooder can be made from timber, straw and mesh wire. The sizes of the timber differ according to the number of chicks to be reared. In this type of artificial brooder, it is possible to rear 10-70 chicks and it has two parts. These parts are heat maintenance and chick feeder & shelter box as indicated in the following picture

The advantages of Hay box brooder include

  •  Provides service in rural areas/ no electricity and it is cheap
  •  Increase the productivity of local chicken breeds and reduces chick mortality
  • Helps to rear many chicks at a time and is effective in all agro-ecologies

On the other hand, the disadvantages of this brooder include:

  • Sometimes there is the occurrence of pests and
  • When there is unavailability of lumber and its expensiveness

Specifications for hay box brooder



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Start Mini-Poultry Feed Production In Kenya


In order to reduce the feed cost which accounts for about 70% of the total cost of poultry production indigenous poultry feed enterprises came into existence. Most small scale poultry enterprises now depend on these indigenous feed rations.

The raw materials are sourced locally. The feed constitutes mainly of maize, sorghum spent grains, groundnut cake, soyabean meal, fish meal and bone meal.feed


In Kenya, the feed industry is dominated by few large commercial feed industries

Currently in Kenya emphasis has been placed on encouraging indigenous feed enterprises that make use of local ingredient in formulating feeds for the poultry industry. Due to the foregoing, the numbers of such enterprises are on the increase.

The task of meeting the increasing demand for poultry feed can best be realized through increased availability of indigenous feed production.

Indigenous Feed Enterprises are seen as an honest approach because of ease of availability of raw materials, and access by poultry farmers. A number of strategies have been adopted such as price policies, input subsidies, production credit and liberalization) by governments and individuals to increase the output of these poultry feed enterprises, yet their performance is low in terms of meeting the needs of the poultry industry. Interestingly, the request for the products of the enterprises is daily on the increase.

Poultry feed is food for farm poultry, including chickens, ducks, geese and other domestic birds. Feed for poultry mostly consists of grain. A portion of commercial feed, typically around a quarter, is known as bulk and is indigestible. The amount of bulk is referred to as bulk density. The quantities of feed, and the nutritional requirements of the feed, depend on the weight and the age of the poultry as well as the season.
Based on their age, weight and breed, below are different categories of feeds

Chicks’ mash- the formulation to meet nutritional requirement of newly hatched chicks and animals up to their brooding and whining period.

Broilers mash-it is the feed meant for the broiler chicks. The feed ensure quick growth and development of the livestock because of its richness in protein, carbohydrate, vitamins and minerals.


Growers’ mash- enables livestock to grow and develop faster in body size, weight, and other internal and external features to give room for their maturity at the expected time.

Layer mash- these feed is needed in helping the birds that are layers to produce more eggs which are big in size, properly shaped with good hard shells.

Ecochicks Poultry will help you  examine the financial viability of establishing a livestock feed processing plant in Kenya. The installed capacity of the proposed factory is 2.5 tons of poultry feed operating for 8 hours which translates to 100 bags of 25kg livestock feed.

CALL Ecochicks Poultry on 0727087285

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A 1000 layers poultry farm in Kenya

To farm 1000 layers is not a joke. You need  to automate  as many tasks as possible



The layers are in cages. The cage can fabricated a the farm using the normal  wire mesh. The wire mesh can be painted to increase durability. Feeders can be improvised from drainage water pipes cut in a half

Automating watering system

Watering system is automated to reduce labour and improve sanitation.

Drug administration can also be made through the tank

Farmers are advised to start cheaply using locally available materials. Juakali feeders and drinkers can be used which are relatively cheaper. Bamboo can also be of very use in poultry


Local chicken feeders and drinkers to minimize costs






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Is it a jogoo or a layer, sexing day old chicks

With most animals, it is relatively easy to determine the sex of the newborn. The male reproductive organs are located on the outside of the body and are relatively easy to see, even in newborns. This is not the case with poultry. In male birds, the reproductive organs are inside the body cavity. This makes sexing newly hatched chicks difficult.sexing day old chick

Vent sexing

Vent sexing day old chicks is a skill that takes a long time to develop. It involves holding the chick upside down in one hand, expelling the fecal material, and everting (turning outward) the vent area. The producer can then look for the presence or absence of a rudimentary male sex organ. This process sounds much easier than it actually is. To accurately sex chicks in this way, you need to be well trained and to have had a great deal of practice.

This is the most accurate method for improved Kienyeji chicken.

Feather sexing is only  possible for some chicken breeds.

Myths and Old Wives’ Tales

  • It is a common misconception that you can candle an egg to determine whether it is fertile. You cannot candle an egg and determine whether it is fertile. If the egg is fertile, you can’t determine whether the embryo is male or female
  • Another myth involves observing the shape of the egg. According to this method, eggs that have a longer, narrower shape will yield male chicks, and eggs that are rounder will yield female. In reality, the shape of the egg is not related to the sex of the offspring, nor does it indicate whether the egg is fertile.



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Mealworm farming for you Kienyeji taste

Mealworms are the larvae of the darkling beetle with very high  proteins for your livestockbeetle

Mealworm combined with sukuma and green vegetables produce yellow yolked eggs and kienyeji tasting chickens

Mealworms (also known as Tenebrio molitor) are in fact insects. They are scavengers that can be found in grain stores, feed sacks and occasionally household items such as cereal and flour. They like dark, dry places that store grain or other edibles such as flour or chicken feed.

All the nutrition and water they need for surviving and thriving can be extracted from the grain which they have infested.

If you are looking for a way to raise your own protein cheaply, easily, and with almost no space or infrastructure, look no further than mealworms. When food is scarce, you’ll want livestock that are efficient, take up small spaces, and can easily be hidden.

A female beetle will lay up to five hundred eggs during her short lifetime of a couple of months. After a couple of weeks, the eggs will hatch and become larvae – which we know as a mealworm.mealworms

Mealworms molt their exo-skeleton several times before they reach the pupa stage after approximately 3 months.

The pupa basically looks like a dead mealworm but it is busy transforming itself into a Darkling beetle. The only movement you will see is an occasional twitch if the pupa is disturbed. It does not eat or take nutrition during this period. It will remain a pupa for about 2-3 weeks before hatching into a brown beetle that over a period of days will turn a black color. The complete lifecycle can be done in as little as 5-6 months in ideal circumstances.


How to Make a Mealworm Farm


Step 1: Find a Container.  plastic storage  or similar item will do

The chosen container will need a lid or screen mesh to put over the top. The lid needs to allow for some air circulation through the container.

Use a transparent container to see what’s going on inside and get a feel for how quickly they are developing.

Step 2: Prepare Your Container. Thoroughly clean and dry your container

Any location you do choose needs to be a warm (the ideal temperature is 26C), low light/ dark environment.

Step 3: Add Your Substrate

For the feed you can use wheat bran. If you can’t use wheat bran then rolled oats, chicken mash or cereal crumbs will also work.

Note: Don’t get your substrate (bran etc.) wet; you don’t want a moldy environment.

Step 4: Add Mealworms to Your Farm

You now need to add mealworms into your container, the more the better! You should aim to start with at least 500.

Step 5: Feed Them and Let Them Grow

You now just need to keep your mealworms fed and let them grow and multiply.

You can feed them as much as you like, remember: more food means the more they multiply.

Step 6: Collect Your Mealworms

Depending on the conditions you have provided for your insects, it will take a few months before you can start feeding the larvae to your hens. You should only feed the worms to your hens, the pupae and beetles should be left in the farm to reproduce.

Don’t worry about removing dead beetles, the larvae will do that for you. Do, however, remove any bits of moldy food and discard it.



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10 Tips on Raising Chickens

how to raise chicken
  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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Calculations in making own poultry feed

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)


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


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


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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Sources of capital for your poultry farm

capital for your poultry farm

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,  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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