Posted on

Formulate chicken diets using Pearson square

Chicken diets can be calculated by designing a so-called Pearson

The various feedstuffs are put into two groups: high protein and low protein.
Within the group they can replace each other, so the price will decide
which one will be used more. Then the averages for each group can be
calculated according to the amounts of each ingredient used.

Suppose maize is cheaper and more plentiful than sorghum, and soy-
bean meal is cheaper than fish meal. Including all 4 ingredients makes
the feed more reliable, as the ingredients complement each other. 5 – 8
ingredients in a mixed feed may be optimal.

In our example, you can make a cereal mix with two parts of maize
(8% crude protein) and one part of sorghum (10% crude protein) from
one group, to be combined with a protein-rich mix of 3 parts of soy
bean meal (44% crude protein) and one part of fish meal (65% crude

The weighted means of the cereals and the protein feeds must be put
on the left-hand side of the Pearson square, in order to find which
combination of the two will result in the required 16.5% of protein.

Pearson square

The protein level required in the complete diet is placed in the middle
of the square and the percentage of protein content in each food on the
two left-hand corners of the square. To work out the proportion of
each foodstuff that is required, subtract the small number from the
larger one diagonally across the square, as shown below.

The resulting figures on the right-hand side of the square indicate the
proportion of each mixture needed to achieve a diet containing 16.5%
protein. In this case, this requires a ratio of 32.8 parts of the cereal mix
to 7.8 parts of the protein feeds (3 soybean meal : 1 fishmeal).

Expressed in percentages of the total mixture, the diet will be made up
as follows:

For the protein mix, the same procedure is used to divide the 19 % in
the ratio 1: 3

With this combination of the 4 feed ingredients, we can now calculate
whether this diet will meet the other nutrient requirements as well: see
table below

The energy content of 3,205 kcal/kg exceeds the minimum of 2,800,
the protein level is good and the crude fibre does not exceed 7%. Only
the percentage of calcium is far to low for layers. It should be between
2.5 and 3.5 %. You have to add some limestone and bone-meal to sup-
ply about 4.0 g calcium per day and to meet the calcium and phospho-
rus requirements (in a ratio of 6 :1). Alternatively, grit or broken shells
can be given separately from the feed, for voluntary intake.

The proportion of the different ingredients in the ration is more impor-
tant than the quantity you supply. Poultry will not eat any more once
their energy requirement has been met.

Posted on

Chicken vaccines and their prices

Chicken vaccines
Disease  Age  Vaccine Name  Method of administartion Estimate price 
Marek’s  1 day Marek  subcutaneously injection  ksh 3500/1000doses
 Newcastle/infectious bronchitis  7th day  NCD+IB  Drinking water ksh 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




Incoming search terms:

Posted on

Points to consinder while starting chicken farming in Kenya

  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.




Incoming search terms:

Posted on

Kienyeji diseases and their treatments

Kienyeji diseases
Disease Age



Symptoms Treatment
NCD All Depression, 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





All but


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





All Chicks /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





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


Destroy sick birds




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


Control by vaccination



Incoming search terms:

Posted on

Why poultry farmers fail in Kenya

poultry farmers

Why poultry farmers fail in Kenya

  1. No feasibility study
    In most cases, farmers make little or no effort to carry out a feasibility study. The most important of these are the suppliers of day-old chickens, point-of-lay hens, feed, medicine, disinfectants and vaccines,cost of inputs and profit projection . Also often missing are veterinary services and sufficiency of funds
  2. Inadequate housing
    To become commercially viable and sustainable, an emerging farmer must provide the chickens with the correct type of housing for the production system practised. Many enterprises failed to do so.
  3. Feed
    Broilers have been specifically bred to grow fast (38g to 2,5kg in six weeks) but to reach this, the chickens must be provided with the correct feed. Because feed cost is high (about 70% of production cost), some farmers mixed good quality feed with lower grade feed, resulting in poor growth performance. In addition, some projects are up to 100km from the nearest feed company. Many farmers relies on public transport, which increased the price of a 50kg bag of feed significantly
  4. Marketing
    This is one of the greatest problems. Some fail to honor their contracts while others can not handle their finances. Most do not put money back into the business. Because of these problems, many end up selling live birds – an unreliable market as farmers often have to keep chickens for up to eight weeks before they are sold. During this time, they consume the profit.Some farmers doing layers sell them in their active laying period  incurring losses
  5. Training
    Most farmers embark on poultry farming without  receive training, a fact evident in the way they rear the birds.

To address these issues Ecochicks has compiled a comprehensive guide to poultry training. Get it here Chicken farming comprehensive guide

To address the issue of planning and acquisation of day old chicks, you can buy eggs incubator and have a sustainable chick source


Incoming search terms:

Posted on

Poultry general management and feeding

kenbro chicken breed in Kenya

Birds need feeds that give the necessary elements for body functions, including growth, and egg and meat production. This is a requirement that the free-range production system does not meet adequately. To attain a balanced diet, it is recommended that in addition to scavenging, a farmer should include protein supplements from one of the recommended cheap but quality sources. This can be provided either as a pre-mix or given through cafeteria system. Animals need carbohydrates for supply of energy and heat. In addition to kitchen waste, birds should be given feed rich in energy such as maize, millet, cassava,
sweetpotatoes and sorghum.


Proteins are body building blocks that are essential for growth and production. Feed birds on protein-rich non-conventional feed such as yeast, ‘Busaa’ waste (dregs [Machicha]), sunflower cake, heat-treated soya or ordinary beans, lucerne, peas,lupins, fishmeal (Omena), dried blood, rumen content, earthworms and termites. Termites are trapped by slightly watering leafy waste such as maize stover and rubbish collected from the compound and leaving them outside for 2 or 3 days.

Minerals are trace elements found in plant seeds and grate. Minerals such as calcium
that are important for bone and egg shell formation are found in fishmeal.
Vitamins are necessary for growth and reproduction. The rich, yellow pigment in the skin and egg yolk of indigenous chicken indicates presence of carotenoids from fresh vegetation such as grass and vegetables, the precursors of vitamin A.
Water is often not provided because farmers assume that the birds find it around the homestead. Birds drink water from ponds and open tins during the rains but it is better to give them clean and fresh water all the time at a specific place (Fig. 1). It is easy to medicate birds that drink from a central place.

Protective housing should be used in free-range poultry farming system to protect chicks from predators and bad weather. Several housing structures including the dome-shaped stick basket popular in western Kenya variably known as Lisera, Liuli or Osero which is ideal for daytime housing are found. Other alternatives include the stick-built Kiduli and standard poultry houses  A good housing structure should be spacious, well lit, airy and dry, easy to clean, have perches for chicken to roost and protected from predators.

Cleaning and disinfecting
A chicken house should be decontaminated using fumes (fumigation) produced from chemicals such potassium permanganate and formaline to kill germs. The house must be tightly sealed so that the fumes remain in circulation for 18-24 h. These conditions are not possible for indigenous poultry houses. Contamination should be avoided by restricting entry into the house, quarantining all new chicken by separating them from the flock, keeping the house clean and wiping all surfaces with one part of jik in 3 parts of water. Keep non-concrete floors smooth by smearing regularly with cow dung and dusting with pesticides such as Sevin or Actelic to keep away vermin.

Posted on

External parasites of Kienyeji chicken

External parasites infest poultry houses and breed in cracks of the buildings. The
species commonly found include lice, mites, fleas and ticks, though very rare. They
affect all ages of birds but are severe in chicks. They are spread by infected birds
and pets.

Lice lay eggs on the feathers and suck blood from chicken, causing discomfort.
Mites do not live on the host but in cracks in the poultry houses. They suck blood
from the birds at night and return to the cracks during the day. In severe infections,
birds become anaemic.
Fleas suck blood from birds after which they drop and lay eggs in the litter. The
eggs mature to adult fleas. They can survive for up to a month without feeding

Posted on

Poultry eggs incubators

Ecochicks Poultry provide high performance eggs incubators in Kenya at fair prices to promote poultry farming in Kenya. These incubators come with different capacities for different types of poultry birds ranging from  48 eggs to over 20000 eggs.

Posted on

Quails farming benefits

Among the many types of poultry keeping, quail farming will offer numerous benefits in terms of nutrition, eggs. Salient features of quail farming with nutritive composition of its meat and eggs can be summed as:

• Lesser maturity age 5 – 7 weeks

• Little capital investment

• May be started as cottage industry

• Easily manageable and do not need specialised attention

• A better tool to alleviate poverty

Meat qualities:

• Tastier than chicken

• Promotes body and brain development in children

• Best balanced food for pregnant and nursing mothers

• Less fat and cholesterol content

Japanese quail (Coturnix coturnix Japonica) was first described as a research model by and was used as a pilot animal for more expensive experiments in 1960. During 1970, research with Japanese quail expanded from avian-science related topics to biology and medicine, as bird could be kept easily relatively in large number in a small facility and be used as model animal for wide variety of works, from embryology to space related sciences. At the event of World Poultry Congress, 2004, the quail has been declared as the model avian species for future research. Quails are now commonly used as an experimental animal for biological research and vaccine production, especially Newcastle disease vaccine to which disease quails are resistant.

In Pakistan quail farming was started in early 1970, with the introduction of exotic breeding stock of Japanese quails. However, quail production has remained as one of the neglected components of poultry sector in the country. Very little research work has been conducted on its breeding, incubation, housing, nutritional requirements, feeding, management and disease control aspects in Pakistan.

About four decades back a breeding stock of hybrid Japanese quails was imported in Pakistan with good genetic potential having better egg production performance, egg quality parameters and hatching traits compared to local quail called “Betair”.

But unfortunately, due to continuous inbreeding, genetic potential of the imported quail might have deteriorated. Simultaneously no serious attempt has been made to improve genetic potential of our native quail.

Although public and private sectors made efforts for the development of quail farming, but the measures were not adequate and fall short of expectations for producing high yield of quail meat at a reasonable low cost.

The private sector was not given adequate monetary and technical incentives. Even public sector organizations dealing in quail and allied industries faced enormous hurdles due to bureaucracy and lack of application of modern quail production technology.

These together with many other problems including poor quail management, low live body weight and meat yield, late ready to market age and lack of quail processing are some of the important reasons for slow development of quail farming in the country.

The low live body weight and meat yield appears to be a great hurdle for development of commercial quail farming. The situation therefore calls to take immediate concrete steps to improve genetic potential of our local quail.

Avian Research and Training (ART) Centre, of the University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Lahore has been working on this thing for sometime now. The main aims and objectives of this centre are as under:

• Human resource development in the field of quail/avian production.

• Technical guidance and advice to the stake holders, small farmers and house-hold women in avian production.

• Research for enhancing genetic potential to improve performance and meat yield in local quail strains.
– See more at:

Incoming search terms:

Posted on

How to start a Poultry Farming Business

1. Select your Poultry Niche

The poultry industry is a broad niche. There are many sub-sectors in the poultry industry which you can tap into. Below are niches in the poultry business:

  • Egg production (Layers breeding)
  • Meat production (Broilers breeding)
  • Chicken breeding (Hatchery)
  • Poultry feed production
  • Poultry equipment manufacturing
  • Egg and meat processing, packaging and marketing

2.  What type of bird will you be focusing on?

Poultry farming can further be classified into the types of birds:

  • Domestic fowl or Chicken (Broilers and layers)
  • Turkey
  • Guinea fowl
  • Pigeon
  • Duck
  • Goose

But for this article, I will be focusing on poultry breeding for egg and meat purposes with respect to the domestic fowl.

3.  Start-up Capital Investment

The poultry farming business is capital intensive; depending on the scale, location of your farm and the type of management technology used. A small scale poultry farm being run behind your house may require a capital of between $500 – $1,500. A medium scale poultry farm may require $2,000 – $5,000 and a large scale poultry farm may require a start-up capital of $10,000 and above. Like I stated earlier, scale is directly proportional to capital.

4.  Poultry Location

A good location is vital to the success and profitability of your poultry farm. An ideal poultry farm should be sited where there’s a large availability of cheap land and at the same time; should be close to areas with high population density. It’s not advisable to site your poultry farm within a residential area because of the offensive odour it produces.

5. Housing your birds

There are three methods you can employ with respect to housing your birds. They are:

  • Extensive system:    Range and fold unit
  • Semi Intensive system:  Standard semi intensive unit and straw yard
  • Intensive system:    i.    Deep litter,     ii.    Wire and slated floor,     iii.   Straw yard,      iv.   Battery cage.

If you are running a poultry farm for commercial purposes and you intend getting the best out of the business; with respect to high birds’ productivity and efficiency. Then you should consider housing your birds using the intensive system. Note that each of the three housing system has its own advantages and disadvantages. Lastly, your poultry housing structure should be built at a particular angle; taking sunlight and wind into consideration.

6. Poultry equipment and appliances

The following equipment may be needed for your poultry farm:

  • Feeders
  • Drinkers
  • Perches
  • Nests
  • Crates
  • Lighting system
  • Waste disposal system
  • Incubator

7.  Projected return on investment

The incubation period of the domestic fowl is 21 days. You can start selling off your birds as early as 8 – 12 weeks but full maturity is reached between 20 – 24 weeks. The payback period of a poultry farming business is between 3 – 5 years.

8.   Poultry Farm staffing and manpower

Operating a poultry farm is not labor intensive if the use of technology is employed. With respect to staffing, the number of manpower needed is also dependent on the size of your farm. But some must haves should be admin officer or manager; who will oversee the day to day running of your business. Your manager can also double as your accountant to cut down cost. It is advisable you have personnel who will reside permanently in the farm to monitor and see to the well being of your birds. You will also need security personnel that will monitor the inflow and outflow of people around your farm; and most importantly, guard against theft. Aside these few mentioned, you can add more personnel to suit your business needs.

Challenges facing Poultry Farming Business

The following are the challenges of poultry farming:

  • High start-up capital
  • Longer pay back period
  • Outbreak of diseases
  • Labor intensive
  • Pests and predators

Incoming search terms: