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Lawyer turns passion for rare birds into lucrative venture

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Peter King’ara feeds some of his ostriches on his farm. The lawyer plans to establish a bigger bird sanctuary on 40 acres in Naru Moru and build a resort targeting local visitors and tourists. Photo/Boniface Mwangi

Peter King’ara feeds some of his ostriches on his farm. The lawyer plans to establish a bigger bird sanctuary on 40 acres in Naru Moru and build a resort targeting local visitors and tourists. Photo/Boniface Mwangi  Nation Media Group

By BONIFACE MWANGI

Posted  Monday, December 31  2012 at  18:15

In Summary

  • Under his Barefoot Venture project, the farmer-cum-lawyer keeps more than 30 different species of birds.

Peter King’ara, 44, has always been passionate about birds. He has travelled to different parts of the world looking for rare species to keep at his sanctuary in Gichiche Village, Othaya.

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Under his Barefoot Venture project, the farmer-cum-lawyer keeps more than 30 different species of birds.

“I have gone as far as America and Britain to get some of these birds. I love birds and that’s why I have invested so much to grow my sanctuary,” he said.

Although he initially did not have plans of making money out of his bird collection hobby, after going through literature on the various birds at his farm, he discovered that there was potential to cash in on his passion.

“The birds that are rarely eaten like pigeons and peacocks have very beautiful feathers that fetch a lot of money in some countries,” he said.

Mr King’ara started his project in 2005 after visiting a friend, Babu Muthama, at his residence in Karen, Nairobi. The visit marked the beginning of his business.

The farm near Gichiche shopping centre which is 8km from Othaya in Nyeri is now home to birds that are rare elsewhere in the country. “I invested more than Sh2 million to start this project,” Mr King’ara said.

Some of the exotic birds in the farm are white guinea fowls, king pigeons, lion pigeons, fantail doves, Indian peacocks, ostriches, Bantams, Egyptian geese, red normal geese, quails and spotted guinea fowls, crown birds, the crested crane, turkeys, white and spotted ducks, white and spotted geese and local pigeons among others.

He says that ostrich meat can fetch a tidy sum since it is one of the most popular cholesterol-free red meat in the world.

Peacocks are mostly kept for beauty but while their breeding requirements are almost similar to chickens, they rake in earnings almost 100 times more.

“Besides, the bird’s tails fall off and grow back every two years, giving the farmer another opportunity to make some money. A single male peacock feather goes for Sh300.

Mr King’ara has seven ostriches in his farm which he bought from a farmer in Baringo as chicks at Sh12,000 each.

He uses them to promote domestic tourism. Local educational institutions and tourists visit the farm to see the different species of birds.

Mr King’ara says ostriches are on high demand in the Middle East and Europe. An ostrich egg goes for Sh3,000 and one bird produces up to seven eggs a year.

“A mature ostrich fetches about Sh450,000 while sale of peacock stock could earn up to Sh100,000 per bird. Eggs produced by the peacock earn a farmer Sh200,000 every laying season,” adds the lawyer.

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