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Former manager's chicken farm laying him golden eggs

Tiwi Poultry Farm
Richard Kenei’s Tiwi Poultry Farm in Kwale County. PHOTO | FADHILI FREDRICK 

Located about 200 metres from Mombasa -Lunga Lunga Road at Mwachema in Kwale County, is a half-acre poultry farm hosting at least 3,000 birds.

The farm, known as Tiwi Poultry Farm, is owned by Richard Kenei, who rears broilers using the deep litter system.

He started the venture in 2013 after quitting his job as a manager at the Kenya Bixa Limited.

"This (farm) came after resigning from my previous work as a manager. I decided it was my time to do my own business," Mr Kenei says.

He set up the business with a working capital of Sh150,000 from his personal savings. With the money, he bought first stock of 500 chicks and constructed poultry houses.

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Now the farm is teeming with chicken.

"We have 1,000 week-old chicks and 1,000 three-week old chicken and well as 1,000 five-week old chicken ready for the market," he says.

Taking into accounts the strides he has made in the business, Mr Kenei says he does not regret his decision to quit his job.

It is easy to see why; the venture has grown rapidly, particularly after he started selling broilers to hotels, restaurants, butcheries and schools in the resort town of Diani.

He sells the birds for meat at a cost of between Sh350 and Sh400 each. Apart from selling full chicken, Mr Kenei has a market from local community and business women who buy and cook the by-products such as chicken legs and wings.

He also sells organic manure to other farmers. The manure is packed in a 50-kg bag which goes for Sh70. The manure business, he says booms during rainy seasons.

The farmer owns a slaughter house and a storage facility that can accommodate at least 700 chickens.

"We don't do daily slaughtering but we do it based on orders we receive. On average we slaughter between 200 and 300 chickens on a good day," he says.

From all the sales, Mr Kenei says he earns on average at least Sh100,000 to Sh150,000 per month.

Given that he has been doing poultry for a while, he has golden pieces of advice for those new in the business, especially those specialising in broilers.

He notes that poultry farming is a good venture but farmers should conduct market search to avoid incurring losses. He also encourages proper feeding of chicken and adequate supply of water for better yields.

"To attain desirable weight, the birds are fed on different feeds depending on their stages of growth," he says, adding that a broiler through maturity consumes at least 3kg of feeds.

Mr Kenei says he prefers keeping broilers than layers. Why? Because there is more money in broilers as their turnaround period is five to six week, he says.

“They (broilers) mature faster and you dispose them quickly, unlike layers which you have to keep on feeding them for a long time before making money," he says, adding that he plans to enlighten the local community to embrace poultry farming saying it has the potential to improve people's lives.

Mr Kenei has big dreams for his business and the community at large: "We are looking for support from banks and organisations to help us to be able to have a big broiler farm in the county," he says.

If the deal goes through, he says they will train and encourage more people to practice poultry farming on their plots.

"If we can do a contracted scheme for the farmers we will be able to have more people to do the poultry and buy from them instead of employing few individuals in one farm," Mr Kenei says, adding that it will be a big contribution to the community.

He says the main challenge in poultry production, especially for the broilers is the market as many buyers do not pay promptly.

"A lot of farmers are not able to grow because most of the customers, especially big institutions, are not paying in cash. Otherwise, there is a good market for chicken meat," he says.

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