Young people in Nakuru make a living raising ornamental birds – Kenya News Agency
When Brian Kamira, 21, ventured into ornamental bird breeding it was purely a hobby, but nonetheless it turned out to be a great and profitable business for him.
Mainly preserved for its aesthetic appeal, a single bird in his Kamira Bird Farm, in Barnabas Estate, on the outskirts of Nakuru town, brings in up to Shs 30,000.
The sophomore student at Dairy Training Institute in Naivasha specifically keeps Silkie Bantam chicken, Polish Bantam chicken, Budgerigar and guinea fowl. Kamira also breeds various species of geese, parrots, ducks, pigeons and turkeys.
Unlike other breeds of chickens, roosters double as pets and attract significantly higher prices.
At Kamira Birds farm, a mature Silkie bantam chicken and rooster cost Sh 7,000 and Sh 9,500, respectively, while a chick sells for Sh 1,400.
“I am selling a fertilized dwarf chicken egg for Sh300. Their demand is high while the supply is low, so they get good prices in the market, ”he says.
The breed has some unusual characteristics that make them popular ornamental birds such as feathers that resemble fur, black skin, blue earlobes and five toes on each foot while most chickens have them. four ”, adds the breeder.
Initially, Kamira started the business by breeding pigeons before branching out into other ornamental species after sourcing broodstock from Mombasa, mainland Tanzania, Zanzibar Island and Wakiso District in Uganda. .
To begin with, he spent 27,000 shillings saved from the sale of pigeons to buy his first pair of Silkie roosters, installed structures on his farm and obtained the necessary permits from the Kenya Wildlife Society (KWS).
Before issuing a license to keep or breed ornamental birds, KWS officers must visit his farm to ensure its suitability for breeding birds. An annual fee of 1,500 shillings is also charged for initial bird species and 500 shillings for each species subsequently introduced.
“I was determined to succeed. Many of my age mates have embraced poultry farming because of the quick returns. But I opted for ornamental plants which generate higher profits, ”says Kamira.
“I researched breeding, feeding and management online and took a leap of faith. Little by little, the numbers have increased and so have my clients. Most people buy them for cosmetic purposes, ”he says.
Kamira, a breeder for three years now, sells a parrot for 30,000 shillings while a pair is worth 40,000 shillings. Budgerigars, which are currently out of stock, cost 4000 Sh per bird while guinea fowl ranges from 1000 to 1500 Sh depending on the weight of the bird.
He says parrots are intelligent, musical, colorful, and beautiful, traits that make them attractive. Of all the birds in the family, the gray parrot is the most intelligent and the most expensive. The breeder states that gray parrots learn human language, music tones and other sounds faster than other types.
The breeder sells a mature turkey which weighs an average of 7 kilograms for Sh8,000 per bird, a Polish Bantam chick aged one day to one week costs Sh1,000 while those who are three to four months old bring in Sh2,500. These are considerably impressive returns for a poultry farmer, considering the fact that a day-old broiler sells for an average of Sh100.
His greatest inspiration is the stability of the markets and the growing demand for ornamental birds.
“Although I market my birds through social media, I have a number of regular customers, mainly from coastal areas and Nairobi. They always come for the birds here. Few people keep ornamental birds despite the availability of the market, ”he says.
Unlike chicken, ornamental birds are very resistant to disease and do not require a special diet, which significantly reduces the costs associated with their conservation.
Kamira says that although regular poultry and ornamental birds have the same food consumption needs; ornamental birds have more yields.
To increase her income, Kamira also purchased an incubator and a generator for hatching the eggs.
“My seed money was small, but with more orders to come, I had more money than I was using to buy an incubator and generator. My starting capital was 27,000 sh, but now I can say that my business is worth a few hundred thousand shillings, ”says the farmer.
With his business breaking even, Kamira says he comfortably pays his expenses and upkeep at the Dairy Institute where he pursues a degree in dairy technology and saves every extra coin he earns.
Through research and practical experience, the farmer has acquired the essential skills needed to run poultry farming businesses.
In breeding ornamental birds, he says it is very vital to establish the health of the breeders and the age of the eggs and the age of the breeders.
“The storage of eggs should be done with great care. In the incubator, temperatures should take into account the requirements of a specific species. Eggs with a maximum of ten days after laying are preferred. Before putting the eggs in the incubator, look for any that have flaws like cracks and discard them. Disinfect the good and the machines to make sure the chicks don’t get infections, ”advises Kamira.
As soon as the chicks are out of the hatchery, Kamira begins a vaccination program first against Newcastle when the chicks are five days old and Gumboro when they are ten days old. At 21 days, the chicks receive a second dose of Newcastle vaccine.
For farmers who have acquired incubators, Kamira advises that they should have a back-up power plan like a generator.
“They should have generators because in the event of a blackout the result can be disastrous,” he adds.
By Anne Mwale and Dennis Rasto