In Bungoma County, on a quaint one-acre farm in Kibabii village, Elisha Wekoya has built a thriving poultry farm where he rears Kienyeji chickens.
Wekoya’s journey into poultry farming didn’t begin with a grandiose operation. Instead, it was marked by modest beginnings with just three layers.
These initial layers grew into what has now become a burgeoning and bustling community of 2,000 Kienyeji birds at various stages of development.
“I started very small. But now these birds have flooded this compound; there’s hardly any space to play,” he recalled.
The growth of his poultry farm has been incremental—50, 100, 200, and now 2,000 birds, not counting those he has already sold and slaughtered.
The financial success of his venture is evident in the milestones he has achieved.
“From the money I get from selling the chicken and eggs, I have managed to educate my children and pay for my fees to undertake a Bachelor’s degree in Education,” he proudly stated.
The roots of Wekoya’s passion for poultry keeping trace back to his high school days.
”Before I enrolled for my undergraduate class, I could hatch chicks through natural incubation. At first I managed to get 117 chicks out of 177 eggs and improved with time, getting more and more chicks which I took care of to maturity.”
However, it wasn’t until he graduated from Kibabii University that he decided to pivot from a stable teaching career to embrace the world of poultry farming as a wealth-building venture.
“Teaching is stable but it keeps you in a comfort zone. You can never make wealth from holding such a job. That is why I decided to take a risk and rear chickens,” Wekoya explains.
His venture began with a learning curve. Wekoya sought guidance from a livestock officer, Mr. Martin Makokha, to navigate the intricacies of natural incubation.
The initial phase saw him hatching 117 chicks out of 177 eggs, a success that improved with time as he nurtured more and more chicks to maturity.
Wekoya’s strategic approach includes a well-structured poultry rearing system. His birds are confined in a cage during the night and morning for their safety, and they roam freely around the farm during the day.
Beyond poultry farming, he ingeniously uses chicken droppings to enrich his traditional vegetable farm, cultivating nightshade, saga, and amaranth.
The financial gains from Wekoya’s poultry venture are palpable. The demand for improved Kienyeji breeds, especially during festive seasons, has allowed him to pocket substantial sums.
In one month alone alone, Wekoya earned Sh350,000 from the sale of birds and eggs, leveraging the heightened demand.
Challenges persist in the poultry farming business, with feed costs being a primary concern.
Wekoya employs a cost-effective approach, supplementing commercial feed with kitchen waste to protect his profit margins. Additionally, a strict vaccination schedule is crucial for successful poultry management.
Wekoya’s entrepreneurial spirit extends beyond local markets to nearby towns such as Chwele and Mayanja.
Surplus products find their way to Bungoma town, Busia, and Kakamega, showcasing the scalability and market reach of his poultry business.