July 08, 2010


Broiler chicken trading is very volatile where prices are determined based on demand-supply in a given market for the day. The broiler prices fluctuate widely and even short surpluses result in a very wide fluctuation in market prices. Consumption of poultry and other meats is adversely affected during religious festivals leading to significant drop in demand (off-season). With the little scope for sale of frozen products or inter regional movement due to preference of live birds, the seasonal swings in demand are causing high volatility for market prices of broilers. Broiler production is marketed mostly by big farmers, integrators, private wholesalers and retailers. In the interior pockets, the producers themselves are marketing in small retail outlets and catering to the local requirements. While most of the broiler birds are consumed within the producing town centers and surrounding areas, surplus broilers at times are marketed to other neighboring towns depending upon the supply and demand position.

In Bangladesh slums Mombasa, small scale broiler keepers (keeping between 125 and 250 birds) have picked up the science and art of broiler chicken keeping as a means of earning a livelihood, a venture that has seen both physical  (dietary) and financial (monetary) fitness of these slum dwelling populace. However, these poultry keepers are challenged financially and technologically, hence require a support for starting or reviving up their enterprise as well as capacity building coupled with regular monitoring activities to enhance their participation in this enterprise. Most of their production ends up satisfying the consumers within slums hence improving slum diet hence healthy population.

Birds are locally slaughtered and processed using locally available facilities (that is, a big sufuria for boiling  water and knives) although city council and veterinary departments are discouraging slaughtering of birds within the Municipal jurisdiction limits except in designated poultry slaughterhouses due to pollution and other issues. After slaughter, these birds are either sold raw (to consumers) or ready-to-eat which are processed by color additives add-up and then deep fried, a process that increase their value hence customers pay slightly more. Bearing in mind that this population bears a low purchasing power, poultry products dealers  have devised a sub-division method that allows a consumer to purchase what he /she can afford  and/ or consume due to poor storage facilities.

Broiler meat dealers on their part face big challenge  of storage of processed or semi-processed meat (bearing in mind that temperatures in Mombasa are too high and the meat and meat products very perishable). This has hindered expansion of poultry marketing in this area. they are forced to process what is enough for populace  for the day without surpluses that may end up in bins. Marketing of their poultry products can me improved by providing them with storage facilities so that they can process and sell their products far and wide, at good prices by avoiding losses they incur while disposing off (selling cheaply) the products for fear of going stale.

Poultry meat dealers, of whom most are also producers if adequately supported, through providing them with storage facilities, better hygienic sale yards  and clean meat handling facilities, sale of slaughtered chicken is expected to increase. this will be as a result of assurance of meat storage and better hygienic meat handling  that will assure safety to the consumer. Consumers could be advised to pay slightly higher amount for this improved service.

July 07, 2010


Day 1
·          Glucose @5g/ liter of water
·          Plain vitamin
·          Liquid paraffin @1 teaspoonful per drinker, three times a day for 3 days

Day 2-6
Chick formula (Alamycin, Egocin)

Day 7
Plain water

Day 8
Plain vitamin

Day 9
NCD + IB Vaccination: Eye drops

Day 10-13
Plain vitamin

Day 14
Gumboro vaccination: drinking water (Distilled water)

Day 15- 17
Plain vitamin

Day 18
NCD + IB Vaccination: Eye drops

Day 19- 20
Plain water

Day 21
Gumboro vaccination: Drinking water (Distilled water)

Day 22- 26
Plain vitamin

Day 27 to slaughter
Plain water plus feed

Schedule below is courtesy of Kenchic Limited (leading company in SUPPLY of Day Old Chicks) with slight modifications.

July 02, 2010


During one of my market research tours in Mwakijembe Market, Kinango District, I met Mama Mutuma, a renowned poultry business lady common with buying local free-range chicken. Curious on how she operated her business. I noted the following: 
a) That she buys an average of 100 chickens per week at an average price of Kshs 400 per chicken each weighing an approximate weight of 2.5kgs. These birds are bought from Mwakijembe and Ndavaya locations, Kinango District.
b) Her point of source was on-farm (was regarded as most expensive), market places and also by using middles men to purchase birds and latter sell to her.
c) Most of these birds were cocks/ cockerels because of their advantageous weight over hens.
d) She travelled to the market on averagely two (2) times per week and sold her birds at Majengo Mombasa.
e) On average she sold the birds at Kshs 500 each.
f) These birds were sold to brokers, hoteliers and Nyama choma zones.
g) Cost of transporting birds was: Kshs 200 for herself and Kshs 200 for the chicken basket with a carrying capacity of 50 adult chickens.
Therefore her approximate expenditures for 50 chickens was as follows: Kshs 400 x 50 as buying price (20,000/), while Kshs 500 x 50 as selling price, transport Kshs 500 totaling to 25,000- 20,500 = 4,500/=.
Per week, an average of Kshs 9,000/=. Conversion in Dollar/ day (1 Dollar= Kshs 75/=) = 17.14 dollars per day.
This is but just one of the few cases highlighting the success brokers sail through to make a business kill at the expense of the livestock keeper who hardly earns affluence after his/her longstanding patience and risk of raising a free-range chicken.
But how can we reverse this trend to make the producer (livestock keeper) benefit from enterprise? What strategies need to be put in place to bring out the concept of PROFITABLE LIVESTOCK VENTURE? Indigenous chicken sector has the potential of contributing to the family income considering the existing popularity, suitability to the local conditions, low-cost investment, fits into the low income economy, quick returns on investment and their potential for growth in business and Business Development Services. A few challenges face the poultry keepers in their efforts to raise the birds. Among them include: diseases, parasites and predators.
To make this production system profitable, it is relevant to engage novelty systems and principles in order to facilitate the establishment of necessary support systems that will provide sufficient basic poultry services, such as veterinary drugs; feed and poultry equipment; extension and business development services; and markets and marketing services. These activities should focus on capacity building, supporting poultry keepers to establish their production systems (micro-financial support) and developing linkages that will enhance promotion of new knowledge and technologies in poultry industry.
Greatest achievement in this industry will be to increase production of safe poultry and poultry products (to consumers) and at the same time establishing ready market by creating a demand for poultry and poultry products, all these converging at a secured supermarket shelve or an established venture where a producer and consumers will meet to exchange their satisfaction!

June 29, 2010


Beekeeping is well established in Kenya and can be successfully carried out in about 80% of the country. It is especially suitable in the semi-arid areas where other modes of agriculture are not very possible. Beekeeping contributes to incomes as well as food security through provision of honey, beeswax and pollen as food and propolis, bees venom and royal jelly in medicine. It also contributes to seed and food production through crop pollination and conserves the natural environment. The country’s potential for apiculture development is estimated at over 100,000 metric tons of honey and 10,000 MT. of beeswax. At the moment only about one fifth of this potential is being exploited.
Roles Within the Honey Bee ColonyHoney bees enlist a caste system to accomplish the tasks that ensure survival of the colony. Each member of the community fulfills a need that serves the group. Tens of thousands of worker bees, all females, assume responsibility for feeding, cleaning, nursing, and defending the group. Male drones live only to mate with the queen, who is the only fertile female in the colony. The queen need not lift a wing, as workers tend to her every need.
The Queen: Don't get the idea the queen is lazy, though. A newly hatched queen begins her life in a duel to the death with any other queens present in the colony, and must destroy potential rivals that have not yet hatched. Once she accomplishes this, she takes her virgin mating flight. Throughout her life, she lays eggs and secretes a pheromone that keeps all other females in the colony sterile.
Drones: The drone's anatomical structure proves its limited role in the colony. Drones lack stingers, so they cannot help defend the hive. Without structures for collecting pollen or nectar, they cannot contribute to feeding the community. Upon mating, its only reason for existence, the drone dies. In the fall, worker bees prevent drones from entering the hive, effectively starving them to death.
Workers: Female worker bees accomplish every chore unrelated to reproduction. In their first days, workers tend to the queen. For the remainder of their short lives, workers keep busy - thus the expression "busy bees." They build the comb in which honey is stored and eggs are laid. Workers collect pollen and nectar, and evaporate the nectar to make honey for times when food is scarce. They tend to the queen, the young drones, and the larvae. When threatened, the workers defend the colony. New research suggests the workers also make the collective decision to move the colony, or swarm.


While cattle and shoats are considered as insurance, chicken are an ‘easy’ form and source of quick income. However, markets are found at long distances from most of the producers and hence brokers capitalize on this challenge by offering non-competitive prices. Regardless, the frequency at which households sell chicken to satisfy basic home needs is relatively high. Chicken are sold throughout the year though the frequency is high at times of reduced food supply, school-opening, and during festive seasons.Local indigenous chicken.........................." (Value chain analysis)

June 22, 2010


People who raise poultry for personal or limited commercial purposes, so-called "backyard flocks," should be aware of the risks to their birds, and to commercial poultry, from diseases such as Avian Influenza virus. Managing these risks by preventing the introduction and spread of diseases and other hazards is referred to as "biosecurity." The following recommendations are simple, inexpensive ways of minimizing the risk, but can be very effective in preventing a serious disease outbreak. Biosecurity

May 31, 2010


Development of alternatives for the reestablishment of the production capacity of cultivated pastures is fundamental to achieve the sustainability and intensification of the pastoral activity in the Kinango District, Coast Province Kenya. Some of the viable options suggested are the integration of the systems of grain and livestock production, together with direct planting. These systems have a potential to increase production and reduce risks of degradation while improving the soil chemical, physical and biological properties and the productive potential of grains as much as forage.
Innumerable benefits of the crop-livestock integration can be synthesized as: agronomic, through the recuperation and maintenance of the soil productive capacity; economic, by means of product diversification and higher yields and quality at less cost; ecological, through the reduction of crop pests and consequentially less pesticide use as well as erosion control; and socially by more uniform income distribution as the livestock and crop activities separately concentrate income generation. Higher generation of direct or indirect tributes as well as reduced urban migration will greatly be controlled. Cost of the creation of a new job in rural areas is much less than in urban, hence an attractive package with lots of potential.
A. Z. Sabuni a b, P. G. Mbuthia a , N. Maingi a, P. N. Nyaga a, L. W. Njagi a, L. C. Beboraa and J. N. Michieka a
aDepartment of Veterinary Pathology, Microbiology and Parasitology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Nairobi P.O Box 29053-00625 Nairobi Kenya
Ectoparasitism is an important factor associated with the limited expansion of the village indigenous chickens in the rural areas. A cross-sectional study was carried out to determine the prevalence of ectoparasites in free ranging indigenous chicken from two different agro ecological zones: Lower highland 1 (LH1) in Embu district and Lower midland 5 (LM5) in Mbeere district, Eastern province, Kenya. A total of 144 indigenous chickens of matched age (chicks, growers and adults) and sex groups were examined for the presence of ectoparasites. Of these, 138 (95.8%) had one or more types of ectoparasites, namely; lice, mites, fleas and soft ticks. One thirty one birds had lice, 107 mites, 42 sticktight fleas and 8 had soft ticks. Of the 138 infested birds, 25 had single while 113 had mixed infestations. Lice were the most prevalent parasites. The study has documented 
Epidermoptes species, Laminosioptes cysticola and Megninia species for the first time in Africa as well as Lipeurus caponis and Goniodes gigas in Kenya. All adult birds were infected with ectoparasites followed by 97.7% grower and 89.6% chicks. Both male and female birds had the same prevalence (95.8%) of ectoparasites. Lower midland 5 had a higher prevalence of ectoparasites (98.6%) compared to LH1 (93.1%). Parasite intensity in chickens was significantly different among age groups and between agro-ecological zones, but not between sexes of birds.
Because of the high prevalence of ectoparasites revealed by this study, it is imperative that integrated control strategies need to be put in place to improve chicken productivity and enhance smallholder livelihood in this areas.
Key words: Chicken, Indigenous, Free range, Ages, Sexes, Agro ecological zones, Prevalence