Broiler farming, the practice of raising and breeding chickens specifically for meat production, has gained significant momentum in Kenya over the years. With its high feed efficiency and rapid growth, broiler farming has become a profitable and worthwhile enterprise for many farmers in the country. However, success in this industry requires careful planning, market identification, and efficient farm management.

Kenya, renowned for its agricultural potential, offers a favorable environment for broiler farming. One prominent breed in the Kenyan market is the Kenchic Broiler, known for its fast growth and high feed intake. These chickens can reach optimal market weight, ranging between 1.5 and 3 kilograms, within a short period of 4 to 5 weeks.

To embark on a successful broiler farming venture in Kenya, it is crucial to start with a well-drafted business plan. A comprehensive business plan helps set clear goals and objectives, outlines the strategies to achieve them, and identifies potential challenges. By carefully considering factors such as market demand, pricing, production costs, and sales channels, farmers can make informed decisions that maximize profitability.

Market identification plays a vital role in broiler farming success. Before commencing operations, it is crucial to identify potential buyers and establish connections with local hotels, schools, restaurants, cafeterias, and shopping outlets. By understanding the preferences and demands of the target market, farmers can ensure a ready market for their broilers once they reach maturity. This proactive approach mitigates the risk of unsold stock and allows for a steady stream of sales, enhancing business sustainability.

In addition to a robust business plan and market research, maintaining accurate farming records and implementing sound accounting practices are essential. By tracking expenses, income, feed consumption, and weight gain, farmers can monitor the profitability of their operations. This data provides valuable insights for optimizing feed management, adjusting pricing strategies, and identifying areas for improvement.

As broiler farming continues to gain prominence in Kenya, adopting these best practices will increase the chances of success in this dynamic industry. By combining effective planning, market knowledge, and efficient farm management, aspiring broiler farmers can tap into the vast potential of Kenya’s agricultural sector and build a thriving and profitable enterprise.

How to Build a Broiler Chicken House

Building a broiler chicken house requires careful planning and consideration to provide a safe and healthy environment for the chickens. Here are some important guidelines to follow:

  1. Location and Orientation: Choose a location for the chicken house that provides protection from extreme weather conditions. Building the house from east to west helps to prevent excessive exposure to the hot sun and strong winds.
  2. House Structure: Construct the chicken house with 4-feet high walls made of sturdy materials. Use 3-feet wire mesh on the walls to allow proper airflow while keeping the birds secure. Install curtains on the windows to prevent cold drafts, particularly during colder periods, and remember to close them at night.
  3. Disease Prevention: Maintain strict biosecurity measures by keeping the chicken house locked to prevent unauthorized access by people or animals. Regularly clean the house to remove droppings and debris, reducing the risk of disease transmission. Consider implementing footbaths with disinfectant to prevent pests and diseases from entering the house. When attending to the chickens, wear a dust coat and sanitize your hands to minimize the potential spread of pathogens.
  4. Flooring: Construct a flat cement floor for easy cleaning and sanitation. Wood shavings or other suitable bedding materials can be spread on the floor to absorb droppings, maintain hygiene, and provide some insulation.
  5. Space Requirements: Each broiler chicken requires at least 1 square foot of space. Determine the number of birds you plan to keep before building the house to ensure adequate space is provided. Overcrowding can lead to stress, reduced growth rates, and increased risk of disease outbreaks.
Photo Source: Initiative Africa / A Broiler Chicken House

Remember to consult local regulations, guidelines, and best practices for broiler chicken house construction in your specific area. Additionally, consider the specific needs and requirements of broiler chickens, such as proper ventilation, lighting, and access to feeders and waterers. Building a well-designed and appropriately sized chicken house sets the foundation for a successful broiler farming operation, promoting the health and productivity of your flock.

Essential Steps for Successful Broiler Chick Management: From Purchasing to Brooding

When purchasing day-old chicks from Kenchic, it is important to prepare a brooding area in advance to ensure the chicks’ well-being. Here are some guidelines to follow:

  1. Preparing the Brooder: Set up the brooder at least 24 hours before the chicks’ arrival. Ensure the brooding area is well-lit, as sufficient lighting helps chicks find food and water easily. If using a pen, consider a round shape to prevent chicks from getting trapped in corners. As the chicks grow, gradually increase the size of the pen to provide adequate space.
  2. Equipment Requirements: For 500 birds, you will need 5 feeding trays and 10 drinkers. Before use, disinfect all equipment thoroughly to maintain hygiene and prevent the spread of diseases.
  3. Access to Food and Water: Ensure that no bird has to walk more than 1.5 meters to reach the food or water source. Proper access to food and water encourages healthy feeding behavior and prevents competition and stress among the chicks.
  4. Providing Heat: Place a jiko (a traditional charcoal stove) in the middle of the brooding area, elevated about 1 foot high. The jiko will provide warmth to the chicks during the critical initial period of 14-21 days. Light the jiko approximately 6 hours before the chicks’ arrival to ensure it reaches the desired temperature.
  5. Monitoring Temperature: Maintain a suitable temperature within the brooder to keep the chicks comfortable. Ensure that the brooding area is neither too cold nor too hot. Use a thermometer to monitor the temperature regularly. The ideal temperature for day-old chicks is around 32-35 degrees Celsius (90-95 degrees Fahrenheit). Adjust the heat source or ventilation as needed to maintain a consistent and appropriate temperature.

Regularly observe the chicks’ behavior to gauge their comfort level. Chicks that huddle together excessively or spread out far from the heat source indicate that the temperature needs adjustment.

Photo Source: The Poultry Site / Inside a Broiler Brooder

By following these guidelines, you can provide a suitable brooding environment for your day-old chicks, promoting their growth, health, and overall well-being.

Optimizing Growth and Health: A Comprehensive Guide to Broiler Chick Management

Achieving optimal growth and health in broiler chicks requires careful attention to their water intake and feeding regime. This guide will provide essential information on water requirements, broiler feed types, and a feeding guide to ensure the healthy development of your flock.

Water Management

A consistent supply of clean water is crucial for the growth and well-being of broiler chicks. Without adequate water, their growth potential can be compromised. As a general guideline, chicks require approximately 2 grams of water for every 1 gram of feed consumed. This ratio ensures proper hydration and aids digestion.

During the first 3-5 days, it is beneficial to enhance the water with certain additives. These include liquid glucose for energy, a drop of liquid paraffin to aid digestion, and vitamins to alleviate stress. Regularly clean the drinkers to maintain hygiene and prevent the spread of diseases.

Feeding Guide

Unga Farmcare EA feeds provide a reliable source of nutrition for broiler chicks. Follow this feeding guide for optimal results:

  1. Day 1-21: Starter Mash. Each chick should consume approximately 1 kg of starter mash over a period of 21 days.
  2. Day 21-35: Finisher Mash. Transition the chicks to finisher mash, with each chicken consuming around 2 kg of feed over a span of 14 days.
  3. Day 35-42: Finisher Mash. During this period, increase the feed intake to an additional 1 kg per chicken over 7 days.

To ensure a smooth transition between feed types, gradually introduce the changes:

  • Day 20: Mix 75% starter mash and 25% finisher mash.
  • Day 21: Shift to a 50% starter mash and 50% finisher mash ratio.
  • Day 22: Adjust to a 25% starter mash and 75% finisher mash ratio.

Optimizing Feed Consumption

When the chicks are ready to leave the brooder, remove feeding trays and hang the feeders from the roof at back level. This method minimizes food wastage and encourages efficient feeding habits among the chickens.

Market Readiness

With proper care and feeding, your broilers should reach the desired weight for sale between 35-42 days, typically around 1.5 kg. Regularly monitor their growth and adjust feed quantities as needed to ensure optimal development.

By paying close attention to water management, following the feeding guide using Unga Farmcare EA feeds, and implementing strategies to optimize feed consumption, you can promote healthy growth and maximize the market readiness of your broilers. With diligent care and proper nutrition, you can ensure the success of your broiler chick management venture.

Importance of Disease Prevention and Vaccination in Broiler Chickens

In broiler chicken farming, it is common to experience some chick mortality during the first week, with an acceptable rate of up to 1%. However, if the mortality rate exceeds this threshold, it may indicate the presence of underlying problems, such as diseases. Certain diseases, such as Newcastle Disease (NCD) and Gumboro, can pose serious threats to the flock, and preventing their occurrence is crucial for the success of your broiler farming venture.

Newcastle Disease (NCD)

NCD is a highly contagious viral disease that affects chickens, causing severe illness and high mortality rates. Recognizing the signs and symptoms of NCD is essential for early detection and prompt action. Common symptoms include respiratory distress, coughing, sneezing, nasal discharge, diarrhea, and a drop in egg production.

To prevent NCD, vaccination is crucial. Vaccinate your chickens against NCD at 7 and 21 days of age. Purchase the vaccine, known as Avivax in Kenya and Temevac in Tanzania, from agrovets. Administer one drop of the vaccine into the bird’s eye or nostril, ensuring it blinks or inhales it. Each vial of vaccine typically covers 50 birds. It is recommended to vaccinate against NCD every 3 months to maintain a strong defense against this deadly disease.

Gumboro Disease

Gumboro, also known as Infectious Bursal Disease (IBD), is another highly contagious viral disease affecting young chickens. It primarily affects the immune system, leading to immunosuppression and making the birds vulnerable to secondary infections. Gumboro can cause significant economic losses due to high mortality rates.

Photo Source: CABI Digital Library / A Sick Broiler Chicken

To identify Gumboro, it is advisable to take a dead chicken to a veterinarian for examination. Bloodstains on the chicken’s skin are often indicative of Gumboro disease.

Vaccination is the key preventive measure for Gumboro. Administer the vaccine at 10 and 14 days of age by mixing it with the chicken’s drinking water. Ensure the chickens are thirsty by withholding water for 1-2 hours before vaccination. This increases their likelihood of drinking the vaccine. Regular vaccination against Gumboro is crucial to protect the flock and prevent the devastating effects of the disease.

Thoughts on Vaccination

In broiler farming, disease prevention is paramount to maintain the health and well-being of your flock. Newcastle Disease and Gumboro are two major diseases that can cause significant losses if left unaddressed. By vaccinating your chickens at the appropriate ages and following the recommended vaccination protocols, you can mitigate the risk of disease outbreaks and safeguard the profitability and sustainability of your broiler farming enterprise. Regular monitoring, prompt veterinary intervention, and strict biosecurity measures should also be implemented to ensure the overall health and welfare of your chickens.

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  • Graduate Farmer

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Comments (1)

  • Shiro September 29, 2023 Reply

    Thank you

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