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My poultry now have good weight and rarely get sick

By John Shilitsa
Some of the maggots that have been prepared for poultry. BY DUNCAN OCHOLLA

It is not everyday you visit a farm and find the man in charge feeding poultry on maggots. That’s what Smart Harvest team finds Benard Nyaramba, a farm manager, doing at the three-acre farm he is managing at Ingotse in Kakamega County.

“Not many people know this fact but maggots are rich in protein and healthy for feeding poultry. See how healthy our birds are. It is all because of these creepy creatures,” Mr Nyaramba says as he notices the surprised look on the team’s face.

Research shows feeding maggots to chicken is an easy and economical way to provide protein and fat.

Because it is feeding time for the birds, the place is filled with crawling maggots, for the birds midday snack. Nyaramba has made it a routine to feed the birds on maggots since the cost of commercial poultry feeds has risen sharply.

“We resorted to feeding the birds on maggots when the price of commercial chicken feed became too expensive,” he says.

Cheaper and richer

The farm owned by Samuel Ambundo, hosts several Guinea fowls, ducks, chicken, turkeys and a cock ostrich at various stages of development.

They also keep pigs, dairy cows and goats, which help furnish the farm with manure.

Feeding the birds on maggots has drastically reduced the cost of production. Maggots are also rich in proteins. Initially, he would buy at least 500kg of poultry feeds at Sh23,500 every month but availability of the maggots has seen it drop to only 150kg equivalent to Sh7,050 in a month.

Kenya Agricultural Livestock and Research Organisation (Kalro) is working with the farmer to help him start producing maggots on a large scale.

“We have plans to start breeding maggots in collaboration with farmers. The worms are easy to rear but also give poultry much needed nutrients leading to increased production of eggs and resistance to common diseases,” says Dr Luvodicus Okitoi, Kakamega Kalro Centre Director.

According to him only 60 per cent of feeds consumed by pigs is utilised in the body while the remaining 40 per cent comes out as waste. 

“The pig droppings contain 40 per cent of the wasted food from which the maggots forms.”

Nyaramba confirmed that his birds seldom fall sick and have desirable weight. 

“They are on high demand, farmers and individuals who want them for meat flock this farm to buy the birds,” he said.

However, he prefers selling eggs and the birds to hotels and supermarkets because of the huge orders compared to individual buyers.

So how does he grow the maggots?

“Easy,” he says. 

“I make heaps of pig droppings which decompose and give room for maggots to grow. The worms are ready for harvesting after six days,” says the farmer.

With Karlo by his side, Nyaramba is setting things in place to start producing maggots on a large scale for sale to other farmers.

“I would wish to expand the production and focus on value addition because there is a ready market, farmers would scramble for it,” he told Smart Harvest on the farm.

Like all ventures, maggot production has its fare share of challenges. 

“Safari ants are the worst enemy of maggots, they strike just when the maggots are ready for harvesting and feast on everything,” says Nyaramba.

To counter this, he applies ash around the mounts to keep safari ants and other insects that feed on the maggots. 

There are also recommended chemicals to deal with that problem. However, it is not possible to deal with safari ants once they have invaded the maggots according to him the pig pen houses more than 150 animals of mixed breeds at different stages of growth.

[John Shilitsa]

 

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