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Couple strikes it big with egg incubators

By Munene Kamau
David Mwaniki checking on his homemade incubator that he uses to breed chicks. (Munene Kamau, Standard)

Mr David Mwaniki is like a lion that keeps its eyes on the prey once he sets focus on what he wants to achieve.

Having attained basic education, Mwaniki from Kathiga village in Kirinyaga realised he couldn’t get a job in any office. He had to create a career of his own.

With a three-acre land to boot, he started an egg hatching venture. 

“I realised farmers from my area were experiencing heavy loses whenever they went for one-day chicks from Nairobi due to the mode of transport and the long-distance,” he said.

“But when I bought an incubator from Nairobi and installed it here, all the first 300 eggs I had put in did not produce even a single chick. The gadget was defective,” he said.

Out of this experience, Mwaniki says he hired an artisan and brought all the necessary material and within three days, he had an active incubator which could produce 70 per cent of chicks out of the 300 eggs he placed in.

Having made an incubator that worked efficiently, Mwaniki decided to make more for selling.

“Apart from hatching eggs, I started making my own incubators and so far we have sold more than 40 pieces. The positive feedback is what he keeps us going,” he added.

Mwaniki has another added advantage of having his own posho mill where he makes chicken feeds.

“My core business is to ensure all the raw materials for making chick mash, growers and layers mash are available before embarking on the production using my own mill. We get some ingredients from authorised agrovets, ” said Mwaniki.

With his wife Tabitha Wangui on hand as an assistant, the couple supplies quality chick breeds to many farmers in the county.

Wangui’s main occupation at the poultry farm involves taking care of the day-old chicks and marketing.

“I also carry out the mandatory vaccination before selling them to farmers,” she said.

The couple also rears rainbow roster breed which is an early maturing breed that lays eggs in just four months.

Wangui says she developed a checklist for farmers to consider, especially when buying day-old chicks for commercial purposes.

She said they advise farmers to purchase chicks from hatcheries certified by agricultural stakeholders like the Kenya Agricultural Research and Livestock Organisation (KARLO).

“The hatchery should display a valid licence from the regulator and a receipt must be provided after sale. This is one thing that farmers should always ask from those they are buying the chicks from,” said Wangui.

Time, Wangui said, is of essence when buying day-old chicks. They require a lot of care, especially in the first five weeks after purchase.

They breed more than 10,000 chicks at any given time.

Getting feed right is a key factor in succeeding in poultry farming according to Mwaniki.

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