Many civil servants like resting during lunchbreak before they resume work in the afternoon, especially when they work near their offices. But for a young female officer in Ruiru Prisons Staff Training College, lunchbreak is a golden opportunity for her to tend to the ornamental birds, which she keeps.
Grace Wanjiku, alias Shikuh, indulges herself in keeping of ornamental birds such as guinea fowls and geese next to her place of work.
The Prison wardress says that the birds give her extra money that supplements her income.
“I was introduced to this farming by a friend. I use it as a way of earning more money,” reveals the farmer.
Wanjiku says that she ventured into this kind of farming using a capital of Sh30,000. The amount included the money she spent in transporting the birds from the place she bought them. She started rearing ornamental birds in 2015 and never has she regretted venturing into the agribusiness.
“It is easy to keep because geese do not need to be looked after. Once you give them food and water, they do not have any problem,” says Wanjiku. Since the birds also feed on grass, the farmer has no worries about the source feeds.
The farmer says that this kind of farming does not affect her job. “What I do during lunchtime and after work is to feed the birds. In fact, they do not interfere with my work,” says the farmer, whose home is Githabai village in Kinangop, Nyandarua County.
She says that the birds’ houses ought to be very strong in order to sustain the weight of the birds. In addition, the farmer says that the houses should be well ventilated and they should have clean air.
“They need a safe and clean environment. Also, the place where they hatch the eggs should be clean because they can be affected by diseases in dirty environment,” adds Wanjiku.
However, she says that the birds are rarely affected by diseases. “They cannot be easily attacked by diseases, but they can be given injection when they are young,” she says.
The farmer reveals that her birds have never been attacked by diseases. Nevertheless, injuries on the legs which are caused by sharp objects are common.
She does not have any employee though she says it is good to have one who can give a helping hand in case she is not around.
Wanjiku sells the birds at any age. However, she does not sell them when they are too young. She sells 4-6 months old goose at Sh2,500. A ten weeks old one goes at Sh3,500. The farmer also sells a mature one at Sh4,500. Wanjiku adds that she sells a pair of the birds; that is a male and a female at Sh9,000.
“Mostly I sell to people who want to start rearing them and to those who want to consume them,” she says.
She intends to raise the birds in large numbers in future. “If I succeed financially, I will keep them in large numbers and if God helps me to sell them in big hotels, I will be very grateful,” says Wanjiku, who is a diploma holder in Human Resource Management, and also has a certificate in Sign Language course