I always eat one boiled egg for breakfast. But this habit ends whenever I visit my parents' home in Kericho and also my brother's house in Bomet.
So I decided to start the egg business by investing in about 150 mature free range Kuroiler layer hens and cocks. I bought them from a couple in Nakuru. The poultry was housed in an enclosed story structure with no room to run around. A family friend gave us a covered canter lorry.
So, very early one morning, I transported the hens and cocks to my brother's place in Bomet. There was a large chicken house with a bigger roaming and feeding area as compared to the previous housing. It was housing about 50 local hens with cocks.
These hens were sometimes laying two or four eggs in a few days in a week. My brother was unhappy about the hens. Chicken feed was expensive, yet the hens were not laying eggs every day.
But I was enthusiastic about the free range kuroiler hens.
Having settled in the hens, I arranged for a supply of chicken feed and other items required from an agrovet in Bomet. My nephew was the one to nurture the hens so that I could at least get 100 eggs daily.
I traveled back to Nakuru. On the second day, I expected the hens to start laying eggs, but this never happened for two weeks!
The hens and cocks started behaving strangely. They stayed indoors for the first day; none ventured out. They fed and slept for days. Then they discovered the free space and went on holiday. They ran around, frolicking. Others took a bath in the soil while others ate and sunbathed while laying on their backs. The clocks were busy staging unnecessary infighting over the hens. The local hens stood around the chicken wire, watching them puzzled.
One month of feeding and vet check, but no eggs. Then they were let out of the chicken house to free range. I thought this would help them relax more and start laying eggs. But this was never meant to be.
The cocks went wild sneaking into the neighboring homes where they befriended other local hens.
On returning them to the chicken house, the cocks just slept. They were exhausted from having serviced many local hens and from fighting. The Kuroiler hens stood around in small groups and watched the cocks for days.
It was now going to two months. One day, the hens stayed in the layers pens. I was happy; they were now going to start laying eggs. But there were no eggs. The hens were hiding from the fighting docks and maybe not pleased about their roaming with the local hens.
Third month. The hens started to lay a few eggs on some days. It took a week to get a tray of fertilized eggs, and I thought I could sell these for at least fifteen shillings each. But it was not so. The community around and traders wanted to buy for between eight and ten shillings!
On the fourth month, layers increased to five trays in a week. Some hens started to lose feathers while some died and some cocks disappeared into the village and never came back.
The investment was about ninety thousand. The income from the eggs was negligible. So I decided to sell for meat to at least get back some money.
Traders wanted to buy for half the price of what I had paid for. Since chicken feed per week was expensive, I tried to give them self-made feed, but they did not want to feed on it. Eventually, I sold at half the price of what I had paid for to cut my losses.
Up to now, I could not figure out how I made losses from day one.