Kienyeji chicken farming is something that i had thought about for a while and its potential in the kenyan market is something i hold very highly. Infact, a story in the news a couple of months ago revealing how there was a shortage of chicken in Kakamega only strengthener my will to succeed. So it is with this psych and enthusiasm that i placed and order for 300 KALRO(form ally KARI) Kienyeji chicks with the intention of scaling up from there and reaching the heights warranting a “Seeds of gold front page” story.
On 23rd September, 5pm, i received the batch of 307 chicks(courtesy of the very generous and professional homerange poultry Hatchery). They have a training in Tharaka nithi by the way. I strongly recommend farmers starting out to attend. click on the banner on the sidebar.
I checked into the farm at around 8pm. It was much simpler task from here since i had prepared the brooder early enough but it dint take long for me to notice a shortfall. Some of the wood shavings that i had picked as my choice of brooder litter were so tiny that the chicken were feeding on as soon i placed them in the brooder. An alarming thing considering they were at a young and delicate stage, to stop this i covered the wood chippings with canvas as i thought through the next move.
The first few days were really good, marked with zero mortality which impressed me and earned my care taker an allowance raise. This however changed as the birds marked one week with an average of 1 death and 2 injured a day. The injures were caused, i presume by congestion. This derived from the physical nature of the injuries, mostly broken legs and wings.
One day, i lost 8 chicks to coccidiosis, a disease i later realized was caused by feeding on the droppings of the infected birds. This however turned out to be nothing compared to what was to hit me next, GUMBORO. Its described by google as being highly contagious and indeed it is. I lost so many chicks i lost count. They died in numbers and at any time of day or night. As i write this, i have just finished battling it and theres no question who the winner was. Between 30%-40% of my chick succumbed to the disease leaving. Good news is that the ones who survived are now immune to Gumboro, talk of forcing a silver lining in this cloud.
They say Newcastle is way worse than Gumboro, that thought made me install a foot bath the very day gumboro was diagnosed. Newcastle would be disastrous dont you think? Anyway the journey continues.