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Incubator businesses empower youth

With the demand for chicken and chicken products at an all-time high due to the country’s large urbanised population, an entrepreneur cum businessman running a successful hatchery in Murang’a urges the youth to consider the venture.

Paul Wacira, who has been in the hatchery business since 2015, further shares some insights on what it takes to keep the business afloat through egg value chain addition.

He opines that the demand for chicken cannot be met as rearing chicken is not labour-intensive and requires a small space in the backyard, even for the urbanised population.

“If you sell an egg, the highest it will fetch is Sh. 20 to 25, but if you add value to it, you will fetch not less than Sh. 100 for a day-old chick,” he says.

Wacira observes that to start a hatchery, one will need to secure an incubator, which ranges from Sh. 40,000 for a 264 egg capacity to Sh. 90,000 for a 1064 egg capacity.

“The incubators can be imported or locally assembled, with the latter being a preferred choice for many because rectifying malfunctions locally will be easier and cheaper,” he adds.

Additionally, to achieve a high return on investment, the entrepreneur must have a steady source of high-quality eggs.

“When choosing your breeding flock, it is paramount to consider the needs of your customers Vis a Vis what is profitable,” he advises.

He underscores the need to choose healthy eggs while bearing in mind the flock because healthy eggs will produce healthy chicks.

“Moreover, choose eggs from well-fed chickens—those that will gain weight faster, are high producers, and have a high resistance to diseases,” he says.

Wacira warns that the efficiency of eggs reduces on the seventh day after they have been laid; thus, for incubation, one has to choose those that are in good condition, have no cracks, and have been well handled.

The source of power should also be reliable, as many hours of outages will interfere with the incubation processes.

“If your area is prone to outages, it is prudent to secure a backup and ensure proper ventilation for the machine to work well,” he says.

At his hatchery, the 37-year-old Kenyatta University Environmental Science Bachelor’s degree holder hatches over 40 chicks weekly, which he sells from a day old to a month old for Sh. 100 to Sh. 200.

Moreover, he hatches eggs for clients at Sh. 20 per egg and, on average, makes a profit of Sh. 30,000 per month.

The hatching process takes 21 days. The eggs are put in the automated incubator for 19 days, after which they are transferred to the hatchery compartment within the incubator for hatching, after which they are brooded for 7 to 14 days.

“Start small, be consistent, and offer good customer service as customer referrals play a major role in ensuring the success of a hatchery,” he observes.

By Florence Kinyua

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