The business of raising day old chicks
Raising day old chicks in Kenya has become very popular because you only need a viable batch of eggs for hatching, a reliable incubator and care and management of incubators. Also selling day old chicks can be done both locally and as a mail order business. Your hatchery could be just what people in your community needed as a nearby source of day old chicks.
Many people would like to raise chickens themselves, rather than to buy pullets but are unable to get or hatch enough day old chicks.
Your job would be to have enough laying hens to lay eggs, incubate them, and sell them when they hatch. Many hatcheries take pre-orders and deliver baby chicks one day after they hatch. You can also distribute the chicks to local farmers or take orders through your website. Day old chicks sell at around Kshs 80 to 100 each. The Kenbro breed is a top selling breeds that you can start with.
Using only egg incubators you can sell day-old chicks as a viable business. With hens that supply a guaranteed number of eggs you can distribute the eggs such that there are eggs for the incubator at any one time. If you organize properly, day old chicks can be produced on a weekly basis for the market. The capital outlay is minimal, no specialized knowledge is needed and very little infrastructure is required.
This business model is ideal for small-scale farmers who want to start their own hatcheries with low capital input and high returns on investment. It is a highly profitable business to start and your capital requirement is very small.
The best way to start is by getting good chicken breeds and rearing them for laying eggs. Kenbro from Kenchic is very popular with farmers because of its high egg yield and quality meat. You are unlikely to meet the demand. Within six months your hens should be ready to give a constant supply of eggs for the incubator. Your business is to hatch the eggs and sell as day old chicks.
And an even easier way is to outsource the batch of eggs for hatching. But here you will need to be very careful and observant. The breeder you are getting the eggs from should be reliable and trustworthy because in order to successfully accomplish this venture you need to have fertile eggs that produce healthy embryo.
When choosing the eggs, don’t let the bigger ones fool you. Large eggs are not ideal eggs for hatching as they develop poorly thus producing sickly chicks. Too small ones are also not good, as these may not have enough yolk to sustain growth. Whether the eggs are from your farm or outsourced, always pick for hatching those of medium size and as much as possible, stain-free eggs. Look out for signs of cracks, holes and other abnormalities in the shell. Avoid those with irregular shapes and stay away from those with suspicious marks. Bacterial infection should be prevented right from the start.
The prices of incubators range from as low as Kshs 15,000. For a medium sized business you can invest in a 1200 eggs per week incubator which should be going for Kshs 140,000. Taking 70% hatchability, you should be selling about 800 day old chicks per week. At Kshs 100 per day old chick, this translates to a gross Kshs 80,000 per week or Kshs 320,000 per month. Other than feeding the parent stock or purchasing the eggs, there are no major expenses and the profit margin can easily be Kshs 200,000 monthly.