Gladys Kibe has a farm near Nyeri called Neski Ornamental Birds Farm where they keep ten different varieties of ornamental birds.
She told our team about her experiences with the birds, which sell for as much as Sh3,500 each.
Ornamental birds are not only a source of food and income, but also as decorative centrepieces. In Kenya, the tradition of keeping them is steadily gaining traction.
Before you start this type of farming business, you must be a licensed seller with the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS).
A license is crucial, also because one requires one when getting a transportation license.
You’ve definitely seen swan and goose statues, as well as metallic giraffes, on the sides of the road, especially in more affluent neighbourhoods.
You’ve probably seen similar attractive artifacts exhibited in people’s homes or restaurants.
While these artifacts are stunning in their own way, more people are opting for actual animals as landscaping options rather than sculptures.
It is not, however, a stroll in the park; it comes with its own set of disappointments, as with any farming effort. The low hatch rate for the majority of the birds is at the top of the list.
How She Started
Glady’s Kibe made a switch to focus on ornamental birds after an unsuccessful experience trying to commercially raise chicken, a choice that proved crucial to the success of her farming venture.
She established the farm three years ago after purchasing three turkey hens and a gobbler to decorate her compound.
She ended up with 15 chicks after a short time.
Gladys Kibe’s Neski Ornamental Birds Farm in Nyeri’s Ishuga estate is now a popular source for a variety of ornamental and rare birds, including pheasants, bantams, guinea fowl, vulturines and Speckle Sussex after several years of operation.
Every year, the Latter lays almost 300 eggs.
Gladys Kibe, who had no prior experience breeding ornamental birds, steadily enhanced her knowledge through online tutorials and guidelines, allowing her to expand the types of birds she raised on her farm.
Neski Ornamental Birds Farm currently has 280 birds. 14 turkeys, 11 silkies, 23 booted bantams, 8 brahma chickens, 5 cochins, and 300 ducks are among the animals on the farm.
She sourced the birds from a variety of farms, including those along the coast and in Tanzania.
Indoors Or Outdoors?
Birds in general enjoy being outside, which is why they keep them in a free-range system.
But, most crucially, it allows them to save money on feeds. A mature turkey consumes approximately 8kg of feed each month, while a young turkey consumes one kilo.
Gladys Kibe feeds commercial feeds to the bids. Starter for chicks up to two months old, blended with ochonga (omena).
Growers up to six months old are offered layers mash after they begin laying.
Don’t use an incubator to hatch eggs because the chances of hatching are 50/50 in the machine. To hatch my eggs, I utilize broody Kienyeji hens, says Gladys.
We have a chart in which we enter information about each breed of bird and their egg production, which allows us to calculate the number of eggs produced by each ornamental bird.
This also helps them decide which eggs to sell or hatch.
Neski Ornamental Birds Farm sells chicks, from three to four months, from at least Sh 2,500 while mature ones go for at least Sh 3,500.
Duck eggs retail at Sh 250 each, polish chicken eggs Sh30
The birds are sold based on the number of birds required by the buyer. Turkey hens cost Sh 3,800 each, males cost Sh 4,500 – Sh 5,000, while mature brahmas cost between Sh12, 000 and Sh 15, 000.
Silkies cost between Sh 5,000 and Sh 7,000 each, and vulturine guinea fowls start at Sh 5,000. Prices vary depending on the breed’s color, size, and purity.
They advertise the birds over social media. People who buy birds include those who wish to decorate their houses with them, as well as those who wish to build ornamental bird farms.
They learn about Neski Ornamental Birds Farm from Facebook pages and referrals.
Diseases & Parasites
Diseases like coccidiosis, which causes bloody diarrhoea, mycoplasmosis in turkeys, and internal parasites such ascarids make them vulnerable.
Mites are an example of external parasites.
When it comes to raising ornamental birds, cleanliness is crucial since it decreases the risk of infections.
However, there is a trade-off; unlike chicken, ornamental birds are majorly resilient to diseases and do not require special diets, greatly reducing the costs involved in keeping them.
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