15 cows, 400 chickens on tiny plot in the city ongested - Daily Nation

15 cows, 400 chickens on tiny plot in the city ongested

Friday December 12 2014

Farmer Joyce Nyingi with some of her 15 cows at her home in Kahawa West, Nairobi. PHOTO | CAROLINE CHEBET | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Farmer Joyce Nyingi with some of her 15 cows at her home in Kahawa West, Nairobi. PHOTO | CAROLINE CHEBET | NATION MEDIA GROUP  

By RACHEL KIBUI
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Heavy steel gates of various colours line up both sides of Kahawa West-Kiambu Road on the outskirts of Nairobi.

Driving along the road, one is carried away by the serene environment that is a blend of urban and country living.

Any discerning person would want to live in such a quiet neighbourhood, away from the clutter in some parts of Nairobi.

It is in this suburb that Seeds of Gold team meets Joyce Nyingi at her home, about a kilometre from Kamiti Maximum Prison.

A black steel gate ushers us into her 50 by 200 feet compound. In it stands her three-bedroom bungalow. But that is not all.

The mother of five keeps 15 Friesian dairy cows and a bull, 350 broilers, 50 kienyeji layers, five dairy goats and some ducks.

The agribusiness has earned her many admirers. Most wonder how the former clerk farms on such a small piece of land.
Nyingi has constructed a one storey pen that hosts her cows, goats, chickens and ducks.

The cowshed takes the entire ground floor while the chicken, goats and ducks occupy the upper floor.

“I went for the storey structure because of the size of my land. I was passionate about farming but I did not have money to buy a bigger piece of land. This, however, did not stop me.” The farmer used iron sheets, wire mesh, wood and cement to construct the structure that measures about 27 by 40 feet.

“I hired an experienced carpenter who constructed the entire structure that cost me Sh130,000, including labour and materials,” says Joyce, adding the artisan does repairs, extensions and other maintenance works.

THOROUGH CLEANING

She keeps both the cows and goats under zero-grazing. “The pen has enough space that allows them to exercise. There is also a milking shed for the cows.”

Every morning, Nyingi thoroughly cleans her cowshed with water and detergent to maintain cleanliness as well as minimise chances of her cows being infected with diseases such as mastitis.

The farmer says she keeps the bull to serve some of the cows. “I do not allow the bull to mate with its mother or sister. I, thus, use artificial insemination where I get Friesian semen from Central Artificial Insemination Station in lower Kabete, Nairobi.”

She used to feed her cows on napier grass that she obtained from farms in Kiambu. But after attending farmers’ field days, she has been improving on feeds.

“I now feed them