The bell rings to signal the end of classes just as the Seeds of Gold team arrives at Joel Omino Secondary School, Nyalenda, some three kilometres from Kisumu town.
Three students receive us and we head to a 10m by 5m poultry structure, where they keep poultry. The poultry house hosts 255 broilers of the Isinya Cobb500 breed.
The students scoop finisher mash from a bag and put inside four feeders. The birds scramble to get a share of their evening meal.
“They are ready for sale,” says Steve Owuor, one of the students. “We slaughter some for ourselves and sell the others to members of the community.”
This is the second batch of broilers that the school is rearing since they started the poultry venture in mid this year.
Principal Richard Nyayal says they used old iron sheets and wood to set up the poultry structure. They then brought 255 day-old chicks at Sh80 each.
The school also bought wiremesh, four feeders and three drinkers for the birds.
“We started the poultry venture to provide students with a practical platform to learn. We believe this will ignite the passion for agribusiness as an alternative source of income away from school,” says Nyayal.
The birds, according to him, mature faster, are resistant to diseases and have quick adaptability to the local environment.
As part of pest and disease control, they vaccinate the chicks against Gumboro at day 10, Newcastle at day 20 and 30.
The birds are fed thrice a day and given plenty of water to drink.
“We start feeding the chicks on starter mash, followed with grower mash and finisher. We sell the birds when they are at least 1kg. We have also learnt that keeping the poultry structure clean helps in managing infestation of pest and diseases,” says Owour, noting the school has employed a worker who helps them run the farm.
They sell each bird at Sh400, with the school pocketing Sh94,000 in the first season.
“This venture is rewarding to both the students and school. It’s a project that the school will wish to sustain and expand in the coming years. We are planning to start rearing layers in January next year,” says Nyayal, noting feeds are expensive with a 70kg bag of mash going for at least Sh3,000.
Maseno University’s Department of Agriculture Head Matthew Dida says farmers have the option of formulating feeds to cut costs.
“As long as they are taken through a training on feed formulation, they can make balanced rations for broilers, which cuts costs by 30 per cent.”
Raw materials available for feed formulations include sunflower seedcake, cotton seedcake and maize germ.