Kizingo Poultry Farm, located in Bamburi-Utange in Kisauni Constituency, is home to 31,000 broilers kept under the deep litter system.
The farm buys day-old broiler chicks from Kenchic, raises them and sells in five weeks for meat, says Nahashon Aswani, the farm manager.
“We have been in existence for four years now,” says Aswani, who works on the farm with Abdilahi Mohammed.
“We rear the birds in six different cages with cage A containing 6,000 chicks, B 5,500, C 3,000, D 4,000, E 5,500 and F 7,000.”
They sale the chickens for meat to butcheries, schools and hotels in Mombasa town at between Sh350 and Sh400 each. But what is their secret to rearing quality broilers? Aswani says for a farmer to get quality meat from broilers, one should get it right from the start.
“A day-old broiler chick should weigh between 36-40g for it to mature on time and have desired weight and body size. One should also curb diseases, feed the chicks well and give them water.”
Before they introduce the next flock, Aswani says they ensure the poultry house is thoroughly cleaned, disinfected and sanitised.
“The chicks should also be kept warm in the brooders using heaters, vaccinated, fed and in our case, fans should be working.”
The warm environment is important for day-old chicks because they do not have the ‘mother hen’ to shelter them from the cold and at that tender age, they do not have feathers.
“We use mercury bulbs which are designed to produce heat with great care taken when adjusting how low the bulb should hang,” says Aswani, warning that if bulbs hang too high, then chicks crowd at one place leading to suffocation.
He starts the chicks immediately on anti-stress vitamins to help them cope with the sudden change in environment. He sometimes mixes the vitamin water with some glucose and glycerine.
“We feed our chicks on starter mash for the first three weeks and finisher for the last weeks. A broiler will eat about 1kg of starter mash, 1.5kg of growers mash and 1.5kg of finisher to reach a good market weight of about 1.5kg.”
Proper hygiene practices are critical in preventing disease outbreaks in broiler keeping, thus, footbaths should be placed at every entrance.
“We use antibiotics like Aliseryl, Limoxin and Anticox to treat diseases like Gumboro and Newcastle. We also vaccinate the chicks against various diseases,” he says, adding the farm slaughters some of the birds for the market.
Kevin Mwambi, a nutritionist at Mombasa Maize Millers, advises that for a farmer to end up with quality birds for business, broilers need a good balanced diet that has protein, energy and vitamin A and B is to reach a recommended market weight.
A seven-day chick, according to him, should feed consume 167g of starter mash and average water intake of 293ml a day. At three weeks, the starter crumbs should be mixed with finisher pellets for a bird to have average weight of 850g with a feed consumption of 1,192g and average water intake of 2,086ml.
He added that for a farmer feeding his birds twice a day, each broiler chick will roughly consume 1.192kg for the first 21 days.