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Caring for chickens in Kenya

Lucia's chickens now bring her a reliable source of income Lucia's chickens now bring her a reliable source of income

“Now we don’t sleep hungry. We always have enough to eat” says a smiling Lucia, a 60-year-old chicken farmer living in Kitui, Kenya.

Lucia is full of pride and relief since joining a chicken farming group. Farm Africa has been training group members how to house and care for chickens, and how to keep them healthy. 

Lucia and the rest of the group members each received a ‘Kenbro’ cockerel to breed their local hens with. The cross-bred chicks are bigger and faster-growing than the local varieties, fetching more money when sold at market. This simple and effective project has transformed Lucia’s livelihood and outlook on life.

However, things have not always been like this. Like all the farmers involved in the project, Lucia already had a few chickens of her own, but was unable to make any money from them. Unaware that she needed to vaccinate her chickens to protect them from disease, many died before she could sell them. This is where Farm Africa comes in.

Rearing healthy hens

As part of the project, Lucia has learnt about the best chicken feeds available in Kitui, how to keep her chickens healthy, and how to spot a sick chicken, so it can be isolated from the rest of the flock.

Recently, Lucia sold 17 chickens at the local market through the chicken farmers’ cooperative. The hens fetched 500 Kenyan shillings (£3.20) each, and the cockerels 800 shillings (£5.15) each. She spent the income on medicines for the family’s cow, wire mesh to improve her chicken house, and a goat. Her small chicken business is helping Lucia to grow and diversify her income bit by bit.

“I never used to get any money from my chickens. Using the little my husband brought in, we struggled to make ends meet. We didn’t have much. As I learnt more and more, I began to treat my chickens as my own little investment and take better care of them.”

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