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I was born in one of the poorest and violent "hoods" of Thika. Second born in a family of Six brothers and sisters, it was not easy growing up. Many days we went without food, but mama was determined to send us all to school. Her belief was that at least with a high school education, we could get by, and be ready for the job market. I got good grades in high school, and I could see myself in Uni. However, this was not to be.
Mama had to make a tough choice. My elder brother had wanted to go to college or trade school, but that did not happen because I had to be put through high school. So when it was my time, I had hoped that a miracle would happen and that all would be better. The truth is nothing got better. I too had to make room for my siblings to be educated. The entire amount I would need for one semester of University was enough to put my siblings through two years of schooling.
In desperation and a desire to help out, I started taking odd jobs here and there, ending up at the factory gates of the Industrial section of the district. In between providing a supplementary income to the family and trying to push myself ahead, I was inwardly suffering and languishing. Here I was, with good high school grades, jostling for position to carry heavy boxes around and other menial jobs with people who would transform to robbers at night, and muggers.
I wanted more, and so one day while at the gates begging to be taken in for a days casual job, I felt hopeless and lost. On my way home, having failed to secure a job for the day, I decided I had had enough. I never went back to the factories again. Instead, I sought solace in the only place that had meaning to me; a district library about four kilometers form where we lived.
This led to conflicts at home, and several months later, with my younger brother through with high school, I was technically ostracized from the family. I was not providing, and had no business eating or sleeping in that house.
I moved out and started applying some skills I had taught myself repairing electronics. It was the dawn of the mobile phone revolution, and I became a repairer for hire. This was also the time that I converted to Christianity.
Shortly thereafter I married and settled, but still felt I needed more. Over time, I managed to put myself through Uni, graduating in Dec. 2015. I am on course to completing a Masters degree sometimes in late 2016, or mid 2017.
(I completed my MA in late 2018, and graduated in 2019!)
Every venture has its learning and growing curve. Raising poultry got me out of a comfort zone that I was living in ignorantly. I have had to go through the whole cycle of raising chickens from hatchery to market. It is tedious, but done right it is rewarding. But so is the mining of the most precious metal on earth, platinum.
Through the loans, I have managed to do the chicken business differently. I have bought chicks, have had my chicken hatch chicks, have burnt my fingers in lost stock due to diseases, and have enjoyed profits that have gone a long way to achieve my goal; education for my family.
As before, I am opting to leave my previous write-ups so you can have a background of my business.
Please do read, and let my story and previous writing on "My Business" add to what I have briefly written.
I am presently engaged in raising chicken. Not much has changed from the below writeups in terms of what I do. I did use the third loan to manage feeding and some more modifications in the chicken coop. I can report that I have reached that point where I can now shift focus to hatching eggs and selling month old chicks to farmers and other growers.
I used the second loan to increase my current stock levels and to make improvements in the chicken coop. Of the 100 more chicks I procured, I lost some to an unknown cause. They just kept dying. I suspect that my supplier might have got me "tired" chicks. A neighbor's dog also took advantage over the period I was making improvements and I lost six birds in one night.
I also was able to find ways of bringing down the feed costs, by mixing several ingredients and milling them together. The chicken seemed to like it! The birds have started laying too, which is good because with time I can start selling eggs and the live chicken.
Currently I have about two hundred birds, all in different stages of growth. nine birds, and the parent stock has started laying fertilized eggs. I am applying for this third loan to be able to increase my stock levels and to make even more improvements in the chicken coop to be able to house the birds. Below, again, is my earliest write up of the business.
Early 2015, I started making plans for going into agri business. I saw potential in the chicken business, and made investment towards it. I built a standard chicken coop that can house between three hundred and five hundred birds.
The reason for going into chicken is because I realized that the farmers in Kisii cannot satisfy the existing demand for chicken and eggs. Eggs are being imported from Uganda. Also, the retail prices of the eggs and chicken are higher than in other areas.
I currently have twenty two birds, with an additional fifty on the way. It is a hardy breed that will require less input with a higher return on investment. I am seeking a loan to increase the number of birds to a number that can sustain itself, with my aim being my own hatchery. This will reduce my costs of production per bird by almost thirty percent (30%). With increased profits, I can manage to increase the stock of the birds and construct another coop.
I am aiming to be the person people come to when they want affordable chicken in Kisii. To achieve this, I am seeking someone, or people who will see beyond the cry for self preservation and into the desire to break free of the poverty cycle, not just for myself, but others too, by providing them with affordable food sources; someone or people to lend me a hand and see this vision come true.
I will use this loan to buy an incubator for the eggs that we have been collecting. One hen can only manage to successfully incubate seven of the big eggs. I once tried with fifteen eggs, and ended up losing some of them. Same case happened with ten eggs.
It is hard waiting for the birds to get broody. Not all of them get broody, and the couple that appeared good at it have a molting period of almost two months.
With this loan, I am aiming at a good incubator that will not destroy the eggs, and one that needs little attention. This will cost me USD 500. It can also manage the temps even when there is a blackout for eight hours. When not using it, I can let other farmers use it for hatching their eggs.
At the moment, I cannot peg an exact amount in terms of returns, but just to give an idea; the incubator will hold 96 eggs, after 21 days, those will be about 90 chicks on the minimum, or about USD 90. I have not done it before, so have no clue how much will go to electricity. But the upside is that this is money I would be using to buy chicks from someone, and my costs initial stoking costs will be cut down by about 90% with this incubator.
To this end, I am requesting that you help me get the incubator, with which I can hatch more chicken, and be able to sell the chicken to other farmers. This will be after raising my own parent stock. Thank you.
Jan 11, 2017
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