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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 got the first loan from Zidisha after following the guidelines setup. This was meant to increase the number of chicken I was keeping, since, as noted in my business and personal profiles, I wanted to be able to pay school fees for my two sons, as well as show them that it is possible, with proper planning and financial management, for one to meet their needs and have a little surplus. Nothing comes overnight, and working with the current sixty nine birds we have has been as expected.
This second loan will be used in three ways. First, feeding chicken can be a hard task and very expensive if not properly managed. I live in a farming community, and I have access to fish meal from Lake Victoria. I tried making my feed and to my surprise one of the breeds in the chicken coop prefer it over the commercial feeds. The other breeds are not as selective, and will eat anything I place before them. I will use part of the loan to make my own feed for the grown birds. This will cut down the feeding costs by almost 35%. I used 65% of the average commercial feed cost ($28) to make feed equal in weight, with a higher nutritional content. Currently, a good sack of high yield feed costs $33 in my area.
It is possible to aim for a 50% cost reduction if I purchase what I need in bulk, and have the suppliers deliver it to me as opposed to I being the one doing the collection.
Secondly, I will use some of the money to buy more chicks. I am targeting 50 birds, which will cost me $80 including transportation to my coop. With this number, I shall be able to grow my own stock after doing some culling to remove the weak chicken. I already have a hybrid that I got from a farmer in one part of the county. I also do keep several dual purpose breeds. My intention is to get a hardy breed that I can breed with high feeders in my stock to get a hardy breed that consumers in Kisii are interested in. I have already identified a source. The birds will need initial feed which will cost me $60 for the first two months of their growth.
Third, I will make some improvements in the chicken coop to accommodate the growing birds' ventilation and space needs. I also need to separate the birds and ensure no unintended contacts to cut back on the risk of diseases spread or low productivity. For this, my rough estimate is that a gross sum of about $40 will do.
I also intend to make my own sprout for the the birds supplement needs. With time, I hope to modernize the feeding and watering process as this will also help in the management of diseases and curb wastage.
It is for these reasons that I am asking you to fund me so I can grow the venture and meet if not exceed my initial objectives. Thank you for considering me.
Mar 29, 2016