Gospel singer Salome Nyaga rears the Sasso chicken breed in Miritini-Vikobani, Mombasa County. She breaks down why this breed that is also known as the queen of eggs and meat is a sure bet in poultry agribusiness.
Why poultry agribusiness?
I went into commercial poultry keeping in late 2019 to generate income after quitting my job.
My employer gave me unrealistic target that I could not meet, thus, for my own peace of mind, I left. I had saved some money which I ploughed into the poultry business.
But I did research and came across the Sasso broiler breed, whose origin is France, which impressed me with its attributes. I decided to go for it.
Talking of qualities, what did you find about the chicken that you did not see in the other breeds?
The first thing I learnt is that the birds produce more eggs, up to 240 a year, and has quality meet.
The chicken is also easy to keep since it is less affected by diseases and can be kept under free-range system since they are good scavengers.
The birds exist in several colours and start laying eggs at five months. However, one of its disadvantages is that it has a slow growth rate.
But this is not a bad thing per se because the slow growth strengthens their muscle development.
Where did you source the birds because not many farmers keep them around?
Initially, I kept indigenous chicken, which helped me learn the ropes of poultry agribusiness.
But I sold them at between Sh800 to Sh1200 before I moved to Sasso, which I sourced from a farm in Tanzania through an agent in Meru, who transported them to Mombasa by bus.
When the chicks arrived, I had not even constructed a good poultry house for them, so I set a section in my sitting room.
I fed them chick mash, liquid paraffin to boost food intake, glucose and water. I also offered them supplemental heat using a jiko to keep them warm.
I vaccinated them against New castle and Gumboro. Out of the 100 chicks, three died. I sold 39 of the birds at Sh550 each at three months when the Covid-19 pandemic struck, affecting access to feeds.
I now have 120 birds, some having hatched chicks recently.
You sang the hit Mungu si mwanadamu, how do you balance between singing and poultry keeping?
I have a schedule that I follow. Monday to Wednesday I take full charge of their management and between Thursday to Sunday, I leave them in the hands of my worker.
I am not only a singer and poultry farmer, but also a mother to Edna and Everlyne Wendo.
How many eggs do you collect every day and do you sell them?
I collect at least 50 eggs a day and sell each at Sh 20. The feeding costs come to Sh4,500 a month; it is not a very bad business.
The chickens are a blessing because they offer me good income from the eggs and meat. I feed them the commercial feeds but also supplement with vegetable waste I collect from vendors.
My main aim is to become a supplier of day-old chicks and an eggs distributor.
What lesson have you learnt since you started keeping the birds?
The Sasso chicken can be a game-changer in one’s financial status. When well-kept, they are not attacked by diseases and sick, they respond well to treatment and the mortality rate is low. I have kept various birds but the Sasso stands out.