How to Start a Poultry Farming Business in Kenya

Poultry farming is a growing industry in Kenya, with the potential to provide a source of income and food security for many families. In this blog post, we will explore the different types of poultry farming in Kenya, the challenges and opportunities in the industry, and how to get started.

We will also provide some tips for successful poultry farming, such as choosing the right breed of chicken, providing adequate housing and nutrition, and managing diseases.

If you are interested in starting a poultry farming business in Kenya, this blog post is for you. We hope you will find it informative and helpful.

What is poultry farming?

Poultry farming is the practice of raising domesticated birds, commonly referred to as poultry, for their meat, eggs, or feathers. The primary types of poultry raised in farming include chickens, ducks, turkeys, and geese. Poultry farming is a significant aspect of the global agricultural industry and serves as a major source of protein and other products for human consumption.

There are two main branches of poultry farming:

  1. Meat Production (Broiler Farming): This involves raising poultry birds specifically for meat production. Broiler chickens are the most common birds raised for meat. They are bred to grow quickly and efficiently convert feed into muscle tissue. These chickens are typically raised in controlled environments, such as large, ventilated barns, and are provided with a controlled diet, proper sanitation, and veterinary care to ensure their health and growth. Once they reach the desired market weight, usually within a few weeks, they are processed for meat.
  2. Egg Production (Layer Farming): This type of poultry farming focuses on raising hens for the production of eggs. Layer hens are selected for their egg-laying ability rather than their meat. They are raised in facilities designed to provide optimal conditions for egg production. These facilities might include nesting boxes where hens can lay eggs comfortably, as well as feeding and watering systems that ensure their nutritional needs are met. The eggs are collected daily, cleaned, and then distributed for human consumption.

Poultry farming methods can vary widely, ranging from traditional free-range systems where birds have access to outdoor areas, to intensive confinement systems where birds are raised in controlled environments with limited space. The choice of method depends on factors such as economic considerations, animal welfare concerns, and consumer preferences.

Poultry farming has both economic and nutritional significance. It provides a consistent source of animal protein, including meat and eggs, for a large portion of the world’s population. Additionally, by-products such as feathers and poultry litter (a mixture of bedding material and bird droppings) have various applications in industries like bedding, fertilizer, and bioenergy production. However, poultry farming also faces challenges related to animal welfare, environmental impacts, and disease control, which require careful management and regulation.

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Importance of poultry farming

Poultry farming is important in Kenya for several reasons:

  1. Nutritional Security: Poultry products, including meat and eggs, are essential sources of high-quality protein and essential nutrients for the Kenyan population. They play a critical role in addressing malnutrition and ensuring food security, especially in regions where access to other protein sources is limited.
  2. Employment and Livelihoods: Poultry farming provides employment opportunities and income for a significant number of Kenyan households, particularly in rural areas. Small-scale poultry farming can be easily started with relatively low capital investment, making it a viable option for many individuals seeking to generate income.
  3. Rural Development: Poultry farming contributes to rural development by stimulating economic activity in local communities. It supports livelihoods, helps alleviate poverty, and reduces migration to urban areas in search of employment.
  4. Diversification of Agriculture: Poultry farming adds diversity to the agricultural sector, helping farmers mitigate risks associated with relying solely on crops. Diversification into poultry farming can provide an additional income stream and reduce the vulnerability of farmers to market fluctuations.
  5. Export Opportunities: Kenya has the potential to export poultry products to international markets, generating foreign exchange earnings. With proper infrastructure, quality control, and adherence to international standards, the country could tap into global demand for poultry products.
  6. Smallholder-Friendly: Poultry farming can be practiced on a small scale, making it accessible to smallholder farmers with limited land and resources. This inclusivity empowers farmers to engage in productive activities and improve their economic prospects.
  7. Food Processing and Value Addition: The poultry industry provides opportunities for food processing and value addition. Processed poultry products like sausages, nuggets, and packaged eggs have a market demand that can lead to higher returns for producers.
  8. Education and Training: Poultry farming also offers educational opportunities and vocational training, enabling individuals to learn about animal husbandry, management practices, and entrepreneurship. This knowledge can empower individuals to start their own ventures.
  9. Research and Innovation: The poultry sector encourages research and innovation in animal genetics, nutrition, disease control, and management practices. This contributes to improving the efficiency, productivity, and sustainability of poultry farming.
  10. Meeting Consumer Demand: As the Kenyan population continues to grow, there is an increasing demand for protein-rich foods. Poultry products are relatively affordable and can cater to a wide range of consumers, from low-income households to higher-income segments of the population.
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However, it’s important to note that while poultry farming offers numerous benefits, it also presents challenges related to disease outbreaks, inadequate infrastructure, access to quality inputs, and market access. Addressing these challenges through supportive policies, research, training, and infrastructure development is crucial for the continued growth and sustainability of the poultry industry in Kenya.

Is poultry farming profitable in Kenya?

Yes, poultry farming is actually very profitable in Kenya. The country has a high demand for poultry products, such as eggs and chicken meat, and the poultry industry is growing rapidly. In addition, poultry farming requires relatively low capital investment and has a short production cycle, which means farmers can quickly recoup their investment.

According to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, the poultry industry contributes about 1.7% to the country’s GDP. The industry employs over 1 million people and supports the livelihoods of millions more.

Challenges facing poultry farming in Kenya

Poultry farming in Kenya faces several problems and challenges that can impact the industry’s growth, profitability, and sustainability. Some of the key challenges include:

  1. Disease Outbreaks: Disease outbreaks, such as avian influenza and Newcastle disease, can cause significant losses in poultry populations. These diseases can spread quickly and result in high mortality rates, leading to economic losses for farmers.
  2. Lack of Biosecurity Measures: Inadequate biosecurity measures can contribute to disease outbreaks. Many small-scale farmers may lack awareness of biosecurity practices, which increases the risk of disease transmission between farms.
  3. Limited Access to Quality Inputs: Access to quality poultry feed, vaccines, medications, and breeding stock can be a challenge, particularly for small-scale farmers in remote areas. Poor-quality inputs can negatively affect bird health and productivity.
  4. Inadequate Infrastructure: Lack of proper infrastructure, such as processing facilities and cold storage, can hinder the efficiency of the poultry value chain. This can lead to post-harvest losses and impact the quality of poultry products.
  5. High Production Costs: Fluctuating feed prices and the cost of inputs like electricity, water, and medications can drive up production costs. This affects the profitability of poultry farming and can make it challenging for small-scale farmers to remain competitive.
  6. Limited Market Access: Some poultry farmers struggle to access consistent and profitable markets for their products. Price fluctuations, lack of proper market linkages, and competition from imported products can affect the marketing of locally produced poultry.
  7. Inadequate Extension Services: Limited access to technical information and extension services can hinder farmers’ ability to adopt best practices in poultry management, disease control, and overall farm management.
  8. Lack of Credit and Financing: Many small-scale farmers have limited access to credit and financing options to invest in their poultry operations, purchase inputs, or expand their businesses.
  9. Climate Variability: Climate change and unpredictable weather patterns can impact poultry farming by affecting feed availability, bird health, and farm infrastructure.
  10. Regulatory Challenges: Inconsistent or unclear regulations and policies related to poultry farming can create uncertainty for farmers and inhibit investment in the sector.
  11. Skills and Training: Adequate training and skills development opportunities are crucial for poultry farmers to effectively manage their operations. Lack of access to training can lead to inefficiencies and reduced productivity.
  12. Value Addition and Processing: Limited value addition and processing capabilities for poultry products can restrict farmers’ ability to capture higher value from their produce.
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How to start poultry farming in Kenya

Starting a poultry farming venture in Kenya involves several key steps. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you get started:

  1. Do your research: Before you start any poultry farming business, it is important to do your research and learn about the different aspects of the industry. This includes the different types of poultry farming, the costs involved, and the marketing channels available.
  2. Get a business plan: Once you have done your research, you should develop a business plan. This will help you to map out your goals and strategies for your business.
  3. Secure funding: Poultry farming can be a capital-intensive business, so you will need to secure funding to get started. There are a number of government and private sector programs available to help poultry farmers.
  4. Choose a location: The location of your poultry farm is important. You will need to choose a location that has access to water, electricity, and a good road network.
  5. Build the infrastructure: You will need to build the infrastructure for your poultry farm, including the housing, feeding, and watering systems.
  6. Purchase the birds: Once the infrastructure is in place, you can purchase the birds for your flock.
    Provide care and management: Your birds will need to be provided with proper care and management. This includes feeding, watering, cleaning, and vaccinating them.
  7. Market your products: Once your birds are mature, you will need to market your products. This can be done through local markets, supermarkets, or online platforms.


In conclusion, starting a poultry farm requires careful planning, dedication, and hard work. It’s important to have a solid understanding of poultry management practices and to be prepared to adapt to challenges that may arise. Consider seeking guidance from experienced poultry farmers or agricultural extension services to enhance your chances of success.

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