Smart Farm: Feeding pigs with poultry waste to lower costs
What happens when you rear pigs and chicken separately in the same farm?
Well, according to one farmer in Meru County, you save money; thanks to the symbiotic relationship that the two bring to the farm.
Deep in the remote Maili Kumi Location in Buuri, Meru County, a state of the art chicken farm is thriving.
Here, you can catch a glimpse of an unlikely friendship that has made the farm a household name among residents.
The farm rears about 20,000 chicken in automated cages laying on a one-acre farm.
“We have around 92 pigs, so the relationship between the pigs and chicken, is that the pigs consume poultry waste,” said Raphael Muthengia, the farm manager.
He supervises the day-to-day activities at the facility which started operations in late 2016 and specializes in production of eggs, hence the massive investment in poultry.
“We have the automated and manual cages…..for the manual ones there is a 4 tier cage, with around 64 birds on one side; the other side 64, so with one cage you can have 128 birds…the cost of one cage is Ksh. 35,000,” Muthengia told Citizen Digital.
Muthengia and his team had always harbored hopes of expanding their farm and that’s where the idea of pig farming came in.
They got the pigs but after some time, they were weighed down by high production costs and a poor market.
“We don’t have enough raw materials, soya, omena……sometimes producing one tray is Ksh. 250, then you are supposed to sell it at Ksh. 270 shillings….in terms of maintaining the birds, we require around Ksh. 70,000 per day,” he adds.
In a bid to reduce the costs and maintain production of pigs, Muthengia did not have to look far as he could make the most from a wasteful resource: chicken droppings.
The significant amount of poultry waste produced here made it possible to sustain the pigs, contributing greatly to their daily intake.
“We do around 2.1 tonnes per day of waste but for the pigs its around 400 to 700 kilos…so we kept the pigs as waste management for the poultry. Whatever we collect here, we just dry it on the sun, sieve, put a little bit of soya and then feed the pigs, they consume a lot of waste from poultry department,” Muthengia said.
Drying the collected droppings takes one day, after which it is sieved and then smashed to a fine mixture, ready for serving to the pigs.
Muthengia has reduced production costs by up to 40 percent.
He is now running the poultry farm with no worries as he shifts attention to egg production.
The facility is currently producing a total of 500 trays of eggs per day, with each tray having 12 eggs.
The farm sells the eggs locally at Ksh. 330 per tray.
Muthengia and his team are targeting to have over 200,000 birds in the next five years, as they aim to sell their eggs in the export market.
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