Free range chicken is his core business
Fulgence Kitigwa was working as a coordinator at Haki Maendeleo, a local Non-Governmental Organisation when the opportunity to rear chicken presented itself in 2009. At the time, he had three local hens in his compound which had laid 10 eggs each totaling to 30 local chicks. After one month, the three hens laid eggs again and the continuity began.
To test the viability of the business in mind, he gave himself a target of selling one chicken a day in his neighbourhood. The response was positive, after the trial, he increased the number to three in a day. He was now rearing a good number of local/free range chicken. Word spread like wild fire that he was rearing chicken and buyers were streaming to his home. The demand increased to seven chicken in a day.
Fulgence realized he was making a lot more income from the chicken than from his job so he quit. In 2010, he purchased an incubator with a capacity of 1000 eggs to fasten the hatching process. Once the hens laid eggs, he would take them away from the hen in order for the hen to lay more eggs 14 days after.
“If I let the hens sit on the eggs to hatch, it takes 21 days and another three months for the hen to lay eggs again,” he said. With the increasing demand, he went on the search for ideal breeds in Singida and Tabora regions and came back with 80 hens.
The production increased to between 40-60 eggs in a day and in a week he would sell a minimum of 400 eggs. The incubator became too small for the rising number. By this time, the demand for local chicks arose. He therefore decided to hatch chicks for sale. He would use the money from the surplus chicks to buy chicken feeds. Fulgence bought another incubator with a capacity of 3500 eggs and used it for a year and a half.
During the agricultural show in 2012, he exhibited his eggs and chicken and this increased the demand. People knew about his quality produce and he could not satisfy the growing market. He went and sourced 1000 kenbro breed chicks from Kenchick Limited in Nairobi.
World Vision came on board and contracted him to rear chicken for distribution in the village in batches of 500-700 chicken for one year. Unfortunately, the area became contaminated with Typhoid and Coccidiosis. The veterinary officer advised that he sells the chicken in order to fumigate the sheds and entire compound for 6 months during the rainy season.
He used the money he got from the sale to purchase a bigger machine with a capacity of 8000 eggs. Last year he embarked on chicken rearing on large scale by acquiring parent stock for 6 months in order to restock. He was now selling full grown chicken instead of chicks as before.
One of the major challenges he faced was that business growth was slow due to the large number of chicken he was keeping, thus the area became too small. This forced him to mix the small and big chicken. They were eventually attacked by Newcastle disease and led to the gradual death of about 2000 chickens.
He went back to the drawing board and constructed more sheds. The aim was to get 500 hens and 100 cocks. He is gradually getting there and is determined to restock.
Fulgence joined AAA last year and he has benefitted a great deal through networking. He is currently doing business with Three Sisters and Smart Steps Company Limited in sourcing for sunflower seed cake and fish and maize mill respectively for making chicken feed.
His expectations are to get linkages to potential funders or financiers and to network more in order to penetrate the market and gain knowledge on drugs and feeds for his brood.