Diversifying Livelihood Opportunities through Poultry Farming

Published April 28, 2015 by Dorothy Mwangi

Elizabeth Silale (left) a member of Ekere Womens group and her daughter (right) stand outside her chicken pen made from mud in Lotiki Settlement, February 2015Elizabeth Silale (left) a member of Ekere Womens group and her daughter (right) stand outside her chicken pen made from mud in Lotiki Settlement, February 2015

In a remote village of Kenya’s Isiolo County, 21 women from Ekere Women’s Group own and operate a thriving poultry business.

Elizabeth Silale and her neighbors from Lotiki settlement established Ekere self-help group to pioneer poultry farming to supplement their household income.

“I started with three chickens in August 2014. Now I have 34 hens, 5 cockerels, 15 layers and many chicks. I have since sold some and bought three goats,” explains Elizabeth.

Today, Elizabeth keeps the chicken in a mud pen behind her house, which is a big improvement from the carton boxes she used to keep them in a few months back.

“These chicken have offered me a new livelihood opportunity,” she explains. “When my husband is away looking for pasture for the cattle, I am left here to take care of the family and I am able to sell the eggs and make some money.  It has only been a few months since I started this business and I am happy so far. I feed the birds on mash, which I am able to buy in the market from the proceeds I receive from the eggs sales.  I now have money to buy books and pens for my school going children.” 

Besides selling eggs, Elizabeth sells an average of five chickens a month at between Kshs 800 and Kshs 1, 200 (between USD 8-13) depending on their sizes.

The members of Ekere Women’s Group also established a revolving fund, where they make a weekly contribution of Kshs 50 (about USD 0.55) for savings and group loans. To date, the women have deposited a total of Kshs 59,510 (USD 650) at a local bank where they are able to take out instant loans repayable at an affordable interest rate, within a stipulated time period.

Adeso, through the USAID-funded Resilience and Economic Growth in the Arid Lands – Improving Resilience (REGAL-IR) project, provided the Ekere women’s group with capacity building on various aspects of poultry keeping for subsistence and commercial use.

“A trainer came here and taught us how to take care of our chicken. I have since learnt how to identify the eggs suitable for laying chicks and how to ensure that the chicken are healthy.  At any given time I have three to five hens sitting on eggs,” says Elizabeth, noting that 90 per cent of her eggs hatch successfully.

Apart from selling eggs, chicks and cockerels, she also produces manure from chicken droppings and used poultry mash, which she uses in her small vegetable garden.

Through the interrelated interventions across the REGAL IR partnership, Elizabeth can also access veterinary assistance for her chickens and livestock through Sidai, one of the REGAL-IR partners. Sidai provides a market-based approach for livestock keepers to access safe, certified and reasonably priced drugs and professional service in Northern Kenya to keep their animals healthy and productive. 

These efforts have helped lift women like Elizabeth out of poverty by introducing them to poultry farming techniques that are both sustainable and profitable.

This project is made possible by the support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Feed the Future Initiative (FtF).  The contents of this story are the sole responsibility of Adeso and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States government.