By Obegi Malack
Maasai Community believed chicken were wild birds and they did not consume their white meat or eggs. The community used to only consume read meat, blood and milk from cattle, goats and sheep.
Research conducted in 2011 by Kiboko Range Research Centre titled: “Status of Chicken Consumption and Marketing Among the Maasai of Kajiado District , Kenya,” indicated the Maasais have started keeping and consuming chicken contrary to the old beliefs.
According to the researcher the birds are nowadays kept for income and meat, but there is, however, a small number of old people who still do not consume white meat as they still hold onto cultural beliefs.
The community has inadequate skills of keeping the birds since it is a relatively new enterprise. Chicken market is not organized in Kajiado County, the researcher indicated and recommended the promotion of chicken production and consumption to target the youth and women who are more adaptive to changing socio- economic conditions.
The County Government of Kajiado has started the promotion of chicken production and consumption, it has already set up a consumer desk in Kajiado offices advising the residents on how to rare poultry for profitability and consumption.
Agriculture CEC member Jackline Koin said the County Government has put up consumer office to advice locals to start poultry farming which has been given a wide berth in the county. Koin says there is demand for chicken and the residents must take advantage of that.
Andrew Kimani, a poultry farmer in Kajiado North Sub County is one of the farmers who has gained a lot from the farming. He says poultry farming is one of the profitable ventures in the country. He keeps indigenous chicken, geese and turkeys in his homestead in Nkaimurunya Ward.
The farmer who has been in business for more than five years, says he makes good money and has never applied for any formal employment. He incubates chicken eggs for 21 days, sells more than five thousand chicks monthly to farmers and when they become mature he again buys them selling them to consumers. He he says he has a ready market in Kajiado and those he sells to are assured of making profits.
“I give free advice to farmers that I sell the chicks to when they are mature I pay them and take them to consumers. It is good business since you are sure you will sell your chickens; the county government should contact us to help the farmers in venturing into this business,” he said.
He says the indigenous chicken are better than broilers since they survive in hot environment.
“Maasai land is a good place for the birds, the Kienyeji meat is also very expensive comparing to broiler. A broiler goes for Sh 500 with kienjeji sold for more than Sh 1,200,” he noted.
Poultry farming requires small space compared to livestock farming. With reduction of land for cattle grazing and Maasai community has only one alternative that is venturing into poultry farming, he added.