Saturday, September 28, 2013

Quails, an alternative to chicken farming?

Chicken production can be very profitable both in Kenya and Ethiopia, but it can also be a tricky business (see my previous blog post about this topic). Indeed, it is a business where barriers to entry are low, meaning that many producers can join the market easiely, produce and prices will drop.  Therefore challenges, next to disease control are, accessing the distribution chain and produce for the more difficult seasons (fodder shortage, cold weather) when prices are high.

During my last trip to Nairobi, I visited my friend who avoids the price volatility by producing a niche product : quails.

Batteries full of quails
She produces them in the suburb of Nairobi in a shelter standing in her garden, in batteries. Ok, this does not correspond to European animal welfare standards, but this is Kenya. You cannot ask better conditions for animals than for human beings. Nonetheless, as quails are considered as wildlife, you need an authorization to keep them from the Kenyan government to produce them.

Quails eggs ready for incubation
She is breeding the quails, using her own eggs, and incubating them. At this stage, her business is to sell young chicks, and as the business is very good, her small incubator is not sufficient anymore, she made a deal with a friend, so that she can access a big incubator.
the small incubator
The new born quails are kept together with one adult quail and kept warm with a simple bulb in a box, at least until the building of the shelter for young quails will be finalized.

Young quails
At this stage, the major business is producing young quail chicks and sell them farmers. But the long term success will depend on how the quail market in Kenya will develop. Will quail egg become a standard product in supermarket? will eating quail meat become a trend? a gourmet item?

Wanna produce your own quails? you need some information or even some chicks in Kenya? Feel free to contact Treazah with this form.


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