I literally saw my father build his farming from scratch. I remember watching him making all calculations which included wires, nails and other equipment needed to build a fowl run.The past few months, I have been assisting my mother with her layer enterprise. Its amazing how I have been asked to train youths on both broiler and layer management but two NGO’s. Two companies also asked me to train 20 of their employees so that they could generate extra income. 

When my mother ordered her birds I took 30 birds from my mother’s flock and put them in a separate fowl run so that I could study the birds and also come up with a proper hands on module for the youths I was training. We made this fowl run using locally available material, we only bought chick mesh from mbare and IBR sheets from Africa Steel. Being an innovator, I just made a simple design and asked our gardner to construct something for us. (6m²)We got 270 kg bags of wood shavings from Union Hardware and we only used 90kgs. We put our two feeders and two drinkers. Realising that 90% of my customers who purchase Passion Poultry have a 9 to 5 job, I decided to be in their shoes. I would wake up everyday and put feed and water  at 5am and then collect eggs  between 5:30 and 6pm. On Saturdays I would clean the fowl run and replace shavings once in a while. Unfortunately in the processI lost two of my birds.One challenge I noticed was that I would always have a headache with access to crates, so I would borrow from neighbours and relatives but this was not sustainable. I tried purchasing from one large corporate but the crates would be fully booked by large players in the industry. Fortunately I found a small manufacturer andI was able to purchase 180 egg crates at usd21. In my several whatsapp groups, people are always debating about which one makes more business sense between layers and broilers. So I took it upon myself to see if layers would make sense. From the 28 birds I have I collect at least 186 eggs/week which is an average of 26 eggs per day. On average thats 6 crates/week24 crates/monthI sell a crate of eggs at usd4/week, so per month its usd96.We have been getting our feed from HyperFeeds which is near where I stay and a 50kg cost usd27. A 50kg bag lasts for 2 weeks, so I need 2 bags per month which is usd54. All things being equal we have usd42 left.

My analysis from this observation is that if you get a point of lays (POL)at usd10 each your break even point is 7 months.If you take care of your birds, they can lay for upto 24 months.A community can enjoy fresh eggs everyday.Layers are good for cashflowsMy question now is how can we define a small scale egg producer in Zimbabwe?

This article was written by Evangelista Chekera for Passion Poultry

NB THIS INFORMATION IS FROM PERSONAL EXPERIENCEDISCLAIMER:THIS INFORMATION IS FROM PERSONAL EXPERIENCE AND DOES NOT SUBSTITUTE VETERINARY ADVICE. NO RESPONSIBILITY CAN BE ACCEPTED FOR ANY LOSS OR DAMAGE TO YOUR BIRDS DUE TO ERROR OR OMISSION