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Laying foundations for promising home venture

By Otiato Opali in Nairobi, Kenya | China Daily | Updated: 2020-09-25 13:38
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Robina Bosibori and her daughter Ashleigh Kemunto in front of their old chicken house that is being replaced at their home in Ongata Rongai, Nairobi, on Sept 17. OTIATO OPALI/CHINA DAILY

Editor's note: This news column showcases stories from around the world that bring a touch of positivity to the fight against the deadly coronavirus.

Like many Kenyans who try their hand at something that can earn them some extra income, Robina Bosibori and her husband Godfrey Ongeri had tried rearing chickens in their compound in Nairobi's Ongata Rongai township.

When they started keeping the chickens two years ago, they had hoped they would multiply, allowing them to sell eggs and chickens to their neighbors.

With the couple being working parents, the chickens did not get the attention they deserved and at the beginning of this year, they only had 10 chickens of them.

Their fortunes began to change, however, after the novel coronavirus pandemic struck and schools were closed to curb the spread of the virus.

"Once schools were closed, I wanted something to keep our children busy because I did not want them to spend the whole day watching television. I started allocating them duties around the house and noticed that my daughter Ashleigh had developed some great interest in the chickens,"Bosibori said.

"Since the chickens were not doing so well at the time, she would get emotional if any chicken died and she decided to dedicate her time to improve the conditions they were living in,"Bosibori said.

Ashleigh Kemunto, a grade six pupil at Ongata Royal Academy, said that previously she took the chickens for granted but once schools were closed, she started paying attention because she spent the whole day at home with them.

"By spending time with the chickens, I developed a bond with them. They know me and I know them. That is why I started ensuring that I give them water and food regularly. By the time I started paying attention to the chickens, they were only eight of them but currently we have almost 100 chicks and chickens," Ashleigh said.

According to Ashleigh, she faced challenges at the beginning because the chickens kept falling ill and dying. In addition, the hen house in which they were kept was old and uncomfortable.

"I told my parents that the old house is uncomfortable for the chickens and eggs together, for small chicks would fall out leading to losses. I also asked them to follow up with a vet so that we could have the sick chickens treated and with their support we were able to turn around the fate of the chickens," Ashleigh said.

New chicken house

Workmen in the backyard have started constructing a new and bigger hen house that Bosibori hopes will offer better conditions for the chickens.

"Ashleigh's passion and commitment to the chickens since the schools were closed revived my interest in the chickens. From her interest and persistence, we realized that the old house would waste a lot of chicken feed and the venture was not profitable," Bosibori said.

"That is why her father and I decided to invest in a new chicken house because Ashleigh has proved to us that the chickens, if taken care of, can pay for their maintenance while earning you some money as well."

She added that because the brood has greatly improved since Ashleigh started taking care of them, they now sell eggs and chickens on a regular basis and the money is enough to buy chicken feed.

Kemunto says that she has learned a lot by taking care of the chickens and the interest will carry on even after schools are reopened.

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