Quail Farming Takes Root In Kenya
Seventy two-year-old Philip Gichohi is busy making
money ‘restoring’ men’s vitality via sale of quail eggs
— a rare venture licensed by the Kenya Wildlife
Service (KWS) to help farmers earn handsomely from
the wild birds.
Mr Gichohi’s project — the first in Kenya’s Nyandarua
County — has won him orders from four-star hotels in
the capital Nairobi, which have been receiving eight
egg trays every week form his farm.
Further, he has also been giving lectures on the
benefit of eating quail eggs by men keen on boosting
their vitality within and without his home county.
“Age is just but a number as all we need is to eat the
right food like the Japanese, Chinese and Indians
have done for ages. They prefer eating wild fruits,
animals and drinking water from springs thereby
avoiding highly-processed foods and drinks,” he
His venture into quail farming was motivated by a
visit to a quail farm in Kiambu County where he saw
a farmer rearing the wild birds as a commercial
enterprise and was surprised at the low input and
maintenance cost required.
While a mature hen consumes an average of 150
grammes of food per day and requires a regular
administration of drugs, a quail eats 20 grammes per
day and hardly requires any drugs.
Additionally, while a kilo of poultry meat goes for
Sh280 ($3.30) on average, quail, which hardly
weighs half-a-kilo at maturity attracts, Sh500 (about
“A quail lays an egg daily which costs Sh15 ($0.18)
and the demand is so high that I am unable to meet
it both here at home and in Nairobi where my eggs
are sold to tourists at exorbitant prices,” he says.
While addressing a group of forest edge communities
in his county recently, Mr Gichohi noted that quails
take about eight weeks to mature and their meat is
highly recommended for people keen on boosting
their immunity against many diseases.
Waving a consumption dose for eggs by people
wishing to treat various ailments, he said it is more
profitable to keep quails as they are less demanding
To visit his farm at Mathingira location in Nyandarua
North District, farmer groups pay Sh100 ($1) per
person and have to pass through a fumigation pool at
the entrance before seeing his hatcheries. This acts
as another source of income for him.
To boost production, he has bought a Sh14,000
($165) egg incubator after discovering quails
incubate their eggs with difficulties since they keep
moving in fear of predators. This has helped him
boost his laying population to over 50 birds.
“They are very poor feeders but good layers and all
one needs is a licence from KWS allowing you to keep
quails since they are wild birds,” he says.
Every visit to Nyahururu town also sees him drop by
the veterinary office and the local KWS station to file
returns as well as receive communication of any
The KWS officer in charge of utilisation, senior
warden Paul Opiyo told this writer that KWS has
mooted several wild animal keeping ventures which
will help farmers appreciate wildlife conservation as a
source of revenue.
“KWS is now keen on forming partnerships which will
enable Kenyans benefit directly from wildlife. Only
out-dated traditional practices stand between them
and money as snake and tortoise keeping is earning
many farmers handsome returns but no farmer
would dare start such a venture,” he said.
In spite of the advantages of keeping quail, its
production in Kenya and indeed much of Africa
The major challenge of quail production at this point
seems not to be the associated costs involved, but
rather the inadequacy of information on the general
populace on the advantages of eating quail meat and
Another challenge is perhaps a market that is too
luxury to the extent of being not readily available to
farmers when they are ready to sell their quails.
Even though quail farming is a fairly recent
development in Kenya and much of Africa, a visit to
the Kenya Wild Life Service in Nairobi evidently
showed that there are immense opportunities for
There were more than fifty people lining up to see Ms
Elizabeth Leitoro, a senior wildlife enforcement
officer, to procure licenses to domesticate quails.
Ms Leitoro says they process about 100 licences a
day and so far they have issued more than 2000
permits to quail entrepreneurs.
Government regulations in most African countries do
not consider quails as domestic animals. In order to
domesticate these game birds, one would need to
procure licences from the appropriate authorities.
This process is not littered with the bureaucratic red-
tape one would expect when dealing with a
government agency – especially when one is seeking
a licence to domesticate wildlife.
The licence fee is only a modest $16 in Kenya and
unlike domesticating other kinds of wildlife, one does
not need hundreds of acres of land to invest in this
It takes an average of five minutes to process a
licence. And the requirements are not that
The Kenya Wild Life Service will only require you to
fill a one page form, and if you meet the not so
stringent requirements, you will soon be a proud
commercial quail brooder.
Quails are very inexpensive to produce, they require
less floor space – about ten can be reared in a space
meant for one chicken and they require less feed per
day at about 20 to 25 grams compared to an adult
chicken which requires about 120 to 130 grams a
They are the quickest source of proteins and their
production involves the least ardours process – quails
compared to other species of poultry, attain sexual
maturity at five to six weeks of age making it
possible to brood as many as possible within a year.
Quail has the potential to serve as an affordable
source of animal protein in Africa.
Scientific studies show that quail meat and eggs
have high nutritional value. Their low caloric content
makes them a choice for hypertension prone
Claims of quails being a cure for ailments such as
cancer have not yet been scientifically proven.
Ms Leitoro says even though quails are renowned for
their high nutritional value, there is not enough
evidence that quails can cure many of the ailments
they are claimed to cure.
Nevertheless, quail production should be encouraged
by governments to augment deficiencies in animal
protein intake in Africa.
After having ideas in your mind with regard to this
business, write them down for you to have a guide to
follow in your entire business venture. Your goals and
the financial plan must also be well-detailed so that
is you lack funds, you will be able to ask assistance
from banks and any institutions for loans. It would
also be better if you have someone to guide you such
as an expert quail breeder or farmer. You must also
look for a right quail farm location that can cater to
all the needs of your quails.
Now, let us suppose that you are already in the
breeding process. The next thing you need to do is
incubate the eggs. If the quails are in captivity, it
would be very hard for them to hatch eggs. This is
now the right time for you to select the appropriate
brooding method that would fit the situation of the
quails. The brooding techniques will still be used
until the eggs already became chicks.
Brooding is an essential technique which can bring
your business to a success. This is defined as the
capacity to put the quail chicks in a sure and
controlled environment. Proper air, space, water, heat
and food are also essential. You must observe all
these aspects in order for the quail chicks to be as
healthy as they can be until they feather out.
In the quail farming, you must also give an
immediate solution to some problems that may arise
such as low hatch rates, death of the chicks which
can cost you a high amount of money, cannibalism
problems, pairing problems and many more.
About the Author
Bernard Wainaina is an Independent Agribusiness
Consultant. Contact by TEXT ONLY; +254722659313
Or Email; firstname.lastname@example.org