More and more consumers are opting for organic free-range eggs, especially when the products come from the region. Mobile chicken coops offer organic farms a chance to enter this market.
The demand for eggs from regional, ecological free-range husbandry is constantly increasing. Organic farms that want to participate in this market do not necessarily have to invest in large poultry houses. Mobile chicken coops offer smaller, direct or regional companies in particular the opportunity to start keeping chickens.
Mobile barns are not a new idea in Kenya
The idea of mobile poultry farming is not new. Movable poultry houses have been around for over 80 years. For example, to bring the chickens to the stubble fields where they could pick up the grains that fell out during the harvest. In the years from 2000 onwards, ecological agriculture in particular took up the old idea again and developed it further in modern mobile stables. Above all, mobile poultry farming in Kenya was seen as an opportunity to reduce overgrazing and the associated high nutrient inputs in the area close to the stables.
What initially seemed like a passing trend has developed over the years into a practicable and location-adapted husbandry system. Today there are numerous professional providers of mobile chicken coops who can supply the right model for every application.
Advantages of mobile poultry farming in Kenya
A significant advantage of mobile chicken homes in Kenya lies in the optimal management: Laying hens in free-range homes tend to use the exercise area in the vicinity of the stable very intensively and graze all the vegetation cover, as well as negatively impacting soil and groundwater. In mobile chicken husbandry, such unwanted consequences of intensive outdoor use can be significantly reduced by moving the mobile stalls regularly and in good time.
Another advantage of mobile chicken coops in Kenya is: they offer the opportunity to keep smaller stocks of animals. This enables small businesses in particular to get started easily in chicken farming without great financial risk. In contrast to a stationary barn, a mobile barn can be resold again.
Mobile chicken husbandry is particularly suitable for direct marketers. Because eggs from mobile husbandry can be sold in the upper price segment with targeted customer information. Animals that feel good, a well-groomed run and a visually appealing stall: all of this increases customer acceptance of this husbandry method and thus their willingness to pay a correspondingly higher price for the product. However, it is also necessary. Because the investment costs per animal place and the workload are usually higher than with the – usually larger – stationary stable systems.
New investors in chicken farming should start small
Before starting mobile poultry farming, it should be clarified whether and to what extent human resources are available for the additional work that needs to be done. Because this is what determines the desired number of animals, the size of the barn, the level of technology and ultimately the investment volume. Anyone new to poultry farming should start with smaller units – up to around 300 hens – and then gradually increase. It is also recommended to take advantage of further training and advice in advance so that the work can be carried out in a humane, proper and professional manner.
Factors to consider before choosing mobile barn for your chicken in Kenya
In addition to the available working capacity, there are other factors that influence the type and size of the stall. One of them is the traction power available on the farm to move the barn. In addition, the soil conditions and the type of terrain should be taken into account. For example, clayey “heavy” soils are difficult to drive on in periods of heavy rainfall. You then need a good chassis and tires that protect the ground in order to be able to move the barn. Sloping exercise areas also make it difficult to transport the stable and reduce stability. Another question that should be clarified beforehand: How often and over what distances does the barn have to be moved? For longer distances, this must be suitable for paths and roads.
An important factor is also the degree of mechanization of the mobile barn. In addition to the available working capacity, the location is the most important influencing factor here: If the exercise areas are in the area close to the farm, the regular water and power supply can also be used for the mobile stable. In the case of hopeful locations, on the other hand, a self-sufficient supply is unavoidable.
Types of mobile barns in Kenya
Semi-mobile barns are moved between two locations several times a year (one to four times). They are often mounted on skids and have fixed locations with water and electricity connections, between which they are pulled back and forth. In addition, there are also self-sufficient, semi-mobile stables that carry water tanks and feed silos on runners.
2. Fully mobile
Fully mobile barns are moved so often that the area under the barn can regenerate without reseeding. The area of the run-out area close to the stalls is therefore permanently intact. Depending on the location and the course of vegetation, a change after about seven to 28 days makes sense. Good running gear and a closed base plate are essential for this system. The fully mobile system is self-sufficient, which means that the barn carries water and feed supplies with it. The motors are powered by batteries, which are usually fed by photovoltaic systems.
The best way to avoid the accumulation of parasites, over-fertilization and silting up of the soil is with a fully mobile barn system. The animals find green fodder directly in the area near the barn and therefore eat more of it. The traction requirement, the demands on the ground conditions and topography are somewhat lower than with semi-mobile systems.
Due to the more complex equipment, however, the costs per hen place in the fully mobile barn are higher than in the partially mobile version.
Considerations before you start investing
Due to the rapidly increasing demand, the market for mobile stable manufacturers has expanded in recent years. The range of barn types on offer today offers a needs-based solution for almost every farm and purpose.
Before buying a mobile house, you should find out a lot about mobile poultry farming designs in Kenya and the possible types of house.