In 2016, Michael Njoroge quit rearing chicken to venture into a rare kind of business – breeding dogs.
Her family was baffled by his plans.
“After telling my wife what I was up to, she was very shocked. She could not contemplate how the dogs will benefit us because together with my daughter, they had been used to slaughtering a hen whenever they felt like eating meat,” says Mr Njoroge.
He nevertheless made good his wish to venture into dog keeping business. And today, he has 19 canines, both adult and puppies of mixed breed.
Among the breeds he keeps include German Shepherds, Chihuahuas, hunters and ordinary breeds.
The most popular dog breeds in Kenya are the German shepherd, Rottweiler, English springer spaniel and Labrador Retriever.
‘Toy dogs’ such as the Maltese, Chihuaha and Pomeranian are also common in the market.
He says that a Chihuahua breed fetches between Sh25,000 and Sh30,000.
Mr Njoroge says he receives customers from as far as Nairobi, Nakuru and Nyahururu in the neighbouring Laikipia Counties,
Due to rising cases of insecurity within Ol Kalou town, he says people flock his home to buy the dogs.
Unlike chicken which are fed twice or three times in a day, Mr Njororge says a dog can survive with one meal a day.
He advises that when starting a dog venture, one has to have a good understanding of various breeds. “Be updated on breed trends and conduct a feasibility study on the environment, location, lifestyle of your target market and importantly, the legal requirements for a dog breeding business,” he says.
He adds that there is also the need to ensure you have a file of the veterinary records of your dogs.
“Have all the dog’s documents, such as medical history, and proof of registration,” he says.
“Dogs are also prone to many diseases so they should be vaccinated and properly taken care of.”
One of the challenges he faces is taking care of the dogs to avoid conflict between the canines and his neighbours. He also lacks space for training the dogs.