Editor's Review

Poultry farming, specifically chicken rearing is always despised by many, but it is actually a business activity that has made several Kenyans earn billionaire status.

Poultry farming, specifically chicken rearing is always despised by many, but it is actually a business activity that has made several Kenyans earn billionaire status.

In this article, we review 4 Kenyan billionaires whose journey started with selling chicken.

William Ruto

President-elect William Ruto always refers to himself as a hustler, due to the humble background that saw him sell chicken in Eldoret to earn a living.

Although his political cards played out well and he’s over the years grown from MP to now President-elect, he did not abandon the business.

President-elect William Ruto

While responding to questions surrounding his wealth in September 2021, Ruto said he has over 200,000 chickens and makes an average of Ksh1.5 million from selling 150,000 eggs daily.

The chicken business is one of the most successful in his portfolio includes among others real estate and agriculture.

Nelson Muguku

The late Nelson Muguku was a teacher by profession but quit teaching in 1957 to focus on his poultry farming business. 

He started out with two hens and one cock, but was able to grow his enterprise over time. In 1965, he acquired a 22-acre piece of land and established a 9,000-egg incubator which marked a huge milestone for his business.


The late Nelson Muguku. [Photo: Courtesy]

He later diversified his business and invested in other areas that including real estate. His family owns the Waterfront Mall in Karen, Nairobi among other ventures.

By the time of his death in October 2010, Muguku’s poultry business had grown to be one of the largest in East and Central Africa.

Some of the influential customers he served include; Late Mzee Jomo Kenyatta and late Governor Sir Malcolm MacDonald.

Thuo Mathenge 

The Nyeri politician cum businessman started his journey to being a billionaire through poultry farming. He founded Brade Gate, a business venture that housed his poultry venture where he’d slaughter an average of 30,000 chickens a day.

Thuo Mathenge 


The poultry business generated him revenue which he used to expand his business portfolio. Today, he has invested in various sectors that include; the food industry (he owns a bakery and several fast food joints) and real estate among others.

Geoffrey Kago 

He was inspired to venture into the chicken business by Muguku's success. He started poultry farming while he was still in high school. His major breakthrough came in 1985 when he developed an incubator. However, as his business started flourishing someone poisoned his brood.

He struggled to make a comeback and had to do several menial jobs to earn a living and save up cash for reviving his business. However, things eventually fell in place and he revived his business and developed it further by including a system of testing egg fertility. 

He is now a respected name in the poultry business and offers training in the industry. In addition to chicken, he rears different breeds of birds that include; ducks, ostriches, and quails among others.