One of the biggest challenges that many farmers in Kenya planning to venture in kienyeji chicken farming or poultry farming in general face is figuring out what chicken breeds to rear. Some farmers buy new chicken breeds without first learning about their qualities and this can result in losses and disappointments. Before picking any chicken breed, you need to learn about its many qualities. Learn the basic information about the bird. The most important information that you need to learn about any breed that you choose include the following:-
- Age of Maturity
- Peak Production
- Age at peak production
- Body weight at maturity
- Quality of eggs
- Quality of meat
- Is it layer, broiler or dual purpose?
- Color of eggs
- Disease resistance and adaptability
- Feeding and nutrition: are they low input or high input birds?
Every farmer has an objective. Before you rush into poultry farming you must clearly figure out your farming objectives and then choose a poultry breed that aligns well with those objectives. For example, you do not just go into poultry farming to make money. That is too vague. You can go into poultry farming to be the largest supplier of kienyeji eggs, a large supplier of poultry meat, a distributor of Kuroiler chicks etc. Specialization is very important and will help you realize success in your ventures.
Here is an overview of some of the best chicken breeds in Kenya right now that every farmer should think of keeping. Some of these are improved local Kienyeji chicken breeds such as the KARI Improved Kienyeji chicken and some are imported hybrid breeds from India which do well in local conditions but produce more eggs and meat and mature faster.
The KARI Improved Kienyeji Chicken
This is by far the most popular of the chicken breeds in Kenya and it has some admirable characteristics. The KARI Improved Kienyeji Chicken produces more meat as well as more eggs than the local indigenous poultry breeds. It is also a highly adaptable bird and will do well even in areas with harsh climatic conditions such as the arid and the semi-arid areas in Kenya.
KARI Improved kienyeji chicken can be reared in both free range as well as the semi-free range systems. These are typically called the semi-intensive systems. It is a good breed for those farmers who want to rear their chicken in a completely free range or organic way without commercial feeding or hormones.
With proper management, the KARI Improved Kienyeji chicken is also a great breed for eggs. Farmers can look forward to anywhere between 220 to 280 eggs per year. Within five months, the KARI hen will have attained 1.5Kgs while a cock will weigh 2Kgs within the same duration of time if it is fed well. The KARI improved kienyeji chicken farming has a quiet temperament as well as great feathering. Compared to other breeds in the market, it will adapt very fast to the conditions in which it is kept.
The kenbro breed of chicken is a dual-purpose that can be kept for both meat and eggs. The breed has been in the Kenyan market for quite some time and was introduced over 10 years ago by Kenchic in order to cater for those farmers looking for more productive chickens that are less intensive.
This breed is more disease-resistant and can easily survive when reared in free-range conditions. With good feeding and management, it will mature very fast and start laying eggs at the age of 5 months. With good feeding and management, the kenbro chicken can easily attain up to 4Kg. It is advisable to buy from Kenchic which has the parent stock for these birds. The bird is a heavy feeder and this is one of the reasons it is able to put on weight very fast.
This is one of the best breeds in Kenya if not the best. It is a dual purpose bird that is very low input. It perform perfectly well in free range and semi free range or the semi-intensive conditions. With Kuroiler, you do not have to buy the commercial mash. It can survive just ok while scavenging and feeding on the food leftovers in the house. However, to avoid losses, it is advisable to fence a chicken run where they can graze on the pasture and if you have a large stock, you can also supplement their feed with omena, grains, termites and commercial feeds.
The Kuroiler chicken was introduced from the Keggs Farms in India in 2009. The Kuroiler hens are heavy feeders. They need to feed continuously in order to reach their optimal production. Within four months, your Kuroiler should be weighing 3Kg and within six months, they will be weighing up to 4kh after six months.
Farmers rearing the Kuroiler birds have testified that it has a tastier meat compared to that of the indigenous chickens. The meat has less fat, soft and also tender. The eggs of the Kuroiler chickens are bigger than those of the indigenous birds and they have deep yellow yolk that many farmers love. The Kuroiler hen, when well fed, will lay anywhere from 140-150 eggs per year. When crossed with the indigenous chickens, the quality will begin to go down so it is always advisable to buy chicks from the parent stock. Farmers should follow the same vaccination schedule as that of other chickens although the Kuroilers tend to be disease resistant. They also grow very fast during the first six weeks of brooding so farmers will not have to grapple with the brooding-related losses.
The Kuroilers do not sit on their eggs and this is intentional. They have been developed this way in order to maximize their eggs produce. Farmers who want to produce the Kuroiler chicks must invest in an incubator. Farmers without incubators can always order chicks from the parent stock from the leading suppliers of Kuroiler chickens in Kenya.
This is the other hybrid super-bird. It is a dual-purpose poultry breed in Kenya which can be reared for both meat and eggs. The Rainbow Rooster is a multi-colored bird(from which it derives its name) and a low input bird which can be reared perfectly in semi-free range conditions. The Rainbow Rooster is a heavy feeder and can put on weight relatively first. When well fed, it can put on anywhere between 3kg to 4kg within a duration of six months. Under good management, it will lay anywhere between 180-200 eggs. Like the Kuroiler, it will not sit on its eggs and you will have to invest in an incubator or buy chicks from leading Rainbow Rooster such as Kukuchic which has the parent stock of the bird.