When you are planning to venture into poultry farming in Kenya, it is important to know the right kinds of chicken breeds to purchase. Don’t just rush into the latest fads only to fail later and lose your money. It is important to obtain thorough information about every chicken breed that you plan to keep. Know their qualities including the age at which they begin laying, their peak production, and when they begin losing the productive capacity and are now ready for sale. One thing that we Kenyans should have learnt from the quail scam is that you need to carry out good research about the product that you are planning to invest in. You need to analyze the risks and true market potential. Do not be driven just by the profit motive when it comes to poultry investments. After all, this is something that you plan to invest in over the long term.
When it comes to the poultry breeds in Kenya, there are plenty of great producing birds that you can pick and which will guarantee you a profit without too much cost.
The KARI Improved Kienyeji Chicken
This is by far the most popular chicken breed in Kenya with many farmers. If you are planning to go Kienyeji, then the KARI improved kienyeji chicken should be first on your priority list. Compared to the local indigenous chicken, they produce more eggs and meat. They are very adaptable to various climactic conditions and can do well in the harshest of conditions including the semi-arid regions in Kenya such as Northern Kenya and even coastal Kenya. If you want to focus on organic production, you can easily rear the KARI improved kienyeji chicken in the free-range or semi-free range poultry farming systems. In one year, the KARI improved kienyeji chicken will lay between 220 and 280 eggs. Within 5 months, they will be able to attain a weight of 1.5kg. The best place to order the KARI improved kienyeji chicken is from KARI but due to the long queue at the facility, you will have to wait for at least 3 weeks for delivery. Other breeders specializing in the KARI improved kienyeji chicken include Wendy Farms which is based in Kikuyu.
The Kenbro chicken breeds are known as dual breeds i.e. they can be used for both eggs as well as meat production. Kenbro is not really a new breed as it has been in the country for the past decade since its introduction by Kenchic. Kenbro is suited for farmers who prefer a less intensive mode of rearing chickens. The breed is generally more disease-resistant and will easily survive on free range. With proper feeding, it will mature relatively fast and start laying eggs when they are 5 months old. With proper feeding, the chicken can attain weights of up to 4Kgs! More than 20,000 per week of these are produced by Kenchic but there are other farmers who also breed the Kenbro chickens. It is, however, best to buy only from the company since it is them who have the parent stock with which they can produce very high quality birds. Kenbro is generally a very heavy feed so you must prepared to spend heavily on feeding.
Kuroiler hens are dual-purpose birds. It was first introduced into Uganda from India in 2009. Just like the Kenbro breeds, they can easily adapt to harsh conditions and survive in free range but they generally need to feed on a continuous basis. By the time they are 4 months, the Kuroiler chickens will be able to weigh as much as 3kg. They can hit 4kg by the time they are 6 months.
According to many farmers, the Kuroiler breeds have tastier meat than the indigenous chickens and the meat from the hens is also soft and very tender. They produce larger eggs than the indigenous chickens and they are able to lay between 140 to 150 eggs per year. When crossed with the indigenous chicken, the quality will go down so it is important to keep them pure.
The Kuroilers are generally scavengers although they can also live on the household leftovers. Although they are fairly resistant to all the diseases, it is important to vaccinate them just like you do to the other chickens. The kuroilers generally, cannot sit on their eggs to hatch them so they are just suitable for farmers who have incubators or broody hens.
This is also a dual-purpose breed that you can rear for both meat and eggs. They are multi-colored birds, hence the name and they are also low input birds and can easily survive on the free-range system. Rainbow Roosters are heavy feeders and will put on weight very fast. They cannot sit on their eggs so you will need an incubator or broody hen to hatch.