Category Archives: Kienyeji Breeds

What Chicken Breeds in Kenya Should You Rear for Profit

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.

Kenbro

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

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.

Rainbow Rooster

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.

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INBREEDING IN POULTRY FARMING

This is basically a process by which new poultry offspring or chicks are born or produced by closely related parents or offspring. A farmer may for example set a “brother” against “sister” or “father” against “daughter” in the flock. While this may be a good option when a farmer is looking for certain desirable straits to maintain in the flock, it may be counterproductive when certain bad genes currently existing in a given flock are passed on to another generation. This normally happens when a farmer allows inbreeding to happen several times before stopping. While it is not wrong to retain certain traits in a bird through inbreeding like a bird with a good laying ability, a cock that is very aggressive in protecting hens and young ones or chicken with a good feed to meet conversion rate, this should be done sparingly to avoid stopping only after the bad effects of inbreeding start showing.

Kienyeji Cock
Kienyeji Cock

Nearly all inbred lines generated by full siblingmating in chicken fail after just three full sibling matings. Once the inbreeding coefficient goes over this threshold, the lines tend to fail to reproduce one male and one female to continue the line.So inbreeding in chickens is not a very good thing to do a lot of.

The reason people like to line breed (the interbreeding of chicken within a particular line or descent usually to continue or perpetuate desirable characters) is that it is the fastest way to select for a type that is caused by a complex interaction of genes. If you have a superior animal the fastest way to increase the frequency of the superior genes in your line is to line breed.

Line breeding is just when you take the superior parent (hen or rooster) and cross the progeny back to the parent (father to daughter or mother to son). You then take the superior parent and again cross it to its new offspring from the inbred mating. You repeat this until infertility becomes a problem or the parent dies.

You can select other progeny that presumably will be better than average for your flock to breed in non-inbred matings or to other close relatives to try and set the good traits in your line.

Line breeding can produce very rapid gains in the quality of your line for certain traits, but nearly always results in a degeneration of the reproductive capacity of your line and you end up outcrossing and starting over. Outcrossing is the introduction of an outside breed in the flock to break the cycle of inbreeding.  Line breeding for a few generations can give you some outstanding birds at a higher frequency than you would get by not inbreeding. But eventually this has very undesirable consequences. This is why commercial breeding companies try to avoid inbreeding and concentrate on improving the whole population. The gains are not as dramatic, but they do not fall in the trap of the adverse effects.

The best advice is that if you inbreed always use a superior animal for the mating. If you do not you are just increasing the bad genes in your line.

Any mating between related individuals is inbreeding.  Line breeding and full sib mating cause the same amount of inbreeding for the first two inbred generations.  Theoretically line breeding and full sib matings should have the same detrimental results for the first two inbred generations.  Full-sib mating would be more detrimental for the 3rd and subsequent inbred generations.

The difference is that all the inbreeding comes from the superior parent in line breeding, but half the inbreeding comes from the inferior parent in full-sib matings.  This is why it is recommended that inbred matings involving only birds that you think are good enough to warrant it.

Effects of Inbreeding

  • Hatch rates begin to decline. A bird that lays 300 eggs through to its adult life slowly starts decreasing its hatching rate to even 170 or 100.

 

  • Deformation: birth deformities begin to occur in the birds especially if this has been done several times.

 

  • Higher percentage of failed eggs in the incubator.

 

  • Chicks that are lucky enough to hatch are very weak and their survival rate is very low.

 

  • The quality and palatability of the meat of the inbred chicken also slowly declines and eating such birds may have some bad after tastes or are just not tasty as the pedigree offspring.

 

The best thing to do to avoid the adverse effects of inbreeding is to run two roosters; one who is the best from your flock and one from an outside bloodline. This is called out crossing and the mix of genes this provides is sufficient to prevent genetic defects.

So you can do it sparingly if you must maintain certain superior characteristics in your flock but do not overdo it. Outcross Instead!

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10,000 Facebook Kienyeji Fans!!

If you have been following up on our progress the last few weeks, you will know that we have a fairly robust online presence in order to disseminate our services and information as much as possible. Apart from this informational blog on Kienyeji Chicken Farming, we also have our website where you can order your Kienyeji Chicken Farming Manual at KienyejiChicken.com. Our very first blog before we built the two websites was http://kienyejichicken.blogspot.com.

We also built a Facebook Page where we share various tips, updates and get to interact with Kienyeji Chicken Farmers. That Facebook Page can be found here https://www.facebook.com/KienyejiChickenFarmingManual. And that Facebook page has now hit 10,000 fans. To celebrate that milestone, we are offering the Kienyeji Chicken Farming Manual for only Ksh.400 this weekend.

We have more products and services lined up for you in May in order to support your Kienyeji Chicken business. These include the following:-

  • Kienyeji Chicken Feed Formulation Manual
  • Kienyeji Chicken Feed Formulation Weekly Training Programs
  • Kienyeji Supplies in Nairobi

Watch this space and we will let you know as we roll out new services. Happy weekend everyone.

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Does Kienyeji Taste Better?

Kienyeji chicken taste damn good and much better than the more exotic broiler varieties. Is that the truth or just a marketing gimmick. People who have lived in urban areas and grew up on the broilers certainly don’t have an idea on what a “true chicken” tastes like. Those of us who grew up in the countryside will certainly tell the difference in tastes between the sweet kienyeji and the more exotic varieties.

The reason for this is really quite simple. The kienyeji chicken reared in the free range system are allowed to roam FREELY on the pasture within the chicken runs and they are allowed to grow as naturally as all chickens should without any stressors such as confined spaces, accelerate feeding programs, growth hormones and other products that overly commercialized producing systems use in order to boost their chicken yields.

In the free range systems, the kienyeji chickens have constant access to a natural diet along with lots of fresh air and sunshine. The chickens grow very naturally in an organic atmosphere as the kienyeji chicken farming does not involve the use of the growth stimulants. In Kenya, there have been cases of some ignorant farmers injecting the chicks with stimulants and even ARVs in order to boost growth and get better yields in their broilers! Not all broiler farmers are this unethical but some are quite unethical. The Kienyeji way done in a natural free-range environment is the ethical way that will considerably boost the chicken production.

When you rear the kienyeji chicken in a free range system or semi-free range system with a chicken run where they can graze and scavenge for food while supplementing their feeding with other food sources, the chicken grazing on the pasture will be able to scratch the soil surface, eat some of grass and other green plants in their surroundings along with termites and tiny bugs that they find on the surface. The chicken is in its natural environment of feeding and survival.

When it comes to the free range scavenging, it is important to move the kienyeji birds to cleaner fields on a regular basis unless you have some space restrictions. It is also good for the poultry hygiene and disease management. When you spread the poultry litter around, the kienyeji chicken are not confined around small spaces where there is a concentration of litter and this reduces the probability of the disease outbreaks. Just like in the diary grazing, it is important to have a rotational system in the free range where the poultry graze and move on to new pasture every few weeks. In an urban setting, this may of course not be very practical.

The drawback of this method is that raising the poultry takes a little longer. While the industry standard for broilers is typically 6-8 weeks, the kienyeji chicken will reach the marketable weight from four months onwards but the upside is that you will attain better prices for your kienyeji chicken. Also, it is the longer growing period of the chicken which  will produce the tasty meat from the LARGE fully grown kienyeji chicken.

Kienyeji Chicken in Free Range or Semi-Free Range Have More Muscle

The chickens are allowed to mature at a very natural pace but in the end, the chicken are able to DEVELOP MORE MUSCLES when they are running around in the chicken run over a period of 4-6 months. With more muscle in the Kienyeji chicken, they will not shrink down when the fat melts during the cooking process. More muscle means more meat in the chicken and LESS FAT.  When you cook the Kienyeji Chicken that has been grown in perfect organic conditions, you are going to see a REAL difference in the dish.

The chicken will be cooked and you still get mostly the same chicken that you put in the sufuria. The chicken does not shrink into nothing as a result of the melting fat in the frying pot. If you are serving many guests, you will not worry about buying too many chickens in order to satisfy everyone. You can accurately estimate the number of chicken that you will need and you do not have to worry about the surprises of your chicken shrinking.

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Learn More About the KARI Improved Kienyeji Chicken

Improved might sound interesting when talking about chicken.  What really does improved chicken have that the normal kienyeji chicken does not have?  The KARI improved kienyeji chicken is a special breed slightly different from the local breeds we normally breed in our homes or backyards.  One important factor that you need to take note of is that they come with higher level of returns and better yields.  The new breeds underwent a lot of research as well as trial and error and intensive interbreeding before being released into the market.  They are bigger, better and more profitable.

Some of the benefits that poultry farmers enjoy with the KARI improved kienyeji chicken include amongst others:-

  • Shorter maturing period
  • Diseases resistant
  • Low maintenance cost
  • Low feeding and maintenance level
  • Larger and healthier eggs
  • Higher and better quality meat
  • Cheaper to maintain

KARI ensures that at the time of purchase, poultry farmers are only given vaccinated chicken.  Farmers are also given vaccination rules and guidelines to help them keep the chicken disease free all their life time.  Because of this, these improved chickens are able to give higher weights thereby earning the farmers more money and or revenue.

There is also a handbook detailing the process of how to effectively benefit from KARI improved kienyeji chicken.  Farmers also undergo training which in many occasions is organized by KARI for their large numbers of growing clientele.  Such training include:-

  • How to care for the chickens
  • Required structures which should be up to standard
  • Feeding program – what kind of foods are best and the best diet
  • How handle drinking water which is a very important subject
  • Vaccinations – when these should be undertaken
  • Hygiene and proper handling of chicken at the sale point

The KARI improved kienyeji chicken feeds on natural products as much as possible.  They feed on easy to access products like green grams, maize, kale just to name a few.  Another important factor that should never be forgotten is grass.  Grass helps in digestion and should not be omitted at whatever part of the diet.  Chickens that are not caged normally have the chance to enjoy their grass meal while out scavenging.  Chicken eat grass once in the course of the day and as discussed earlier should be made part of their normal day diet.

 

Lastly, KARI improved kienyeji chicken also feed on termites and ants.  These can be homegrown as stated in the handbook.  Feeders should be kept clean to avoid infection of any kind.  Water should be availed for most part of the day. Buy feeders that are sturdy and can withstand a lot of movements. Ensure that you add to their feeds additional minerals which they might miss during their scavenging journey.  Just like their other counterparts, the KARI chicken should also be kept safe and away from predators which are always out looking for an easy meal.  Ensure that the cage have enough lighting, ventilation, space and security.

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