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.