Category Archives: Kienyeji

The Dos and Don’ts When it Comes to Chick Brooding

The toughest phase in raising your kienyeji chickens is during the chick brooding. This is the period when they are most delicate and where mistakes can be quite costly.

Many farmers prefer to start raising the chicks on their own right from the first day when the chicks are one day old. It is generally cheaper to acquire chicks at this stage so you can build a fairly large flock within a very short period of time.

Diagram of Chick Brooder Setup
Diagram of Chick Brooder Setup

However, the chick brooding stage requires special as well as intensive care in order to boost the survivability of the chicks. The problem is that many of the farmers who acquire the chicks are generally insufficiently prepared for the first few weeks. As a result, they end up incurring high mortality and huge losses that can easily be avoided.

The first few weeks of the chicks’ life is important not just for the survivability. The chicks may survive but if you didn’t give them optimal care during this stage, it may still end up impacting their physiological and development processes and thus impacting their yield.

One of the most critical factors during this stage is warmth. It is imperative that the chicks are given optimal warmth and protection. In natural brooding setting, the mother’s body and feathers is sufficient to supply the kids with optimal natural warmth.

However, in an artificial brooding environment, you have to try and recreate this environment to boost the chicks chances. You have to ensure that you are getting the artificial brooding conditions. That will require consulting widely and acquiring the right equipment for the task. The type of brooding conditions that you provide will have an impact on the chicks’ growth.

The Brooder

To prevent the chicks from huddling in one corner and thereby overcrowding and getting injured or suffocated, it is advisable that you use the brooder rings which are quite advantageous as they do not have corners.

Infrared Chick Brooder
Infrared Chick Brooder

Additionally, you must make sure that you have fumigated and disinfected the poultry house before you introduce the chicks into the poultry house.

The chicks are generally quite sensitive and delicate while they are still young so the farmer must go the extra mile to provide a sterile environment where they can grow safely.

Make sure that the litter and the bedding is disinfected and dried before they are spread on the brooder ring to line the flooring.

You can also use a newspaper layer to line the litter in the poultry house. This should also be sprayed lightly with some disinfectant. Make sure that you change the newspaper lining on a regular basis, at least after every two to three days. When it comes to raising day old chicks, you must never compromise on the hygiene.


Chicks are covered in light feathers that offer very little insulation from the temperature extremes. This makes them fully reliant on the external heat source for survival. If you don’t provide optimal brooding temperatures, the chicks are either going to die from cold or heat stress.

Low temperatures will stunt the growth of the chicks as the feeds they take in is converted into heat instead of being used to power their growth. In brooding conditions, you must there provide a reliable external heat source such as infra-red heating system or just the normal jikos or ovens that will provide the chicks with sufficient heat.

The heat source provided in the brooding area must be centrally situated inside the brooder ring. During the first week, maintain the temperatures at 32 degrees Celsius.

When introducing heat into the brooding area, make sure that you carefully observe the chick behavior. If it is too hot inside the brooder ring, the chicks will move away from the heat source. If it is too cold, the chicks are going to huddle together under the heat source. If the temperatures are ok, the chicks will be evenly distributed inside the brooder ring.


The brooder must be supplied with adequate lighting. The lighting is necessary to help the day old chicks locate the food and water inside the brooder ring. During the first 7 days after the chick placement, make sure that you provide bright lighting inside the brooder ring.

However, as the chicks grow older, make sure that you reduce or step down the lighting gradually so as to prevent cannibalism in the birds.


You must maintain very good air quality inside the brooder ring. This is particularly important if you are using the charcoal burners to keep the poultry house warm. A high accumulation of carbon monoxide in the poultry house is likely to lead to gas poisoning. On the other hand, a high concentration of ammonia gas in the poultry house is likely to cause ammonia burns and blindness in your chickens.


We have provided a vaccination schedule for your kienyeji chicken on this website that you must make sure you follow religiously. Also, make sure you provide the chicks with multivitamins before and after the vaccination.

Feed and Water

You can start your chicks off with a starter mash and eventually, you will introduce them into a grower mash. Make sure you provide the chicks with clean and fresh water at all times. Chickens will never forgive you if you fail to meet their water needs. It is likely to impact their development and productivity over the long term. During the early stages, you can also supply the chicks with a chick booster which is a mixture of glucose and vitamins.


Kienyeji Chicken Raised on Pasture

After the first 8 weeks feeding them only on chick mash, supplying fresh clean water and following a strict vaccination routine on this farm, we lost only 10 chicks out of the first 200 supplied by the hatchery at KARI Naivasha. These are the Improved Kienyeji breeds. We decided to pasture the chicken so that they can get exposed to sunshine, toughen up and also diversify their diet.

Spreading feeders and drinkers in the Kienyeji chicken run
Spreading feeders and drinkers in the Kienyeji chicken run

Feeding the Improved Kienyeji chicks on the pasture and allowing them to scavenge is advantageous on many fronts. It exposes them to a more spacious environment and reduces diseases, injuries, cannibalism, and high mortality rate. The chicken grow up happy and produce very delicious meat when sold in the marketplace. The eggs will have a more yellowish yolk too-the deep yellow color as opposed a faded yellow for confined chicken.

Improved Kienyeji Chicken scavenging inside the chicken run
Improved Kienyeji Chicken scavenging inside the chicken run

Chicken love cabbages

While indoors, you can hang cabbages, spinach and sukuma wiki with wire attachments. These will be great source of vitamins for the kienyeji chickens. Every day, you can hang 4 cabbages for a flock of 200 birds that they can peck at. This will supplement the diet and reduces their feeding costs as you transition to growers mash from week 8 onwards. Once you are done with the first 8 weeks, you should also be thinking of formulating your own kienyeji mash that can reduce your feeding costs by up to 65%. Check out our Kienyeji Feed Formulation Manual for information on how you can reduce the cost of feeding.

Pass a rope through the hole made above and hang the cabbage from the roof. It shouldn’t be hang too high. The recommended height is just above the height of the back of the chicken so that they do not stretch too much to access their feeds
Hang some cabbages inside the structure that the chicken can peck at. This is also good source of vitamins

The other advantages of pasture

When you keep your chicken indoors for a long duration of time, you are going to experience high mortality rate for a number of reasons. They will have weak legs that break easily and the color of the legs and sin will remain white instead of the yellowish or even dark green color that is loved by many consumers. The sunshine along with diversified diet of grass, leaves, termites and vegetables will now contribute to the improvement in quality of meat. It will get sweeter and if they will be laying eggs, the eggs will have a rich yellow kienyeji yolk as opposed to the faded yellow yolk.

Do not rely on pasture alone. The pasture only supplements their feeding. Instead, you will continue to use some commercial feeding in order to maximize their production. You can also formulate your own kienyeji mash which is quite easy once you have the ingredients and the formula ready.



Kienyeji Feeds: Supplementing the Diets for Your Improved Kienyeji Chickens

The Improved Kienyeji Chicken breeds and other hybrids such as Kuroiler and Rainbow Rooster are actually meant to be reared in a free range environment or semi-intensive environment where they can scavenge for their own food. However, farmers generally give them the feed formulation such as the chick mash, growers mash, layers mash or finishers depending on the breeds in order to maximize on the production. Buying commercial food is however quite costly. You could easily see your feeding costs running to up to Ksh.12,000 per month for a flock of 200 birds if you do not manage your costs carefully.

Start by making a hole through the cabbage using a wooden or metallic rod. You will then pass a rope, like the white laundry rope, through the hole
Start by making a hole through the cabbage using a wooden or metallic rod. You will then pass a rope, like the white laundry rope, through the hole
Hanging a Cabbage for Your Chickens
Hanging a Cabbage for Your Chickens

One way to cut down on the costs and also vary the diet and prevent boredom in your birds is by supplementing their diets with various other feeds, particularly the household leftovers. There are some taboo foods that you should NEVER give your chickens such as garlic, onions or even potato peels. Those are out of bounds.

Also when you are supplementing the diet of your poultry, it is important that you do in moderation. Don’t overfeed them on food leftovers all of a sudden. Do it little by little and also gradually. It is important to keep in mind that the majority of the intake for your improved breeds should come from their foods such as layers mash in order to maximize on their production. These commercial feeds have been formulated in order to meet the all the dietary requirements of your chickens so that they can thrive well in your backyard and also lay more eggs or mature faster if you are rearing them for meat.

Yellow Maize is Very Good For Your Chicken
Yellow Maize is Very Good For Your Chicken

If you over supplement, you could not just compromise the health of your chickens but also decrease egg production. Do it but do it moderation. Feed in the morning and in the afternoon, let them scavenge in the chicken run up to about 6pm in the evening. Hang cabbages and other vegetable leftovers in the chicken runs in order to keep them busy when they are retiring in the evening or running away from the hot sunshine outside. Another way to save on feeding costs is by formulating your own feeds. For additional information on Kienyeji Feed Formulation, visit here.

Here is a List of Some of the Food Leftovers that your Chicken Can Eat:-

  • Cooked Beans
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbages
  • Carrots
  • Tomatoes
  • Pumpkins
  • Sukuma Wiki
  • Spinach
  • Cauliflower
  • Cooked potatoes-don’t give them peels
  • Crushed maize, especially yellow maize
  • Bananas
  • Strawberries
  • Apples
  • Cooked rice
  • Bread
  • Grit
  • Cheese
  • Omena
  • Ochong’a or small reddish fishes. They are smaller than omena
  • Dried and crushed egg shells

Things to AVOID Giving Your Chickens

  • Onions
  • Avocado skin
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Citrus
  • Uncooked beans
  • Raw potato skins

Poultry Equipment to Buy For Your Commercial Kienyeji Farm

In the past, poultry farming in Kenya was mainly small scale and that means many farmers rarely mechanized their farms. They only invested in feeders and drinkers and they were done. The rest of the equipment and materials used in the farm were subsequently only improvised. However, if you are serious farmer who would like to make profits from your poultry farming venture and not just rear them as a hobby, you have to invest in top quality poultry farming equipment that will give your farm a competitive advantage and help you in maximizing your poultry production in Kenya. Investments in poultry equipment in Kenya is not just limited to the large farmers. It will also reduce the amount of time that you would spend in managing the poultry thus significantly reducing the labor costs in your poultry farm.

There is a great variety of poultry equipment that you can use in order to ensure that your farm is running efficiently and smoothly. They also ensure that you do not have to spend a lot of time or money on labor costs. Some of this poultry equipment is not available in Kenya and you may have to import them from countries such as China or South Africa or even Uganda.

Poultry Feeders

These are generally a must-have although some farmers still improvise on this. Check out our article on the improvisation of poultry feeders and drinkers. A good and innovatively designed feeders will allow your chickens to feed efficiently and also reduces injuries and contamination during feeding. Feeders should always be cleaned regularly in order to prevent rodent infestations and incidences of diseases such as coccidiosis. They need to be cleaned on a regular basis, let to dry well and then replenished with fresh feed. The new feed must always remain dry.  The feeders should be red in color in order to invite the birds so that they can feed more often and put on more weight and lay more eggs. There are plenty of feeders, feeder platforms and chick feeders that you buy for your birds.

Poultry Feeders

Some of the common feeder designs include the following:-

Baby chick feeders: These are ideal for chicks. They have a narrow feeding area which prevent the chicks from contaminating the feed with their droppings and thus wasting feed.

Baby Chick Feeders
Baby Chick Feeders

Range Feeders: Ideal for larger birds. They are heavier and not easily blown off.

Poultry Range Feeders
Poultry Range Feeders

Galvanized Trough Feeders: These are very similar to the trough feeders we discussed here but they have a revolving rod at the top and this prevents chicks from roosting on top and contaminating the feed with their droppings.

Poultry Galvanized Trough Feeders
Poultry Galvanized Trough Feeders

Poultry Chain Feeding Systems:- Chain feeder systems provide the ultimate feeding solution that is low labor and low stress in more intensive poultry farming ventures.

Poultry Chain Feeding System
Poultry Chain Feeding System

Poultry Feeder for Chicks:- There are numerous companies with numerous designs for the baby chick feeders. Below is a nice design but the problem with this is that only a few chicks can feed at a time. It is not very efficient if you have over 500 chicks otherwise you will have to buy almost 50 of these.

Broiler Pan Feeding System: The broiler pan feeding system below consists of several parts. The Feed Hopper can have various capacities and has an electronic limit switch. There is an anti-perch line which prevents birds from starting on its tube. There is a drive unit has a pressure switch for maintaining feed levels. Gear motor provides consistent operation ensuring uniform distribution of food in the pan feeding system.

Broiler Pan Feeding System
Broiler Pan Feeding System

Stainless steel serving pans:- This serving pan is an interesting design which I saw on Alibaba.  Not sure of its efficacy though since I have not tried it out.

Poultry Watering Systems

Clean drinking water is a critical factor in poultry production. Your poultry must always have access to clean drinking water at all times. To prevent diseases such as fowl typhoid or coccidiosis, these waterers must be cleaned on a daily basis and replenished with clean water. Using red waterers, like red feeders, will encourage the chicken to drink more often so as to keep hydrated and healthy. In baby chicks, special care should be taken by using proper drinkers in order to prevent them from drowning. There are numerous waterer designs which are available in the Kenyan market. Some are not easily available and you may have to import them into the local market. Some of the drinkers available in the marketplace include  the following :-

Automatic Bell Drinkers:- With the automatic bell drinkers, you can ensure that there is a constant supply of clean and uncontaminated water to your poultry. The drinker will also prevent spillage of water in the poultry farm which will prevent coccidial oocyst which might infect birds and cause coccidiosis. It also ensures that there is no direct picking from droppings thus contributing in effectively ensuring there is no incidences of diseases in your poultry farm attributed to hygiene issues. The design of the automatic bell drinkers ensures that there is no perching or defecation in the water by the poultry thus making the drinking water free from any form of contamination. When you use the automatic bell drinkers, the farm beddings will be 100% dry. Prices vary based on desired sizes.

Poultry Bell Drinker
Poultry Bell Drinker

Chicken Nipple Drinkers:- The nipple drinkers are very efficient and suitable for commercial farming. Chicks simply tap at the nipple ends to drink water. There is zero contamination and zero spillage of water on the ground. Below is a nipple end for the poultry nipple waterers or poultry nipple drinkers. This costs only Ksh.200 so you can even construct your own nipple drinkers using plastic pipes and a jerrican.

Chicken Nipple Waterers or drinkers
Chicken Nipple Waterers or drinkers

With lots of technological products available in the market, you do not have to insert your chicken in boiling hot water  and pluck the traditional way. You can invest in a little poultry plucker machine.  This is a good investment if you will be dressing your poultry in your small farm. You can pluck feathers quickly without damaging the skin of the poultry. The machine can dress several birds in less than 10 minutes. It is a good poultry equipment addition if you are running a semi-intensive farming operation.  It also cleanses the chicken skin after plucking and can you can proceed with packaging.


Beat the Competition through Efficient Poultry Farming Techniques

Efficiency is very key to success in poultry farming in Kenya

With the right investments and management techniques, chickens can be pushed to dizzying levels of production which ensure maximum profitability for the farmer.  As long as the requirements of the birds are met adequately, it is possible to fully maximize on the potential of your chicken breeds whether they are KARI Improved Kienyeji chicken, Rainbow Rooster, Kuroiler, Fast White layers, Kenbro or the Indbro breeds amongst others in Kenya.

Poultry farming is very capital intensive if you are going to do it on a very commercial scale.  There is the purchase or the rental of land depending on the options which are available to you; the cost of building the poultry structure, the cost of acquiring the birds; cost of equipment, cost feeds, vaccination and labor costs amongst many others. In order to ensure that the operations are not just and efficient but also profitable, there are certain requirements that you will need to manage when making your poultry investments.

Housing: The most important is undoubtedly the housing part. Most people will simply design a corrugated iron structure with poor insulation and they are ready to get going. It is affordable, right? Unfortunately, poor ventilation is definitely going to impact your production efficiency in several ways. Poultry housing must be constructed in a certain way in order to provide the birds with an optimal environment for production.  There are certain types of housing that are conducive for cold climates and certain types of housing which are better suited for hotter climates. This will affect your poultry as follows:-

Hot Climates: In a hotter climate with poor ventilation, there will be higher temperatures inside the chicken run. As a result, feed intake is going to drop and this will be followed by an acute drop in production. The birds will be under great stress and their immune system is going to drop thus exposing them to lots of avoidable diseases. Higher temperatures will also increase the intake of water and this will result in wet manure.

Kienyeji Chicken House
Kienyeji Chicken House

Colder Climates: In colder climates and poor ventilation, feed intake is going to increase and this will in turn lead to poor food conversion ratio or FCR. Based on your location, the flock will also be susceptible to various diseases such as Coryza.

Water: The poultry must be supplied with sufficient clean drinking water. Without that, there will be no life and production will be quite low. Water is one of the most critical factors in maintaining high production levels. If there is a lack or shortage of water, you will see a sharp decline in production, high mortality rates, and the immune system will be lowered thus exposing your flock to various poultry diseases.

Poultry Bell Drinker
Poultry Bell Drinker

Feeds, Quality of Feeds and Feed Wastage:-To maximize on your production levels, the poultry must be fed in very high quality and well formulated feed such as well formulated chick mash, growers mash, layers mash, finishers etc. Poor feeding or even lack of feeding is going to seriously impact the efficiency of your chicken production.

Kienyeji Feeding

Hygiene, Sanitation, Biosecurity and Disinfection to Get Rid of Germs:- It is important to keep your poultry operation as clean as possible. This is the way to impact your production in a positive direction. If hygiene levels are not kept high, there are various issues that you are going to grapple with including diseases, pests, rodents and flies. Wastage of feed due to poor management of the farm is also going to have a serious impact on your business profitability. Rodents, if not well managed can serious cause serious feed wastage by eating your commercial feeds. They will also destroy your feeding equipment and can transmit certain diseases. Poultry feed accounts for 60-70% of the production costs and feed should, therefore, not be wasted.

Vaccination Program: The Vaccination program must be well-planned and be up to date for all the common deadly diseases.  Check out our poultry vaccination schedule which is recommended by KALRO and follow it to the latter. Ensure that this vaccination schedule is strictly adhered to. Make use of high quality vaccines sourced from trusted Agrovets and these must also be administered directly by a qualified veterinary officer. However, even with proper vaccination, there is no guarantee that this will save your flock from diseases such as the Newcastle Disease or NCD but when you vaccinate, you minimize the risks. Proper vaccination will cut down on the production drops and also prevent high mortality rates when there are high incidences of diseases in your poultry. The mortality rate may also depend on the severity of the strain of disease.

Lights and Lighting: Lighting is very essential at night, particularly in commercial egg layers as it will help you in maximizing on production and also reaping the maximum genetic potential of the chickens. Lighting is not just essential, you must also ensure that there is Lux or brightness. Without bright lighting, you will be lowering the efficiency of the production and you will not be able to maximize on the genetic potential of your chickens.

Choice of Breeds: If you are going to run a profitable commercial chicken farming in Kenya, you must ensure that you are choosing viable breeds.  There are numerous commercial breeds in Kenya which can be used as layers and broilers.  Take time to learn as much information as possible about the breeds of birds that you are planning to keep. If you are planning to go the Kienyeji chicken farming way, you can choose from a great array of improved hybrid poultry breeds such as Rainbow Rooster, Kuroiler, KARI Improved Kienyeji Chicken, Kenbro, IndBro, Fast white layers and many others.

Management and Administration of Poultry Farming: Management and administration is a very important factor in poultry farming success in Kenya. You need a poultry farming management that is passionate, experienced, knowledgeable, dedicated and skilled in order to bring the best out of your flock and manage the farm efficiently and profitably.  All the above points cannot be achieved without a competent and passionate management.

Apart from good management, it is important to have good administration. This will be critical to ensuring there is efficient measurements and record keeping so that you can keep track of all poultry farming inputs.  Good administration allows you to determine if the poultry products are up to standard: for example, is there optimal egg mass? Is the bird body mass ok? These important measurements will tell you whether you are running an efficient poultry farming operation in Kenya or not.

For example, if you have 6000 layers and are producing 3600 eggs per day, this might seem very good but you are only operating at 60% efficiency. You should be operating at 90% efficiency and producing about 5400 eggs daily if you have 6000 layers. That means you are losing a whopping 1800 eggs per day because you are not efficient! Even your staff cannot steal that much so poor efficiency can be very costly for a poultry farm in Kenya.