From time to time I get questions from poultry farmers and poultry enthusiasts. Some I am able to answer in a straight forward manner while for others I often do a bit of research to come up with the best answers. Here are the most common questions I have been asked in the past by poultry farmers, friends and colleagues.

How long do chickens live?

Answer: Kienyeji/local chicken in small flocks live several years if conditions are correct. A life span of 6-8 years is even possible if they don’t die of sickness,predators or slaughtered for meat by humans. Most commercial layers are kept for 18 to 24months.

How old are chickens when they begin to lay eggs?

Answer: Under optimum conditions; good nutrition, ideal day length, adequate housing and good management practices, most commercial layers should begin egg production at about 18 to 20 weeks of age. Kienyeji improved chicken start laying at 20 to 24 weeks while pure kienyeji or indigenous chicken start laying at 24 to 28weeks.

What should chickens be fed?

Answer: Commercial rations will usually produce the best results from all types of poultry. A ration designed specifically for a particular type of bird should always be used (ie. chickmash, growers mash and layers mash for layers, broilers starter mash/crumbs and broiler finisher mash/pellets for broilers.

The commercial ration should not be supplemented with crushed maize or food left overs because the birds will not be eating a balanced diet.

Can eggs be produced without a cockerel being present?

Answer: Yes, most eggs produced for human consumption are produced this way and are non-fertile.therefore a hen doesn’t need a cock for it to produce eggs.For a hen to produce a fertile egg a cock is needed in the poultry house at a ratio of 1:10 .Fertile eggs spoil faster(14 days) than unfertilised eggs(28 days).

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Do chickens get worms and which types?

Answer: All domesticated animals get worms.Chickens get roundworms,tapeworms,gizzard worms and tracheal worms.You should deworm your chicken every 3 months.

What do I need to start poultry farming in Kenya.

Answer:

  • You need to first research on market.Learn the laws of demand and supply and market dynamics.
  • Secondly you need knowledge on poultry farming.
  • You need to have capital
  • You need labour
  • Vet services
  • High quality feeds
  • Proper poultry structures
  • High quality chicks

Which poultry diseases can man get?

Answer

  • Avian flu infections (handling affected chicken)
  • Salmonella infections (contaminated meat and eggs-raw chicken)
  • E.coli infections (contaminated eggs and meat)
  • ampylobacter infections

What’s the incubation period of various poultry birds.

Answer: chicken-21 days,geese,ducks,guinea fowls and turkeys take 28 days on average.The only exception is muscovy duck( bata wa kienyeji)which takes 35 days to hatch.

Between an egg and a chicken which came first?

Answer: Well,I won’t answer that.The answer is obvious.

You can also share your questions in the comment section.

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