As kienyeji chickens become more and more popular in Kenya, more and more breeds are entering the market.These improved breeds have higher productivity than the local kienyeji breeds. They have been bred for certain purposes. As a farmer, it is important to take advantage of the different kienyeji chicken breed’s characteristics to fit your purposes. For example, If you are keeping chickens for meat, a rainbow rooster gains faster weight than the improved KARI and kuroiler breeds. Here are some of the improved kienyeji breeds;

KARI kienyeji: This was bred from a range of indigenous chickens in Kenya by KARI (now KARLO) Naivasha. There are five distinct types distinguished by their colours (Table 2)

Kuroiler: This breed entered Kenya from Uganda but originates from India

Kenbro: This is a Kenchick breed

The rainbow rooster: This is a multi-coloured breed originating from India .

Here is a summarized table showing different kienyeji chicken breeds with their characteristics:

Description KARI kienyeji Kuroiler Kenbro Rainbow rooster
Purpose Eggs and meat Eggs and meat Eggs and meat Eggs and meat
Maturity (months) 5.5 5 4-5 5
Average egg production (per month) 15-20 18-20 20-25 20-25
Average meat production Cocks: 2.0-2.2kg Cocks: 2.2-2.5 kg Cocks: 2.2-2.5 Cocks: 3.0 kg
Hens: 1.5-1.8 kg Hens: 1.8-2.2 kg Hens:  1.9-2.2 kg Hens: 1.9- 2.2 kg
Feeding Normal Medium Heavy Medium
Sitting characteristics Multi-coloured ones are good sitters Poor sitters Does not sit Does not sit
Decline in production (years) Hens: 1.5 years Hens: 1.5 years Hens: 1.5 years Hens: 1.5 years
Cocks: 1.3 years Cocks: 1 year Cocks: 1 year Cocks: 1 year
Disease resistance compared to each other High Low Low High
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Improved KARI indigenous chickens come in five different colours; spotted, white, black, brown and multi-coloured. They have the following characteristics;

Colour Visual Features Sitting Laying Weight/ meat
Spotted Good camouflage Poor sitters. 25% will sit Poor layer Faster weight gain Highest quality meat with better muscle structure
White With some black White starts laying earlier.Good layers. More eggs. Larger eggs, so stronger chicks Becomes heavier
Black With brown front Moderate
Brown
Multi-coloured More indigenous Better sitters. 75% birds sit Moderate layers

When starting on improved indigenous chicken business, consider the above characteristics and choose the breed that best suits your purpose. Ensure that you get your breeds from certified breeders for pure breeds.

Credit: http://www.agriluga.com

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