One of the biggest challenges that many farmers in Kenya planning to venture in kienyeji chicken farming or poultry farming in general face is figuring out what chicken breeds to rear. Some farmers buy new chicken breeds without first learning about their qualities and this can result in losses and disappointments.

Before picking any chicken breed, you need to learn about its many qualities. Learn the basic information about the bird. The most important information that you need to learn about any breed that you choose include the following:-

  • Age of Maturity
  • Peak Production
  • Age at peak production
  • Body weight at maturity
  • Quality of eggs
  • Quality of meat
  • Is it layer, broiler or dual purpose?
  • Color of eggs
  • Disease resistance and adaptability
  • Feeding and nutrition: are they low input or high input birds?
  • Vaccination

Every farmer has an objective. Before you rush into poultry farming you must clearly figure out your farming objectives and then choose a poultry breed that aligns well with those objectives. For example, you do not just go into poultry farming to make money. That is too vague. You can go into poultry farming to be the largest supplier of kienyeji eggs, a large supplier of poultry meat, a distributor of Kuroiler chicks etc. Specialization is very important and will help you realize success in your ventures.

Here is an overview of one of the best chicken breeds in Kenya right now that every farmer should think of keeping.

The KARI Improved Kienyeji Chicken

Kienyeji Chicken farming is the new buzz amongst the poultry farmers in Kenya. While the exotic breeds produce more eggs and meat compared to the indigenous breeds, they require more tasking management during the production and consume a massive amount of food. That means the farming of the exotic breeds mostly leaves out the poor farmers who may not afford the costs incurred in feeding, vaccination and other expenses. The most popular Kienyeji breed-the KARI Improved Kienyeji was developed over a period of 10 years by studying the characteristics of the indigenous chicken breeds throughout Kenya.

Through years of interbreeding, the researchers at KARI Naivasha came up with the perfect compromise between the indigenous breeds and the exotic breeds. It produces 200-280 eggs per year, compared to the 300 for the exotic breeds but with minimal overheads. It also produces better meat quality and has greater disease resistance. That means more money in the pockets of the farmers.

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The new Improved Kienyeji breeds also fetch more from the market compared to the broilers. A hen is likely to fetch Ksh.700-Ksh850 while the cocks fetch anything from Ksh.1000 to Ksh.1500. The trend towards health conscious products and a market that is increasingly appreciating organically produced products has also driven up the demand for the kienyeji chicken. Here are four main reasons why farmers across Kenya opt for the KARI Improved kienyeji chicken breeds:

Low Cost of Production

If you are worried about the big nightmare of feeding your broilers, especially when they have hit 8 weeks and you cannot find a ready market for your birds, then the improved kienyeji breed is the answer. These can be reared in a free-range or semi free range system where the cost of feeding is drastically minimized. You can make small investments in commercial feed but also let them scavenge for food without diminishing your egg or meat production. The hens are also disease resistant so your losses due to disease outbreaks are largely minimized.

More nutritious eggs and meat
Rearing your chicken in the free range or semi-free range systems, where chicken are allowed to roam unrestricted or in a restricted environment results in eggs which are more nutritious. The scavenging chickens scratch the ground to unearth more diverse and nutritious food sources such as termites. From these numerous nutrients, consumers are assured of excellent and more nutritious egg and poultry production. In the semi free range system, farmers can use several techniques to increase the number of termites in the enclosure.

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This is not simplyย  a clichรฉ but has been verified through research by the US Department of Agriculture or the USDA which found that eggs produced by chicken under a free range system are a lot more nutritious than those produced under commercial conditions with commercial feeding. If you are into ethical farming practices, then the kienyeji chicken farming is the way to go.

Fetch higher market prices for your poultry products
Both the meat and egg products from the kienyeji chicken fetch twice as much as those from the caged birds. If there was ever any motivation for starting a business, then here is a powerful one! Maximum profits with minimal overheads.


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