Rearing Improved Kienyeji chicken.
Rearing improved kienyeji chicken was a fairly brand new experience since I had different expectations, especially on the aspect of brooding. I realized that Improved kienyeji chicken does not brood their eggs.
Brooding is simply the process where a chicken lays on its eggs for a period of 21 days before it gets hatchlings. During the period of 21 days, the chicken knows the exact conditions that it should keep its eggs so as to guarantee that they hatch. Did you know that the hen also communicates with the hatchlings when they are mature enough but still not hatched?
That’s what led me to invest my time and research in incubation.
Incubation on the other hand is simply using a machine to get the same results as a broody hen. There are different types of incubators in the market. There are those that are artificially built by machines and those that are homemade. Homemade incubators tend to use a little bit more power because of their structure and few flaws.
Having my own improved kienyeji hen, i expected a lot from it. So, the nest had ten eggs that I expected to be brooded by my hen naturally. I was so excited since I was very enthusiastic about having to own my very first chicks after three weeks! The long wait had just started. A week later, the eggs that the hen had lain were still in its nest. I was completely dumbfounded and disappointed. I thought these things happen naturally! Unfortunately, after some research, I found out that Gladys, my Hen was an Improved Kienyeji Chicken.
Improved kienyeji chicken is a breed of chicken that has been genetically modified to be ‘better’ than the normal kienyeji chicken. This is in terms of productivity and resistance to diseases. This is however controversial in our farmer’s community today and subject to everyone’s opinion according to experience.
Common types of improved kienyeji chicken in Kenya;
The growing poultry industry has guaranteed new and more advanced breeds of chicken. Knowing and actually rearing these different types of breeds are separate things. There are some breeds that may not be as favorable as a farmer may expect to their pockets. I mean, before purchasing any breed of improved kienyeji chicks or chicken, learn about it from either an experienced farmer or read about it from different sources in detail.
Be that as it may, here are a few improved kienyeji chicken breeds that have been developed to serve the poultry market in Kenya today;
KARI means Kenya Agricultural Research Institute. This type of chicken breed was bred and developed by the named institute which has recently changed its name. The goal of this project was to come up with a chicken breed that gains weight fast and has similar qualities to that of the pure kienyeji chicken.
- Sasso Chicken
This is an improved type of kienyeji chicken that has a close resemblance to a broiler chicken. The Sasso chicken is said to reach market weight at the age of three months and is able to be kept under the same conditions as any other improved kienyeji chicken.
This is a dual-purpose improved kienyeji chicken breed. That means it is reared for both meat and eggs. This breed of chicken can fully survive on scavenging for agricultural waste on a free rang system. This type of chicken is also relatively resistant to disease.
- Rainbow Rooster
This is yet another impressive improved kienyeji chicken breed that is greatly known for its weight gain. This type of improved kienyeji chicken will attain a weight of two kilograms in under eight weeks. Keeping this type of chicken requires a low capital input since the bird is not a heavy feeder, so you cut down costs on feeding.
These types of chicken breeds apparently do not incubate or brood their eggs to produce chicks like the way the pure kienyeji chicken does. Other qualities of the improved kienyeji chicken include;
- Better egg production annually. (180-220 eggs)
- Bigger size chicken (3-8kgs).
What to do if you would like to get your own improved kienyeji chicks?
- Use an incubator.
Just like I did, I got my first chicks using my own incubator. I purchased a manual incubator for a start which was the cheapest in the market at the time and started out. Since I was just starting out, I did not have huge expectations. I got the best of what I would at the moment because I was just a beginner.
There are different types of incubators in the market if you are thinking about getting one of your own. These all depend on the preference of the farmer and the farmer’s budget. There are even solar incubators today! Talk about going green with energy.
A broody hen is rare to find. This is because you cannot force a hen to go broody. All you do is wake up one morning and realize that your hen is broody. Broody hens have certain characteristics that are specifically different from other hens in the flock. It is possible for any farmer to directly distinguish a broody hen because of the noise that they make when you get close to it.
Broody hens are great for hatching improved kienyeji eggs because they are maestros when it comes to hatching any type of poultry eggs. Plus the advantage of giving these eggs is the chicken itself won’t be able to tell that the eggs are different. Be careful however not to interrupt the broody cycle of the hen by exchanging its own eggs for improved kienyeji eggs at night. When they cannot see…
- Buy some chicks!
This is the last resort and it is the one that is typically used by most farmers in Kenya. The farmer just doesn’t want to go through the hustle of having to keep chicks from the time of incubation up to when they can be able to fend for themselves. Jumpin to the time when they are already 4 or five weeks old guarantees a lower mortality rate for them. And I totally agree!
The process of incubation is not a walk in the park… you will get failed hatches, infertile eggs, and even sometimes, chicks hatch and they die in a few weeks due to some strange disease like Newcastle or coryza or even just cold! So buying already vaccinated chicks is a far better option.