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Poultry Farming in Kenya.
This is my personal favorite! Poultry farming is practiced by almost 70 percent of small-scale farmers in Kenya. There are also a few large-scale farms that have also proven to gain a profit from their businesses.
Types of Poultry kept in Kenya.
Poultry farming, specifically chicken farming is my favorite because I grew up practicing it in my local home area in Bungoma. And, chicken is by far the most reared bird in my country, Kenya. I kept the pure kienyeji chicken which is internationally known as the indigenous chicken.
Chicken business in Kenya.
Majority of the people who like eating chicken do not know the process which the chicken goes through in order to get to their plates. There is a lot of things to consider. The chicken business in Kenya has relatively grown because of the increase of small-scale farmers in the country. The introduction of improved kienyeji chicken breeds in Kenya has also instilled a sense of curiosity in them to try out chicken farming. In Kenya, there are generally two types of poultry farming; commercial and domestic.
Commercial: From the name, commercial chicken farming is keeping chicken with an end goal of making a profit. Commercial chicken farming can either be small-scale or large-scale. Either way, a farmer has to try one way or another to make a profit at the end of the day. For this type of farming, a farmer can either choose to keep chicken for meat or for eggs. There are different specifications to both these types of products and a farmer has to stick to each and every one of them in order to profit. Chicken that is kept for eggs is called layer while chicken that is kept for meat is called broiler.
Broiler farming in Kenya
A broiler is basically a chicken that has been genetically modified to gain weight faster than any other type of chicken. Broilers are mostly white in color and usually require a bit more care than other types of chicken. Broilers genuinely mature between four to ten weeks of age. Once they get to this age, they are ready for the market.
Broiler farming is an investment that is delicate and requires a lot from the farmer in terms of care. Basic things like brooder management, vaccination, feeding, and general biosecurity are the main causes of loss to broiler farmers in Kenya.
Layers farming in Kenya
Layers on the other hand are chickens that is solely kept for the purpose of laying eggs. A good layer is the Rhode Island Red which has proven to be a consistent layer in the Kenyan market. When considering starting layer farming, there are a number of things that you as a poultry farmer must plan ahead of. In terms of housing, vaccination, feeding and supplements, and marketing of your eggs. Layers generally require a lot of patience from farmers because they start laying their eggs at week 18 to 20 from when they hatch.
Results are typical, so it is advised to seek the advice of a responsible agro vet before going into this business.
Domestic: This is the type of chicken farming where a farmer only keeps chicken as a hobby or to use for home consumption. Depending on the choice and patience of the farmer, domestic chicken can be kept for meat or eggs.
Pure kienyeji chicken farming in Kenya.
Small scale farmers have been freely keeping the pure kienyeji chicken for a long time. This bird is hardy and can withstand harsh climatic conditions. So, it is typically a wild bird that is kept domestically. The pure kienyeji chicken has been sustaining small-scale farmers by providing eggs and meat for them for a long time until scientists in the Kenya Agricultural Livestock and Research Organization (KALRO) came up with the Improved Kienyeji Chicken. The pure kienyeji chicken, however, has not been forgotten. Since the development of this new and better breed of chicken, there has been a rush to prove that the improved kienyeji chicken is a source of quick cash… which is definitely not the case. Leaving a number of small-scale farmers to stick to their old ways and continue rearing the pure kienyeji chicken. According to to my research, this is why they feel the improved kienyeji bird is not as great as it has been hyped;
- It is prone to disease.
- It consumes a lot of feed.
- It needs a lot of care from the farmer.
Characteristics of the pure kienyeji chicken.
- It is hardy and resistant to most diseases.
- It is a scavenger and so, does not require a huge input in feeding
- It has good quality meat.
- It produces very nutritious eggs.
Seeing the difference between the two birds, the pure kienyeji chicken seems to be the better one. What do you think? I think that the pure kienyeji chicken is a bird that is mostly kept by the hobby farmer, who does not pay much attention to monetary inputs in his or her chicken.
IMPROVED KIENYEJI CHICKEN
The improved kienyeji chicken has brought wonders to Kenyan farmers. It is basically called an improved kienyeji chicken because it has genetically modified traits and has proven to be better than the pure kienyeji chicken. The improved kienyeji chicken gains weight faster than the normal indigenous pure kienyeji giving farmers a faster turnaround time and a shorter period to restock their farms. This chicken has gained a lot of fame over the past couple of years in large cities and towns because of its great productivity. On average, an improved kienyeji chicken can produce at least 200 eggs a year! Which is much more than its predecessor in the market, the pure kienyeji chicken. So, why did the average farmer decide to move to rear this type of chicken?
Traits of the Improved Kienyeji Chicken.
- It produces more eggs.
- It gains weight faster.
- It does not brood its own eggs, thus giving it more time on gaining weight than to brood.
This type of chicken is for the business-minded farmer. Keeping this type of chicken will require an effort from the farmer in terms of proper record keeping so as to stay in profit. Once feeding and expenses go out of hand, farmers always sell their flock however young they are to prevent loss.
Types of Improved Kienyeji Chicken Reared in Kenya.
This is an improved kienyeji chicken breed that is kept in Kenya. It is generally the fastest growing improved kinyeji chicken and that is why it is mostly preferred by farmers. Farmers do not want to keep their chicken for a long time; instead, they want to keep it for just a few months and sell it to gain back their profits in a shorter time. The kuroiler chicken in Kenya has seen a better productivity rate in terms of meat over the past few years because of its fast growth rate. If fed well and provided with a few extra vitamins, the kuroiler bird can reach maturity at five months. The kuroiler chicken lays approximately 180 to 220 eggs per year, therefore termed as the least productive of the improved kienyeji chicken in terms of egg production. This breed of improved kienyeji chicken is kept in large-scale farmers because of its high-profit value brought about by its fast maturity rate.
Characteristics of the Kuroiler Chicken.
- Gains weight faster than any other breed of improved kienyeji chicken
- Big in size
- Lays more eggs than the pure kienyeji chicken
- Consumes more feed than any other breed of chicken
The Kari Improved kienyeji chicken is a much more stable bird with relatively equal production rates as compared to the other breeds of improved kienyeji chicken. This is a breed of improved kienyeji chicken that was developed by (Kari) which is now known as (KALRO). Depending on the feeding schedule of a farmer, the Kari improved kienyeji chicken can also reach maturity at 5 months of age. These are genetically larger chickens than the other breeds and improved kienyeji chicken. The advantage of keeping the Kari improved kienyeji chicken is its egg productivity in comparison to its feeding. In a year, this breed can produce approximately 200 to 230 eggs with good feeding and provision of supplements. The Kari improved kienyeji chicken feeds a lot less than the other breeds of improved kienyeji chicken. This breed is the second most kept breed of improved kienyeji chicken amongst farmers in Kenya.
Characteristics of the Kari Improved Kienyeji Chicken.
- Lays more eggs than any other improved kienyeji breed of chicken
- Is disease resistant
- Gains weight fast.
- Consumes less feed than any other breed of improved kienyeji.
The rainbow rooster is the most common breed of improved kienyeji chicken kept in Kenya. Both small-scale and large-scale poultry farmers keep the rainbow rooster for its stability in terms of productivity. This breed of chicken is low input and has beautiful colors. It can be clearly differentiated. Why do I say that it is stable? This breed can be kept for both meat and eggs. It can be defined as the king of improved kienyeji breeds because of its high resistance to disease. Rainbow rooster matures between the age of four to six months and gains weights of up to 1.5 kilograms with good feeding.
Characteristics of the Rainbow Rooster Chicken.
- Is the largest improved kienyeji breed.
- Has beautiful and colorful feathers.
- It is disease-resistant.
- Lays more eggs than the pure kienyeji chicken.
Poultry diseases are a menace. Viral diseases in poultry have caused a bad trend in the decline of poultry farmers in Kenya and the world. This is because farmers are getting discouraged. Just imagine building a flock from when it was as tiny as chicks to a point that you want to sell and make a profit, the all of a sudden, a serious infectious disease infects all your chickens,s and you are left with nothing. It is a very sad ordeal and has been witnessed by millions of farmers around the world. The only and most important solution to the problem of poultry diseases is vaccination. Vaccinating your birds is mandatory if you want to stay in profit.
Some of the most common diseases in poultry include;
- Newcastle disease Virus.
- Infectious Coryza.
- Fowl Typhoid.