chicken breeds in Kenya

Best Chicken Breeds in Kenya [with images]

There are a number of chicken varieties in Kenya, from the famous Kienyeji to the exotic Orpington. In this post, we will discuss all you need to know about the chicken breeds in Kenya, showcasing their unique qualities, advantages, and popularity among farmers.

Chicken breeds in Kenya can be categorized into three categories: indigenous, exotic and cross breed chicken breeds

Fun fact: Did you know that Azolla can be used as chicken feed?

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1. Indigenous Chicken Breeds in Kenya

i. Kienyeji Chicken

The Kienyeji chicken, is the most popular chicken breeds in Kenya. It is a tough breed that has adapted well to the local environment.

They are known for their hardiness, disease resistance, and ability to forage. Kienyeji chickens are typically dual-purpose birds, meaning they are raised for both meat and egg production.

They come in various colors and sizes, with some popular strains including the Kari Improved Kienyeji and the Rainbow Rooster.

Advantages of Kienyeji chickens

  1. Adaptability: Kienyeji chickens are well adjusted to the local climatic conditions in Kenya. They are naturally tough and can tolerate a range of climatic conditions, including heat, cold, and fluctuations in temperature. Their ability to adapt to local conditions reduces the risk of disease and mortality.
  2. Disease Resistance: Kienyeji chickens have developed natural resistance to some common poultry diseases prevalent in Kenya. They have a stronger immune response compared to exotic breeds, making them less susceptible to diseases such as Newcastle disease and infectious bursal disease.
  3. Low Input Requirements: Kienyeji chickens are known for their ability to forage and scavenge for food. They have good foraging instincts and can find a significant portion of their diet from natural sources, such as insects, worms, and plant materials. This reduces the reliance on expensive commercial feeds, making them a cost-effective choice for small-scale farmers.
  4. Natural Incubation and Brooding: Kienyeji hens exhibit good maternal instincts and are capable of hatching and brooding their own chicks. They are known to be good mothers, providing warmth and protection to their offspring. This eliminates the need for artificial incubation equipment and reduces labor and equipment costs.
  5. Meat and Egg Production: Kienyeji chickens are considered dual-purpose birds, meaning they are suitable for both meat and egg production. While they may not lay as many eggs as specialized layer breeds, they can still produce a reasonable number of eggs per year. Additionally, Kienyeji chickens are valued for their meat quality, which is often considered tastier and more flavorful compared to the meat of commercial broiler breeds.
  6. Genetic Diversity: Kienyeji chickens exhibit a wide range of genetic diversity due to their local origins. This genetic diversity can be advantageous in terms of adaptability, disease resistance, and overall flock health. It also provides opportunities for selective breeding and genetic improvement tailored to specific local conditions and farmer preferences.
  7. Cultural Significance: Kienyeji chickens hold cultural and traditional value in Kenya. They are often used in ceremonies, rituals, and social events. Additionally, the demand for Kienyeji chicken meat and eggs is high among consumers who appreciate their traditional and organic qualities, presenting market opportunities for farmers.

2. Exotic Chicken Breeds in Kenya

i. Rhode Island Red

The Rhode Island Red is a renowned exotic chicken breed recognised for its remarkable egg-laying ability.
They have a striking deep red color, are sturdy and hardy, and demonstrate high egg output.
These hens have enormous, unique brown eggs, making them commercial egg producers. The Rhode Island Red is a dual-purpose hen for meat and eggs, it lays around 150–200 eggs per year.

Rhode Island Red chicken breed in Kenya

ii. Orpington Chicken

The Orpington chicken is a wonderfully beautiful breed that originated in England.
They come in many hues, have a calm nature, and are recognised for their plumpness.
Orpington chickens are sought after for their great meat, ornamental value, and gentle demeanour, making them perfect backyard pets.

3. Crossbreed chicken breeds in Kenya

 Crossbreeding of chickens is done to increase qualities such as meat and eggs production.

i. Kuroiler Chicken

The Kuroiler chicken is a hybrid breed produced in India and is becoming very popular in Kenya. These chickens grow swiftly, are resistant to illnesses, and are good foragers. Kuroilers are popular for their dual-purpose nature, supplying both meat and eggs effectively, making them a cost-effective alternative for farmers.

kuroiler chicken breed in kenya

ii. Rainbow Rooster

The Rainbow Rooster is a crossbreed produced by Kukuchic in Kenya, notable for its quick growth. These chickens have bright plumage, are effective feed converters, and achieve market weight quickly. Rainbow Roosters are valuable for their meat production, making them a popular choice for commercial poultry raising.

Rainbow Rooster

iii. Kenbro

The Kenbro breed is a crossbreed developed in Kenya. It is a dual-purpose breed that combines the fast growth and meat production traits of broilers with the egg-laying ability of layers. Kenbro chickens are known for their good meat quality and ability to adapt to various climatic conditions. They are typically ready for slaughter between 12 and 16 weeks of age and can lay approximately 180 to 200 eggs per year.

iv. Sasso

The Sasso breed is a slow-growing chicken that originated in France. It is known for its superior meat quality and flavor. Sasso chickens are often raised in free-range systems as they have good foraging abilities. They are typically ready for slaughter between 12 to 14 weeks of age.

4. Broilers

Broilers are specifically bred for fast growth and efficient meat production. They have a high feed conversion rate, meaning they convert feed into meat quickly. Broilers are typically ready for slaughter within 6 to 8 weeks, depending on the breed and management practices. Popular broiler breeds in Kenya include the Ross 308 and Cobb 500.

5. Layers

Layer breeds are specifically bred for high egg production. They are known for their ability to lay a large number of eggs, often exceeding 250 eggs per year. Layer breeds are generally not suitable for meat production as they prioritize egg-laying capabilities. Some popular layer breeds in Kenya include the ISA Brown, Lohmann Brown, and Hy-Line Brown.

Conclusion

When choosing a chicken breed in Kenya, it’s important to consider factors such as purpose (meat or eggs), market demand, climate adaptation, management requirements, and available resources. Local breeds like Kienyeji chickens are popular due to their resilience and adaptability to Kenyan conditions, while hybrid breeds like broilers and layers offer specific advantages in terms of meat or egg production.

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Demi Farms
Demi Farms

Demi Agritourism Farm is an agribusiness company registered in Kenya in 2020 having its prime office address at Karen Village along Ngong road and a farm at Kibiku, Ngong

Our Mission is to empower farmers produce quality agricultural products using improved production, value addition and marketing innovations for multiple benefits.

And our Vision is to become a leading investor in the agriculture sector by forming beneficial and profitable partnerships with smallholder farmers and other key stakeholders in Kenya.

We focus on urban farming technologies, farm tours and new farming trends. At our demo farm, we have a variety of urban farming setup such as mushrooms, red worms, Black soldier flies, Crickets, Ornamental birds, Azolla, berries, indigenous vegetables & more always in progress.

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