Many farmers in Kenya have overlooked the potentials in Kienyeji chickens. Starting a Kienyeji chicken farming is a good, cheap means to boost eggs and chicks production. This guide will help you with starting a Kienyeji chicken farm, either for meat, eggs or chick production.

Introduction to Poultry Production

Poultry contributes to improved human nutrition and food security by being a leading source of high quality protein in form of eggs and meat. It acts as a key supplement to revenue from crops and other livestock enterprises, thus avoiding over dependency on traditional commodities with inconsistent prices. It has a high potential to generate foreign exchange earnings through export of poultry products to neighboring countries. Poultry is highly prized in many social-cultural functions such as dowry and festivities.

The poultry industry is rapidly growing. The industry is characterized by widely diverse methods of production which include the following: village flocks, small-scale commercial flocks and large-scale commercial farms.

Constraints in poultry production include:

  • Production related constraints
    • inadequate access to improved breed
    • Access and affordability of feed
    • Disease control
  • Lack of knowledge and skills
  • Inadequate capital at all levels and marketing.

Systems of Management in Poultry Production

  • Free range
  • Semi-intensive
  • Intensive

Housing

  • Housing space should be 2 metres by 3 metres or be a traditional brooding basket. The traditional brooding basket can be used as a brooder basket for chicks, either inside or outside the house.
  • House should be raised to protect birds from predators.
  • Perches should be provided in the house for chicken to roost on at night.
  • The house should be well ventilated.
  • Preferably have cemented floor for ease of cleaning and disinfecting
  • Be rat-proof
  • Using plenty of litter after cleaning the poultry house
  • Keeping the right number of birds in poultry houses
  • Separating chicks from old birds

Management of chicks

  • Before chicks arrive at home; make sure that;
    • A brooder is in place
    • Paraffin lamps/electric bulbs/charcoal stove is available
    • Litter for the floor is available
    • 1m2 will accommodate 20 chicks up to 4 weeks old.
  • Temperature control: 35C for day-old chicks, 24-27C for 1 week. Reduce heat as they grow especially at night.

Physical features of a good Kienyeji layer chicken

  • Bright red comb and wattles
  • Alert eyes
  • Width between pelvic bones should measure at least 2 fingers
  • The beak and claws should look bleached
  • The cloaca should be moist

Cost and returns of establishing successful dairy farm

Advantages in choosing Kienyeji chickens for farming

  • They are self-sustaining i.e. can raise their own replacement stock
  • They are hardy birds that can survive hard conditions
  • Management requirements are not critical as those of commercial exotic breeds
  • They are immune to some diseases and parasites
  • Their products fetch more money than those from exotic birds

Limitations in choosing Kienyeji chickens for farming

  • They have low growth rate
  • They produce fewer small sized eggs and comparatively little meat
  • People keep them without commercial purposes
  • They have been neglected by breeders/scientists despite their potential

How to Improving the production of Kienyeji chickens

Control of parasites and diseases

  • External parasites that affect Kienyeji chicken include: poultry body louse, stick tight flea, poultry lice, ticks, feather mites and leg mites.
  • Control can be done using commercial/synthetic or herbal insecticide.
  • Herbal preparations are cheaper for Kienyeji chicken but a lot of research is still needed in this area to establish proper dosage.
  • Internal parasites include worms and coccidia.
  • Worms can be eliminated using a potent dewormer preferably given as a tablet because these chickens have low water consumption.
  • Deworming should be done at least every month.
  • Commercial coccidiostats can be used alternately with herbal preparation. These must be given to birds on 8th, 9th, and 10th days of age. Repeat as directed by veterinarian.
  • In early days, vitamins-mineral mixtures should be given to chicks to minimize losses.
  • Vaccination of birds especially against New Castle Disease. Target first vaccination at the beginning of the dry seasons, repeat after one month and every four months thereafter.

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 Feeding Kienyeji Chickens

  • Farmers can mix their own feeds using the abundant carbohydrate and protein feed available in their area.
  • Feeding should be accompanied by green feeds and fruits such as pawpaw.
  • Only palatable green feeds should be given to birds.

The following should be done in rearing Kienyeji chickens:

  • Vaccination against Newcastle disease
  • De-worming
  • Remove mites and lice manually or better still using medicated powder
  • Provide water as much as possible
  • May supplement free range with other feeds e.g. maize bran and concentrates
  • Avoid buying chicken in dry seasons because diseases, especially Newcastle, are more rampant in dry seasons
  • Avoid buying birds when there is a disease outbreak
  • Buy birds of almost the same age i.e. 2-3 months are more ideal. Avoid buying old birds
  • Plan for synchronised mating and therefore synchronized reproduction and production to ease management

Precautions to take during egg storage

  • Do not store eggs in a kitchen where it is hot. Heat may partially incubate the egg and kill the embryos in them
  • Do not store them on top of a cupboard because heat from roof may incubate them.
  • Keep eggs in a cool secure place.

Incubation by mother hens

  • Usually one hen starts incubating by staying overnight on the boiled egg
  • Leave this hen on the boiled egg for 10 days while it is waiting for other birds
  • After the 10 days, give all the birds that would have started incubating (within the 10 days) 17 selected but recently laid eggs
  • Leave the birds that refuse to incubate alone
  • If you want to eat or sell, eat/sell those which were laid first (old ones).
  • Avoid giving these eggs to birds for incubation: very small, round eggs, very dirty, cracked eggs, extremely pointed eggs, very big eggs, very old eggs.
  • When done this way, all birds will hatch on the same day. An egg takes 21 days, 6 hrs to hatch.

 General Disease Control Practices

The following can only be used as guidelines for disease control, for proper disease diagnosis and treatment, consult the veterinarian.

  • Don’t overcrowd brooders
  • Adequate ventilation
  • Feed must be of good quality
  • Give clean water ad-lib
  • Don’t mix young and older birds
  • Clean poultry house
  • Dispose of dead birds quickly and isolate sick ones
  • Provide disinfectant at entrance to house

Antibiotics should never be used to replace good management and should be used on prescription by a veterinarian.

Signs of ill health

  • Dullness
  • Reduced feed intake
  • Reduced water intake
  • Low egg production
  • Reduced growth rate
  • Rough coat

Record keeping

Records to keep include:

  • Production data such as number of eggs produced, number of egg hatched
  • Quantity of feed eaten
  • Health interventions e.g. treatment
  • Deaths
  • Sales and purchases

 

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