What Makes Indigenous chicken (Kienyeji) viable?
To make a profit in kienyeji chicken farming you need to decide early whether you are keeping the flock for meat or for eggs. Once this is known, then you can select a breed that is good at what you want to produce. An exotic breed such as the Leghorn can lay up to 300 eggs in a year, but under good management, the improved indigenous breed can produce up to 250 eggs per year. Even within the breed, say KARI, Rainbow rooster, Sasso, Kenbro e.t.c, it is prudent to confirm with the supplier whether the breed is specified for meat or eggs. These are important features. Choose breeds that have been raised in your area for a while. They are genetically geared to thrive in certain conditions.
If you don’t want your customers to complain that your kienyeji is just like broilers choose your feeding programme carefully. Do not feed your kienyeji on broiler finishers so that they can grow faster. If you do, they will grow faster but they will not develop the meat firmness that makes indigenous chicken attractive to consumers.
Keeping a healthy flock by managing disease in the farm. The healthier the chicken the faster the grow. Also the skin and meat colour will look attractive.
Do not forget also that some of your customers are shifting to indigenous breeds because of the notion that they feed on fewer antibiotics and so can be considered to be organic and sustainably raised.
Indigenous chicken kept for meat perform better in the market because they don’t have to be slaughtered at a set time. While In fact, you can say the kienyeji chicken is like wine. They get more expensive with age.
Broilers on the other hand have to be slaughtered at six weeks.
Otherwise, they start eating into your profits. While you can sell your kienyeji chicken at according to their weight, broilers mostly sell per piece. So once they attain the market weight of 1.2kg to 1.5kg, the farmer needs to sell because there is no advantage but there is every disadvantage in continuing to feed them.
Local breeds are genetically more lenient to the environment. The birds breed naturally, can it resist disease, can be sustained on forage and pasture, does it reach market weight slowly – this is key,
the birds must mature at a NORMAL rate.
Advantages of indigenous breeds
Indigenous chickens have many advantages over exotic breeds.
- Indigenous chickens can be fed on homemade feed ratios.
- They can also be allowed to free-range, therefore cutting down the amount of feed that the farmer has to give them.
- Unlike exotic breeds, indigenous are tolerant to many diseases, which reduces the veterinary costs.
- Although exotic breeds are highly productive in terms of eggs and meat, the cost of keeping them including management is a big challenge to farmers. This makes indigenous chickens much more attractive to keep.
Which Chicken meat is better quality, local chicken or exotic chicken breeds?
Several factors influence meat quality, one of them is the chicken breed. Other important factors may be managed at the hatching and rearing period, nutrition, age at slaughter, rearing system, processing, dressing, etc. However, for meat production in semi extensive and/or free-range production systems, local breeds or cross-bred ones are recommended.
What chicken breed is more preferred
Of late there has been a big demand for indigenous breeds. The over-commercialisation of broiler has seen all sorts of unethical things being done at the farm and processing stage to make the broiler meat look more attractive. For this indigenous breeds are preferred more. But broilers still rule the chicken and chips fast food joints.
For more on this read Kienyeji Chicken farming