kienyeji vs broiler

Kienyeji (Indigenous) chicken vs exotic breeds vs improved kienyeji

To the agripreneur engaging in Chicken rearing, one question that keeps lingering is Which chicken breed is better to keep for business? Kienyeji i.e. indigenous chicken vs exotic breeds vs improved kienyeji what are the pros and cons of each?

The advantages, mainly depend on what works for your circumstances. What works for one person can be completely impossible for another. So to answer the question of whether indigenous chickens (kienyeji) give better returns than exotic breeds? evaluate your situation carefully.

When it comes to volumes, exotic breeds give better returns. The layers give more eggs than kienyeji and the broilers give more meat than kienyeji too.

But indigenous chicken can give comparatively good returns as exotic ones if well managed. Many farmers make the mistake of thinking that just because the Kienyeji chickens are hardy and disease resistant then they do need attention. This is wrong.

A  Farmer who keeps chickens as a business and not just for their own home consumption in terms of eggs and meat needs to put more effort into his kienyeji chicken farming.

Moreover, profitability is not always about volume. A kienyeji hen can produce fewer eggs than a layer but the egg may be in more demand and cost more. Similarly, the demand for kienyeji meat is in high demand. Chicken meat from kienyeji costs more per Kilo than that of broiler and yet the production cost can be lower and management easier.

What Makes Indigenous chicken (Kienyeji) viable?

Here are some of the things to consider when keeping kienyeji chicken as a business.

Breed selection

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.

The impossible job, to do thing will be preferred by all people, for this reason, the breeding company has many products each one suitable for a certain region which has different culture and habits.

In most cases, the local breed may be selected by local people for desirable traits in its lived region but did not have economically competitive to exotic breed for large scale production. This case may not be true for all regions.

Proper feeding

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.

Disease management

Keeping a healthy flock by managing the disease on the farm. The healthier the chicken the faster the growth. 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 chickens according to their weight, broilers mostly sell per piece. So once they attain the market weight of 1.2kg to 1.5kg, the farmer urgently needs to sell them because there is no advantage but there is every disadvantage in continuing to feed them.

Environmental impact

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 pure kienyeji  (indigenous breeds) over-improved kienyeji

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.

Advantages of improved kienyeji

  • Faster maturing.
  • more disease resistant compared to exotic breeds.
  • Tast as good as Kienyeji chicken.
  • Heavier than pure kienyeji
  • tender meat than pure kienyeji
  • lay more eggs than pure kienyeji

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

Most common improved kienyeji breeds

  • KARI improved Kienyeji. Also called KALRO improved Kienyeji is a breed of the local chicken breeder by the Kenya Agriculture Research Institute (KARI). KARI has since rebranded to KALRO (Kenya Agriculture and Livestock Research Organisation) so KARI and KALRO improved kienyeji is the same brand.Kuroiler improved Kienyeji
  • Rainbow Rooster improved Kienyeji
  • Sasso improved Kienyeji
  • Kenbro improved Kienyeji

Types of improved-kienyeji poultry and their characteristics?

How do I pick the best kienyeji chicken breed?

Why does broiler chicken sometimes tast and smell of fish. Are other chicken types better


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