KARI Introduces New Indigenous Chicken27 July 2012
KENYA - A new breed of indigenous chicken breed has been introduced in the market. The new breed introduced by Kenya Agricultural Research Institute produces more eggs and meat and can be reared under free-range conditions.
According to the research findings released in ‘Organic Farmer’ magazine, a publication of African Insect Science for Food and Health, the new breed adapts well with the local climatic conditions and management systems. If kept in good conditions, the research shows that a hen can produce between 220-280 eggs a year depending on the management system, the research report indicated.
With 6.20kg of quality feed given over five months and with careful chicken husbandry, the hen can attain 1.5kg in weight, according to The Star of Kenya. A cock that has consumed 6.8kg of feed weighs up to 2.10kg over the same period. To maintain optimum egg production, a hen from the breed requires 122g of feed per day.
A Senior Researcher at KARI, Dr Ann Wachira, says its ability to survive in harsh environment makes the breed favourable in arid and semi arid lands especially in Kitui, Mwingi and Machakos. "The birds can do well under free-range and organic farming management systems," says Dr Wachira adding that it has quiet temperament and excellent feathering to adapt to conditions in which it is reared faster than other birds.
To meet the demand of the breed in the country, she says the institute has acquired a modern incubator for 35,000 eggs. A day-old chicken goes for 80 shillings (KES), four week-old chicks at KES180, breeding cocks sells at KES800 while fertile eggs are going for KES600 for a tray of 30 eggs. Unlike other chicken breeds in the market, it is easy to differentiate between the sexes as the hens are black in colour while the cockerels are speckled, says Dr Wachira.