Factors that affect chicken breed selection
If there is one question that every beginner in poultry farming should ask, then it is the one on breeding. Many upcoming poultry farmers have a big problem in deciding on which breed of chicken to keep in their farms. Before settling on what breed of chicken to rare, it is important to do extensive research on what breed will help you meet the core objective of venturing into poultry farming.
In the recent past, poultry farming in Kenya has undergone a series of transformation to meet the ever-changing market needs and trends. In regards to chicken breeds, Kenya is a home of many breeds. Going back to our first question….which breed of chicken should one keep? There are a number of factors that determine which type of chicken to rare. First and foremost, what is motivating you to start keeping chickens? The objective of keeping that chicken or rather that flock of chickens is fundamental determinant on breed selection. Could it be the need for a few table eggs or meat once in a while? It could also be that you have identified this venture as your next big thing. Whatever your reason is, it will be one of the determinants for breed selection. If your goal is to get a few tables eggs, indigenous breeds also referred to as ‘Kienyeji’ would be the best option. These breeds are mainly kept on free-range poultry system and are known for their quality meat and eggs. You do not require a lot of capital investment to keep these chickens. However, kienyeji breeds are not viable for commercial poultry farming because of their slow growth rate and low egg productivity compared to the other breeds. The other breed of chicken is the ‘improved kienyeji’. Improved Kienyeji is actually a collective name for different breeds that are more or less hybrids of the indigenous and exotic breeds. The breeds are best known for their fast growth rate and high productivity with high resistance to diseases. Some of the improved kienyeji breeds in Kenya include Kari, Kuroiler, Kenbrow, Rainbow rooster etc. Improved kienyeji breeds have turned out to be one of the best breeds for farmers eyeing good returns for their investment in the poultry business. These breeds mature at an average age of 5 months and can lay approximately 270 eggs in their productive age. These attributes have made many farmers to opt for these breeds as opposed to indegenious breeds which take almost more than a year to attain maturity.
Secondly, people often times keep particular breeds due to lack of knowledge or out of sheer ignorance. It is not unusual to hear someone explaining how he or she read a success story and was so motivated to venture into similar business. A good number of farmers have found themselves with the wrong breeds after copying-pasting what they hurriedly learned or saw without doing extensive research or consultation. Just because someone is doing so well with the broiler chickens does not mean that it is the right breed for you to go for. Or, the fact that somebody registered terrible loss after trying to keep Rain rooster should not deter you from considering similar breed. Furthermore, the prevailing market conditions and market trends by large extent dictate what breed to think of investing in.