The chicks are injected for the first time two weeks after hatching.
According to Wairimu Kariuki, the chairperson of the Kenya Poultry Farmers Association, improved indigenous chickens are cheap and easy to rear.
“The cross-bred chickens have all the characteristics of indigenous chickens but with an added advantage of laying more eggs and maturing faster than the local indigenous ones.”
She says after the Kari improved indigenous chicken, farmers have been trying different ways of cross-breeding local chickens with exotic ones.
Wairimu said cross-breeding local Kienyeji chicken with the Dorep results in bigger birds which fetch a lot of money when sold.
She, however, warns that farmers who are cross-breeding their chickens should always ensure that the locally cross-bred ones are kept in separate cages from the original breeds to ensure they don’t extinguish the original traits.
She says poultry farmers should vaccinate the chicken after every 10 weeks to keep away diseases like Newcastle which is a big threat to poultry farmers.
Wairimu also says farmers should ensure that the chicken cages are cleaned regularly and provide enough water for them to grow healthy.
To keep them healthy, Leah feeds the birds with kitchen waste, sunflowers, cereals, fish meal, green grass and maize germ.
She keeps her chickens in a large fully fenced compound where they can scavenge and get insects.
The chickens are sold in terms of kilos with each going for Sh450. She is able to raise a net of between Sh80,000 to Sh120,000 monthly from selling the crossbred chickens, the original breed chicks, and eggs.
The eggs from the Kenbro, the Dorep indigenous chickens, and the cross-bred indigenous chickens are always in high demand with one selling at between Sh30 to Sh35. The eggs from the local Kienyeji go for between Sh20 to Sh25.
This feature on poultry farming in Kenya was first published in the journal Seeds of Gold.