Breeding and selection in kienyeji chicken
Selection of healthy chicken is important to ensure a healthy flock with high productivity.
It is important to look for different features in chicks, growers, hens and cocks. Select or buy new chicken variety early in the day, as stress from lack of water, feed and rest, will make them look sickly.
A breed is a group of chicken with unique features inherited from parents. Features such as the color of comb, earlobes and shank are usually determined by breed. A breed can have variations in plumage color. Thus, a white and a black hen may just be different variant of the same breed.
Features of a healthy chick
Shiny, dry, thick and colored down feathers
Clean, dry navel and clean feathers around the vent
Thick shanks with spaced and straight toes
Big clear eyes
Features of a healthy grower
Alert and on guard
Bright eyes and comb
Walk, run, stand and scratch
Continuously eat and drink
Normally lay eggs
Normally smooth and neat feathers
Soft compact droppings
Features of a Laying Bird and Cock
Appear healthy and lively
Feathering shiny and normal (depends on the breed)
Large size for the age
Eyes clear and shiny
Clean, dry beaks and nostrils
Straight legs and toes
Cocks are large relative to the hens and are mostly alert and protective
Additional features of a Healthy Good Layer
A red comb (more coloured when in lay)
Legs less colored when in lay
The breast bone should not be too sharp
A big broad bottom
-This article has been adapted from the KALRO App on Indigenous Kienyeji Chicken.
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