News and knowhow for farmers

Newcastle resistant chicken breed, which also produces more eggs now in the market

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Poultry farmers can now rear Kuroiler, a high yielding and economical chicken that is highly resistant to perennial poultry diseases like Newcastle, thanks to Ziwani Poultry Farm, who introduced the breed to the Kenyan market last year.

According to Ziwani Director Harun Kimani, the breed was derived from crossing coloured broiler men with Rhodes Island red females or white leghorn males crossed with female Rhodes Island red, hence unique and stronger genetic feature to maneuver contemporary chicken diseases. Its dual purpose nature of producing both meat and eggs and ability to survive in a free range system just like indigenous chicken make the breed more economical.

Kuroiler chicken lay around 150-200 eggs per year while indigenous ones which only manage 40-70 eggs in a year. The hen weighs 2.5kgs at between 2-4 months while the male one weighs up to 4.5 kilos.

Unlike other breeds which take up to 8 month to start laying eggs, Kuroiler only takes five months and those raying them as broilers start enjoying the meat after only three and a half months. Kuroiler layers have no menopause, making the breed self sustainable though the production rate tends to down as the chicken ages. Kimani explained that the breed is most sought after in the region and the demand sometimes outweighs their production since they supply to farmers across the region.

With Newcastle affecting one in every three chicken in rural Africa and eventually killing 10 per cent of them according to a study by Austrian Centre for International Agriculture Research, the emergency of resistant breeds like Kuroiler will go a long way in insulating poultry farmers across the globe from heavy losses. USA in 2002-2003 lost 3m birds estimated at $5b to Newcastle, according to the Centre for Food Security and Public Health 2008 research.

The company sells a week old chick for Sh100 and Sh160 for two weeks old. Three and four week old chick goes for Sh220 and 290 respectively while Five and six week ones are sold at Sh350 and 380 respectively. A tray of eggs for this breed retails at Sh900. The company offers free delivery services for customers who purchase more than 100 chicks.

Ziwani Poultry is located in Thika, Kenya. For more information about this breed, kindly do contact Harun Kimani on 0708 923 991 or [email protected]

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