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Poultry farmers face month-long wait times on limited F1 egg supplies

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Farmers in Kenya are facing month-long wait times as the few F1 egg suppliers in the country battle to meet overwhelming demand.

First generation chicks, more commonly referred to as F1 chicks, are preferred by poultry keepers as they give predictable performance in terms of egg and meat production as well as how fast they grow that is true to the particular breed of chicken.

While it costs Sh 900 to buy a tray of fertilised first-generation or F1 eggs, a single-day-old F1 chick– that is a chick that has been alive for 72 hours– sets you back Sh100-110 while one that is a month-old costs Sh240.

“If a farmer is looking to get F1 eggs from us right now they’ll have to wait until early next month for their order to be fulfilled,” said a sales agent for Neochicks Poultry Limited one of the few large F1 eggs suppliers in the country.

For mega hatcheries in the country such as Kukuchic ,Kenchic, Ideal, Kenbrid, and Muguku it is more lucrative to sell hatched rather than unhatched eggs. There is also the challenge of expertise and the potential for losses as even for state of the art hatcheries, a 90 per cent hatching rate is considered a success. Most poultry farmers in Kenya are also smallholders; egg incubators which are used to hatch eggs are often out of their reach.  

F1 eggs which become F1 chicks are the immediate first ‘children’ of the parents which are imported by established hatcheries into the country. 

Second, third, fourth and lower generations of chicks have very slow growth rates– they can lay less than half as many often smaller eggs as F1 chicken and take twice as long to reach maturity with many never attaining the right selling weight. This is because they have poor feed conversion rates– the ability to use chicken feed for egg, meat production and growth 

Their immunity is also poor which means the are easily afflicted and killed by poultry diseases such as Coccidiosis, Chronic Respiratory Disease (CRD),Infectious coryza,necrotic Salmonellosis and Enteritis.

According to Okuta Ngura– a leading poultry expert in Kenya– a major problem faced by beginner farmers in Kenya is the rise in shady suppliers selling substandard non-F1 chicks. 

“I see adverts of farmers and egg suppliers selling so called F1 eggs for as low as Sh400. You can only produce F1 eggs if you are able to import the parent stock into the country. What farmers are being sold are inferior F2 or F3 chicks which are gotten from the F1 chicken,” he said.

He advises farmers who cannot afford F1 eggs to go down to F2 ones at most. Even then they will need to buy from an expert breeder who is skilled at keeping and selecting the very best of his flock for fertilised egg production.

If you have any information on any credible F1 egg suppliers we would love to hear from you. Write to us in the comment section or reach us on 0718629239.

Neochicks Poultry Limited: 0707787884

Read more:

Kitengela poultry farmer’s egg production crashes 80% over cold months

Integrated poultry rearing secures farmer’s chicken from predators

Soaring feed prices lead farmer to 5X more profitable egg-hatching business

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