News and knowhow for farmers

Camouflage GV Solution Protects Chicks from Predators

Farmers can protect their chicks from the talons of hawks and eagles by coating their feathers with Gentian Violet (GV), an antiseptic dye that is popularly used in the treatment of skin conditions.

The dye, when applied on chicken feathers forms a purple coat that helps them camouflage from detection by predators flying up above.

“The dye makes it difficult for flying predators to set them apart from flowers and clothes,” Donald Kipkorir, a farmer in Gachie, who has used the tactic to keep his chicks safe told Farmbiz Africa.

However, smaller farmers can get small bottles at KSh50 from human drug chemists.  

READ ALSO: How a dream hatched largest chicken empire in East and Central Africa

This ingenious solution is being popularized in the country by local NGO Farm Inputs Promotions Africa (FIPA).

FIPA recommends that the GV be applied within three to seven days of hatching, when the feathers are soft and can easily absorb the dye.

Huge losses

Regional organisation Bridge Africa found in a past survey that the greatest threat to free range chicks in Kenya was attacks by predators, accounting for 70 per cent of the deaths of free range chicks, followed by Newcastle disease, which accounts for 25 per cent.

By using the camouflage tactic, FIPA says that 60 per cent of free-range chicks previously threatened by predators grow to maturity.

GV is available in powder or solution form. A 1-kilogram packet of GV powder priced at Sh2000, and a five-liter solution costing Sh450. Smaller farmers can obtain small bottles of GV from human drug chemists at a more affordable price of Sh50.

Get our news into your email inbox every week

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top