Dual purpose rural hybrid chicks were effectively introduced into the market about 15 years ago and are quite popular among rural farmers. There characteristics traits of varied colours, improved growth rates compared to indigenous breeds, rounded conformation, disease resistance, tastier meat and more prolific egg laying capacity give them advantage over the other breeds. There exceptional performance under free range conditions with males maturing at 8-10 weeks weighing 1.6 to 1.8kg live weight and females coming into egg production at 21 weeks is adequate to satisfy the egg and meat needs of families. The most common breeds include Kenbro, Sasso, Kuroiler, Rainbow Rooster and the Kari improved Kienyeji birds reared and sold by well established producers within the East African market.
These breeds are mainly disease-resistant and easy to manage with limited resources to improve and sustain livelihood for our rural farmers compared with high-yielding commercial broilers or layers. Despite the growth in this sector, farmers are experiencing various challenges that I will address today.