REPORT, Kiplangat Ngeno, d.d. april 2011
 

Promotor: Prof.Dr.Ir. Johan A.M. van Arendonk

Daily supervisor: Professor Alexander Kahi

Title of the project: Development of Breeding Schemes For Indigenous Chicken For Improved

Uvelihood In Kenya

Country of field research: KENYA

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In Kenya, poultry is the most numerous species of farm animals and domestic chicken (domesticus) are the most important (MALDM, 2000). Indigenous chicken (IC) contribute significantly to rural household incomes and savings, food security, nutritional status and socio-cultural activities (Horst, 1988). They contribute more than 35% and 55% of total egg and meat produced in Kenya, respectively (MALDM, 2000). Despite this, the development of the IC sub-sector has been widely neglected . The IC possess high genetic diversity for many traits and may therefore be valuable as genetic resources for future breeding work . Umited supplies of grains and vegetable proteins have led to competition between animals and man for these products, thus limiting the intensification of chicken farming based on exotic birds. For grain deficient countries like Kenya, the solution to intensification of chicken farming may lie with the development of the IC. 
There is therefore need to identify local ecotypes of chicken which are adapted to the minimal feed availability, disease challenges and hash environmental conditions (Horst, 1988) . Uttle information exists on production and disease resistance / tolerance of these IC, crosses among them and with commercial strains in Kenya . Considering their importance, immediate steps must be taken to conserve and genetically improve these genetic resources for use by both the present and future generations. This can only be realized through genetic and phenotypic characterization of IC ecotypes and crossbreds and development of sustainable breeding programs based on selection and crossbreeding .

The study will contribute to food security, increased income and alleviation of under-nutrition and poverty, as a result of increased sale of eggs and meat by small holder producers . The study approach will also enable a profitable and sustainable poultry production that is tailor made for the local environment. It aims to help the local poor to make decisions in an environment of increased uncertainty and build the confidence to invest for a future.This project builds on and contributes to an ongoing smallholder indigenous chicken improvement project (INCIP). INCIP is collaborative project implemented by Egerton University, Kenya Agricultural Research Institutes National Animal Husbandry Research Centre, Ministry of livestock Development (MolD) and target stakeholders

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