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Home Farming Tips Improved, Fast Growing Breed Of Local Chicken Unveiled

Improved, Fast Growing Breed Of Local Chicken Unveiled

by Jacquiline Nakandi
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By Henry Nsubuga

The National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO) has concluded research which has led to the improvement of an indigenous chicken breed, with better growth and increased egg production rate.

Dr Richard Lumu, a technician at the indigenous chicken breeding and production centre at Mukono Zonal Agricultural Research Institute (MUZARDI), says the process has taken over three years and that they are now looking at ways of multiplying the product and supplying it to farmers across the country.

Funded by the Government and the European Union under the Development Initiative for Northern Uganda (DINU), Dr Lumu says the research included the remodelling and equipment of the local chicken hatchery, research and production unit.

“The operationalised unit was intended to support the national local chicken seed systems. The main works involved the remodelling of the units into poultry breeder and seed holding units (biosecurity and reception, hatchery, research/production units and bio-waste incinerator) to produce fertile eggs and day-old chicks to be supplied to selected hatcheries and farmers,” he said.

Dr Barbara Zawedde Mugwanya, the director of research at MUZARDI, said they collected a variety of local chicken from different parts of the country, which they improved and come up with a better breed.

Zawedde said unlike the current local breeds, which take more than a year to grow for either beef or laying eggs, the new breed they are unveiling is much better.

“This is an improved breed of indigenous chicken which grows fast, weighing at least two and a half kilogrammes in a period of four months. It starts laying eggs between five to six months,” she added.

The director of National Livestock Resources Research Institute (NALIRRI), Prof. Samuel Majalija, told New Vision that unlike the improved breeds of chicken imported in the country like the Kuroilers, the local breed they have come up with can grow fast, lay many eggs and also hatch them.

Prof. Majalija said because the process did not include any science, but rather selecting good local breeds which they isolated and cross-bred, maintaining the local genes, the end product has the same aroma and taste as that of a pure local chicken.

Opportunity for hatcheries

Dr Zawedde asked for able poultry keepers from different parts of the country to go into partnership with MUZARDI to help in the distribution of improved indigenous chicken breeds.

She said those who will be found with potential will be given parent stocks of these improved indigenous breeds of chicken for multiplication and supply to farmers in their respective areas.

“We have the improved indigenous breed ready, but we lack the capacity to multiply them and distribute to each and every farmer who has shown interest. By working with different private farmers, we shall give them all the required technical knowledge and also help them acquire market when they start producing the chicks,” she said.

Dr Hussein Kato said the farmers they are looking up to must have the capacity to run incubation machines on a daily basis without any interruption all year round.

Kato said farmers would be at liberty to buy day-old chicks, one month or two months compared to their capacity from those who will be multiplying the improved local breed.

“MUZARDI will provide the parent stock and also the technical support to farmers,” he added.

Dr Charles Wendo, a resident in Seeta in Mukono Municipality, said because he has a special interest in local chicken, for some time he used to pick local birds from upcountry, but they would often come with disease and wipe out his entire stock.

Wendo stated that as he was figuring out what to do, he learnt about the local chicken improved by MUZARDI, which he went for.

“I got my first batch in November last year and they are doing well. The birds are now 4.5 months old and I expect that at the end of this month or the beginning of next, they will start laying eggs,” he said.

Wendo added that he is ready to buy an incubation machine once the birds start laying eggs so that he will be in position to multiply them, first of all for himself, but also for others who are interested in them.

Dr Kato emphasised feeding, following the vaccination chart and good housing.

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