What are the differences between Pure Kienyeji and Improved Kienyeji chicken in Kenya?

As a beginner farmer, you’re faced with very many situations that require well-thought decision-making. One of the decisions you’ve to make is the type of birds you’re going to keep. If you’re in Kenya, you may find Kienyeji chickens (local breeds) to be your best option. The choice depends on your objective, but how will you tell the differences between pure kienyeji and improved kienyeji chicken?

I meet this question almost every single day. So, in this blog post, we’ll explore the key differences between Pure Kienyeji and Improved Kienyeji chicken in Kenya.

Types of kienyeji chicken

First of all, I need to mention that there are three categories of Kienyeji Chicken as follows

However, pure kienyeji and improved kienyeji and the most commonly kept type of kienyeji chicken in Kenya.

Improved Kienyeji

Improved kienyeji chickens are a breed of chicken derived from cross-breeding an exotic breed and the African kienyeji (local) breed. They exhibit a faster growth rate, and thus, attain more weight within a shorter period of time –typically reaching maturity within 3-5 months.

However, if you decide to keep improved kienyeji, be prepared to keep them in a controlled environment. This is because, unlike pure kienyeji, improved kienyeji chickens cannot survive in natural environments.

Pure Kienyeji

Pure kienyeji are local free-range chicken. They are not a product of cross-breeding. They peck out in the fields feeding on natural foods such as insects.

Because of this, pure kienyeji are hardy with less chemical accumulation in their body. Thus, provides the best and healthiest meat. They are also the easiest and cheapest chickens to keep as they require no special environment to grow.

However, in addition to the slow maturity rate, pure kienyeji chickens are less productive in terms of laying eggs.


As you can see, the key areas of difference between pure kienyeji and improved kienyeji chicken are their nature maturity, productivity, and disease resistance.

  • Nature -Improved kienyeji are a product of cross-breed
  • Maturity: Improved kienyeji matures within a shorter period (3-5 months), pure kienyeji takes a longer time to mature (about 6 months).
  • Productivity: Improved kienyeji has higher egg productivity compared to pure kienyeji
  • Disease resistance: Improve kienyeji are more vulnerable to diseases while pure kienyeji are hardy

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