Evaluation of Growth Performance of the “Kuchi” Ecotype

Kuchi is one of the Kenyan IC ecotypes mainly found in Lamu County and the neighboring coastal regions where it has been kept for a long time.

It is believed to have been introduced by merchants from Asia particularly Japan who inhabited the region some years back. This ecotype is common in Tanzania where studies have shown its superiority in growth traits compared to other ecotypes.

It could therefore be a good starting material for genetic improvement in body weight. Unlike other IC ecotypes, very few studies have been done on Kuchi in Kenya.

Molecular studies carried out within the InCIP project have characterized the various ecotypes in Kenya into clusters and Kuchi was found to uniquely belong to its own cluster, indicating its genetic distinctiveness from the rest of the chicken population in Kenya.

This further shows the need to study the Kuchi bird. Due to the findings in Tanzania, many farmers are now starting to utilize Kuchi for meat production in Kenya ignorant of its genetic attributes.

The ecotype has recently been introduced in Elgeyo Marakwet County from Lamu and preliminary performance indicates its superiority in meat production.

It is important to understand the Kuchi growth patterns and its growth genetics in order to design breeding program for its genetic improvement for increased productivity.

Mr. George Lihare a Masters student in Animal Breeding and Genetics at Egerton University, Department of Animal Sciences has undertaken a study to contribute to improved production efficiency of Kenyan IC through genetic analysis of growth patterns of the Kuchi ecotype.

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