Birds are widely kept all over the world. They are easy to rear and are a source of food for humans as well as income generating animals.

    Look at the following pictures.


    Describe each picture above.
    Predict what you are going to learn.

    10.1: Keeping chickens
    Chickens are kept in many parts of the world. Many people keep them for eggs, meat and feathers.

    Conditions of a good chicken house

    Chicken should be housed properly to protect them from harsh weather conditions and predators.

    Activity 10.1: Identifying conditions of a good chicken house

    1. The following pictures shows chicken houses (coop).


    2. Outline any characteristics of a good chicken house that you can see from the pictures.

    1. The chicken coop should be in a place that is easy to get to for the farmer, so that he/she can look after them well and keep them safe.
    2. It should be built where there is a good drainage to prevent waterlogging. A cold and wet poultry house encourages diseases and parasites.
    3. It should have adequate lighting for the birds to feed and water properly.
    4. The open side of the chicken house should face away from the direction of the wind. This will prevent wind from blowing into the building.
    Identify 5 other conditions of a good chicken house by researching from the Internet. Write them in your notebook.

    10.2: Types of breeds

    Activity 10.2: Identifying types of chicken breeds

    What you need:
    Pictures of broilers, layers and dual purpose types of chicken.
    What to do:
    (i) Visit various poultry farms around your school. Identify the kind of breeds of chicken that are kept.
    (ii) Collect newspaper cuttings or books showing various breeds of chicken.
    Observe keenly the features of the chicken. You can also browse on your XO laptop to see the various breeds of chicken.

    (iii) Research the common characteristics of various chicken breeds.
    (iv) Write short notes in your notebooks.
    (v) Share your points with other members of your class.

    There are three types of breeds of chicken.
    1. The egg-laying breeds.
    2. The meat – type of chicken.
    3. The dual purpose type of chicken.

    The egg-laying breeds
    • They are also known as layers.
    • This type of chicken is kept mainly for eggs.
    Outline one physical characteristic of an egg laying chicken.
    • Common breeds include White Leghorn, New Hampshire and Rhode Island Red.


    The meat-type breeds
    • They are also known as broilers. Broilers are kept mainly for meat.
    • Broilers grow faster than layers. They are also heavier.
    • Examples include Cornish Cross, Light Sussex, Cornish Rock, Jersey Giant, among others.


    Dual-purpose chickens
    • They are kept for both meat and eggs.
    • They are medium in weight.


                              Fig. 10.4: Dual purpose breeds.

    10.3: Chicken reproduction

    Activity 10.3: Chicken reproduction

    Read the following story.
    Once upon a time in the village of Kimirongo there lived a young man called Inkoko. He kept a big cock called Igitondo. The cock was a good friend to Inkoko because it used to wake him early in the morning.

    One day Igitondo went out in the field to feed. He walked on until he came to a beautiful pond. There, he found a beautiful golden hen. Igitondo asked her to go with him back to Inkoko’s house.

    The beautiful hen was known as Ingabire. She told Igitondo that she wanted a beautiful nest to lay eggs in.

    When they got back to Inkoko, he was so happy. A few days later, Ingabire started laying eggs in a beautiful nest that Inkoko had made for her. She laid one big brown egg each day.

    Inkoko cooked some of the eggs for breakfast and sold some to his neighbours. The eggs were very tasty.

    eggs and refused to go out. Ingabire told Inkoko and igitondo not to worry because she was brooding the eggs for chicks to form.

    After three weeks, nine tiny yellow coloured chicks came out. Only one egg had failed to hatch.


    A few years later Inkoko’s home had so many chicken, that people called him “The Great Inkoko”. He was a very rich man.
    He married a hardworking wife to help him take care of his many chickens.
    Till now, people of Kimirongo still talk about how chicken keeping made Inkoko a rich man.

    1. Give a suitable heading for the story above.
    2. From the story above:
       (a) Who were Inkoko, Igitondo and Ingabire?
       (b) What is brooding?
       (c) How should a hen be cared for while it is brooding?
       (d) Write short notes about the chicken reproduction.
    3. (a) How do chicks form from eggs?
        (b) What conditions should be present for chicks to form in the eggs?
        (c) How does a broody hen behave?
    4. Research using your XO laptop about artificial brooding? Write short notes about it.
    5. Present your books to the teacher for marking.

    Reproduction in chickens involves laying eggs followed by incubation. After the incubation period is over chicks hatch from the eggs.

    Laying eggs
    • Hens are the ones that lay eggs.
    • The eggs should be laid in nests.
    • If there are a lot of chickens, the eggs should be collected at least three times a day. This way, the eggs cannot get dirty or be broken.


    Incubation of eggs means keeping eggs under conditions that allow them to hatch into chicks. Incubation is also known as brooding.
    There are two methods of incubating eggs. These are artificial incubation and natural incubation

    Artificial incubation/ Brooding
    In this type of brooding, the eggs are put in a special machine called an incubator for them to

    Natural incubation
    Natural incubation is when a broody hen sits on eggs for 21 days for them to hatch.
    A broody hen is one that shows a natural tendency to sit on eggs for them to hatch.


    necessary to provide the following conditions:
    (i) A clean dry nest, made of soft materials. The nest should be free of parasites.
    (ii) A place with dim light and free from disturbance.
    (iii) Clean water and feeds.



    • All eggs for incubation should be fertilized. Select eggs from hens that interact with a cock.
    • Select clean, medium-sized eggs. Do not brood very large or very small eggs because they may      have defects. Incubate fresh eggs.
    • Do not brood eggs, which are more than one week old. Avoid wetting the eggs when handling          them.
    • Let the hen sit comfortably on eggs. Do not give it too many eggs. Eggs that are not covered will      not hatch.
    • Brooding also means giving special care to chicks from when they are one day old to the time          they are about eight weeks.
    • Chicks can be reared naturally by the mother hen or artificially in a chicken house.

    10.4: Proper feeding of chicken
    Do you keep chicken in your home?
    What type of feeds do you give to your chicken?
    What feeds do they get from the field by themselves?

    Activity 10.4: Proper feeding of chicken

    What to do:
    (i) Visit a chicken farm near your school.
    (ii) Observe the breeds of chicken kept in the chicken house.
    (iii) Ask the chicken farmer to let you:
          • see how chicken feeds are prepared.
          • observe the chicken as they feed.
          • record the amount of feeds given to the chicken groups.
          • collect various green feeds and give them to the chicken.
          • clean the watering containers and feeding troughs.
    (iv) When you go to school, write down short notes on practising good feeding and hygiene for                chickens.
    (v) Present your findings to the rest of the class.

    Chickens can be fed on a variety of feeds. Examples of common chicken feeds include grains like maize and millet, crushed cereals, small insects and soft vegetation.


    Apart from feeds that can be obtained locally, chicken can be fed on commercial feeds. Commercial feeds are also known as concentrates.
    The following table shows examples of commercial chicken feeds.



    • Ensure that all the feeds given to chickens contain proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins and essential minerals.
    • Give chicken clean drinking water.
    • Feeding troughs and watering containers should be kept clean at all times. This prevents the spread of diseases.


    Practice Activity 9.1

    1. (a) Why do some hens lay soft shelled eggs?
        (b) What can be done to avoid this?
    2. (a) What is cannibalism in chicken farming?
        (b) How can you avoid cannibalism in chickens?

    10.5: Chicken diseases and parasites

    Activity 10.5: Chicken diseases and ways of preventing them

    What to do:
    (i) Search on the Internet “ common diseases that affect chicken”
    (ii) Discuss with your friend on ways to prevent chicken diseases.
    (iii) Write down notes from the discussion in your notebooks.
    (iv) Exchange your notes with others.

    Various diseases can affect chicken. Some of these diseases may be infectious diseases while some may be caused by parasites.

    (a) Parasitic diseases
    Parasitic diseases are caused by parasites.
    What is a parasite?
    A parasite is an organism, which lives in or on another organism. It benefits by getting nutrients from the host.
    Infectious diseases

    These are diseases that spread from one chicken to another. Examples of infectious diseases are salmonella and infectious bronchitis.

    The following table shows examples of parasitic and infectious diseases in chicken.

    Signs and symptoms
    Coccidiosis Is an intestinal
    parasitic disease.
    Parasite called
    • Diarrhoea
    • Pale combs and wattles.
    • Blood or mucus in the droppings.
    • Keep the chicken house clean and dry.
    • Feed chickens with feeds containing coccidiostats.
    • Keep any sick chickens warm.
    Is an intestinal parasitic
    called Askaris
    • Affected chicken
    becomes thin and weak.
    • Slow growth and
    big bellies.
    • Production of thinshelled
    eggs with
    uneven shape.
    • Do not mix young and older chickens.
    • Give clean feeds to the chickens.
    • Treat affected chickens using dewormers.
    Is an infectious disease.
    • Affected chicken look weak.
    • They have purple
    combs and wattles.
    • They look drowsy and sluggish.
    • Vaccinate the chickens.
    • Disinfect the chicken
    coop from time to time.
    • Give clean feeds and drinking water to
    Infectious bronchitis
    Is an infectious
    • Gasping
    • Sneezing
    • Nasal discharge
    • Vaccinate the chickens.

             Table 10.2: Chicken diseases signs and symptoms and ways of prevention.

    General measures to prevent chicken diseases

    Activity 10.6: Identifying general measures to prevent chicken diseases

    What to do:
    (i) Visit a poultry farm around your school.
    (ii) Identify the sick chickens.

    (iii) Observe how they are feeding, their houses and feeding containers.
    (iv) Back at school discuss in groups the ways to prevent chicken diseases.
    (v) Present to the rest of the class.

    Have you ever seen a sick chicken?
    What did you do to the chicken?

    The following can be done to prevent chicken diseases:

    1. Always keep the chicken house clean.
    2. Disinfect the feeding and watering equipment.
    The chicken house should be disinfected before bringing in a new flock.
    3. Feed the chicken properly. Chicken should be given enough well balanced feeds for them to
    be healthy and strong.
    4. Add preventive drugs to chicken feeds or drinking water. Call a veterinary officer to give
    vaccines to chicken.
    5. Quarantine sick birds to control the spread of infections.

    Name 3 other ways of preventing chicken diseases.



    10.6: Importance of chicken farming

    Activity 10.6: Identifying benefits of chicken farming

    From the story of Inkoko and his chicken (Activity 10.3), name three importance of chicken farming.

    Chickens are reared all over the world because of their great economic, agricultural and nutritional

    Nutritional importance
    Chickens are a source of food. Chicken meat and eggs are a good source of proteins.


    Eggs are widely eaten because they are cheap and readily available.

    Source of Employment Chickens can be kept on a large scale for production of eggs or for meat production.
    Many farmers get income from selling their chickens or eggs. Chicken meat and egg processing companies also employ workers who get an income from their work.
    Chicken feathers can be used to create beautiful crafts that can be sold.


    The feathers can also be used to fill pillows and duvets.

    Agricultural importance

    Chicken bones and egg shells can be ground to make feeds for other animals.
    The droppings from chickens can be used as manure on farms.
    Chickens feed on insects that destroy crops.
    Name 3 examples of destructive insects that chickens feed on.

    10.7: Chicken farming process

    Project: Managing a chicken farm in school

    • Manage a small chicken farming project at school.
    • The following is a guide on what you need to consider before starting a chicken farming project.

    What you need:
    • Poultry house                     • Feeding troughs
    • Waterers                            • Chicken feeds

    What to do:
    (i) Construct a good chicken house ensure the poultry house is clean and in good condition.
    (ii) Put feeding troughs, waterers and perches in the chicken house.

    (iii) Buy required commercial feeds and supplements.
    (iv) Let the chickens in and take care of them.

    Care of chickens involves disease control and proper feeding. Disease control can be practised by proper hygiene and vaccination of the flock.

    The following table gives a simple vaccination programme for chickens.


    Chickens can be reared both on a large scale and a small scale.
    Chickens can be reared easily because:
    • Many birds can be kept in a small area.
    • They grow fast. Therefore, they can be eaten or sold within a short time.
    • Their feeds can be found easily.

    There are various methods of rearing chickens. These include:
    (a) Free-range system.                              (c) The fold system
    (b) Deep litter system                                (d) The battery system.

    (a) Free range system

    In this system, chickens are left to move freely in an area and feed by themselves.


    (b) D eep litter system

    In this method, chickens are put in a permanent structure.
    The chicken are provided with clean feeds and water in their housing.


    (c) Fold system
    In this method, chickens are enclosed in a movable structure. The structure is moved to a new place everyday to prevent spread of diseases and pests.


    (d) Battery system
    This is an expensive method of rearing chicken.
    Each chicken is kept in a cage with a sloping floor for collecting eggs.


    The chickens are fed and watered in their cages. It is easy to maintain individual record of each chicken.

    Revision Activity 10

    2. List 5 conditions of a good chicken house.
    3. Name the 3 broad types of chicken breeds.
    4. Define the following words:
           (a) Incubation      (b) Cannibalism       (c) Quarantine

    5. Write down characteristics of a broody hen.
    6. Name two examples of parasitic diseases in chicken.
    7. Why do we quarantine sick chicken?
    8. (a) Describe briefly the importance of chicken farming.
        (b) Look at the following products.


    (i) What chicken parts are they made from?
    (ii) Name two other uses of the parts named in (i) above.

    9. Name the four methods of rearing chicken.
    10. (a) Why is it easy to rear chicken?
          (b) Explain any two challenges that you may face when rearing chicken.
    11. (a) You have bought two very young chicks. 

    Describe briefly how you are going to manage them until they are big enough for eating.

          (b) How will you protect your chicks from predators?

    Word list
    1. Read the following words in pairs.
    • Incubation                                  • Quarantine                • Brooding
    • Vaccinate                                   • Hatch                        • Predators
    • Broilers                                       • Ascarids                   • Casual purpose
    • Coccidiosis                                 • Cannibalism             • Bronchitis
    2. Spell 3 words while your friend writes them in his or her notebook. 

    Let your friend also spell 3 other words as you write them in your notebook.
    3. Discuss with your friend the meaning of any 3 words in the word list.

    Refer to notes in your textbook.