Agronomy tips for managing rainbow rooster chicken

Saturday April 17 2021

Rainbow rooster chicken start laying after 160 days. PHOTO/FILE

By Shabibah Nakirigya

Rainbow rooster is a dual purpose, low input, multi-coloured chicken from India. It was bred by Indbro Research and Breeding Farms in Southern India as part of a food programme by the state. Rainbow Roosters have been distributed to Kenya, Uganda, and South Sudan through Partnerships with Indbro Research.  This chicken breed has also been exported to Nepal and the Middle East. According to Indbro, rainbow roosters are able to sustain free-range and backyard rearing conditions

As part of the governments National Livelihood Mission Project in India, Indbro research bred the birds and supplied them to the government, who in turn distributed the rainbow rooster chicks to low-income families. The main purpose of the project is to provide revenue for low-income families while providing nutrition to rural communities through rainbow rooster eggs and meat.

Indbro research was registered in 1956. In 2000, the company started research into pure line chicken breeds that could tolerate hot and humid temperatures that have low-density diets and could tolerate low-level infections.

Rainbow roosters mature between 4 to 6 months. The rainbow roosters mortality rate is low (less than two per cent). When managed as a layer, with commercial feeds, rainbow roosters will lay 160-180 eggs in 72 weeks (16 months). The layers start laying at 160 days (five months). At the end of lay the birds weigh about three kilogrammes. The average egg weight is 60 grams. Rainbow roosters will start laying at five months and lay continuously for 10 months.

When managed as meat birds, the rainbow rooster will attain the average weight of two kilogrammes in eight weeks under commercial feeds. At eight weeks, rainbow roosters meat birds will have consumed 4.9 kilogrammes of feed. Under scavenging conditions, the rainbow roosters growth rate is a bit slower, with the bird attaining the weight of 1.3kgs in 9 weeks. The average meat production for rainbow roosters is three kilogrammes for male rainbow roosters and 1.9 to 2.2 kgs for hens.

• Rainbow roosters have a high resistance to diseases.
• Rainbow roosters are suitable for the free-range systems, hence consumes less feed.
• Due to high resistance to poultry diseases and the free-range nature of rainbow roosters, rainbow rooster farming can be carried out with a low investment.


Feeding programme
The rainbow rooster is a dual-purpose chicken and the feeding programme depends on your objectives. 
You may want to raise the rainbow rooster as a broiler, where it gains weight as fast as possible and is sold for meat.
 Another objective is to raise the rainbow rooster as a layer, for long term laying of eggs. The demand for organic meat and eggs is growing and you may also want to raise the rainbow rooster organically where you let it forage for its feed.

Feeding guide (broilers)
When raising the rainbow rooster as a broiler, exclusively for meat, you will need to feed it with broiler feed.
 According to Indbros’ rainbow rooster performance chart, the rainbow rooster males will weight 1.4 kilogrammes and the rainbow rooster hens will weigh 1.1 kgs at six weeks when raised of broiler feed. At eightweeks, the hens will weigh 1.9 kilogrammes and the males 2.2 kilogrammes. 

Feeding guide (layers)
When raised as layers, on layer feed,  the rainbow roosters will weigh 1.6kgs for males and 1.2 kgs for females at 8 weeks. The birds will start laying at around 5 months. 

Feeding guide (free range)
When left to forage for its own feed, the rainbow rooster will weigh 1.5 kilogrammes for males and 1.5 kilogrammes for females at eight weeks.