Poultry production and in particular indigenous chicken (IC) production has been recognised as an avenue to improve livelihoods of the rural households. Previous attempts to improve their productivity have had little success due to, among others, lack of a holistic approach in solving the constraints and dissemination of inappropriate technologies given the production circumstances and market dynamics. Marketing as a constraint is often blamed for the failure of interventions to improve livelihoods, despite lack of saturation for IC products at local and national levels and the increasing demand for the same.
This paper highlights the past improvement attempts and suggests strategies to improve IC productivity and thereby improve the livelihood of the rural households which are the custodians of these genetic resources. It is concluded that there is potential for improvement of IC production in Kenya given the available genetic and physical resources. However, a holistic strategy that increases productivity without increasing production costs or leading to loss of biodiversity must be developed. Such a strategy must take into account the various uses of the IC in a rural household.