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December 2, 2022
Poultry & Livestock Review Africa
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Try Sasso chicken this year

The Sasso broiler chicken, made to be hardy and a slow-growing bird, is an alternative to the fast-growing hybrid broilers that are based on the cornish cross.
Sasso is actually not a breed name, but the name of the French company that has been breeding chicken for decades. The major focus for Sasso is in coloured birds under the “Label Rouge” certification standard. They also have other brands.

Bred to grow under all manner of rearing systems and reach a market weight of two kilogrammes in three months, the Sasso breed is a choice for those who want to take advantage of the in-betweens of the traditional free-range chicken and the fast-growing hybrid broiler.

Background
In the 1950s Serge Perrault from southern France wanted to preserve the traditional chicken breeds. His work led to the development of the Sasso T lines. A project by a cooperative of farmers in the same area led to the creation of Sasso when they were involved in the development of the “Label Rouge” specifications for traditional chicken.
In East Africa, Sasso breeds are distributed via Tanzania’s Silverlands Company where they distribute Sasso day-old chicks.

Types 
The Sasso chicken breeds available in Africa due to their ability to withstand the African poultry-keeping conditions are SASSO Rainbow T (TR), SASSO Rainbow X (XR), SASSO Ruby C(C44), SASSO Ruby N (XL44N) and SASSO Ruby T (T44).
Ruby T
The Ruby T is meant to be a dual-purpose chicken for meat and eggs, while the others are for meat.
Sasso X (XR) 
The Sasso X (XR) is meant to be a hardy free-range bird dual-purpose bird that can withstand any climate. It is a multi coloured bird (rainbow).

Sasso Ruby C
The Sasso Ruby C (C44) is a heavy chicken breed that is meant for meat, gaining up to 3.4 kilogrammes for males and 2.7 kilogrammes for females at 10 weeks. It has reddish coloured feathers.
It is meant to gain a lot of weight while consuming less food. It is a balance between flavour, feed conversion ratio and tolerance to harsh climates.

Sasso Ruby N (XL44N) 
The Sasso Ruby N (XL44N) is a naked neck free-range breed that is meant for meat, gaining up to 2.6 kilogrammes for males and 2.0 kilogrammes for females at 10 weeks. The Ruby N does well in high temperatures with no reduction in the feed and water intake.  The feathers are reddish in colour.
Sasso Ruby T (T44) 
The Sasso Ruby T (T44) is a free-range dual-purpose breed, gaining up to 1.9 kilogrammes for males and 1.6 kilogrammes for females at 10 weeks. The Ruby T does well in rural settings as it is easy to manage.

Management 
Before receiving the Sasso day-old chicks, make sure your brooding room is prepared. It should be disinfected, filled with new litter material, and disinfected feeding and drinking trays placed appropriately. Make sure the heat source is working as required.

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Feeding 
Feeding your Sasso chicken well will ensure that the Sasso birds attain the required weight at the correct time.
Please note that Sasso broilers are created to grow slower than the normal broiler.
This means that you should not try to speed up growth using broiler finisher feeds. In order to get the great meat taste and texture of Sasso, the birds need to reach market weight in 9-10 weeks and not faster.
This ensures that the muscles develop slowly and well, attaining similar texture and flavour as traditional Kienyeji chicken.

Sasso chicken should be in the brooder for about three weeks, in which a complete diet for meat chicken should be provided. You can choose to formulate your own feeds or use commercial feeds.
After three weeks, feel free to let your Sasso chicken scavenge for their own feed (free-range).
Letting Sasso birds on the range helps them develop the required muscle texture for quality traditional chicken meat.

For optimal growth, 80 per cent of the food required for Sasso broilers should be provided for in the morning and evening.  The birds should be able to scavenge for the remaining 20 per cent.
Record keeping
Good record-keeping for your Sasso chicken will ensure you track the production, expenses, and income. This will help you tell if your Sasso chicken venture is worthwhile. Records such as weight gain, amount of feed consumed will help you calculate the feed conversion ratio for your Sasso broilers.

Marketing
At about 9-10 weeks, Sasso broilers are ready for the market. The weight at this time should be 1.5 to 2 kilogrammes. It is advisable to have the target market in mind before starting to keep Sasso chicken. This ensures that you raise the birds to attain the needed weight for the market.

Advantages
• Sasso chicken breeds have a huge selection of breeds for different purposes.
• Sasso chicken breeds can tolerate harsh climatic conditions.  They can do well in the rural African setting.
• Sasso chicken breeds for meat gain weight faster, reaching market weight in 10 weeks. This means the farmer can have four production cycles in a year.

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