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Country Chicken Farming!

Poultry Farming of country chicken or rural poultry farming is been in practice since decades in India. Generally, in backyard poultry, local, indigenous birds are reared. Traditionally these birds had a poor egg and meat production capacity compared to commercial broiler and layer farmingg. But with improved strains, there is a considerable improvement in the performance. The biggest scope of country chicken is the low initial investment and high economic returns. The per capita protein consumption has been a subject of concern since quite some time in India. Eggs and poultry meat are the cheapest and most easily available option for this. Although there has been a tremendous growth in poultry farming over the past few decades, rural poultry has not shown much improvement. This is because it has been largely neglected sector. The key lies in focusing on the various aspects of rearing, better management practices and a scientific approach.

Advantages of Country Chicken Farming

The advantages of country chicken farming are as below:

  1. Low initial investments clubbed with higher economic returns.

  2. Country chicken farm can be started with just two birds and gradually increased to a flock.

  3. Owing to the high demand of local chicken, the birds and the egg produced by them can be sold in the local market irrespective of the season.

  4. Leftover feed, grains and various agricultural by-products can be used as feed for the birds. In other words, the feed cost is negligible.

  5. Country chicken or ‘desi murgi’ and brown egg variety has a higher demand than other breeds.

  6. There is no labor cost practically involved since the family members especially children and senior citizens act as ‘laborers’ in maintaining the farm. Hence it is a boost to the family income.

  7. Since the eggs and poultry birds can be sold almost any time, rural poultry is a form of ‘any time money’.

  8. If the birds are raised in an organic farmm then the quality of the chicken and eggs are much better. This is because the birds are raised in a stress-free environment. In this method the poultry wastes like droppings, extra feeds etc. are directly applied as organic manure and increases crop yield.

Strains of Country Chicken

Country chicken or desi murgi

Different types country chicken or ‘desi murgi’

Generally indigenous or local breeds are poor producers of both eggs and meat. Therefore, improved strains have been developed that are easily adaptable and hardy in nature. They have a good mothering and brooding capacity. Their body conformation is good and is self-propagating. Since they are easily adaptable and more sturdy they are also less likely to develop diseases and infections. They are quick and alert and hence can escape from predators. There are four pure breeds of chicken that are available in India viz. Aseel, Chitagong, Kadaknath and Busra. Some breeds are also developed indigenous to specific location such as:

Other ‘desi murgi’ breeds that have been developed are CARI Nirbheek, CARI Shyama, Hitcari and Upcari. These breeds were developed at the Cantral Avian Research Institute (CARI), Izzatnagar.

Varieties like Gramapriya, Vanaraja, Krishna-J, Girirani, Giriraja, etc. can be reared almost anywhere in India. Gramapriya and Vanaraja produce 200-230 eggs annually with the individual egg weight varying between 55 to 60 grams. They start laying eggs at the age of 200 days. The age of first lay varies with the feed, nutrition and other management criterion.

Housing Facilities for Country Chicken Farm

Since country chicken is of the sturdier and adaptable type, they do not need elaborate housing preparations unlike other breeds. The houses must protect the birds from harsh sunshine, rain, wind and cold stress. It should also protect them from frost during winters. In case of free range rearing system the birds are let loose to forage during day and kept in pens during night time. In order to avoid direct sunlight and encourage maximum air circulation the houses must be built in the north-south direction and not in the east-west direction. Inexpensive, locally available housing materials like bamboo, wood, thatch, grass, etc. are used for building the houses. The floor is at an elevation to avoid water accumulation or flood-like conditions. It must be free of rat trouble or water cracks, must be portable to enable shifting the position of the houses if need be and they must facilitate easy cleaning. There must also be a bulb fitted at the ceiling to keep the chicks warm and provide light.

Farm Feed

Country chicken farm feed