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RURAL POULTRY PRODUCTION
A.V.Omprakash and C.Pandian
Institute of Poultry Production and Management
Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University
Chennai-600 051

Though poultry development in the country has taken a quantum leap in the last three decades, the growth has been mainly restricted to commercial poultry. Rural backyard poultry, though still contributing nearly 30% to the national egg production, is the most neglected one. This is in spite of the fact backyard their poultry eggs and meat fetches a much higher price than that from commercial poultry. Seventy per cent of the poultry products and eggs are consumed in urban and semi urban areas and the rural consumption is quite low. The major limiting factor in the way of increasing consumption of egg and poultry meat in rural area is poor availability. Most of the commercial poultry egg and meat production is centered in the urban and semi-urban areas. Owing to industrial nature of operation, the private sector is not inclined to go to the rural areas, particularly to small farmers and landless farmers including women. The commercial poultry sector is doing business, through integrated approach of contract farming using high-input and high-output birds. For the poorest of the poor and the landless farmers the major issues are food security and risk spreading through subsidiary income, which are not addressed by the private commercial sector. In order to overcome this problem, it may be necessary to take up specific rural poultry production programmes with low input technology to meet the requirements of the rural sector where the poultry farming constitute a source of subsidiary occupation, generating subsistence income to boost the nutritional standards, income levels and health of rural masses. The rural poultry (backyard poultry) units require very little hand feeding and provide handsome returns with minimum investment. Thus rural poultry farming not only generates income levels, employment opportunities to small farmers including women but also bring about desired socio-economic changes in rural areas which are vital for rural development and rural prosperity.

Status of Rural Poultry Production in Tamil Nadu

Animal Husbandry contributes significantly to rural employment and rural income in Tamil Nadu besides fulfilling the nutritional requirements of the population. Poultry sector plays a pivotal role among the sub-sectors in potentiating the role of animal husbandry in the process of rural economic development of the state. Tamil Nadu is leading other states in broiler production with a record production of 397 thousand tones in 2009-10. Tamil Nadu ranks second in the country’s egg production with a production of 10.80 billion eggs and also accounts for 17.71% of the poultry population of the country.

The government is implementing various schemes for economic up-liftment of rural poor, aiming at improving native chicken population especially in localities where there is less or no poultry activity. A systematic planned approach for development of rural family poultry envisages availability of critical inputs like quality chicks, feed and vaccination to small farmers at their door steps. Products from both rural family poultry (RFP) and commercial exotic birds have been running parallel with their own market segment and specific clientele. A systematic and planned development of RFP into small commercial units thus holds a tremendous potential for growth in rural areas, especially owing to consumer preference for country chicken, egg and meat.

SUITABLE GERMPLASM FOR RURAL POULTRY PRODUCTION

I.COLOUR BROILER FARMING

Germplasm Nandanam Broiler 2 and Nandanam Broiler 3 developed by Institute of Poultry Production and Management, Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University suitable for backyard farming.

Nandanam Broiler 2

Nandanam Broiler 2 and Nandanam Broiler 3 are purebred multi-coloured broiler strains having good disease resistance, suitable for backyard farming which are being promoted for rural production. Nandanam Broiler 2 has high livability and good feed efficiency and it can fit into an integrated rural farming system when compared with white feathered broiler type chicken (Anon., 1993; Khan, 2008).

Production performance of Nandanam broiler – 2 & Nandanam broiler – 3

 

Production performance

 

Nandanam Broiler 2

Nandanam Broiler 3

1.

Egg weight(g)

:

48

49.4

2.

Hatch weight (g)

:

36.53

36.97

3.

8th week body weight (g)

:

1100

1200

4.

Hen Housed Egg Production (Nos.)(21-72 weeks)

:

160

160

5.

Fertile Hatchability (%)

:

92

85.54

6.

Livability (%)

:

97

97.85

*(performance under field condition)

Nandanam Guinea fowl

Management

The major reason for failure of earlier programmes on backyard farming is higher early chick mortality. Brooding and immunization programmes could not be adopted during earlier programme. Due to lack of facilities for scientific management of the chicks during the initial 4 to 5 weeks in the village conditions is the major hurdle for success of the backyard farming. Though these birds have better general immune competence they need to be protected against Newcastle disease. The earlier reports also indicated that the most of the early chick mortality was due to Newcastle disease (Bell, 1996; Rangnekar and Rangneker, 1996). In addition to following the prescribed vaccination schedule the farmers are advised to practice routine de-worming of the birds at every 35 to 40 d interval.

Feeding

Backyard germplasm can scavenge well for its feed in the fields. During the process of scavenging on grass fields these birds will have access to insects, green grass, grass seeds, waste grains etc., thereby the supplemental feed requirement is much less than those reared under intensive poultry farming. Feed supplementation in the form of scratch usually given in the morning / or evening to develop the habit to reach owner’s place for laying eggs and for night shelter. Depending on the availability of free range area and also the intensity of vegetative growth, the requirement of supplemental feed varies between 25 to 50 g / bird / day. However, for better shell quality, shell grit or marble stone chips needs to be supplemented at 5 - 7 g/bird /day during laying period.

Age

Vaccine

Dose

Route

7 -day

Ranikhet Disease (RDVF)

One dose

Eye drop

4 -week

Ranikhet Disease (LaSota)

One dose

Drinking water

 8-week

Ranikhet Disease (RDVK/R2B/ND Killed

0.50 ml

S/C (or)Wing web

20 –week

Ranikhet Disease (RDVK/R2B) or ND Killed

0.50 ml

S/C( or)Wing web

II. GUINEA FOWL FARMING

There has been an increasing demand for guinea fowl recently. The meat of a young guinea is tender, rich in essential fatty acids and of fine flavor, resembling that of wild game, and therefore has been substituted for game birds such as partridge, quail and pheasant. Guinea fowl has a taste similar to other game birds and has many nutritional qualities that make it a worthwhile addition to the diet.

The guinea has been used in protecting the farm flock from intruders because of its loud, harsh, cry and its pugnacious disposition. Since one of the main sources of food for wild guineas is insects, they have gained popularity for use in reducing insect populations in gardens and around the home, especially because, unlike chickens, they do not scratch the dirt much and do very little damage to the garden. Recently, guineas have been used to reduce the deer tick population, associated with Lyme disease. Other people raise them for their unique ornamental value. There are three principle varieties of helmeted guinea fowl reared at this time, the Pearl, White and Lavender. The Pearl is the most popular variety and the one most people recognize. The Pearl has purplish-gray plumage regularly dotted or “pearled” with white spots and its feathers are often used for ornamental purposes. A pearl variety Nandanam Guinea fowl developed by Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University has excellent productive and reproductive ability with good adaptability for rural farming conditions.

PRODUCTION PERFORMANCE NANDANAM GUINEA FOWL – 1

1

Egg weight (g)

:

40.82

2

Hatch weight (g)

:

27.53

3

8th week body weight (g)

:

546

4

12 week body weight(g)

:

828

5

16 week body weight(g)

:

1240

6

24th body weight(g)

:

1327

7

FCR at 12th week

:

4.09

8

FCR at 16th week

:

4.85

9

Total Hatchability (%)

:

52

10

Livability (0 to 20 weeks %)

:

95

11.

Egg Production No.

:

170-200

MANAGEMENT

rural areas, guinea fowls are being reared in backyard like desi fowl. Night shelter above is provided with bamboo basket. Supplementary feeding ie. Whatever available in the house, viz. left own grains, green leaves are being provided along with fresh water. Not much vaccination is needed in since they are resistant to most of the common poultry diseases

Egg Production

The laying season of guinea fowl vary depending on local climatic conditions. Egg laying starts as length of day light increases. Pearl and purple have longest laying season and light colors have the shortest. Guinea fowl starts laying at 24-26 weeks of age and lay about 150-160 eggs in a year. Eggs are smaller than chicken egg and weigh about 40 gm and have thick and strong shell. The egg shell colour varies from brown to white. Breeders egg production performance is appreciable for 2 to 3 years. Several factors like rearing system, climate, variety, health status, feeding influence laying performance. Guinea hens lay eggs in the hidden places in rural backyard. Hence to encourage and train guinea hens to lay at the farmers place, dummy eggs can be kept on the bamboo nest, so that the hens will start laying on the dummy eggs.

Incubation of guinea fowl egg

Hatching eggs should be collected from breeder stock of above 28 weeks of age. Optimum sex ratio for good fertility is 1:4. Interval of 10 days is necessary after brooding pen is formed for good fertility. Guinea fowl hens are poor brooders. Eggs can be incubated either by natural method using desi hen or by artificial method depending on the scale of production. Guinea hens are poor brooders and the fertile eggs are best hatched under broody hens or can be hatched in an artificial incubator.

The fertility of guinea fowl eggs ranges from 49-58% in free range stock. Low fertility is associated with monogamous behavior of the guinea fowl. Over handling of eggs affects the hatchability of eggs. Eggs for incubation should be collected between the months of June and September to get highest fertility.

Diseases of guinea fowl

Guinea fowl though hardy and resistant in nature, it is susceptible to viral, bacterial and parasitic diseases. Guinea fowl becomes susceptible to disease mainly because of improper managemental practices. So when the managemental practices are proper incidence of diseases can be minimized.

Helminthic infection

Fifteen species of round worms and tape worms affect guinea fowl. Common nematode infection observed in guinea fowl is Heterakis galllinarum between 6-8 weeks of age. It causes granulomas in the caeca of the guinea fowl. Clinical symptoms include straining, loss of weight and in some cases diarrhoea. Gastro intestinal parasitic infections can be controlled by deworming with piperazine can be done once in two months from grower stage.

III. TURKEY FARMING

Nandanam Turkey 1 and Nandanam turkey 2 varieties released by Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University have good growth rate and livability and suitable for backyard rearing.

Advantages of Turkey farming

  • Turkey meat is considered a delicacy.
  • The meat is tender, tastier and contains lesser fat than chicken.
  • They are more disease resistant than chicken.
  • They are more ideally suited for semi intensive or range system of rearing.
  • Numbers of vaccinations are fewer.
  • The meat is always sold at a premium price.
  • The egg is nutritious and contains quality protein.
  • Turkey is good foragers – the feed cost can be minimized.

Production performance Nandanam turkey -1 and Nandanam turkey 2

Nandanam turkey

Nandanam turkey

1

Egg weight    (gm)                       

:

68

70

2

Hatch weight   (gm)               

:

48

47.50

3

8th week body weight   (kg)     

:

1.050

1.250

4

16th week body weight    (kg)    

:

2.0

3.0

5

24th week body weight     (kg) 

:

3.5

5.5

6

Livability (%)                         

:

95

92.31

MANAGE MENTAL PRACTICES

Starve out

Starve out problem is one of the major factors for early mortality in poults. So special care has to be taken for supplying feed and water. Poults can be attracted to the feed by gentle tapping of the container with the fingers. Colored marbles or pebbles placed in feeders and waterers will also attract poults towards them. Since turkeys are fond of greens, some chopped green leaves should also be added to the feed to improve the feed intake. Also colored egg fillers can be used for the first 2 days as feeders.

Other manage mental practices

  • To remove the ectoparasites, delicing is done before they start laying. If it is done after the start of lay, there will be a disruption of egg production.
  • Delicing is done on the day of bright sunlight. Only after complete drying, the birds are allowed in the sheds. To prevent the birds from accidentally consuming the drug, neck of the bird has to be held and the remaining part to be immersed in the solution. For medicated bathing malathion and sumithion can be used at the rate 0.2%
  • The birds have to be dewormed once in two months.

CONCLUSION

Rural poultry rearing is boon to the agricultural farmers. In rural diversified poultry production there is no or less capital investment needed for farming activities. The eggs and meat of birds reared in the backyard farming fetches higher premium due to high consumer acceptability even in the urban sectors where plenty of eggs and poultry meat from commercial units are available. In addition to the stable supply of high-quality animal food, backyard poultry production promotes income opportunities particularly for the weaker sections in the rural areas. The backyard farming will certainly improve the economic status of a majority of rural / tribal families from lower socio-economic groups in the rural / tribal areas.