Country Chicken Farming (Rural Poultry)
Today, we discuss the topic of profitable country chicken farming or desi chicken farming or Natu Kodi farming.
Poultry farming in India has transformed into a techno-commercial industry from the status of backyard farming for three decades. India stands as the third largest egg producer and fifth chicken meat producer in the world with about 60 billion eggs and 2.2 million metric tons of chicken meat. This production is achieved generally by commercial poultry operations; however, a significant contribution comes from Country Chicken farming also.
Establishment of Country chicken Farming:
The main objective of the farm is to ensure maximum security, from diseases, environmental pollution, and other stress factors. The farm should be located far from any other commercial poultry operation to prevent contamination of environment and
diseases, otherwise, it will cause economic loss to the farm. The farm should be located in an elevated area with good air current and the location should be well connected by road for easy accessibility.
Country Chicken Farming or Rural Poultry Farming:
All our rural birds like, Cauvery, Kalinga Brown, Nirbheek, Hitcari, Gramapriya and Vanaraj due to its moderate body weight and high egg yielding capacity are more preferred under Semi-intensive farm conditions in rural/tribal areas. The feather color of all the rural type birds is multiple colored and mostly brown eggers. They have better immune capacity and thereby strength of survivability is maximum. Because of moderate body weight, the birds can escape from predators. Initial brooding up to 6 weeks in brooding unit/nursery is required and are let out for semi-free range or free-range management system.
Better egg production compared to other rural/nati (country) chicken Better adaptability to backyard/ free range system. Tinted eggs/light brownish eggs. Better survivability. Low or negligible input cost.
Management And Health Cover:
Rural chicks need brooding care during the initial 6 weeks of age. After 6 weeks, they can be let free for scavenging in the backyard. The excess males can be reared separately and marketed for meat purpose. The birds need to be initially habituated/trained to return to the nest in the evening for night shelter/security/safety. The night shelter should have good ventilation and protection from predators and plenty of clean water should be made available. The birds must be vaccinated against Marek’s and Ranikhet diseases. There should be periodic deworming at 3-4 months intervals.
Country Chicken Feed:
The rural type chicks need balanced feed during the initial 6 weeks of age under nursery rearing/brooding. In the nurseries, the chicks are reared on standard chick starter ration. For the Grower birds in the second phase, besides the feed material available in the free-range, natural food/greens like waste grains germinated seeds, mulberry leaves, Azolla, drumstick leaves and Subabul leaves ( high protein sources). The need for extra feed depends on the free-range available, the intensity of vegetation, availability of waste grains, insects, grass seeds. The average body weight of 1.3 to 2.4 kgs will be attained by 120 days and if required should be provided with supplemental calcium sources like limestone powder, stone grit, shell grit at 4 to 5 gms/bird/day. This approach yields successful results with a high rate of survivability and good egg production. The eggs laid are tinted and will have a fairly good size.
Country Chicken Farm Management:
Brooding of Country Chicken:
Brooding of chicks is a very important operation in the early age of the chicks. Chicks are provided with the required temperature by artificial means.
Preparation of Country Chicken Shed/House:
After the liquidation of the old flock, the following operations are required to be created for a clean and healthy environment in the poultry house. Remove all the movable equipment from the shed. Soak in water and clean thoroughly in tap water and finally dip in disinfectant solutions. Finally wash in clean water, sundry and store. Litter should be removed from the shed and transported away from the farm enclosed containers or in gunny bags and disposed of properly. Lightings and feed and water pans should also be taken out of the shed and cleaned properly. Accumulated dust and cobweb formed on the wall, ceiling, mesh, etc., should be removed. An insecticide is to be sprayed over the litter, walls, mesh, roof, etc., Shed/Housing should be washed using a pressure washer. All the repair works of the shed including cages, equipment, and mesh should be carried out. Water tank, pipeline and water channel in the shed be cleaned thoroughly. First drain the water, fill the water lines with de-scaling and disinfectant agent overnight. Flush with water for 2-3 times to remove all dirt and debris.
Flame guns should be used inside and outside of the houses. Walls should be whitewashed and metal surfaces should be painted if needed. The equipment and fitting should be re-assembled and the curtains to be tied.
Spray an insecticide to kill the insects. Shed should be kept under lock ( shed rest) for a minimum of 2 to weeks.
One day before the arrival of chicks:
Floor brooding of Country Chicken:
Cover the floor (litter) of the brooder with newspaper and arrange feeders, waters, etc., Check water system and adjust to the proper height of chicks, Disinfect and flush water lines.
On arrival of chicks:
While placing chicks in the brooders, count the number of chicks placed in each portion cell to ensure proper stocking density.
Fill water with clean water or operate the water system. during the first six weeks, operate feeders to provide feed more than twice daily. Check brooder temperatures. On placing chicks, trigger water cups to encourage drinking.’ Provide the feed in the mash or crumble form. Crumble/pellet feed will ensure more uniform growth. Provide adequate light continuously during the first two days. Electrolytes/antibiotic the chicks are comfortable, they will spread out evenly within the chick guard area. If the hover temperature is too low the chicks will huddle together under hover, whereas when the brooder temperature is high they tend to move away from a hover. The brooder should be started 8-10 hours before the arrival of the chicks.
Floor Space Requirement for Country Chicken:
The chick should be provided with sufficient hover and floor space. Growth and feed
conversion ratio (FCR) is proportionate to floor space available for chicks, apart from the genetic potential of the bird. Overcrowding results in stress and mortality chick requires 8 square inches of hover space. In deep litter brooding 0.3 sq. ft. floor space per chick is to be provided during the first week. During the 6th week, 1 sq. ft. floor space per chick is essential.
Relative humidity for Raising Country Chicken:
During the first week of brooding, the relative humidity should be 65.70% when the relative humidity drops below 50% it results in dehydration of chicks, which may affect growth, uniformity, and livability of chicks. In houses where gas brooders and nipple drinkers are used, relative humidity can drop down to as low as 25%. To maintain the required humidity frequent spray of sanitized water is advised.
Supply of fresh air to the chicks is highly essential. Brooding will cause depletion of oxygen and buildup of carbon dioxide, ammonia, etc., the airtight curtains should be avoided. It is recommended to keep a gap of 3.5 inches between the ceiling and side curtains to facilitate gas exchange between the house and environment. In extreme weather conditions curtains, windows, doors, and fans need to be effectively used to maintain optimum ventilation.
During the first day, the feed may be sprinkled or provided in the trays for encouraging the newborn chicks to pick up the feed. From day two onwards feed is provided in trough type of feeders. As the chick grows bigger suitable feeders are used. The feeders should be at the proper height for the birds to eat properly. As chicks grow the feeder should be lifted up by adjusting their height to the back level of the bird. The level of feed in feeder has a direct correlation with feed wastage. As a thumb rule, 10 percent feed is wasted if the feeders are two thirds full compared to 3 percent wastage if they are half full and only 1 percent if they are one-third full. Therefore, feed should be offered more frequently with small quantity at each time and helps to gain weight more uniformly.
Feeder space allowance: Trough feeders 2.5cm – up to 2 weeks and 5cm –up to 6 weeks.
Drinkers space for Country Chickens:
Clean and fresh water should be provided to the chicks drinkers from day old chicks should be conveniently placed close to the hover and alternatively to feeders. Water may be provided using troughs, bell-shaped drinkers, and caps. With these drinkers, 0.75 inches ( 2 cm) of water space per bird is recommended. Water should be provided before the chicks are released under the brooders. Bell type chick drinkers are essential during the first three days of brooding irrespective of the type of brooding. In deep litter brooding drinkers should be evenly distributed. Height of the drinkers needs to be adjusted according to the chick height. One chick drinker is enough for 100 chicks up to 2 weeks of age and regular bell drinker is sufficient for 50 birds from third week onwards chick feed/grounded maize should be provided 2 hours after chicks are placed under the brooder. During the first week, frequent feeding of small quantity should be practiced to stimulate feed consumption.
Trimming of the beak is an important management practice. This is done to prevent cannibalism and wastage of feed. Beak trimming is a sensitive operation and it should be done by trained people. The beak trimming is done at 3rd-week One-third of the beak should be trimmed. There are different, methods, cutting and cauterization with the hot iron method is popular. Cauterization helps in arresting and destroys the tissue responsible for generating beak growth. Proper care should be taken not to burn the tongue of the chick. Use electrolytes and vitamin (K and C) in the water two days before and after beak
trimming. The deeper feed should be provided for several days. Litter Management: Litter management place a vital role in controlling the disease in the flock. When birds are housed on deep litter, placing of drinkers and their maintenance should receive due attention to keep the litter dry. The litter should be stirred at regular intervals depending on the environmental temperature, humidity, ventilation fecal moisture content, quality of water system. In case of humid coastal areas, add about 0.5 kg of superphosphate / hydrated lime may be thoroughly mixed up with litter spreading in 15
sq.ft. floor area. Birds are allowed to feed and libitum during the first few weeks of age. To ensure proper development of feathers skeletal growth and immune system birds should be provided feed all through the initial 4 and 5 weeks.
Grower Management of Country Chicks:
The importance of growing systems is to provide growers an ideal environment to obtain optimum body weight at sexual maturity so as to perform better during laying phases and production phase. The main objective of grower management is to achieve target body weight and flock uniformity.
The housing of Country Chickens:
Generally, the stock remains in the same building during brooding and growing. A floor space of 2.75 and 2.80 sq. ft. per bird is required. During the growing period as feed, the restriction is followed. The level of feed restriction is as low as 40% of ad labium feeding.
Water Restrictions in Desi Chickens:
Where wet litter and wet droppings are more common, water restriction to be followed and birds tend to consume more water during feed restriction. To prevent wet litter, water is turned on one hour prior to feeding and kept available at least up to two hours after all the feed is consumed. Water restriction is not advisable when the ambient temperature goes above 30oc.cs supplementation in drinking water will reduce transportation and environmental stress and also reduce initial chick mortality. The shed should be pressure washed again with a suitable disinfectant solution.
Marketing of Country Chicken:
There is always demand for country chicken, It is very likely the prices will go down. you can get hold of any agent or deal with hotels or suppliers or big chicken brand shops.