Introduction on How to Start Poultry Farming in Kerala: Poultry farming is defined as the process of raising domesticated birds for food production and it is the form of animal husbandry. The important poultry birds are chickens, ducks, turkeys, and geese to produce meat or eggs. Poultry farming experiences in other states have proved to be capable of enhancing the productivity per hectare of land and the productivity per head in the agricultural sector. Below are some important poultry farm activities;
- Preparing the chicken house for the arrival of the baby chickens
- Feeding the chickens
- Monitoring the conditions inside the chicken houses like temperature, humidity, and air quality
- Monitoring the feed and water lines
- Monitoring the health of the chickens
- Cleaning the chicken houses or coops
- Collecting eggs (for laying hens)
- Loading chickens onto trucks for moving to chickens for meat chickens
A guide on how to start poultry farming in Kerala, chicken breeds in Kerala, backyard poultry farming in Kerala, and bank loans for poultry farming in Kerala
Benefits of poultry farming in Kerala: The poultry farming business has many benefits and many farmers prefer to invest in this poultry business. People establish poultry farms for egg and meat production. Some of the important benefits of poultry farming are;
- Less Capital Required – It doesn’t need high capital for starting the poultry business and this is the main benefit of the poultry farming business. Basic capital required for raising poultry birds. To become a poultry farmer much capital is not required.
- No Need for a Big Space – For constructing a poultry farm, doesn’t need a big space. Also, you can easily raise some poultry birds in your backyard with one or numerous coops. You can simply do it in your backyard with several birds if you are interested in poultry farming. For starting poultry farming, lots of spaces are not required.
- High Returns in Short period – This business has a quick return on your investment. It ensures a high return of investment within a short period. Few poultry birds take a short time duration to mature and generating profit. The poultry farming business provides a high yield.
- Poultry farming might be immediately lucrative. Employment opportunities on multiple levels are created. Some financial institutions will approve lending packages for poultry farmers.
- Marketing is easy – High Maintenance not required – High maintenance is not required in poultry farm structures. You can also minimize diseases and illness in poultry by following proper hygiene and care. Diseases are less in some poultry birds like quails and turkeys etc. Only less maintenance is needed for poultry farmers. Marketing poultry products is easy.
- License not compulsory – In most cases, it must be noted that you don’t need any license. Almost all poultry birds are domestic.
- Huge Global Demand – Poultry farming gives you fresh and nutritious food and has a huge global demand.
The best location for the poultry farming business
Make sure you should think of setting poultry farm business at the appropriate location. The selected poultry farm location should have all the necessary facilities. The poultry farm should be located away from the town. Remember that you want to approach a town more often to target your consumers. Poultry farm housing away from a city.
Avoid low-lying regions near streams with flooding potential. East-west direction is best for locating poultry house. This helps to minimize the direct sunlight that would enter through the poultry house sidewalls. To allow ample ventilation and aeration at the mid-portion, the open-sided poultry houses in tropical countries have a width not more than 22 to 25 feet. Sheds wider than this will not provide adequate ventilation during hot weather conditions.
Information about poultry farming business in Kerala
- A poultry farm is defined as the place where domesticated birds are raised. Poultry birds include chickens, turkey, ducks, and geese. Usually, poultry birds are raised for their meat and eggs. Broilers are referred to as chickens that are raised for their meat.
- Chickens that are raised for their eggs are known as laying hens or layers. Because of its wide and varied potentials capability of employment creation, low investment, quick returns, and maintenance of soil fertility, etc., it has achieved momentum in Kerala.
- The poultry farming business in Kerala was not comforting in the case of small and medium-sized farms. This aimed at detailing the several cost and revenue components in the poultry farming business, and the adducing of empirical evidence on the nature of the relationship of different variables as the gross income, the current rate of productivity, the extent of capacity utilization, and size of farms in terms of several birds reared and the farms’ overall financial performance.
- Along with this a descriptive approach was made to highlight the challenges and opportunities, with special emphasis on its economic and financial aspects.
- In Kerala, indigenous chicken breeds are highly suitable for the raging type of rearing poultry.
- The 8th largest meat-producing state is Kerala in India.
- ‘Kerala Chicken’ is implemented across the state by Kudumbashree in association with the Animal Husbandry Department and the Kerala State Poultry Development Corporation.
- Kerala Government envisages establishing Broiler chicken farms throughout Kerala with the support of Kudumbashree network; establishment of infrastructure under “Kerala Chicken produced by Kudumbashree” like Breeder units, hatcheries feed supply units, abattoirs, blast freezers, cold storages, and marketing.
- Kerala was a leading producer and exporter of poultry and egg even when farming was done under the backyard, with indigenous breeds of fowls. At the rate of approximately 4 lakh eggs a day, Kerala has to import from neighboring states like Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh.
- Considering the industrial backwardness and the mounting rate of unemployment and underemployment, commercial poultry farming can help in the economic growth of Kerala. So, it is imperative to study the economics of the growth and development of commercial broiler poultry farms in the state.
- In the public sector poultry farms in Kerala, both layer and broiler chicken breeds are reared. These poultry farms are concentrating on breeding, hatching, and rearing genetically superior varieties of layer fowls. Also, public sector farms engage in the rearing and hatching of broiler fowls but the output of day-old chicks is negligible and it is the private sector that practically dominates the broiler poultry sector in Kerala.
- The highest number of private broiler poultry farms in Kerala was found in Ernakulam about 253 and then followed by Thiruvananthapuram (158), Kottayam (133), Kollam (112), Kannur (103), Palakkad (55), Thrissur (49), Kozhikode or Kassergode (45), Alappuzha (43), Kasargod (42), Pathanamthitta (33), Malappuram (21), Idukki (20) and Wynad (9). Thiruvananthapuram and Ernakulam had two poultry farms each; Pathanamthitta, Kollam, Kottayam, Kannur, and Kozhikode had one each. Some districts in Kerala having one farm each broiler production in the cooperative sector confined to Thiruvananthapuram and Alappuzha districts.
Choose your poultry sector
In broader terms, there are mainly two types of poultry farming- Broilers and Layers. Broilers are chicken that is raised for meat purposes whereas layers are chicken raised for the egg. Therefore, first, you must decide which type to opt for and there is a business of incubating eggs and raising baby chickens. If you wish to do poultry businesses in multiple sectors then you can choose from-
- Meat Production
- Egg Production
- Poultry Feed Production
- Chicken Breeding (Hatchery)
- Egg and Meat Processing
Housing management for poultry farming in Kerala
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Keep in mind some tips while building houses for poultry birds;
- Depending on the birds, always keep enough space in your poultry house. It will help poultry birds to live, grow and produce happily. Avoid overcrowding the poultry house.
- A good ventilation system is important for poultry housing. One should ensure that their poultry houses are well ventilated for their successful business.
- Inside the poultry house make sure to ensure sufficient flow of fresh air and light.
- For commercial poultry production, make the proper distance between two houses.
- Clean the poultry house and equipment regularly. Must sterilize the poultry house before bringing new chicks into your farm.
- Must take steps for preventing all types of predators and harmful birds.
- Maintain a good temperature so that birds do not suffer from excessively hot or cold conditions.
- Inside the poultry house, a suitable drainage system is a must for cleaning it properly.
Chicken coop or hen house for poultry farming
- A hen house and chicken coop system are defined as the structure where chickens or other fowl are kept safe and secure.
- The need for a highly ventilated or open-sided coop with conditions more like the outdoors, even in the winter season. They are fresh-air houses with wide openings and nothing more than wire mesh between chickens and the weather, or closed houses with doors, windows, and hatches that can shut off most ventilation.
- Only a small proportion about 12.7% of farmers had the coops attached to their houses. The average distance between independent coops and farmer houses was 5.45 meters.
For making poultry houses some points will be considered like;
- The different coop types used for providing night shelter are presented.
- The chicken coop locations can be mainly used in the Kannur and Kozhikode districts. The majority of the chicken coops are made up of a wooden ﬂoor.
- The important rooﬁng materials are tiles, thatch, plastic sheets, and stones with mud, wood, concrete, and asbestos. The walls were chieﬂy made of wood; and materials like bricks, stone with mud, wire mesh, and wire mesh-mounted in wooden frames were less commonly seen.
- The chicken coops are constructed at the ground level or elevated at 0.39 meters on pillars. The average height of chicken coops at the eave was 0.61 meters. The ﬂoor area varied from 0.180 to 1.420 m2 with an overall mean of 0.757 m2, giving a ﬂoor space of about 830.39 cm2per bird. Very few chicken coops are provided with perches or spread with sand as litter material.
In backyard Poultry farming particular attention can be given;
- To give better ventilation for poultry houses in the night shelter.
- Timely preventive vaccinations and deworming.
- To provide some balanced feed rather than leaving the poultry birds for scavenging.
Floor space allocation
For poultry farming, the average ﬂoor space given as night shelter ranged from about 278 cm2 to 1395 cm2 with an overall mean of 830.39 cm2 per bird.
Choosing the right poultry breeds to start in Kerala
Eggs and chicken meat are in great demand across Kerala State. Both retail or hospitality institutions and households are fast consuming through vast amounts of this high-protein food source.
Chickens are raised for their egg and meat. Egg-type chickens are developed for egg production for human consumption. Meat-type chicken breeds mainly include broilers, roasters. Broilers are raised for meat purposes.
Thalassery chicken is an indigenous breed of poultry in Kerala. Tellicherry is also called as Thalassery in the Kannur district of Kerala. It is featured with black feathers, grey legs, and a red comb and wattle. The hens start laying eggs when they are 6 to 8 months old and produce up to 60 to 80 eggs a year.
Tellicheri is also known as Thalassery in the Kannur district of Kerala state. Presently, these poultry birds are found mainly in the Kozhikode district. Few are available in surrounding areas in the Kannur and Malappuram districts of Kerala state. Few poultry birds have golden mixed with bluish feathers on the neck. Skin is grayish and comb is red, single, and large.
Typical birds have blackish-red comb and wattles are red and medium in size. The ear lobe is mostly red with white markings in some birds and sometimes it is creamy white. The eye-ring is blackish. The beak is blackish in appearance. Tellichery birds are mainly reared for meat.
Hitcari (Naked Neck Cross)
A naked neck cross is also called Hitcari. The annual egg production of the Hitcari breed is about 99 eggs. Under the most hygienic conditions, it is reared and is healthy as well as free from diseases. The neck region is devoid of feathers and there is a reduction of about 30 to 40% feathers on the body. There is a decrease in heat stress mortality, increase in fertility and hatchability during the summer season, and protein requirement for juvenile growth is reduced. In Kerala, the Trivandrum region is considered to be the homeland of the naked neck.
Athulya is a high-yielding breed of birds developed by Kerala Agricultural University.
Chicken varieties suitable for backyard rearing in Kerala
Backyard poultry requires hardly any infrastructure setup.
Native (Desi) Chicken
Native chicken has undergone a natural selection and adapted for the local climatic conditions. They are hardy and resistant to several diseases. They mainly survive well from predators. These are good brooders and have good mothering ability. These are capable of self-propagation; and they can set their own nest, lay eggs in nest, brood and take care of their young ones.
Indigenous breeds of egg-type chicken breeds in Kerala
- Average weight (72 weeks) 1.7 kg
- Age at 50% egg production 180 days.
- Total egg production at 72 weeks is 180 to 200.
- Bodyweight at 6 weeks is about 0.4 to 0.5 kg and at 72 weeks 1.8 to 2 kg.
- Annual egg production is about 170-190.
- It is a layer type variety
- The bird has colored plumage and lays bigger (57-59g) and brown eggs.
- It is a layer chicken breed developed for high egg production with desirable egg weight.
- The Athulya breed is a white-colored bird. It attains maturity at an early age of about 123 days.
- It produces 280-290 eggs a year.
Chicken rearing in Kerala
Kerala is considered one of the major poultry meat, and egg productions. Kerala was exporting large quantities of egg, meat, and fowls to other neighboring countries, all through backyard rearing with indigenous breeds of fowls. Kerala has to import eggs from neighboring states like Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh at the rate of about 4 lakh eggs a day.
Chick eggs come 2nd only to mother’s milk in terms of nutritive value. As per the ICMR recommendations, the average per capita egg consumption must be 180 and meat 11 Kg. The per capita consumption of eggs in Kerala is approximately 74 and meat 1.4 Kg. About 80% of egg production comes from backyard poultry farming in Kerala.
Poultry farming business for beginners
- Learn from an Expert – Learn how to start a poultry farming business from the nearest poultry farm. This will give you a good start for a poultry farm.
- Decide what to produce on a poultry farm – It is important to decide whether to focus on broiler chicken (meat production) or egg production or both.
- Production Type – Firstly, determine the production type of your poultry farm. You can raise broiler chickens for meat production purposes and select layers for egg production commercially. Choose proper poultry breeds based on your desired production and go for detailed planning.
- Has Your Investment Ready – The poultry farming business requires investment. You can arrange the money on your own or also you can apply for a bank loan. Both government and non-government bank loans are available for starting a poultry farming business. You must contact your desired bank for the loan process. You must start with a minimum number of birds which will cost you pretty little money as a beginner.
- Select the location of poultry farm – Select the poultry farm location where it is close to the target market but far from residential areas.
- Funding – Funding is the other important financial requirement for the poultry industry in India. They are salaries, equipment, and more land, etc. Bank loans or other financing sources would be helpful.
- Build a poultry house – Put up a poultry farm structure that will protect you from harsh weather conditions.
- Procure equipment – Stock your poultry farm business with equipment that will make your daily work on the farm very easy.
- Buy stocking baby chickens – Carefully choose healthy birds for your poultry farm.
- Employ workers – Hire more workers as you expand your farm
- Feed the baby chickens – Use appropriate feeds only.
- Poultry health management – Poultry birds are prone to fall sick, take care of them immediately.
- Market your poultry products – Learn how to market poultry products and make money. A marketing plan is necessary to analyze the demand and supply of the market, along with understanding your target consumer.
Backyard poultry farming in Kerala
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Backyard poultry farming requires hardly any infrastructure setup. It has a positive impact to improve the socio-economic factors of the socio-economically backward people. As a source of additional income or to cater to the egg and meat requirements of the family by taking up colored bird units ranging from 10- to 20 birds per family in their backyards. Commercial poultry production in Kerala is not feasible owing to several reasons. For self-sufficient in poultry egg and meat production in Kerala, the alternative way is backyard poultry farming, which was once Kerala’s method of bulk and quality egg production at minimum cost.
Feeding and water management for poultry farming in Kerala
There are mainly four public sector broiler feed manufacturing units in Kerala. They are located at Alappuzha, Thiruvananthapuram, Ernakulam, and Kannur. Also, there are four such units in the private sector. Usually, Kerala had to depend on the neighboring states like Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu for its feed requirements because the units in Kerala could not produce sufficient feed quantities as far as the requirements of the state were concerned.
The main purpose of supplemental feeding as perceived by the farmers is to provide adequate nutrition or to encourage some behavioral activities or for both. The remaining households about 35.9% do not provide any supplemental feeding. Rice grain is the common feed supplement for poultry birds followed by wheat grains, ﬁnger millet, rice ﬂakes, and compounded poultry feed. Farmers follow no speciﬁc timing in feeding requirements for poultry birds, whereas other people feed their poultry birds either during the morning before 11 am or noon between 11 am and 1 pm or evening after 1 pm or 3 times a day or immediately after laying. The majority of the farmers provide well water in containers while the rest do not have any water provision. The required containers used for this purpose are coconut shells, stainless steel containers, broken earthen pots, plastic utensils, and rubber containers.
One should always feed high-quality, fresh and nutritious food. Hence, feed poultry birds a healthy and nutritious feed. It is very important to add all types of necessary vitamins and minerals to their feed.
Bank loan or private investment for poultry farm business in Kerala
Poultry business is not easy to start since you need a huge amount of funds from the government. That is because you have to buy a piece of land and the necessary equipment. Also, there must be a consistent supply of money to pay salaries of laborers, etc. To start your poultry farm business, apply for a bank loan. Find out what loan types your government offers in this poultry sector. Also, discuss loan requirements for the poultry farm business with a financial advisor and that you have a good credit history along with pay stubs. Then, that will help in borrowing money from a bank quickly and at more manageable interest rates. Do not apply for a considerable loan. Start with a loan only for buying the farm equipment for the poultry farm.
To start a poultry farm in Kerala looking for banks or financial institutions that can help your business. Animal husbandry is an important branch of the agriculture sector. The Government provides loans to people engaged in poultry fields. Getting the support of private investment is another route of acquiring the required financial impetus to get started.
SBI Poultry Loan
SBI provides a wide range of agricultural loans in India. The SBI Poultry Loan is for the existing as well as new farmers for setting up poultry farming business for poultry shed, feed room, and other equipment.
The farmers with knowledge in the poultry farming business and with land for setting up poultry sheds are eligible for this loan.
IDBI Poultry Loan
The IDBIs loan benefits the existing and new farmers for setting up poultry shed, feed room, and other equipment.
Problems of poultry farms in Kerala
Every business is confronted with a series of problems during their day to day operations. These all problems differ from industry to industry, business to business, or even from unit to unit. The efficiency or otherwise of the management will be reflected through the ability to face the necessary problems scientifically and tactfully. The important problems faced by broiler poultry farms are related to finance, supply of farm inputs, labor, marketing, technical and managerial aids, and state policy.
Disease Control – In addition, strict sanitation, good litter management, and adequate floor space will help to check the occurrence of poultry diseases.
Along with the veterinary units widely spread over in the Kerala state, the institutions like Central Hatchery, Chengannur, and Centre for Excellence in Pathology, Thiruvalla, and Avian Disease Diagnostic Center in Thiruvalla in Kerala.
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