Poultry farming is a farming method where domestic fowls are raised through rearing and management of fowls which is done for two purposes- egg production and for meat/flesh.
India has become 5th largest country in the world in poultry production.
Proper management of poultry includes improved methods of hatching, rearing, housing, sanitation, prevention from diseases and a sound marketing arrangement.
Nowadays, a variety of strains (breeds) such as duck, geese, turkeys, pigeons are raised in order to meet the quantity and quality requirements. These improved strains include layers which produce eggs and broilers that provide meat.
Boiler Chicken: An egg laying poultry is called egger or layer while the poultry reared for obtaining meat is called chicken or broiler.
White Leghorn: This very popular exotic breed of fowl produces long white eggs.
Rhode Island Red: This breed of fowl was developed on the farm of Rhode Island. It is fairly good egg layer and also meat yielding (broiler).
Poultry breeds include Aseel, Chittagong, Ghagus and Busra.
POULTRY BREED VARIETY IMPROVEMENT
In order to develop new varieties of breeds , many programmes have been undertaken. These programmes involve cross breeding between Indian (indigenous) and foreign (exotic) breeds
Following are the desirable traits in the new variety of breeds:
Increased quantity and quality of chicks;
Dwarf broiler parent for commercial chick production for summer adaption capacity and tolerance to high temperature;
Low maintenance requirement;
Improvement in hen housed for egg production and reduction in the size of the layer with ability to utilize more fibrous, cheap diet formulated using agricultural byproducts.
POULTRY FARMING AS A BUSINESS
Poultry farming is also a profit making business with primary focus being on maximum production with less expenditure. So, cross-breeding of local and foreign breeds was started with the aim of raising breeds with desirable traits to meet the commercial purpose and management.
Cross breeding focused on:
Quantity and quality of chicks
Dwarf broiler parents for more chick production
Adaptation/tolerance to high temperature
Low maintenance and minimum feeding requirements
For example, Indian Aseel/Asil and foreign Leghorn breeds were bred to raise variety breeds.
POULTRY CARE OR FARM MANAGEMENT
Poultry farming involves both egg layers and broilers which require different conditions of housing, feeding and growing. High yield demands good management practices.
The following conditions are needed by the poultry at different stages of their lives:
Growing period: This is the first phase of the life of poultry. Growing period is up to sexual maturity of the poultry. During this period, the chickens are called growers that require enough space and overcrowding tend to suppress their growth.
Laying Period: This is the period from sexual maturity till the end of egg laying. During this period chickens are known as eggers or layers. Eggers are provided with conditions that are favourable for the fast growth and low mortality of broilers. The ration for broilers is protein rich with sufficient fat.