Wednesday, 4 January 2017

An Introduction to Country Chicken Farming

In our Agriculture for Everybody blog series, we are going to see Country Chicken Farming.

In this blog, we will see the important aspects of Country Chicken Farming (Poultry).  The entire focus of this blog is towards the traditional or indigenous or desi or local or country chicken breeds.  The information provided here is suited for Free Range type of rearing and can be combined in an Integrated Farming method.

The entire blog will be presented in a Question & Answer format.  While it will be beneficial for the first time user to read the entire blog, the frequent users of this blog can just focus on their specific needs.
  1. What are the feeds that chickens eat?
    • Chickens eat a lot of different things but a few are given below
      • Agathi Leaves
      • Azolla
      • Amaranthus Leaves (Greens)
      • Dried Fish (Finely grinded)
      • Kudirai Masal Leaves
      • Leaves (Tender Ones)
      • Maize
      • Millets (Cumbu etc)
      • Oil Cakes (Groundnut etc)
      • Paddy
      • Passi (in Tamil)
      • Rice (Broken Ones)
      • Sea Shell (Finely grinded)
      • Seeds (any)
      • Sorghum
      • Subabul Leaves
      • Termites
      • Wheat Flour
      • Worms
      • Vegetable Wastes etc
  2. How many times to feed in a day?
    • Chickens to be provided feed twice a day (morning and evening)
  3. How many times to provide them with water in a day?
    • Chickens to be provided water twice a day (morning and evening)
    • 1 Gram feed intake requires 2.5 Milli Litres of water
    • 100 chickens require 30-35 Litres/day
  4. How much to feed?
    • Chickens eat 6-7 kgs concentrate in their entire life
  5. When does the chickens be allowed to graze?
    • The pregnant chickens should be allowed to graze in the afternoon period only
  6. What is the % of expenses that goes towards feed?
    • 60% of the expenses goes towards feeding the chickens
  7. What is the average Male:Female ratio?
    • 1 (M):10 (F) is the average ratio
  8. What is the lifetime of a chicken?
    • Chickens live up to 15 years
  9. What is the right age for buying a chicken?
    • Chickens of 5-7 months is the right age for buying for reproduction
    • Buy chickens as well as the cock from various places to have diversification
  10. When does the chickens start laying eggs?
    • Chickens will start laying eggs after 26 weeks of age
  11. How much eggs does a chicken lay in a clutch (continuously)?
    • A chicken lays up to 15 eggs in a clutch
  12. When does the chicken lay the eggs?
    • Normally, the chickens lays the eggs in the morning period
  13. Where does the chickens brood?
    • Normally, chickens feel safe to brood in a dark place
  14. How to identify the dates of the laid eggs?
    • The only way to identify the dates of the eggs is to put the days in the eggs using a marker
  15. How many eggs can a chicken brood at a time?
    • 9-11 eggs can be kept for brooding at a time
  16. Which eggs are to kept for brooding?
    • The last laid eggs (9-11) are good for brooding
  17. Within how many days, the eggs has to be kept for brooding?
    • Within 10 days of laying the eggs, the eggs need to be kept for brooding
  18. How to keep the eggs until the brooding time?
    • A pot with a little bit of salt in it will keep the eggs in good condition for 10 days
  19. How many eggs are laid in a year?
    • On an average, 70-80 eggs are laid in a year
  20. How long does it take for a new chicken to get familiar/used to the new environment?
    • A chicken take 4-5 days to get familiar/used to the environment meaning they will remember the new home
  21. How to help the chickens in brooding?
    • A round shaped circle containing sand with a little bit of ash, charcoal, a iron piece and 3 pieces of dry chillies should be kept for brooding
    • On top of the sand, paddy straw can be placed for comfort
    • Charcoal will absorb the moisture
    • Dry chillies will keep the place free from ants, insects etc
    • Iron piece will absorb lightning
  22. How long does it take for the chicks to emerge out of the eggs?
    • Chicks emerge out of the eggs in 21 days
  23. How to take care of the chicks in the initial period?
    • Chicks to be kept in the cages until they can fly a little bit
    • A little bit of turmeric to be added in the water for 1 week for providing the chicks
  24. What is the average weight of a fully grown chicken?
    • Chickens attain 1.5 kgs of weight in 5-6 months
  25. What other poultry goes well with chickens?
    • Turkey and Guinea Fowl goes well with chickens
    • It is said that they eat small insects including small snakes
  26. When to retire the chickens?
    • After 27 months, the laying capacity of the female chickens will reduce and hence the chickens can be retired
    • The male chickens (cock) is retired after one year and new one to be replaced
  27. What are the indigenous breed varieties of chickens of Tamilnadu?
    • Aseel
    • Kirappukkoli
    • Karunkalikkoli
    • Kontaikkoli
    • Kuruvukkoli
  28. What are the indigenous breed varieties of chickens of India?
  29. What is the ratio of chickens to be maintained?
    • 60-80% of laying chickens is needed at any point of time
  30. What to sell?
    • Eggs that are not kept for reproducing can be sold
    • One day old chickens can be sold after proper vaccination
    • Male Chickens (Cocks) need to be kept to the average required as they tend to fight within them
    • Chickens of 5-7 months of age can be sold (when it attains 1 kg and above)
    • Chickens beyond their laying capacity (after 27 months) can be sold
  31. When to sell?
    • Should plan to grow in such a manner to sell them during religious festivals like Deepavali, Bakrid etc as it will fetch handsome returns for mass selling.  Otherwise, they can be sold even daily
  32. What basis to sell?
    • Eggs can be sold at double the market rate for white eggs in retail
    • Chickens to be sold on Live Weight basis for meat purposes for better returns
    • Chickens to be sold at 3/4 of market rate
      • If the market rate is 400 Rs, the farmer can sell at 300 Rs leaving a margin of 33.33% to the buyer
    • Chickens to be sold on Live Weight basis for growing purposes on par with the market rate or even 25% above the market rate
  33. How much space is required for chickens?
    • Chickens require 1-2 Sq Ft of space
  34. What are the diseases that occur commonly in chickens?
    • Fasting in a week improve the immunity in the chickens against diseases
    • Country Chickens are hardly animals and are mostly disease resistant.  Still diseases can attack the chickens and they need to be managed by providing the proper medicines
  35. What are the vaccination schedule?
    1 day
    HVT vaccine
    5-7 days
    10-14 days
    IBD Live
    Drinking water
    24-28 days
    IBD Live
    Drinking water
    8th week
    16-18 week
  36. What the main enemies of the chickens?
    • Birds (mainly Vulture)
    • Cats
    • Rats
    • Mongoose
    • Snakes