Poultry farming and its future prospects

Dr. Aprana Gupta – KVK , Ropar
Dr. A P S Dhaliwal – KVK , Bathinda
Dr. G.S.Aulakh – KVK , Mukatsar

Poultry egg and meat are important sources of high quality proteins, minerals and vitamins to balance the human diet. Specially developed breeds of egg type chicken are now available with traits of quick growth and high feed conversion efficiency. Depending on the farm-size, layer (for eggs) farming can be the main source of family income or can provide income and gainful employment to farmers throughout the year. Poultry manure has high fertilizer value and can be used for increasing yield of all crops.

The organized sector of poultry industry is contributing nearly 70% of the total output and the rest 30% in the unorganized sector. The broiler industry is well dominated in southern states of our country with nearly 60-70% total output coming from these states. The layer industry once again is represented more in southern states especially, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra producing nearly 70% of the country’s egg production. India’s 75% of egg produce is consumed by the 25% population living in urban and semi-urban areas. Presently about 800 hatcheries are operating in the country.

The advantages of broiler farming are :

  • Initial investment is a little lower than layer farming.
  • Rearing period is 5-6 weeks only
  • More number of flocks can be taken in the same shed.
  • Broilers have high feed conversion efficiency i.e. the amount of feed required for unit body weight gain is lower in comparison to other livestock.
  • Faster return from the investment
  • Demand for poultry meat is more compared to sheep/goat meat

Per capita consumption

 The National Institute of Nutrition has recommended 180 eggs and 11 kg of meat per capita consumption for our country. At present,

 Per capita availability of meat is 1.6 kg.

 Per capita availability of egg is 1.8 kg or 42 eggs.

 Average consumption of eggs in major cities is 170 eggs

 Average consumption of eggs in smaller cities is 40 eggs

 Average consumption of developed rural areas is 20 eggs

 Average consumption of undeveloped rural areas is only 5 eggs.

 While 20% of Indian population is vegetarian.

In spite of this, with the rise of middle class and increased urbanization people prefer to go for non-vegetarian food. About 3 million farmers and 15 million agrarian farmers are employed in the poultry industry that grow poultry ingredients for feed and contribute about Rs 26,000 crore to the national income. India is the fifth largest producer of egg and ninth largest producer of poultry meat. India was positioned 17th in the world poultry production. The Indian poultry production is considered to be the cheapest in the world.

Here is the brief introduction and few tips to start a poultry farm:


Broiler Breeding

The commercial broiler (IBL-80) developed from synthetic base population at GADVASU has a  potential to attain a body weight of 1550-1600g at 6 weeks of age with a feed conversion ration of 1.8-1.9 IBL broiler has a colored plumage which fetches higher premium in the local market and is able to perform well with relatively lesser inputs. Mortality percentage is very low (2-3%). It held first position in the eight Radom Sample Tests at the National level. Dressing percentage of IBL-80 is 78-77%. This broiler is best suited for small and marginal farmers of the state. The parent stock and the commercial cross IBL-80 chicks can be procured from the university.

Layer Breeding

White Leghorn (WLH)

The commercial stock “Sutlej Layer” developed from a WLH breed at GADVASU has a potential to lay 270-280 eggs with an average egg weight of 57-58g. The mortality rate is less than 1 percentage per month. The bird is hardy and suited for small farmers with low inputs. Day old commercial and the parent stock chicks are available and can be procured from the university.

Rhode Island Red (RIR)

Rhode Island Red birds lay tinted (Brown) eggs and thus have high liking especially in the rural areas of the states. It lays 250-255 eggs in a year with an average egg weight of 53-54g. It is expected to be more popular with the small/ marginal farmers as brown eggs get sold at a premium. Since the birds tend to be heavier at the end of the lay, the income from the spent hens is also significantly higher than White Leghorn females. The RIR birds perform well on comparatively lesser management input. Fertile/ hatching eggs, day-old and parent stock chicks are available and can be procured from the university.

Tips for Poultry Farming:-

  • Purchase day old chicks from a reputed hatchery.
  • Start with chicks, free from egg borne diseases, such as pullorum and chronic respiratory disease (C.R.D)
  • Fresh water and feed should be available to chicks at all the time.
  • Provide 24 hours light for birds during the brooding stage.
  • Vaccinate day old chicks against Merek’s disease.
  • Vaccinate chicks against Ranikhet (F1 Strain) disease at 6-7 days of age and again on 3-4 weeks with Mukteswar strain at 6-8 weeks and give booster dose at 15-16 weeks of age. Vaccinate the birds against Fowl pox at 6-8 weeks of age.
  • At 15 to 21 days of age and again at 28-35 days of age, vaccinate the chicks against Gumbore disease.
  • Avoid overcrowding.
  • Do not fill the feed hoppers more than one-half after the chicks are one week old.
  • Do regular culling of sick, weak and unproductive birds.
  • When the flock is not healthy or egg production is falling, consult the poultry specialist.

Poultry Feeding:-

Layer ration, %

Ingredient Starter Grower Layer
Maize 52 45 46
Soybean 18 12 15
Groundnut extraction 13 08 08
Deoiled rice polish 15 33 22
Lime stone power     07
Dicalcium phosphate 02 02 02
Salt, g 300 300 300
Vit (A+B+D+K), g 15 15 15
B-complex, g 20 20 20
B12, g 15 10 10
Trace mineral, g 50 50 50


  Boiler ration, %

Ingredient Starter Finisher
Maize 54 55 63 54
Soybean meal   35   29
Groundnut extraction 35 08 28 05
Fish meal 10   08  
Rice polish       08
Oil       02
Dicalcium phosphate 01 02 01 02
Methionine , g   150   50
Salt, g   300   300
Vit (A+B+D+K), g 15 15 15 15
B-complex, g 20 20 20 20
B12, g   15   15
Trace mineral, g 50 50 50 50

Here are the alternate prospects of poultry farming which are going to prove promising in future:

Quail Farming

Three strains of quails namely Punjab Quail -1, Punjab Quail-2 and Punjab Quail-3 have been developed. Average 5 weeks body weight of the commercial crosses is around 225g. Another quail strain with white plumage has also been developed and was released at the state level under the name of “Punjab White Quail”. The average egg weight is around 12g and these eggs are used for preparation of pickles. Quail eggs have strong curative properties for those suffering from tuberculosis. Quail meat is tastier than chicken meat. Quail meat promotes body and brain development because it contains more phospholipids. Quail meat is considered as best balanced diet for pregnant and nursing mothers. The meat contains higher proportions of carbohydrates and vit B12. Quails are less susceptible to common disease of poultry and need no vaccination against common disease of poultry and no vaccinations against common disease as in other species. The university supplies quail eggs, day old chicks and 5 weeks old dressed/ live birds.

Commercial poultry stocks released at National/State level by GADVASU, Ludhiana:-

  1. IBL-80 Broiler    Punjab White Quail

Turkey Farming

Turkey rearing is quite popular in USA and some other western countries but is gaining ground in India. Turkey is raised only for meat since the females are inefficient layers. A major portion of the turkeys is consumed on special festival days, that is, on Thanksgiving Day and on Christmas. Bronze and Beltsville Small White are the popular varieties being raised in India.

Turkey males have conspicuous black beards attached to the skin of the upper breast region. A fleshy protuberance near the base of the beak is relatively large, plump and more elastic in males than in the females. The Turkey male produces a loud sound at intervals, which is known as strutting. There is no strutting in the females.

Turkey eggs hatch in 28 days. Most of the environmental conditions for brooding of poults are the same as the chickens. The poults require double the hover space as compared to the chicken. Since poults are slow in learning to eat, they need coaxing for eating the feed. Sometimes placing coloured marbles in the feed and water help attracting the poults to the feed. Feed should be kept under bright light.

Turkey poults grow very rapidly and attain about 3.5-4 kg of body weight by 3 month of age. Turkey hens start laying eggs at the age of 30 weeks. The average egg production in turkeys ranges from 70 to 120 eggs in a year. An average turkey egg weighs about 85g which is 1.5 times as large as the chicken egg.

Turkey requires higher amounts of protein, minerals and vitamins in the feed than chicken. Metabolizable energy (Kcal/Kg) and protein (%) requirement for turkeys at different ages are: 2900 and 28 up to 8 weeks, 3100 and 19-22 from 9 to 16 weeks, 3300 and 14-16 from 16 to 24 weeks and 2900 and 26 for adults. Turkeys are more resistance to disease compared to the chicken. They seldom suffer from vital disease like Marek`s and infectious Bronchitis.

Turkey poults can be purchased from Central Avian Research Institute, Izatnagar, and Bareilly as well as from Animals Husbandry Department, Punjab.

Emu Farming

Emu, is a flightless native habitat bird of Australia. In India emus were first imported from United States in early nineties. Approximately 3000 emu farms exist in India and started in Punjab during 2008-09. Emu are raised throughout the world and survive in all types of climates. Emu`s immune system is so strong that it hardly suffers from any disease which gives emu farming an edge over other animal rearing.

A day old emu bird is around 420g and changes color thrice. At three months emu weight 8 kg with stripes on its body. After four months emu looks chocolate brown, weigh approximately 17 kg at six month of age. At one year it again starts changing its color and weighs around 30 kg. At 2 year of age emu weight is around 40-45 kg and is around 5-6 ft in height.

A female emu is capable of reproduction between 18-24 months of age. Egg production in emus starts in colder months of the year i.e from December to February. Emu`s egg are dark green in color and weight around 45-650g. Female emu lays eggs after 3 or 5 days. During first breeding season a female emu lays 8-12 eggs which subsequently increase to 25-35 eggs. Normally emu`s lives up to 40 years and are capable of reproduction for at least 25 years. Incubation period for emu eggs is 52-56 days.

A single emu bird needs minimum of 100 sq. ft. area. 300 feet of run space is required for healthy life of the bird during first 4 months which should be increased to 100 feet, so for 20 birds minimum space requirement is 20×100 feet. A well balanced diet must be offered to emu.

Each and every part of emu body is commercially valuable. Emu fat has medicinal value. Emu meat is rich in protein with least cholesterol and plenty of iron and vitamin B12 and it is an excellent diet for heart patients. Emu skin is also very soft and is excellent leather.

Proper marketing of emu products can fetch handsome earning to the emu farmers.


POULTRY PUNCH incorporated in 1984 and we are in poultry media since last 36 years and publish Poultry punch – English Monthly Magazine. Mr Balwant Singh Rana prior to laying the foundation of Poultry Punch magazine was still involved with renowned Indian poultry companies and It was there that he had the vision of doing something exceptional for the Indian poultry industry and then he stepped into the poultry media.

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