Genetic resources for family poultry production in india

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GENETIC RESOURCES FOR FAMILY POULTRY PRODUCTION IN INDIA
Dr.A.K.Thiruvenkadan and J.Muralidharan, Dr.R.Rajendran and Dr.R.Saravanan
Professor and Head
Department of Animal Genetics and Breeding
Veterinary College and Research Institute
Orathanadu-614625, Tamil Nadu, India
Email:drthirusiva@gmail.com
Traditional backyard poultry keeping has been practised since time immemorial in different
parts of the world. Worldwide, this backyard poultry sector consists of chickens (63 %), ducks
(11 %), geese (9 %), turkeys (5 %), pigeons (3 %) and guinea fowls (3 %). Raising of local poultry
breeds in backyard is an important source of livelihood for the rural people of India. The growing
demand for indigenous eggs and low investment in backyard sector provides opportunity for the
rural poor particularly, women for more gainful supplementary income generation opportunities for
the family. Backyard poultry in India is characterized by small flock size consisting of 5-10
predominantly non-descript birds maintained in extensive system under zero input conditions, but
fetch the owners much needed animal protein and supplementary income. These birds are entirely
raised in the backyards, spread across all categories of households. They largely subsist on
scavenging in gardens, village alleys and surroundings of the farms by feeding on crop residues,
insects, worms and green forage. The most preferred quality chicken meat and egg come from
backyard poultry sector, which is sold at a premium market price. Small farming families, landless
labourers and people who are below poverty line are able to raise the indigenous chicken with low
inputs and harvest the benefits as eggs and meat via scavenged feed resources. Both heavy- and
light-type native breeds exist in natural habitats. In heavy types, the adult female body weights are
between 2.0 and 3.0 kg, whereas in light breeds, body weight ranges from 0.9 to 1.5 kg. The
importance of backyard poultry is well recognized by Government of India and special programmes
are formulated for its promotion. In addition to native chickens, there is a growing demand from
the farmers for the exotic hybrids suitable to family production system. Hence, efforts have been
diverted into producing simply-housed, dual purpose breeds and hybrids with the improved
production profiles. Utilization of native chicken breeds for the development of suitable
scavenging chicken has resulted in great success in our country. These hybrids are readily accepted
by the rural farmers owing to their similarity of the typical appearance of the local birds and
characteristically very low operational cost but significant returns under the existing methods of
rearing in the rural areas. Hence, the commercial hybrid cross between a native breed and an exotic
breed would be a good proposition for the ideal replacement of native scavenging chicken in the
backyard poultry keeping.

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Genetic resources for family poultry production in india

  1. 1. GENETIC RESOURCES FOR FAMILY POULTRY PRODUCTION IN INDIA Dr.A.K.Thiruvenkadan and J.Muralidharan, Dr.R.Rajendran and Dr.R.Saravanan Professor and Head Department of Animal Genetics and Breeding Veterinary College and Research Institute Orathanadu-614625, Tamil Nadu, India Email:drthirusiva@gmail.com Traditional backyard poultry keeping has been practised since time immemorial in different parts of the world. Worldwide, this backyard poultry sector consists of chickens (63 %), ducks (11 %), geese (9 %), turkeys (5 %), pigeons (3 %) and guinea fowls (3 %). Raising of local poultry breeds in backyard is an important source of livelihood for the rural people of India. The growing demand for indigenous eggs and low investment in backyard sector provides opportunity for the rural poor particularly, women for more gainful supplementary income generation opportunities for the family. Backyard poultry in India is characterized by small flock size consisting of 5-10 predominantly non-descript birds maintained in extensive system under zero input conditions, but fetch the owners much needed animal protein and supplementary income. These birds are entirely raised in the backyards, spread across all categories of households. They largely subsist on scavenging in gardens, village alleys and surroundings of the farms by feeding on crop residues, insects, worms and green forage. The most preferred quality chicken meat and egg come from backyard poultry sector, which is sold at a premium market price. Small farming families, landless labourers and people who are below poverty line are able to raise the indigenous chicken with low inputs and harvest the benefits as eggs and meat via scavenged feed resources. Both heavy- and light-type native breeds exist in natural habitats. In heavy types, the adult female body weights are between 2.0 and 3.0 kg, whereas in light breeds, body weight ranges from 0.9 to 1.5 kg. The importance of backyard poultry is well recognized by Government of India and special programmes are formulated for its promotion. In addition to native chickens, there is a growing demand from the farmers for the exotic hybrids suitable to family production system. Hence, efforts have been diverted into producing simply-housed, dual purpose breeds and hybrids with the improved production profiles. Utilization of native chicken breeds for the development of suitable scavenging chicken has resulted in great success in our country. These hybrids are readily accepted by the rural farmers owing to their similarity of the typical appearance of the local birds and characteristically very low operational cost but significant returns under the existing methods of rearing in the rural areas. Hence, the commercial hybrid cross between a native breed and an exotic breed would be a good proposition for the ideal replacement of native scavenging chicken in the backyard poultry keeping. The introduction of different exotic crossbreds like Vanraja, Giriraja, Nadanam, Grampriya, Hitcari, Upcari, which resemble indigenous fowl in body conformation, multi coloured plumage, dull shanks, pink skin and single comb, to scavenging in small scale
  2. 2. poultry operations by both public and private sector organisations, have generated new opportunities for poultry production in rural areas. These improver birds have more economically viable characteristics which are of great importance for village production of eggs and meat. Promoting improved strains of birds would make an impact on development programmes for small scale poultry keeping. The availability of leaner, tastier and less watery poultry meat has attracted the attention of the semi-urban and urban consumers, resulting in more local hatcheries adding a semi-commercial component in the rural poultry keeping. The ‘quick return’ scheme for raising meat chickens and the ‘gradual return’ scheme for egg production, whilst maintaining traditional scavenging husbandry practices using replica indigenous or synthetic hybrid prototype birds, has generated new hopes in rural-based family poverty alleviation programmes. Key words: Family Poultry production, indigenous chicken breeds, backyard 1. INTRODUCTION Traditional backyard poultry keeping has been practised since time immemorial in different parts of the world. Worldwide, this backyard poultry sector consists of chickens (63 %), ducks (11 %), geese (9 %), turkeys (5 %), pigeons (3 %) and guinea fowls (3 %) (Besbes, 2009). In most of the developing countries, indigenous poultry genotypes constitute between 80 and 99 % of the poultry populations that are kept in villages (Sonaiya and Swan, 2004). There are two forms of the traditional backyard systems: • Unimproved backyard system: Use of low-input, low producing native birds, brooding, scavenging, no regular water or feed supply, little or poor night shelter, no vaccination and medication . • Improved backyard system: Use of genetically improved birds, scavenging, regular water, supplementary feeding, improved shelter, care of chicks in the early age, vaccination against prevalent diseases and deworming (Gueye, 2005). Being called ‘Family Poultry’, ‘Smallholder poultry’, ‘Scavenging poultry’, or “Village poultry” the different systems of poultry rearing with various levels of intensification are now adopted by poor, marginal as well as richer members of the society with intensification according to their economical status and requirements (Singh, 2007). . Raising of local poultry breeds in backyard is an important source of livelihood for the rural people of India. The growing demand for indigenous eggs and low investment in backyard sector provides opportunity for the rural poor particularly, women for more gainful supplementary income generation opportunities for the family. Backyard poultry in India is characterized by small flock size consisting of 5-10 predominantly non-descript birds maintained in extensive system under zero input conditions, but fetch the owners much needed animal protein and supplementary income. These birds are entirely raised in the backyards, spread across all categories of households. They
  3. 3. largely subsist on scavenging in gardens, village alleys and surroundings of the farms by feeding on house hold waste, crop residues, insects, worms and green forage. The most preferred quality chicken meat and egg come from backyard poultry sector, which is sold at a premium market price. The importance of backyard poultry is well recognized by Government of India and special programmes are formulated for its promotion (Khan, 1984; Sonaiya, 1996). Therefore, different states in India have taken steps for strengthening of Departmental Poultry & Duck farms under Centrally Sponsored Scheme and District Poultry Hatcheries under SGSY Infrastructure Development Fund in order to promote the low input technology birds in the backyard sector. Through this, the States expects to enhance food security at household levels and improve nutritional status (Khan, 2002). 2. GENETIC RESOURCES FOR RURAL POULTRY 2. 1 Indigenous Breeds of Chicken in India India is rich repository of chicken genetic resources with 18 breeds of fowl along with various indigenous breed crosses. The breeds habituated in different agroclimatics zones of India have evolved more through natural selection than through deliberate intervention by man. These breeds are important to rural backyard poultry keeping due to their better adaptability and better disease resistance (Khan, 1984; Sonaiya, 1996; Kitalyi, 1996; Sheldon, 1998). Small farming families, landless labourers and people with below poverty line are able to raise these chickens with low inputs and harvest the benefits as eggs and meat via scavenged feed resources (Robert and Gunaratne, 1992; Sonaiya, 2005). Both heavy- and light-type native breeds (Tables 1 and 2) exist in natural habitats. In heavy types, the adult female body weights are between 2.0 and 3.0 kg, whereas in light breeds, body weight ranges from 0.9 to 1.5 kg . Table 1. Classification of indigenous breeds of chicken Breed Type Breeds and distribution area Characteristics Heavy Type Aseel (Central India), Chittgong (Eastern India), Deothigiri (Assam), Danki (Andhra Pradesh); Ghagus (Karnataka), Tellichery (Kerala), Punjab Brown (Punjab). Body weight Male - >=3.0 kg Female - >=2.0 kg. Egg Production : 30-60 eggs Light Type Ankaleshwar (Gujrat), Bursa (Gujrat, Maharashtra), Hirranghatta Black (West Bengal), Kadaknath (Madhya Pradesh), Kashmir Faverrolla (Kashmir), Miri (Assam), Naked neck (West Coast), Nicobari (Andaman Nicobar), Kalasathi (Andhra Pradesh) and Tani, Titri (Uttar Pradesh) Body weight Male - 1.6 to 2.0 kg Female - 0.9 to 1.4 kg. Egg Production : 40 - 90 eggs Source: Khan (2008)
  4. 4. Table 2. Performance of Indigenous chicken breeds Parameters Aseel Danki Punjab Brown Ghagus Kadaknath Kashmir Favorolla Naked Neck Body weight -Cock (kg) 4.00 3.1 2.2 2.16 1.60 1.9 1.8 Body weight -Hen (kg) 2.59 2.2 1.6 1.433 1.13 1.4 1.0 Age at sexual maturity (days) 196 180- 240 150- 180 150- 180 180 210 201 Annual egg production (number) 92 25 -35 60-80 45-60 105 60-85 99 Egg weight (40 week) (g) 50 46.16 46 40.25 49 45.76 54 Fertility (%) 66 - - - 55 - 66 Hatchability FES (%) 63 60-85 60-80 81.36 52 64 71 The special features of these native breeds are: • Well adapted to traditional backyard farming • Low or no inputs and survive well on scavenging and leftover feed • Hardy and better resistance to diseases • Thrive well in harsh conditions and from predation • Good mothering ability • Adaptive advantages of coloured plumage, smaller body size, alertness and fighting qualities • Tastier meat when compared to broilers. • Supplementary source of income to the rural poor and contribution to family nutrition In spite of the above advantages the major limiting factors are: • Low egg production and • Slower growth rates Because of the above shortcomings in rearing of the native breeds, there is an increasing demand from the farmers for the exotic hybrids suitable to family production system. These birds need to be multi-coloured and their eggs must be brown for the better acceptability from the farmers. More importantly, they must have the ability to grow fast and produce fairly good number of eggs. In addition, they should have the ability to evade predators, disease resistant and thrive well in village free range conditions with the scavengeable feed resource. Hence, efforts have been diverted into producing simply-housed, dual purpose breeds and hybrids with improved production profiles.
  5. 5. 2. 2 Commercial Hybrids Developed in India The need for development of varieties suitable for backyard production in India was visualized by poultry breeders during eighties and the research in this field has been made for production of the improver varieties suitable for the rural areas under backyard environment. A large number of commercial hybrids both for eggs and meat have been developed and tested with good success by the various institutions in India (Table 3) and Bangladesh and similar approaches are being practised in China and African countries. In India, the release of Giriraja variety can be viewed as the first initative by poultry breeders to develop varieties suitable for backyard rearing. Due to heavy demand from the farmers for the improved varieties, many institutions developed different hybrids (Table 3) suitable for backyard production viz. Vanaraja and Grampriya (Project Directorate of Poultry, Hyderabad). Nandanam chicken-I and Nandanam broiler-II (Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, Chennai, Tamil Nadu), Gramalakshmi and Gramasree (Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, Pookot,Kerala) and Cari–Nirbeek, Cari– Syhma, Upcari, Hitcari (Central Avian Research Institute, Izatnagar, Uttar Pradesh). Majority of these chicken varieties resemble the native chicken, grow fast and produce more number of eggs (Table 4), require low input (like feed, management, health care, housing, etc.) and sustain different vagaries of the climatic and environmental changes (Khan, 1994; Khan, 2008; Singh, 2002). Table 3. Commercials hybrids developed in India for backyard poultry rearing Name of hybrid Type Feather pattern Place of origin Duel/meat Giriraja White Plymouth Rock x Red Cornish x New Hampshire Graded Brown Karnataka Veterinary and Fisheries University, Bidar, Karnataka Vanraja Red Cornish x Random bred meat control Graded Brown PDP, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh Nandanam Chicken 1 Developed from Rhode Island Red breed Mixed Brown TANUVAS, Chennai, Tamil Nadu Nandnam Broiler 2 Breed cross Mixed Brown Gramalakshmi Australop X White Leghorn white in colour with black speckles KVASU, Pookot, Kerala Caribro-Vishal Broiler cross White CARI, Izatnagar Cari-Rainbro Broiler cross colourd broiler Caribro-Dhanraja Broiler cross Multi-coloured Caribro-Mritunjai Broiler cross Multi-coloured Caribro-Tropicana Broiler cross Multi-coloured
  6. 6. Egg type Cari-Nirbheek Aseel x Delhem Red Brownish CARI, Izatnagar Cari-Shyama Kadaknath x Delhem Brown Cari-Devendra Synthetic broiler line x Rhode Island Red Graded Brown Upcari Frizzel x Delhem Red Multi Colour Hitcari Naked Neck x Delhem Brown Cari-Sonali WLH x RIR Whitish Brown Cari-Priya Superior male and female lines of White Leghorn White Grampriya Random bred control population x White Leghorn Whitish Brown PDP, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh Gramsree WLH x RIR Whitish Brown KVASU, Pookot, Kerala Source: Ayyagari, 2001; Singh, 2002; Khan, 2008 Table 4. Performance of broiler hybrids of India Name of the hybrid Body weight at 7-10 weeks (kg) Dressing percentage Livability percentage Feed conversion ratio (6 weeks) Egg production Giriraja 1.3 - 1.4 - 95 - 98 2.4 120-150/500 days Vanaraja 1.12 - 1.57 - 95 - 98 - 147 eggs /annum Gramalakshmi 1.7 - >96 - 180-200 eggs Caribro-Vishal 2.0 to 2.2 75-80% 97-98 1.7 to 2.10 - Cari-Rainbro 1.6 73% 98-99 2.3 - Caribro-Dhanraja 2.0 to 2.2 80% 96-98 1.75 to 2.10 - Caribro-Mritunjai 1.8-2.0 75-77% 97-98 1.7 to 2.10 - Caribro-Tropicana 1.8 74% 97.0 1.9 - Source: Ayyagari, 2001; Singh, 2002; Khan, 2008 Table 4. Performance of layer hybrids TRAIT Cari- Nirbheek Cari Shyama Hitcari Upcari Cari- Priya Cari- Sonali Gramapriya Body weights at 20 weeks (g)- Male 1800-2000 1800- 2000 1800- 2000 1600- 1900 - - 1200 Body weights at 20 weeks (g)-Female 1200-1400 1050- 1200 1200- 1400 1185- 1300 - - Age at sexual maturity (days) 174 167 168 162 17 to 18 weeks 18 to 19 weeks Annual egg production (number) 160-180 180-200 180- 200 190- 210 > 298 eggs* > 280 eggs* 180-200* Egg weight at 40 weeks (g) 53 54 59 58 57 54 53-55 Survivability (%) after 6 weeks 90-95 90-95 >90 >90 96 96 >96 Source: Ayyagari, 2001; Singh, 2002; Khan, 2008 * Up to 72 weeks
  7. 7. Utilization of native chicken breeds for the development of suitable scavenging chicken has resulted in great success in our country. These hybrids are readily accepted by the rural farmers owing to its similarity of the typical appearance of the local birds and characteristically very low operational cost but significant returns under the existing methods of rearing in the rural areas. Hence, the commercial hybrid cross between a native breed and an exotic breed would be a good proposition for the ideal replacement of native scavenging chicken in the backyard poultry keeping. The promising features of these commercial hybrids are • Colour of the bird: A majority of people in rural areas has a strong liking for coloured birds, not from the aesthetic point of view but from the survival point of view. Compared to white or light coloured birds the coloured birds escape from the predators by being camouflaged by their colour. Because of the multi-coloured plumage pattern the commercial hybrids phenotypically look like their original native breed • Morphology and temperament of the bird: Due to their relatively lightweight, long shanks, high stamina and aggressiveness, the commercial hybrids are capable of protecting themselves from predators. In backyard areas where there is always presence of predators, a lighter chicken with long shank and strong wings has a greater chance of escaping from predators by running fast and flying till they reach a safer place. • Productivity of the birds: The commercial hybrids have improved productivity (both egg and meat) with larger size coloured eggs under free-range conditions in rural and tribal areas. They lay brown coloured tinted eggs, which is having great demand in the market In addition, the commercial hybrids have better feed efficiency even with diets containing low energy and protein and it can perform better in backyard conditions by eating green grass and insects available in the fields. • Disease resistance: The commercial hybrids are sturdy and resistant to most of the common poultry diseases because of their high immune competence. • Adaptability to the tropics: They can perform better even in adverse environmental conditions and better adaptable to the backyard/free range rearing. They have better survival rate and thrive under low or negligible input cost. • Self Propagation: Self propagation capability is also an important characteristic of these commercial hybrid germplasm. This is an essential requirement for the scavenging bird. In remote areas and due to financial constraints of the weaker members of the population it might not always be possible to get the replacement chicks from the hatchery. Broodiness may therefore be considered as one of the important characteristics which is essential for self propagation.
  8. 8. 3. BENEFITS OF BACKYARD POULTRY REARING The traditional free range system is the main component of the family poultry production and is based on limited inputs which result in low outputs. Hence, broiler/layer hybrids have been introduced to replace the non-descript low producing birds under this system of managment. The benefits of the family poultry production are • Generation of self-employment, women empowerment and gross increase in family income • Ready availability of cheap source of protein to combat the malnutrition. • Source of backyard eggs to the nearby panchayats • The egg and meat production has been increased. 4. FUTURE NEEDS Most of the work in backyard poultry breeding was carried out at ICAR /SAU research institutes and the genetic material is available only in limited quantity . In future when scaling up is planned, research institutes may not be able to meet the demand. Hence, Public-Private Partnership (PPP) initiatives need to be planned for future. Improved varieties so far available also need supplementary diet, health care and prophylactic measures for optimum performance. Hence developing location specific package of practices for each of the variety is need of the hour. As the requirement of individual farmer is very small and are scattered in an operating area, promotion of chick rearing units as separate enterprise for rural youth may yield desirable results in scaling up the backyard poultry production. 5. CONCLUSIONS The introduction of different exotic crossbreds like Vanaraja, Giriraja, Nadanam, Grampriya, Hitcari, Upcari, which resemble indigenous fowl in body conformation, multi coloured plumage, dull shanks, pink skin and single comb, to scavenging in small scale poultry operations by both public and private sector organisations, have generated new opportunities for poultry production in rural areas. These improver birds have more economically viable characteristics which is of great importance for village production of eggs and meat. Promoting improved strains of birds would make an impact on development programmes for small scale poultry keeping. The availability of leaner, tastier and less watery poultry meat has attracted the attention of the semi- urban and urban consumers, resulting in more home hatcheries adding a semi-commercial component in the rural poultry keeping. The ‘quick return’ scheme for raising meat chickens and the ‘gradual return’ scheme for egg production, whilst maintaining traditional scavenging husbandry practices using replica indigenous or synthetic hybrid prototype birds, has generated new hopes in rural-based family poverty alleviation programmes.
  9. 9. 6. SELECTED REFERENCE AYYAGARI, V. (2001) Genesis, development and propagation of Vanraja and Grampriya germ plasm for rural poultry production. Proceedings of the seminar on appropriate poultry for adverse environment. Hyderabad, India; pp. 7-14. BESBES, B. (2009). Genotype evaluation and breeding of poultry for performance under suboptimal village conditions. World’s Poultry Science Journal, 65(2):260-271 GUÈYE, E. F. (2005). Gender aspects in family poultry management systems in developing countries.World’s Poultry Science Journal, 61(1): 3946. KATARIA, M.C. and JOHRI, D.C. (2001). CARI Gold brown layer rearing in rural and tribal areas. Proceedings of a Seminar on Appropriate Poultry for Adverse Environments. Hyderabad, India; pp. 15-23. KHAN, A.G. (1984) Replica of Desi fowl Krishna-J (Part III). Poultry Guide 11(6): 45-55. KHAN, A.G. (1994) Development of Small bodied coloured birds for tribal & rural area. Final report to Indian Council of Agriculture Research, New Delhi, Adhoc project - Jawaharlal Nehru Agricultural University, Jabalpur M.P. India. KHAN, A.G. (2002) Approach to breed replica of indigenous fowl for commercial meat market and egg production under family poultry raising. Proceeding of 7th Worlds Poultry Science Association Conference Gold Coast; Australia; pp. 413-17. KHAN, A.G. (2008). Indigenous breeds, crossbreds and synthetic hybrids with modified genetic and economic profiles for rural family and small scale poultry farming in India. World's Poultry Science Journal, 64 , pp 405-415 doi:10.1017/S0043933908000135. KITAYLI, A.J. (1966) Socio economic aspects of village chicken production in Africa – The role of women, children and non-government organization. Proceeding of the XX World Poultry Congress New Delhi, India. Vol. 1: pp. 35-45. ROBERT, J.A. and GUNARATNE, S.P. (1992) The scavenging feed resource base for the village chicken in a developing country. Proceedings of XIX Worlds Poultry Congress, Amsterdam, Vol.1, pp. 822-825. SHELDON, B.L. (1998) Poultry and poultry products as resources for human health and food in 21st Century. Proceedings of the Worlds Poultry Science 6th Asian Pacific Poultry Congress, Nagoya, Japan, pp. 1-8. SINGH, D.P. (2002) Utilization of Indian native chicken for development of egg type scavenger chicken. Proceedings of 2nd National Seminar on Rural Poultry Production, Bangalore, India; pp. 39-41. SINGH, D. P. (2007). Selection of suitable germplasm for rural poultry production. In Souvenir, National Symposium on “Recent trends in policy initiatives and technological interventions for rural prosperity in small holder livestock production systems organized by ISAPM at Sri Venkateshwara Veterinary University, Tirupati during 20-22, June, 2007. Pp. 110-114.
  10. 10. SONAIYA, E.B. (1996) Employment income generation & skill development through rural poultry development. Proceedings of the XX World Poultry Science Association Congress, New Delhi, India; Vol. 1: pp. 17-22. SONAIYA, E.B. (2005) Direct assessment of nutrient resources in free range and scavenging system. World's Poultry Science Journal, 60: 523-35. ******

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