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Poultry Farming: Learning, Managing and Training in Rajasthan

Amit Bhatt
Amit Bhatt
Banty Meena

Banty Meena is a resident of Nekdia village in Tonk district in Rajasthan. His main occupation is desi murgi farming. In 2016-17 he completed his BA degree and he had two options - work for someone or work independently. He chose the latter. He has 30-35 bigha of land where he grows vegetables and he started business with both poultry farming and veggies farming. Tanu Tomar recently interviewed him on the FTB platform of Krishi Jagran.

Training and Setting up farm

He started this business 4 years ago and he had in stock 70 birds to start with, in 2017-18. He made good money and thought that there was a lot of profit to be made. He was not experienced and trained himself through YouTube videos. Any disease his birds suffered from, he would seek help from YouTube. He also attended training at the Krishi Vigyan Kendra and has good relationship with the scientists there. They guided him in vaccinations required by the animals and when they suffered from diseases. That year he profited by Rs 36,000.

With this money he built a farm of 20x20, this much space was enough for up to 250 birds. The year 2018-19 was again successful and he made a profit of over 1 Lakh 20,000 Rupees. The local KVK gave him a grant for FFG kuroiler chicks. At the time he was not experienced and lacked knowledge and mortality rate was high. He suffered losses but slowly he gained expertise in desi chickens and earned good rates through their meat and eggs. He them decided to build another farm, again 20x20 in size. He prepares different breeds in his farms like FFG, Kadaknath breeded with desi, Dehati, Gramapriya and Vanaraja.

He said chicks were not available locally and they had to travel to Jaipur, 170 KM away to get any. This led to increase in costs as cost of transportation was added to the total cost. He decided to produce chicks locally and built an incubator with the help of YouTube tutorials. He was not able to buy one, hence built one himself with thermocol which had capacity for 100 eggs at a time. This incubator provided 95 percent results in terms of hatching.

Banty in the farm

Mastering the art

In 2019 he took part in an exhibition organized by the KVK where his work was appreciated. He was not only able to sell these locally, but trained the local youth to take up this type of work. With his help the villagers have 8-10 such farms doing good work. Most of the activities like feeding water and feed to the birds is pre-planned and, in a way, automatic. As you need to look at the birds once in the morning and once in the evening when you can fill up the feeder in such a way that it lasts 24 hours. He has automatic machines which release exactly the amount of water the birds need. He can go for a walk or be busy with any other activity but he does not need to be present every moment near the birds to look after them.

He has reached such a level that he supplies chicks outside Rajasthan too. If he does not have the chicks himself, he arranges these from other poultry farmers. He has his channel on YouTube and after viewing his videos, 5-10 customers call him every day requesting for chicks. For some states which are distant like Jharkhand and Arunachal Pradesh, he arranges chicks for them through their local KVKs.

Fresh Eggs

Incubators and diseases

He said he built an incubator for 100 eggs, 150 eggs and now he has built one for 600 eggs, which on hatching provides him more than 500 chicks at a time. He sells these at Rs. 40 per chick and earns about Rs. 20,000 after the chicks have grown to the right size in 20-21 days. He focused not only on raising chicks but selling them as well. In his region there is more demand for meat, and not much for eggs. 

On being asked he replies that if you have 100 chicks you will need a farm atleast 20x10 in size. Its height at the center should be 10 ft and at the boundaries 9 ft. If you leave your chicks in open they need 1 sq ft of space, and 2 sq ft if they are left in an enclosed environment. So, you will have to make adjustments according to the size of your farm and the number of birds. 

When asked how he protects his birds from viruses. He claims that desi chicks rarely catch any disease. However for precaution these are injected for Gumboro and Ranikhet disease. Lasota vaccine is also given for protection against Newcastle disease. After 5 days of hatching, he injects his birds with Lasota vaccine, 15th day against Gumboro and 25th day against Ranikhet. Once vaccinated your birds are safe. Almost but if there is fear of viral diseases you can use Vimeral liquid, lexin powder, osteoid calcium regularly.

Managing temperatures and mortality

On a question as to how he controls temperature in his farm as its an important part of poultry farming, he replied that in his locality there is no facility of electricity therefore he has planted and grown trees in such a manner so as to provide shade to his farming area. It stays cool in summers and warm in winters. There is enough grass to keep temperatures favorable to the chickens. He has had no temperature issues so far. 

Regarding the mortality rate on his farm, he said that diseases are rare in desi birds. However, if there are symptoms, you need to see if there is problem with liver or digestion and give medicine accordingly. If the bird is in a corner and not moving, it probably has liver problem. You need to mix 10 ml of lever tonic (Levo) to 1 liter of water and feed the birds. Give them this medicine every three days initially and after improvement every 7 days.

Chicken Feed

He prepares the feed for the birds himself. If your feed is from companies the birds grow quickly and gives lesser number of eggs. You can buy a bag of 50 kg of chicken feed for Rs 1700-2,000 from companies and it is used up in about 15 days. He prefers to prepare this feed himself. He used corn, millet and soybean grown from his fields. He buys fish powder and salt, and prepares 100 kg of the feed at a time. This feed keeps the chicken healthy and they give good eggs.

Some birds give 200-240 eggs per year if you feed is good, if your feed is average expect about 170 eggs per year. Ge said that there are chances of loss if you buy chicks and just raise them. He initially collected chicken from the locals in the village, collected their eggs, put them into self made incubator and he produced chicks himself. All poultry farmers must do this as if he buys chicks he will invest Rs 40 per chick and if he just collects eggs and hatches them in incubator, he will save lots of money particularly with repeat business. 

Experience and Management  

He explained that if you allow the bird to hatch the egg natural way, it will keep the baby bird with itself for 2 and a half months and in this period it will not produce any eggs, which will mean loss of money for you. So, it's better to separate them as soon as the egg comes out of the chicken and hatch it in incubator. This way you will earn more money.

He said its better to do business like him from scratch to the end, as if you are just a poultry farmer, you will be delivered chicks to raise, however you will suffer high losses in case of mortality losses. He can keep the birds with himself for as long as he wants but in case of contract farming the birds will be taken away from you in 45-60 days.

When asked about his goat rearing business and how he manages two businesses together, he said his father handles goat rearing and it is their traditional business. They had goats but of limited varieties, so they bought goats of Sirohi variety. They are also into dairy farming which is managed by his mother. They have helpers to assist them in all of these tasks, but these are managed separately.

He said that if you work for someone you will be paid Rs 8,000 per month and work minimum 10 hours every working day. Instead, if you do your own business, you will not only earn for yourself, you will give work to other people. He is now planning to start with fish farming for which he is working on the setup.   

When asked from where did he learn about all these businesses, the farmer replied with something he already told us, that during the first year he watched a number of YouTube videos, from which he gained sufficient knowledge about these businesses. For poultry farming, he saw videos about every disease that the birds may catch. He studied these for almost 4 years and as he has sufficient knowledge, he has never suffered any loss and started very well. If there is a disease, he doesn't know about he goes to a vet in Shahpura, Bhilwara who always guides him in the right direction. 

A message and view of the farm

He said that boys and girls of his age group, unemployed or employed, whether in public or private sector, if they have access to 2 bigha or more of land it is much better for them to start their own work. They can work on fish farming, poultry farming, goat farming, pig farming or mushroom farming. He is planning setups for all of these himself, but it will take some time. He said in times like these it is mandatory for everyone to work. If you have your own poultry farm, you just need to spend 20 minutes in morning and 20 minutes in the evening. He works on 200 chicks at a time, from incubation to raising, and as for sales he sells in retail and never in wholesale. He always makes a good profit, as if he sells in wholesale, he will get Rs. 10 whereas in retail he gets Rs. 25. He suggested that to go for wholesale market you must produce in bulk i.e., 2,500 birds or more, but if you produce in small quantities you must sell in retail.

At last he showed the greens of his farm and his poultry sheds which are in the same field. He takes us inside one of the sheds and shows us the automatic feeder and the dipper. He says he has learnt though experience when to grow birds, as if you are not able to sell and you keep them in shed, you will lose profits as you will lose income feeding them. He said eggs are more in demand in winter. He is left with few birds from the season that has ended, and he is planning new chicks with the new season. He is planning a new breed which he has ordered from Calcutta. He hopes to develop an entirely new breed of chickens and he hopes that he is able to part away with the knowledge that he has with interested farmers.  Click here to see the video.

Banty Meena

Banty Meena

Tonk, Rajasthan

BK Desi Poultry Farm

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