Natukodi Project Reports

Natukodi or country chicken farming is a type of poultry farming that involves raising native breeds of chickens in rural areas. These chickens are more adapted to the local environment and have better immunity and survivability than commercial broilers or layers. They also produce eggs and meat that are preferred by many consumers for their taste and nutritional value.

Natukodi project is an initiative to promote country chicken farming among rural farmers and tribal communities in India. The project aims to provide technical guidance, financial assistance, marketing support and health cover to the farmers who want to start or improve their country chicken farming business. The project also helps to conserve the indigenous genetic resources of poultry and enhance the income and livelihood of rural households.

Benefits for Farmers

Country chicken farming has many benefits for farmers, such as:

  • It requires low or negligible input cost, as the chickens can scavenge for food in the backyard or free range system.
  • It provides a regular source of income from egg and meat sales, as well as manure for crop production.
  • It improves the food security and nutrition of the farm family, as they can consume eggs and meat from their own flock.
  • It creates employment opportunities for rural women and youth, who can take care of the chickens and sell the products in local markets.
  • It reduces the dependency on commercial poultry products, which are often expensive and prone to diseases and adulteration.
  • It preserves the biodiversity and genetic diversity of native poultry breeds, which have unique traits and characteristics.

The Entire Process

The entire process of country chicken farming involves the following steps:

1. Establishment of Country Chicken Farm

The first step is to establish a suitable farm location for country chicken farming. The farm should be located far from any other commercial poultry operation to prevent contamination of environment and diseases. The farm should also be located in an elevated area with good air current and well connected by road for easy accessibility.

The farm should have a brooding unit or nursery for raising chicks up to 6 weeks of age, and a shed or house for housing the adult birds. The brooding unit should be well ventilated, clean, dry and protected from predators. The shed or house should be spacious, airy, hygienic and comfortable for the birds.

2. Selection of Country Chicken Breed

The next step is to select a suitable country chicken breed for farming. There are many native breeds of chickens available in India, such as Cauvery, Kalinga Brown, Nirbheek, Hitcari, Gramapriya and Vanaraj. These breeds have moderate body weight, high egg yielding capacity, better adaptability to backyard or free range system, tinted or light brownish eggs, better survivability and low or negligible input cost.

The farmer can choose any breed according to his preference, availability and market demand. The farmer can also crossbreed different breeds to produce hybrid birds with improved performance.

3. Procurement of Chicks

The farmer can procure chicks from reliable sources such as government poultry farms, research institutes, hatcheries or other farmers. The chicks should be healthy, active, uniform in size and free from any defects or diseases. The farmer should also check the vaccination history and health status of the chicks before buying them.

The farmer should transport the chicks carefully in well ventilated boxes or baskets with adequate bedding material. The farmer should also provide water and feed to the chicks during transportation.

4. Brooding of Chicks

Brooding is the process of providing artificial heat and care to the chicks during their first 6 weeks of life. This is essential for their growth, development and survival. The farmer should follow these steps for brooding:

  • Prepare the brooding unit one day before the arrival of chicks by cleaning, disinfecting and drying it thoroughly.
  • Provide a circular brooder guard around the heat source to prevent crowding and suffocation of chicks.
  • Maintain a temperature of 35°C for the first week, 30°C for the second week, 25°C for the third week and 20°C for the fourth week inside the brooder guard.
  • Provide adequate ventilation, lighting (16 hours per day), feeders (one per 50 chicks), drinkers (one per 25 chicks) and litter material (rice husk or sawdust) in the brooding unit.
  • Monitor the behavior and health of chicks regularly and adjust the temperature, ventilation, feed and water accordingly.
  • Vaccinate the chicks against common diseases such as Ranikhet, Fowl Pox, Infectious Bursal Disease and Marek’s Disease as per the schedule.

5. Grower Management of Chicks

After 6 weeks of age, the chicks are called growers and they can be let out for scavenging in the backyard or free range system. The farmer should follow these steps for grower management:

  • Provide a spacious, airy, hygienic and comfortable shed or house for housing the growers. The shed or house should have a floor space of 1 sq.m per 10 birds, a perch space of 15 cm per bird and a nest space of 1 sq.m per 5 birds.
  • Provide adequate ventilation, lighting (12 hours per day), feeders (one per 25 birds), drinkers (one per 15 birds) and litter material (rice husk or sawdust) in the shed or house.
  • Provide supplementary feed to the growers twice a day, in addition to the scavenged feed. The feed should contain 16% protein, 3% fat, 8% fiber and 12% ash. The feed consumption per bird per day is about 80 g.
  • Provide clean and fresh water to the growers at all times. The water consumption per bird per day is about 150 ml.
  • Monitor the growth, health and production of growers regularly and record the body weight, egg weight, egg production and mortality of the flock.
  • Vaccinate the growers against common diseases such as Ranikhet, Fowl Pox, Infectious Bursal Disease and Marek’s Disease as per the schedule.

6. Marketing of Country Chicken

The final step is to market the country chicken products such as eggs and meat to the consumers. The farmer can sell the products in local markets or directly to the consumers. The farmer can also form a cooperative or self-help group with other farmers to improve the bargaining power and reduce the marketing cost.

The farmer can also add value to the products by processing them into ready-to-cook or ready-to-eat items such as pickles, sausages, nuggets, etc. The farmer can also brand the products with a unique name and logo to attract more customers.

Conclusion

Country chicken farming is a profitable and sustainable business that can improve the income and livelihood of rural farmers and tribal communities in India. It can also conserve the indigenous genetic resources of poultry and enhance the food security and nutrition of rural households. Natukodi project is an initiative to support and promote country chicken farming among rural farmers and tribal communities in India. The project provides technical guidance, financial assistance, marketing support and health cover to the farmers who want to start or improve their country chicken farming business.

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