Rural poultry production is being recognized as an important component of socio economic improvement among Schedule caste / Schedule tribe communities. Rural poultry generates self employment, provides subsidiary income with protein rich food at relatively low cost. Under DBT project, an improved variety for backyard i.e. Rajasri birds were distributed among the rural SC/ST families in Nalgonda district of Telangana to improve their livelihood and nutritional security through backyard rearing. In the present study, the Rajasri birds achieved sexual maturity at the age of 165 days with an average body weight of 1200-1300 grams under scavenging conditions. The average egg production/unit was 1200-1300 eggs upto 52 weeks with an average egg weight of 45-50 grams. The results revealed a significant (p<0.05) increase in subsidiary income (@ Rs 35.06 per day per beneficiary) by sale of eggs and male birds and also noticed significant increase in consumption of eggs and meat among SC/ST families. Moreover, rearing of Rajasri birds enhanced the confidence levels of poor farmers and rural women by generating income source for themselves.
The schedule caste / schedule tribe communities were considered as occupy an important place in the state of Telangana in India. The SC / ST population in the state is 16.19 and 6.59 percent of total population respectively, which is nearly 23 percent of the state population (2001 census- chief planning officer Nalgonda). The basic problem of the schedule caste / schedule tribe has been mainly poverty and exploitation. They follow cattle, sheep, goat and pig rearing practices and keep poultry as supplementary source of income. Due to poverty and exploitation, the schedule caste / schedule tribes were almost going into oblivion. Rearing of backyard poultry improved food security and the economic status of BPL families in India (Pica-Ciamarra and Dhawan, 2010). The growing demand for indigenous eggs and low investment involved in backyard sector provides opportunity for the SC/ST farmers for more fruitful supplementary income generation opportunities for the family. This study was conducted on the existing backyard poultry system with the objective to pave the way for development of backyard poultry into a sustainable income-generating activity for the schedule caste / schedule tribe households.
Materials and Methods
A total of 3800 day old dual purpose backyard chicken (Rajasri) were reared under deep litter system at Poultry Experimental Station, College of Veterinary Science, Rajendranagar, up to the age of 9 weeks on balanced diet and vaccinated as per the recommended protocol. The data was collected on socio economic status, personal profile, livestock rearing and backyard poultry rearing and marketing opportunities for identifying SC/ST women beneficiaries. At the end of 9th week, a total of 3600 birds were distributed to 120 identified beneficiaries from SC and ST families from Nalgonda district of Telangana. Nalgonda district is located between 160 25′ and 170 60’N latitudes, 780 40′ and 800 05’E longitudes. Each unit comprised of ten males and twenty females (30 birds in each unit). The data on biweekly body weights, mortality, age at first egg, egg production was collected from 10 to 52 weeks under the project. Before distribution a training programme was organized to educate the farmers on vaccination, management and disease prevention in the birds.
The study was carried out during 2012-2013 and the data was collected from the beneficiaries through semi structured interview schedule and the information was statistically analyzed as per the methods of Snedecor and Cochran (1994).
Results and Discussion
Personal Profile of the Selected Beneficiaries
Data collected on SC/ST beneficiaries of eight villages (Thatikal, Shaligouraram, Chilkur, Doodya thanda, Gudivada, Bolleypally, Chandupatla, Thumalagudem) was analyzed based on socio economic conditions, various management practices and marketing. The average family size was small in 77.50% of beneficiaries, followed by medium family size (18.34 %) and large family (4.16%). Majority of the beneficiaries selected for the study were literates (70 %) (Table 1).
Table 1: General background of selected beneficiaries in Nalgonda district of Telangana state
|S. No.||Particulars||Percentage (%)|
Among the selected, SC beneficiaries were predominant (66.7%) than ST (33.3%).The average annual income of the beneficiaries was below Rs.10, 000 (78.33%). In the present investigation it was observed that 14.17% of beneficiaries generated an annual income of Rs.11,000 to 20,000 while 7.50 % generated more than Rs. 20,000 per annum. All the beneficiaries selected were landless labourers depending on daily earnings (Table 2).
Table 2: Particulars of socio-economic status of selected beneficiaries in Nalgonda district of Telangana state
|S. No||Particulars||Overall Average|
|3||Assets- land holders||Nil|
|– land less||100|
|– Non SHG||23.33|
|5||Livestock profile -chicken||43.33|
|– white cattle||41.67|
76.67% of the beneficiaries selected were also under Self Help Groups (SHG) and 23.33% were not covered under SHG. With respect to live stock profile 43.33 % of beneficiaries maintained backyard rearing as productive asset for subsidiary income generation in rural areas. In the present study, backyard rearing was observed as subsidiary occupation for all rural beneficiaries.
Information on Backyard Poultry
Backyard poultry rearing is considered to be a farm enterprise at a very low profile. In present study 100% of the beneficiaries expressed it as a family oriented business that needs to be managed with family members only and 100% beneficiaries expressed that it is only a part time job and only desi birds could be managed. All the beneficiaries expressed their willingness for rearing improved varieties and indicated that if due technical skills are provided they could manage improved varieties in the place of desi birds.
Various Production Parameters of Rajasri
Age at Sexual Maturity (ASM)
In the current study, the age at sexual maturity (ASM) ranged from 150 days to 180 days with a mean of 165 days in Rajasri birds under scavenging conditions (Table 3). Bhattacharya et al. (2005) observed ASM to range between 172 to 185 d with a mean of 179.65 d in Vanaraja birds under scavenging condition. While Sharma et al. (2004) observed it to range between 167.3 and 169.3 days. The data of Loknath and Murthy, (2002) indicated the ASM of Giriraja and Girirani to be 177 & 174 under field levels, respectively. However some of the beneficiaries (19%) have reported birds getting sexual maturity at more than 180 days. which might be due to poor scavenging feed base resource (SFBR) in that area. The early age at sexual maturity 150-165 days (21%) and 165-180 days (70%) was observed in Rajasri birds might be attributed to the supplementary feeding (20%) of maize & broken rice and availability of good SFBR. In contrary, Dilip et al. (2013) reported that age at sexual maturity in Rajasri birds was lower than Aseel (187.43) and Kadaknath (196.12) birds.
Body Weight at First Egg Production
Majority of the beneficiaries (56.67%) observed the body weight of 1200 -1300 g at first egg production of birds. In contrary, Bhatt et al. (2007) reported that the body weights of Vanaraja birds were 3150 and 2550g for male and female birds, respectively at 190 days of age under free-range conditions. Gaining of low body weight at sexual maturity is a positive sign for getting more eggs.
Table 3: Production parameters observed in Rajasri birds in the study area
|S. No.||Particulars||Overall (%)|
|2||Age at First egg|
|4||Body Weight at first egg female|
|1)1000 – 1200||43.33|
|2) 1200– 1300||56.67|
|5||Time of collection of eggs|
|6||Egg production upto 52 weeks|
|1) 800– 900||6.67|
|3) 1400 – 1500||38.33|
|7||Egg Weights UPTO’52 Weeks-|
|Rajasri Chick/ Grower management|
|a) Before Training – 1) Poor||100|
|b) After Training|
|3) Very Good||19.99|
|9||Rajasri Layer birds Management|
|a) Before Training – 1) Poor||100|
|b) After Training|
|3) Very Good||10.83|
Egg Production and Egg Weight
72.50% of the beneficiaries noticed the egg production between 25 to 28 weeks. This is not technically correct, while 27.50% beneficiaries have realized egg production at appropriate age (Table 3). 55% of the beneficiaries reported that the level of egg production was very attractive with 1200-1300 eggs upto 52 weeks per unit. As per opinion of the farmers the production can be further enhanced with coming batches as they gain more experience besides updating their technical knowledge. The mean egg production was taken into consideration by pooling the data of all the beneficiaries in the selected villages (Table 4).
Table 4: Hen day egg production (%) of Rajasri from 22 to 52 weeks of age
|Age in Weeks||B wt of Female Birds(g)||%Hen Day Egg Production|
The egg production initiated with a level of 1.49% and progressed slowly to reach 22.61% at 28 weeks, 34.16% at 34 weeks and 52.91% at 42 weeks. The peak mean egg production of 60.84% was recorded during 48 weeks of age (Table 4). However, even at 52 weeks of age the production was 56.86%. This indicates the persistency in egg production of the Rajasri birds.
These results are on par with Singh et al. (2007), in CARI-Nirbhik under village conditions (163 eggs/annum) and Padhi et al. (1999) reported 153 eggs/annum in Nicobari hens. Whereas, Vij et al. (2006) reported that Brown breed of chicken produced only 60-80 eggs annually in Punjab. Similar results were reported by Bhattacharya et al. (2005) and Sharma et al. (2004). Majority of the beneficiaries (67.50%) observed the egg weight of 45-50 g under field conditions. Majority of the beneficiaries (84%) had collected eggs in the evening. The present findings of Rajasri are comparable with the findings of Naga Raja Kumari and Subrahmanyeswari (2014), who reported that the average egg weight of 55 g under traditional rearing system in Andra Pradesh. Similar results were also reported by Islam et al. (2014).
The training programme has played spectular role in making the farmers more technical oriented. The beneficiaries gained good skills and knowledge on brooding of chicks, grower and layer birds management after the training.
The food security under present circumstances is an important subject which has been discussed at length by academicians, policy makers and Govt. organizations. An attempt was made in this study on the egg consumption pattern in relation to distribution of birds before and after the implementation of the project. The consumption of eggs before distribution of birds was 1-2 per week per person in a family among 95% beneficiaries, while it has increased to 3-6 eggs per week per person among 92.50% of beneficiaries (Table 5). This clearly indicated that the food security has direct relationship with the programmes like distribution of the birds to the underprivileged sections of the society which undoubtly enhanced their food security.
Table 5: Study on food security in the study area
|S. No.||Particulars||Percentage (%)|
|1||Before distribution of birds egg consumption per week per person|
|2||After distribution of Rajasri birds egg consumption per week per person|
|1) 1 – 2||7.5|
|2) 3 – 6||92.5|
|3||Health Status (After distribution of birds)|
|1) Very good||30.83|
Apart from self consumption of eggs produced (55.02%) and meat (64.16%), the beneficiaries made lucrative profits by marketing the table eggs both within (54.17%) and outside the villages (45.83%). Further backyard poultry rearing appears to be very remunerative in the opinion of 100% of beneficiaries (Table 6). A significant increase in subsidiary income (@Rs. 35.06 per day) by sale of eggs and male birds was observed. Bhattacharya et al. (2005) concluded that with the backyard system of rearing Vanaraja birds significantly contribute to the overall economic returns in terms of egg and meat for rural masses. The highest returns were mainly due to better returns from sale of eggs. Rearing of Rajasri birds revealed a significant (p<0.05) increase in egg production with high hatchability resulting in significant (p<0.05) increase in subsidiary income and nutritional security among Below Poverty Line (BPL) families (Naga Raja Kumari and Subrahmanyeswari, 2014). It was concluded that the synthetic crossbred high yielding birds were suitable in backyard system of rearing and profit making (Padhi et al., 2003). Similar findings were observed by Chatterji et al. (2002) and Bhattacharya et al. (2005). The increased income over the rearing of indigenous birds might be due to better productivity and reproductive performance of the Rajasri.
Table 6: Particulars of marketing and consumption of eggs and birds in the study area
|S. No.||Particulars||Percentage (%)|
|1) Through Sales||20.75|
|2) Family Consumption||55.02|
|3) Eggs for brooding||24.23|
|1) Through Sales||35.84|
|2) Through Family Consumption||64.16|
|3||Place of Marketing|
|1) with in the village||54.17|
|2) Neighbours Village||45.83|
|4||Problem facing marketing|
|2) 2-3 hours||39.17|
From the present study, it can be concluded that Rajasri bird performs better under scavenging conditions to uplift socio economic status of underprivileged section (SC/ST families) in Nalgonda district. A significant increase in subsidiary income (@Rs. 35.06 per day) by sale of eggs and birds was observed. It was also noticed that there was significant (p<0.05) increase in consumption of eggs and meat among beneficiary families. Besides the sale of eggs and meat, the farmers were also generating income by continuing the enterprise by reproducing the chicks by using local hens for brooding. The present study has achieved its goal by initiating income generating activity in the rural farmers and developed the entrepreneurial skills which helped in enhancing the self esteem of rural SC/ST farmers.
The authors are thankful to the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India for funding the research.