Broiler chicken farming in India


May 17, 2018

Broiler farming can be done in small scale poultry farm to large industrial broiler farm. Discover how to plan and set up a broiler farm in India. Broiler chicken farming is one of the most profitable livestock business in India.

Broiler chicken is the most popular bird in poultry farming in India. Broilers are reared for commercial marketing of the chicken meat. Broilers are small chickens that are 5-6 weeks old. They are tender with flexible bones. Broiler farming needs very little investment since they can be grown and marketed within six weeks.

The tender meat of a young chicken grown from a hatch is called broiler. In its broadest sense, broilers are chicken raised specifically for the meat purpose from its hatch. It is an important protein source. It also contains vitamins and minerals in sufficient amounts. Owing to the technological advancements and commercial development there are specially developed broilers available. These breeds are different from egg laying birds used in layer poultry farming. These grow quickly and have a high efficiency of conversion. In addition, poultry manure has a very high fertilizer value that can be used for increasing the crop yield in organic farming.

Broiler – The Popular Bird

Broilers typically have a yellowish skin and white feathers. They attain their slaughter weight between 4-6 weeks of age. However, slow growing ones attain slaughter weight when they are 14 weeks old. Since the broilers are slaughtered young, they are immature.

Scope of Broiler Farming in India:

India is the fifth largest broiler producer in the world. However, the per capita availability of poultry meat is far below the ICMR recommendation which is 11 Kg meat per capita per annum. Farmers no longer find it difficult to market the broilers since there are many corporate companies that have enabled a suitable rearing environment for the farmers. Since broiler chickens are slaughtered at the age of 6-8 weeks farmers find it easier to rear broilers. Broilers provide adequate employment opportunities to the poultry production system. In past few years, considerable progress has been made with respect to equipment, vaccines, technical guidance, etc. owing to an improvement in the management practices, occurrence of mortality has decreased to a great extent. There are also institutes providing training to entrepreneurs. Also, since there is considerable importance given to broilers in the national policy, the scope for further development seems good.

Broiler Chicken Breeds
Since broiler breeds are reared chiefly for meat purposes they are divided into 2 categories:
  1. Commercial broiler breeds
  2. Dual purpose broiler breeds
Commercial Broiler Chicken Breeds

They are reared for the chicken meat alone and are slaughtered when they attain 6-8 weeks of age. There are genetically modified commercial broiler breeds available. These are modified genetically to produce meat rather than egg. Such breeds have increased meat production and a higher conversion rate. The chicken can be of either sex. Some examples of broiler chicken that are bred commercially are Hubbard, Cobb, Caribro, Avian, Krishibro, Varna, Vencobb, Hy-cobb, etc.

Dual Purpose Broiler Chicken Breeds

Dual purpose breeds are reared for both eggs and meat. They are generally the ‘backyard’ variety. They are self-reliant, hardy and have a larger body. The eggs that they lay have a brown-colored shell. Some examples of this breed are Rhode Island Red, New Hampshire, White Plymouth Rock, Gramapriya, Red Vanaraja, etc.

House Facilities and Management

Broiler chicken farming house

The housing facilities for poultry must be situated away from industrial area, yet have a good accessibility such as good roads, markets, etc. Basic facilities like clean drinking water must be available. The hen coop or the houses must be constructed at a elevation so that there is no water logging during heavy rains. There should adequate amount ventilation, sunlight and shade. The fresh air must pass through the brooder shed, grower shed and layer shed precisely in that order. This would prevent the spread of diseases from layers to brooder. Store rooms, administration office, etc. must be located at the entrance of the housing facility to minimize the movement people around the sheds. Similarly sick room and disposal pits must be located at the extreme end.

Broilers can be reared in cages or on floor litter. The cage construction is similar to grower cage with the floor having a plastic coating to avoid blisters.

The Advantages of Cage Rearing in Broiler Farming
    High rearing density
  1. Litter expense is negligible
  2. It is easier to disinfect and clean the area.
  3. The growth and feed efficiency of the birds is better.
  4. Reduced incidence of cannibalism.

However, cage rearing the broilers have some disadvantages too.

Disadvantages of Cage Rearing in Broiler Farming
  1. Initial cage investment is high.
  2. Fecal tray cleaning is a laborious process.
  3. The wing bones tend to be brittle.
  4. There is a higher chance of the broilers developing breast blisters and crooked keel.
  5. During summers the birds are restless owing to heat and lack of fresh air circulation.

Up to the age of 18 days, broilers need 450 cm2 of floor space, 3cm feed space and 1.5 cm water space. For birds ranging from 19 to 42 days of age they need a floor space of 1000 cm2, 6-7 cm of feed space and 3 cm of water space.