Poultry Rearing

The tribal communities in our area have been engaged in keeping poultry birds for years now. But poultry is mostly treated as a “zero investment” activity, with very low amounts being spent on the health and living conditions of the poultry birds. High mortality on account of dieases and predation is an endemic problem in poultry. Often the entire lot of birds would get wiped out if diseases like Ranikhet (New Castle Disease) break out. Given that many of the households cannot afford to build a shelter for the poultry birds to be protected from harsh weather or predators, many would become preys at the hands of cats, dogs, snakes and vultures. Local doctors would be called to treat diseases and vaccinations were practically unheard of.

By creating awareness and initiating some amount of investment in healthcare, vaccinations, feed and building shelters, the poultry programme of SPS has tried to help farmers reduce mortality rate of their birds and make poultry a viable source of income. Starting with 15 sheds constructed on a pilot basis in Sevanpani and Patpadi villages, this activity now covers around 400 farmers of the area. Farmers are now being encouraged to build sheds to keep their poultry safe from harsh weather conditions as well as from predators. These poultry-sheds are big enough to accommodate 100 birds and have water and feeders installed which allows the farmer to monitor the amount of food intake by the birds. Vaccination becomes easier as it can be mixed in their food or individually administered by the doctors or para-vets. They are raised here for 3 months by which time they should weigh 1.5 to 2 kilos to be sold in the market.

A major problem in poultry, in addition to feeding, vaccination and protection, is the availability of good breed of healthy chicks. So far, we have worked with two breeds-Satpura Desi and Kadaknath. To ensure steady supply of these breeds to poultry farmers, we have set up a Chick Rearing Center (CRC) in village Sevanpani. This CRC can house 2400 chicks at one time. The CRC is owned by the SHG Federation Udainagar Pragati Samiti, but managed by SPS under a five-year contract. One day old chicks are brought in batches of 2400 to the CRC and kept there for 15 days, after which they are distributed to the poultry farmers in batches of 100. SPS also reduces mortality rates by maintaining the inside temperature of the CRC, as chicks grow healthy in enclosures around 35 degree-Celsius. Poultry supervisors are also provided medical supplies to treat and vaccinate chickens against diseases like the Ranikhet Disease (New Castle Disease), which if untreated can result in almost 100% mortality in one stroke, especially during winters. The cost of medicines and feed at the CRC is covered through the price at which chicks are purchased from the farmers.