Backyard birds like duck and hen are reliable source of livelihoods for ultra poor and women headed families across globe. Although poultry has seen high growth with broiler poultry model but ultra poor had not benefitted proportionately. Due to limited capital and low risk bearing they are still engaged in low cost indigenous hen and duck farming.
Present free range backyard poultry also has inherent advantages which attracts poor rural farmers.
- Cost of feeding is almost negligible as birds themselves collect food through village waste.
- Local birds are well adapted to local conditions including management system of the area.
- Diversity of birds provides high adaptation and choice to people.
However these birds have to invest significant time on sitting and brooding of chicks leading to overall low egg production. If we compare two to three cycles of their incubation, hatching and brooding time, it consumes almost 30 to 35% their time , which if saved can enhance productivity of local hen to a significantly high level (estimated 70% higher number of eggs can be produced).
However most of hatchery present day is too large and mainly focused to single breed suited largely for either broiler farming or some colored bird of local variety but limited in diversity. People’s choice of multiplying their own best poultry breed or progeny of high yielding hen or duck is not getting a place in this system. Breed like Aseel which is largely used for local fighting and have high defense capability did not find options to be replicated in present large hatchery system. Such system also have constraints in serving remote rural population and conserve local diversity.
As electricity supply is constraint in rural areas, The goat trust has been working on standardization of solar based small hatchery of 500 egg capacity in a cluster of poultry farmers (focus on ducks and hen both). Hatchery is supposed to be leased to an entrepreneur who provides rent based egg hatching and brooding facility. As per model, duck or hen farmer can come with their own choice of eggs and can take away ducklings on 28th day or chicks on 21st day. They have option of getting brooded and vaccinated ducklings and chick as a brooding house is also operated along with hatchery.
As per estimation Rs 15 is charged towards chicks, Rs 20 for ducklings and brooding charge is Rs 5 per day. An innovation of writing date and details of eggs on egg shell has been developed at The Goat Trust to identify chicks from particular egg and color band is used to identify chicks under brooding condition.
||Per batch cost
|Hatchery machine with installation and solar unit
||Rs 1800 (assuming 50 batch capacity)
|Electricity bills & sanitation
|Repair & maintenance
|Estimated receipt through 400 ducklings/chicks (80% hatching) @Rs 15
|Profit per batch
|Annual profit assuming 5 batch in a year
As for some of local breed of hen used for fighting, farmers are ready to pay Rs 50 per chick; profit may get on higher side and can easily take care of capital for replacement of hatchery before 10 years. Entrepreneur has also opportunity to work on adult chicks/ducks selling as complementary business and can enhance profitability further.