Layer Birds in Jharkhand:
In Jharkhand, there is a huge deficit in terms of egg production. The state hardly produces 7-9% of the total requirement of eggs. The eggs are coming to these states from Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. Thus there is a very good opportunity for promoting layer farming in Jharkhand. Unlike the broiler market, the egg market is spread across rural areas, and farm eggs are seen in shops of rural areas. So the egg market is of copious nature, and the production shall get sold locally. Overall the egg market is relatively stable unlike broiler and it is generally governed by a national level body “National Egg Coordination Committee-NECC”. Above all, the return in layer farming is good i.e. on an average Rs.70-150 per hen over a period of 72 weeks. In the proposed new initiative by Jharkhand Women Self-supporting Poultry Co-operatives Federation, the livelihood opportunity for 600 families will be generated and the state will ensure 9 crores eggs additionally.
Model of layer farming:
This will be similar to small-holder broiler farming, and the existing broiler producers who have sufficient space for constructing layer shad may take up this activity. Each producer will construct a poultry shed of 500 sq ft away from the broiler shed. The birds will be reared in cages, so the required numbers of cages will be installed in the shed. The cages will be provided with a nipple drinking system connected to a tank fitted above the cages, so watering will happen automatically. However, feeding and egg collection shall be performed manually. The most technically complicated part of layer farming is to grow chicks up to 16 weeks (pullet) during which all the complicated procedures like de-beaking, deforming, weight monitoring to reduce variation, parental vaccinations, etc. get done. So, the pullet will be reared centrally and given to the producers. This will eliminate the long gestation period of 18 weeks before egg laying at producers end.
A producer will get the pullet at 16 weeks of age. She is provided with poultry shed fitted with layer cages to rear up to 500 birds. The pullets will start laying from 17-18 weeks onward and may produce up to 320 eggs during the life cycle of another 52 weeks. The birds are culled usually at 70-72 weeks of age during which they weigh around 1.5 kg each. The culled birds are sold between 50-55 Rs. per kg. The cooperative will leverage its existing system of small-holder poultry model. It will organize for the backward and forward linkages. Cooperative will purchase pullets and raw materials from the market in bulk, distribute to the producers and collect their daily production of eggs and sell them to traders/market in bulk.
There is an SP at village level like that of broiler farming, who will provide support to the producers like raw material distribution, production support, health care, collection of eggs and record keeping, etc. The cooperative will try to create local rural markets in its operational area. This will increase the realization besides increasing egg consumption at villages and addressing malnutrition.
Farmers will get pullets of 16 weeks of age. A farmer shall perform feeding, watering, and egg collection. A bird will lay avg. 110-120 eggs over a period of 52 weeks of production life. During this period, a bird consumes 40-41 kg of layer feed, and they receive one ND killed vaccine at mid pay (40 weeks of age), and Lasota with an interval of 45 days.
Economics of Layer farming (with 500 birds unit):
Space requirement: 0.8 sq ft per bird, thus for 500 birds a total of 400 sq ft of land is required away from broiler shed.