Mrs. Manimaran a marginal poultry farmer in Periyapetty village, Namakkal district, Tamil Nadu, India has a poultry farm with 20,000 layer chickens capacity. Earlier, she was raising layer (egg layers) chickens purchased from the market and had to contend with the poor income realized from the farm. She interacted some time ago with the scientists of All India Coordinated Research Project (AICRP) Unit on Poultry Breeding under Indian Council of Agricultural Research at Mannuthy, Kerala. She came to know about the high producing heat tolerant Athulya strain (ILM-90) cross of IWN and IWP lines of layer chicken developed for high egg production with desirable egg weight at Mannuthy over the last thirty four years under the AICRP on Poultry Breeding, co-ordinated and monitored by Project Directorate on Poultry, Rajendranagar, Hyderabad.
Mrs. Manimaran purchased 2,800 Athulya day-old chicks from Mannuthy centre and initiated rearing under the supervision of scientists of AICRP. She reared the chicks in deep litter house and experienced lower chick and grower mortality compared to other strains of birds. At 16 weeks of age, pullets were shifted to layer cages. The birds started laying during 16th week of age. Mrs. Manimaran realized 5%, 50% and 90% production on 130th, 149th and 208th days of age, respectively. Egg weights were 50.6 g, 53.8 g and 57.5 g, respectively.
Mrs. Manimaran received premium price (Rs. 4-5 more per 100 eggs) for the larger eggs laid by the hens even from the early laying period itself. The mortality was also low during the laying period. In one full production cycle (up to 72 weeks of age) she obtained about 303 eggs per bird. Higher body weight also fetched her higher price for culled birds. She also noticed that the chickens were heat tolerant during the summer months.
Mrs. Manimaran has earned a profit of approximately Rs.2,92,100 from 2,800 of Athulya chickens. She spent Rs. 18,24,800 on feed, Rs 56,000 for purchase of chicks, Rs. 54,000 for labour and Rs. 18,200 as miscellaneous expenses. She realized a revenue of Rs. 20,77,920 from sale of eggs, Rs. 1,48,200 from sale of spent hens, Rs. 2,600 from manure and Rs. 16,380 from sale of empty feed gunny bags.
Now she is planning to increase the stock of Athulya chickens in her farm. She is in regular touch with scientists in AICRP on Poultry Breeding, Mannuthy centre for Athulya chicks and necessary guidance. She is also encouraging other farmers to rear Athulya layer chickens.
AICRP on Poultry Breeding, Mannuthy centre has brought prosperity to layer famers in the region by developing Athulya - a high egg producing layer chicken strain. Besides high production, Athulya possesses high degree of disease resistance and heat tolerance.
(Source: Animal Science Divison, ICAR)