June 3, 2011

High temperature takes its toll on northern India's poultry business

Indian poultry raisers in the north coastal districts continue to feel the heat after the death of 2.5 lakh birds due to soaring mercury and high humidity in the last two months.
Bird production has dropped by 20% in the districts of Visakhapatnam, Vizianagaram and Srikakulam. Because of the high mortality rate of the birds, farmers who bought each chick at a lower price two months ago could not even recover the cost of the feed.
Normally, feed of four kilos in 40 days helps the chick to grow into a two-kg bird. The chick price and four-kg feed comprising soy, corn and others cost the farmers nearly INR120 (US$2.68). But the farmers earned only half of it on each bird this season. "This has resulted in huge losses to them," a poultry farmers association leader rued.
They were also undone by the drop in egg production to the tune of 15-20%. Poultry farmer Sadaram Ananda Rao of Anandapuram village said apart from the loss of birds due to heat, they ended up in losses due to dip in egg production.
Experts said the life of chicks is at great risk in summer as they do not have sweat glands to let out heat from the body. "Generally, the chicken have high temperatures in their bodies. The suitable condition for the bird farming is 32-33 degree Celsius. If the temperature goes up, the mortality rate too swells," veterinary doctor Karunakar explained.
While the north coastal region produces 30 lakh broiler chicken a month, the consumption revolves around 20-25 lakh birds every month. Each bird, in general, weighs 2-2.5 kg. "That means about one crore people of this region would have consumed 40-50 lakh kgs of chicken every month," an expert said.
However, the poultry traders said the situation wasn't as bad as it was in the last three years. "This year the losses were only to the tune of 50%," Broiler Association of Greater Vizag (BAG) former president N Nageswara Rao told TOI. About 6-7 lakh birds had died due to severe heat wave last year, he recalled.

BAG president T Adinarayana said despite the setbacks in the form of death of birds this year, poultry chicken of north coastal districts had a great demand in Orissa and West Bengal.

Video >

Follow Us