Poultry Farming in India – Top Chicken Breeds for Eggs and Meat

Poultry Chicken Breeds
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Poultry Chicken - Kadaknath

Poultry Farming Scope in India

India is the 5th largest producer of broiler (meat breed) in the world. Impressed? There’s more – in terms of production of eggs, India ranks 4 in the entire world! The road to efficient poultry farming & management is understanding the anatomy of chickens and accordingly, how chickens that are built differently from each other fare differently in egg production and meat yield comparisons. Let us look at the top egg-producing chicken breeds first –

Upkari

These poultry rooster hens are native to India and weigh around 1.5kg on average. Being some of the most efficient egg layers, these hens typically lay about 170 eggs annually. Within this breed exist certain sub-breeds as well, such as CARI Priya layer, CARI Sonali layer, CARI Devendra layer. Of these, the CARI Priya layer is the most efficient sub-breed, which can lay up to 280-300 eggs in a year, followed by CARI Sonali which can lay between 200-220 eggs annually. 

Plymouth Rock

Inherently an American breed, this chicken has been widely farmed in India for decades now due to its capacity to lay around 250 eggs every year. These hens don’t fare well in cages and are recommended for farmers who wish to farm free-range eggs.

Did you know that you can farm different types of eggs from the same breed, and sell them on different price points by altering your technique? Join us to learn more.

Orpington 

A popular choice among chicken farmers who’re looking for a pet as well as a layer, these friendly chickens hail from England but have been farmed extensively in India for many decades now. They come in beautiful and vibrant colors such as mauve, blue, black, or white and lay around 200 eggs every year.

Organic eggs - poultry farming

Bantam Chicken

Another chicken breed that is popular among pet and layer enthusiasts, these hens are relatively smaller in size and require less feed to thrive and survive. They need a mix of closed spaces made of sturdy material and open space to roam around. Typically, they lay around 150 eggs annually.

Kalamaki (Kadaknath)

The name of this breed comes from the color of its flesh (Kala–black, mas–meat) which is black in color and can be distinguished from other breeds at a mere glance. It also has some sacred connotations and is used for making sacrifices within Hindu mythology. While the black meat is highly prized for its medicinal and epicurean value, as a layer this breed can produce 100 or more eggs annually, making it a great dual-purpose variety to farm.

Hitkari

These birds are larger than your typical Indian layers and have characteristically long necks. These necks are not covered in fur and become reddish around the age of maturity. Annually, these birds can produce 100 eggs and are native to the Kerala region.

Some other varieties of layers that are engineered and cross-bred to improve laying output are CARI Nirbhek, Kamrupa, Pratapdhan and Jharsim, and can yield around 150 eggs on average annually.

For the purpose of its meat, chicken is farmed at different stages along its lifecycle. For instance, at the broiler stage, the chicken is around 6-8 weeks in age. The grower stage is attained at 10-20 weeks, depending on climate, feed and breed. Layers take the longest to mature (around 27-30 weeks) and only then do they start laying eggs. Let us look at some common breeds that are farmed for their meat in India–

Varnaraj

Aimed at providing livelihood to rural communities in Hyderabad, Varnaraj is a dual-purpose chicken that can thrive on natural, scavenged food with minimal supplementation and can be reared without much infrastructure. It has distinctive, colorful feathers and is immune to many diseases. When reared free-range, these chickens can produce 100 or more eggs annually and with regard to meat, at the broiler stage, Varnraj chickens’ weight is between 1.2-1.5 kg. 

Cariboo-91 (CARIbro Vishal)

At the broiler stage, these chickens can weigh around 2kg and therefore, make excellent meat varieties. It is typically white-feathered and has high disease resistance in addition to the incredibly fast growth pace. One of the most suitable varieties as per the Indian climate, this chicken is also economical in production due to its feed conversion capability.

Cariboo Multicolored

At the broiler stage, this variety weights between 1.6-2 kg, making it an extremely popular breed among poultry farmers and poultry enthusiasts. These birds are hardy and adapt well to changing climatic conditions, and survive well in tropical conditions–most of India. Additionally, they are resistant to diseases like bursal disease, Ranikhet, and other poultry-related infections. They come in many colors and are well accepted in the commercial broiler market.

There are innumerable CARI breeds that have been indigenously developed by cross-breeding and other methods of modification, in order to attain the best quality and quantity in yield – both in terms of eggs and meat. You can also consider growing dual variety chickens like Kadaknath, Rhode Island Red and New Hampshire which are prized for their meat as well as eggs. If you wish to read more about the varieties that have been developed in India, click here.

To start your own poultry farm, join Rocket Skills! You can also sign up for our upcoming poultry farming webinar where we will be discussing the current market, trends in rearing different varieties, and profitability of the commercial poultry business in India.

Harsh Gupta
Harsh Gupta

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