Switched to layer poultry farming from broiler to have consistent and better earnings
Sudha Poultry Farm is run by Mrs. Suchita Patil and Mr. Sunil Patil. Initially it was set up as broiler poultry farm but later changed to layer poultry farm. Highlighting the benefits Mr. Patil says, “In layer, there are no drastic price fluctuations in the market as wholesale rate more or less remains constant. It is less competitive than broiler because now many corporate are involved in the broiler poultry business. Their production cost is less than ours by Rs. 7/bird. So it is more prone for loss.”
The farm is located in the village, 90 km from Thane, Mumbai. “In 1985 both of us worked in a poultry farm for 2 years. After gaining some insight into the business we set up our own farm on our ancestral land. It was a broiler farm. Slowly and gradually as we earned we used to re-invest the profits and expanded the farm operations. It was going on well but then fatal disease of bird flu hit the market and the prices were slashed down drastically,” shares Mr. Patil.
Patil couple suffered huge loss that was too hard to bear. Therefore they decided to switch to layer farming. Today they have 5,500 poultry birds that lay eggs all the year round. “It was the second life to our business with layer farm. Existing infrastructure was used to best of its possibility but an add-on investment of Rs. 7.5 lakh was made for the cage to accommodate layer poultry birds,” he elaborates. The money was taken on loan and there was no subsidy available from the Government for this rural business venture. “It is been five years now the farm is running successfully by God’s grace. We have paid back the loan amount.”
Poultry chicks are sourced from Venkateshwara Hatcheries, Pune. “We prefer buying the chicks from the hatcheries because it is disease resistant and requires very less care. Conversely if we develop the chicks on our own then it might start laying egg a little early and save some money but it is a very high risk as the chances for mortality is more than 60%! Besides the vaccination is also a big stressful task. Poultry birds sourced from hatcheries starts laying eggs in 19th weeks where as self-developed birds will lay eggs from 17th week. We opt for buying birds from Venkateshwara Hatcheries,” explains Mr. Patil. Cost incurred to develop the chick at the farm is Rs. 150/chick while company sells at Rs. 175/bird. “Difference of Rs. 25/- should not be considered because it is not saving instead is double hard work and risk,” he emphasizes.
Once the bird weighs minimum 1200 grams then only egg-laying must begin else the size of egg is small that is sold at less price. “We buy birds from the hatchery and they promise it to be 1 kg but in reality it weighs 800 gram to 1 kg. Therefore we nurture all the birds for another four weeks so that it gains the weight. Then the egg laying process starts,” he states.
Feed is given twice a day. On an average one single bird takes 100-110 gm/day. “When it is a chick it eats 60 gm/day but as it grows the feed also increases. So throughout its life it eats 100-110 gm/day,” he clarifies.
Feed is made in-house all the year round except for the 2-3 months during rainy season. During rains it is difficult to dry the feed so it is purchased from Dhulia based Simran company. “I usually buy 12-15 ton in one single order. It suffices for a month,” he adds. When it is prepared at the farm, raw materials are procured from the market and processed in the feed producing machine. “We make two different types of feed. One is for 15-19 weeks old chicks while other is for 22 and above weeks old chicks. For the type one, we mix together 250 kg concentrate (it is a mix of vitamin and mineral), corn 235 kg and 15 kg celfeed. All these three ingredients make ½ ton feed. For type two, we mix 175 kg concentrate, 250 kg corn, 40kg JRB, 35 kg celfeed and 750 gm toxin branders,” he shares. Layer birds need more protein than the broiler birds then only the egg quality will be better. “Farm made feed is superior in quality and reduces the production cost. My farm is small so in just one hour the feed gets ready.”
Eggs are collected between 1 -4 pm. “It takes one hour to collect all the eggs. On an average one bird lays 300-310 eggs per year,” informs Mr. Patil. Eggs are sold every day in the local market while once in week it is sent to the wholesale market in Palghar, Maharasthra. “Egg has a shelf life of two weeks therefore it is viable to send one full vehicle (mini truck) to the wholesale market.”
Every day National Egg Corporation release wholesale price of 100 eggs. “We get 10-15 paisa less per egg. If they say Rs. 400 per 100 eggs then we fetch Rs. 385-390 per 100 eggs. If the trader sends his vehicle at the farm for the egg take away then we get Rs. 375 per 100 eggs,” he shares.
Poultry dung makes excellent manure for the horticulture crops. Unfortunately its’ worth is either unknown to the farmers or it is lacks the systematic selling process. Dung is collected from below the cage and stored in the dumping ground. “It is sold at Rs. 2,200 per 1 gross ton. The money is less but no other go as farmers are not educated enough to understand the benefits of using the poultry dung,” asserts Mr. Patil.
The entire stock is changed every year. The birds are sold to the trader who specializes in buying layer poultry birds. These are sold at lesser rate than the broiler birds. “Traders sell layer birds directly to the five-star hotels. If the market rate of broiler is Rs. 100/kg then the layer bird is sold at Rs. 100/bird that weighs approximately 1400-1600 grams,” he accentuates.
When asked about contract farming model in broiler poultry, “It is good as well as bad. Good because it gives some earning avenues but bad because companies earn much more than the farmer. Entire investment, risk and hard work is done by the farmer while company only gives the feed. If there is mortality it has to be borne by the farmers. They are paid less compared to the inputs made by the farmer in the business. Hence I recommend layer farming to the farmers,” opines Mr. Patil.
In future, Patil couple plans to expand the farm operations. “This business is lucrative when the person is himself involved whole heartedly in routine operations. It cannot be outsourced! Sitting at Mumbai it is impossible to run poultry farm profitably in Hyderabad or any other location. One small negligence and disease spreads like fire leading to high mortality. If the individual is ready to work sincerely and personally then lucrative returns are guaranteed in the poultry business!” concludes Mr. Patil.