Dr Prachanda Kattel
Rearing poultry in Nepal’s villages goes dates back to history. We could find the village peoples rearing the village poultry from since long back, especially the Magar communities in the hills and Tharu communities in Tarai belt of Nepal. Village people reared the village poultry for the family consumption–a means of celebration–and to offer to the God. However, they ignored the economy and possible income generation from the poultry farming. Lack of knowledge on poultry health, management system, poor husbandry practices and other causes limit the production as well as the income generated from poultry farming and health benefits. This results in devastating economic and nutritional consequences. Working to improve village poultry systems provides opportunities to increase farmers’ understanding of nutrition, management of flock, and the origin and development of disease. The gained knowledge can contribute to poverty alleviation, household food security, and increased purchasing power, converting the folks into the privileged ones.
In rural communities, village poultry plays an essential role in homestead food production for household consumption and supplementary income. Nutritionally, village poultry contributes to meeting the essential nutrient needs of families. Chicken and eggs provide a readily available, high quality and inexpensive source of proteins, vitamins, and micronutrients accepted by all ethnic groups. Village poultry also increases food security for vulnerable families. Economically too, it can provide a ready source of cash, thanks to rising market of the chicken and other poultry products in all parts of the country.
Let us think about the income from an adult chicken. An adult hen can give five clauses in a year and at least she can lay 18 to 20 eggs in a clause means she produces up to 100 eggs in a year. If hatchability is 80 per cent then 8o chicks could be produced in a year. As well as if mortality rate is 20 per cent, we will get a high as 55 chicks in a year. Given such parameters, a farmer can sell at least 26 adult chickens in a year. Considering the cost of a local live chicken is Rs 700 in the market, the farmer can pocket RS 18,200 from an adult hen. This is the minimum income from one chicken but it has potentials beyond this too. So, poultry farming has a great scope in poverty alleviation in the village. Unfortunately, preference has been given only to the commercial operations by promoting crop production, large livestock, and large commercial flock by government.
We have challenges to reap more benefits from the village poultry due to the lone and major threat of Newcastle Disease. The Newcastle Disease (ND) is known as Rudhi in eastern Nepal while the people in the Mid Western region, especially in dang, call it Haija. In most of the South Asian nations, ND is known as Ranikhet disease. Generally, the Newcastle Disease outbreaks twice a year in the village and causes a huge loss every year in Nepal. The best solution of this disease is vaccination against the Newcastle Disease by administering the Lasota Vaccine Intraocularlly with the volume of each drop at the gap of every three-month. Prior to vaccination, deworming is recommended. This practice is successfully learned from the Heifer Project Nepal.
Dr Kattel worked as the Project Coordinator in Poultry skills project associated with Heifer Project Nepal and supported by UC-Davis, California.