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Four young guys in a remote Dasokhao village of Ramgadh district near Ranchi were thinking of starting an enterprise with only a small initial investment. They came to know and interact with villagers in the area who have recently started vaccinating their backyard poultry (BYP). A local NGO named SUPPORT with the help of GALVmed is working in the area to establish a system of regular vaccination in BYP against Newcastle Disease (ND). Villagers are also trained to improve poultry housing and nutrition as well as the importance of regular vaccination of their local birds. This has resulted in less mortality and an increasing number of birds in the area.

These four young guys soon realised the potential income that can be generated from backyard poultry keeping. They noticed that nearby national highway restaurants sell local chickens at three times the higher price than broiler chickens. They were considering this new enterprise when a big backyard poultry event was held in the area. GALVmed and its partners from Africa and South Asia gathered in Ranchi in March 2015 to discuss backyard poultry and the control of ND. The delegates also visited some villages in the area including the one the young entrepreneurs were visiting while researching backyard poultry keeping. They decided to start backyard poultry keeping in an intensive system. They have built a house and are keeping many birds inside while providing feed and limited time grazing outside.

They also included a vaccinator, who has recently been trained by SUPPORT, the local NGO, on ND vaccination and other management of backyard poultry, into their team. They built a concrete poultry house surrounded by open area to graze their poultry, and they purchased 70 backyard poultry from the nearby village and started rearing them in the newly built house.

It is common in this area for tribal and non-tribal households to keep backyard poultry. They need chicken for when guests visit. Serving chicken to a guest for dinner or lunch is a matter of pride and honour for the villagers. They are currently unable to fulfil their household demand of local chicken. However, the recent ND vaccination programme has seeded some hope in villagers that bird numbers will increase. Starting a backyard poultry business is a reflection of their hope and faith that backyard poultry keeping can be a lucrative enterprise.

But they will have to find answers to some of the following questions to run this enterprise in a sustainable way.

  • Will this business be competitively cost effective if compared with broiler or layer farming?
  • Will this market and price sustain if many villagers will start similar enterprises?

The rate at which local birds convert feed into meat and egg is slow in comparison to broiler and layer. Now there is a demand for backyard poultry and it is being sold at a higher price in the local market. They will have to find the answers to these questions through time and practice. For now they can rear local birds earn more and learn more over time.