Back yard poultry - a profitable enterprise to of a retired teacher.
Mrs. Kumariamma was a working woman for the past 30 years and she retired from service as the headmistress of a lower primary school. Right from her childhood she was interested in farming. Even during her tight schedule as a teacher she took active interest in agriculture and farming and utilized her hard earned leisure time for rearing farm animals like goat and cow and pets like cats and dogs. She even encouraged her students to take interest in agriculture and allied areas.
After her hectic schedule during her working life on retirement she found that she could not adjust with a dull and inactive life. That was when she happened to visit Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Pathanamthitta where she went through the Training calendar and opted to enroll for training in advanced poultry rearing and management systems. She attended the training wholeheartedly whereby she got lots of information on the different economical rearing practices of layers .After her training she procured 25 numbers of two month old Grama Lakshmi variety of chicks from Krishi Vigyan Kendra. She had a shed which was lying unutilized which she converted into two poultry sheds thereby reducing the initial investment for infrastructure. From the knowledge she gathered from the training she carried out proper cleaning and disinfection of the shed prior to placing the chicks in them. She took immense care to feed the chicks in such a way so that their nutritional requirements were met. After around three months of rearing, her birds started laying and she was elated. However, she noticed that the number of eggs she got reduced in number. She also observed that some of the eggs she got from the shed were either cracked or had holes in them and some were even crushed and thus lost.
She spoke about this problem to the KVK team. They felt that disturbance caused during feeding and watering could adversely affect egg production. On their advice, she took up a method of feeding and watering of the layers from outside the shed by way of modified PVC pipe feeders and waterers and she also placed small nest boxes inlayed with sawdust at the darkened corners of the shed so that the eggs could be laid there.
On KVK intervention made her to go more deep in to poultry rearing and she also started taking advantage of the photoperiodism effect in birds whereby the birds show better production if the day light is prolonged. For this she put CFL bulbs in her poultry sheds so that her layers would produce more. During the training she was advised feeding like azolla in the feed to reduce the cost of feeding. She incorporated azolla in the diet of the layers and found that not only her cost of feeding was reduced but the egg yolk was also bright yellow in colour thereby increasing consumer acceptance. On advise by the KVK team she also incorporates boiled, drained and mashed jack fruit seed (which is protein rich and also plentiful in her house ) in the feed to reduce the cost of feeding
She, who was on the verge of boredom after retirement finds her life very active now. Her family gives her all the support and they are also very enthusiastic about her small business. When she felt that her chicks were doing good, she procured forty more high yielding variety of chicks from KVK and placed them in the adjacent shed that was laying vacant over the time. Now all her chicks are laying and she gets an average of around forty eggs a day. She says that marketing has never been a problem for her. Not even an egg goes waste .All the eggs are sold through neighbouring shops or to neighbours. She sells her eggs at Rs.3/- Sometimes when the demand is high she says that people are even ready to pay Rs.3.50 for an egg as there is a preference for eggs of home reared birds .She mainly uses family labour for feeding ,watering, cleaning and egg collection .Only occasionally (once in a month) when she clears up the whole shed and puts new dried saw dust she engages a hired hand at a rate of Rs.150/- per day .She feels that she has become more lively now and even earns a handsome amount from this little farm she has.
She was set as an example for elderly people in farming by KVK during a TV show on the popular agri based programme in Asianet called Kissan Krishi Deepam during the month of August 2009 which invited numerous queries .A number of house wives, retired ladies and even working women have come forward to follow her example to start up small income generating poultry units. She is a happy and contended lady now who calls upon her fellow ladies to follow her path-to get wealth from work