Over 20 lakh birds perish in farms in East Godavari

The heat wave sweeping the State has taken a heavy toll on the poultry industry in East Godavari district.

Over 20 lakh birds have died in hundreds of farms spread across six mandals of the district since the first week of May and the toll is mounting with hundreds succumbing to the searing heat. Small farmers, already facing losses on account of increase in cost of poultry feed and labour charges, are the worst hit.

East Godavari occupies the first place in the State in layer chicks hatching and there are 1.65 crore chicks in different farms in the district. Anaparti and Bikkavolu occupy the pride of place with farms dotting the Mandapeta, Rangampeta, Rayavaram, Ravulapalem, Peddapuram and Tuni areas. Daily as many as 1.50 lakh eggs are exported to Bihar, Odisha, West Bengal and Rajasthan. However, since the first week of May, the production of eggs has come down to 90,000 a day, impacting exports.

Kovvuri Srikantha Reddy, a poultry farm owner of Rayavaram, says he has lost 5,000 chicks in last one week in his farm and puts the casualties in other farms in his village at 20,000. The casualties among broiler chicks are more when compared with layer chicks. The weight of broiler chicks has dropped – from 2 kg to 1.5 kg. B. Satti Reddy, president of the Ravulapalem poultry industry, says the total loss will be around Rs. 20 crore to 30 crore.