Odisha has suffered a huge setback in poultry research and commercialisation as the parent stock of birds, being maintained in two prominent research centres, has been eliminated in the culling operation carried out following detection of bird flu here.

By evening on Monday more than 37,000 pure bred birds, had been culled in farms of the Central Poultry Development Organisation (CPDO) and veterinary college of the Orissa University of Agriculture Technology (OUAT) here.

The CPDO had 29,857 poultry birds in layer chicken, quail, guinea fowl and turkey while OUAT firms possessed about 8000 birds.

“The loss is immeasurable. We had developed the stock after 15 to 16 years of research under a project of the Indian Council of Agriculture Research. We had achieved almost all parameters outlined in the research objective,” P.K. Mishra, head of the Department of Poultry Sciences, OUAT, told The Hindu here on Monday.

Prof. Mishra said: “The chicken breed, developed at OUAT firm, stood first in the country in performance testing at the Central Poultry Performance Testing Centre in Gurgaon. The demand was so high that we were not able to supply enough to the poultry farmers in the State.”

Sources said OUAT officials made desperate pleas to the Fisheries and Animal Research Development (FARD) department to spare the stock since the farm was on the borderline area within a three-km radius of the CPDO campus which was the epicentre of avian influenza. But the request was turned down.

“We did not have any mortality in the farm which indicated that our stock was unaffected in the bird flu outbreak,” Prof. Mishra said.

The CPDO had been maintaining a rare breed of poultry birds such as Rhode Island Red, quail and guinea fowl in its facility at Jaydev Vihar in the capital city.

The Kalinga Brown, the egg-laying breed developed by the CPDO here, was a top parent stock in the country with a huge demand.

Although two private farms were maintaining breeders' stocks in their facility in Cuttack and Dhenkanal district, those breeds were no match for the CPDO, OUAT stock.

The State government deployed 10 rapid response teams to carry out culling here. Surveillance teams went door to door in search of poultry birds to destroy them. A full-fledged culling operation outside research institutions will take place on Tuesday.