Tamil Nadu

Focus on local flavours puts naatu kozhi back on table

In demand: Animal Husbandry Minister Udamalai K. Radhakrishnan pets a fowl in Chennai

In demand: Animal Husbandry Minister Udamalai K. Radhakrishnan pets a fowl in Chennai   | Photo Credit: B_JOTHI RAMALINGAM

Rising demand makes farmers go in for native breed

S. Ebenezer keeps 300 native chickens at his farm in Padappai in the outskirts of Chennai. He has a weekly order for 1,000 eggs and it is beyond his capacity to meet the demand.

“I am here to find another partner, so that we can supply eggs regularly as there is a demand for another 1,000,” said Mr. Ebenezer, who was at the ‘National Conference on Native Chicken (naatu kozhi) Production: Opportunities for Conservation, Productivity Enhancement and Commercial Exploitation in view of Global Warming’.

The conference was inaugurated by Animal Husbandry Minister Udumalai K. Radhakrishnan in the presence of C. Balachandran, Vice-Chancellor, Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (Tanuvas), Chennai.

Mr. Ebenezer owns one acre of land and is practising backyard poultry farming. He allows birds to roam freely instead of keeping them in cages. He is among the farmers who had come to Chennai from various parts of the State to gain first-hand experience in native chicken farming.

“I had 2,000 chickens of the Asil breed. But lack of experience in farming led to losses. The revenue did not match what I had spent for rearing the birds. That is why I am here,” said K.N. Udayanan, a former Transport Department official.

The demand for eggs and meat of native chickens has encouraged more and more farmers to opt for their rearing.

Global warming

“Global warming is posing a threat to the birds introduced from abroad. The native breeds have the capacity to tolerate heat and diseases. We can also rear them without any negative effect on the environment. They need vaccination but not antibiotics on a regular basis,” said Dr. A.V. Omprakash, Professor and Head, Poultry Research Station, Chennai.

He said the idea was to involve more and more people to opt for native chicken farming instead of resorting to mass production, as was being done in the case of broilers.

India has 22 native breeds, evolved from the Red Jungle Fowl, and Asil, a native breed from Andhra Pradesh, which are the most sought after birds in southern India. The native breed called Kadaknath is more popular in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. Dr. Balachandran said that as people had become health conscious and returned to traditional food habits, native chicken has also gained in popularity.

While the egg-laying capacity of native chickens is comparatively low, Tanuvas was able to increase egg production through selective breeding, particularly in Asil.

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Printable version | Apr 8, 2020 7:25:40 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/focus-on-local-flavours-puts-naatu-kozhi-back-on-table/article25792496.ece

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