Livestock Research for Rural Development 22 (10) 2010 Notes to Authors LRRD Newsletter

Citation of this paper

Effect of management intervention on the productivity and profitability of indigenous chickens under rural condition in Bangladesh

M J Hossen

Department of Animal Science, Patuakhali Science & Technology University, Dumki, Patuakhali, Bangladesh.


The research was conducted to determine the performance of indigenous chicken through management interventions and compare with traditional husbandry practices.


It was found that local chickens of Bangladesh lay average 3 clutches and annual egg production of about 45 in a year, average clutch duration 17 days and yielding 15 eggs in each clutch under scavenging management. About 124 days needs to complete a production cycle. Survivability of village chicks is about 43 % and about 30 % of them reached the age of production. In this traditional management of local chickens, a rural household earn a minimum bare profit, 47.3 US$ (1 US$=70 BDT) per annum from poultry enterprises. Management interventions like separation of chicks (Weaning) and creep feeding of chicks helps to increase egg production and reduced mortality of local chickens. Weaning increases clutches from 3 to 6 and average production cycle completed with in 68 days. Egg production increases 4egss/clutch and total from 45 to 96 per hen in a year. Creep feeding system of management increases chick’s livability from 43 % to 87 %. These enhance egg production and low mortality of family chickens might contribute to increase income from 47.3 US$ to 342 US$ per annum of the households.

Key word: Creep feeding, family poultry, income, performance, supplementary feeding and weaning


The rural poultry playing a vital role both to the national economy and nutrition but they are poor meat and egg producers. About 74 % house holds rear poultry domestically and only 1 % rear poultry commercially (Hossain 2003). It is estimated that there are about 207 million chickens and 39 million ducks in Bangladesh in the year of 2006-07 and livestock sub sector contributed about 2.95% of national economy (DLS 2008). Local chickens may be regarded as “Credit Card” to the rural women that instantly available for sale or Barter. Birds are non-descriptive indigenous type and reared under scavenging husbandry practices. The indigenous hens are small in size (average live wt. 1140 g) and produce 45 eggs per year (Ahmed and Hasnath  1983) and feed conversion efficiency is 1:4.5 (Sazzad et al 1990). Due to the innumerable functions, they are not able to express their full production potential (Sarkar 2006). Consequently output of family chickens is subsistence and adhoc. But it is seen that management interventions increases the egg production and livability of indigenous chickens. To ascertain the merit and effectiveness of principles and modalities of management interventions like separation of chicks (Weaning), creep feeding and supplementation of broody hens were carried out with the following objectives:

i) To asses the production performance of local chickens under traditional husbandry practices in rural conditions.

ii) To estimate the productivity and profitability of indigenous chicken through management interventions

iii) To know the economy of feed supplementation to broody hen.


Material and methods 

To achieve the objectives on farm trails were undertaken in Smallholder Livestock Development Project-2 (SLDP-2), a project of DANIDA in Luxmipur district of Bangladesh.


Productivity and economic output of local chickens


To know the productivity and economic output of indigenous family chickens, random based survey was carried out in 48 households (hhs) of four villages, namely Chakchar (16-hhs), Tumchar (14-hhs), Charruhita (10-hhs) and Dalalbazar (8-hhs) in Luxmipur. The following data were collected: 

i. Flock size and pattern.

ii. Efficiency of the flock.

iii. Hatchability and surviavality of chicks, and

iv. Profitability of the flock.


For calculation of total economic output, cash income, household consumptions, sell and barter of eggs, chicks and hens were including in calculation. Data were collected by interviewing the households in a special formats designed by author for these purposes. Collected data were cross-examined.


Productivity and profitability of indigenous chicken through management interventions


Egg production and livability are the main determinants of profitability of family flocks. Mortality of chicks accounts for highest losses in family chicken production system (Kitalyi 1995). Egg production of indigenous chickens can be increased by reducing duration of rearing period of chicks by broody hens (Sarkar 2006). Better management, improved nutrition and bio-security reduced the mortality of village chicks. Considering these facts, the following management interventions were under taken with a view to explore the productivity of local chickens.

(a) Weaning of chicks (Separation of chicks from broody mother at an early period of 5-14 days of its life).

(b) Continuance of body conditions of broody hens, and

(c) Creep feeding practices for chicks.


The research was carried out in Luxmipur sadar of SLDP-2 project. Forty-eight households (beneficiaries) were involved in these trials. Trials took place for a period of 12 months and performed under direct involvement and supervision of a trained technical team comprising Programme Assistant Technicals (PATs: 5), and the author (himself was area manager). A total of 48 hhs were involved in conformity trails. Interventions were continued to practice for 12 months. Day to day data was recorded in special formats. Recorded data were analyzed.

Separation of chicks (Weaning)


Beneficiaries (hhs) under trial were advised to separate chicks from broody mother 5 days after hatch in summer and 10-15 days in winter. Chicks were supplied with commercial balance diet by confining in locally made low cost multi-storied battery type houses. In addition to feed other necessary care and management were also provided. Broody mother were separated from chicks, provided with supplemental feed (55-95g layer mash per day) and kept confined for 3-5 days. After 5 days broody mother was allowed to move freely. Removal of the instinct of broodiness and to bring her to lay soon after incubation was the main objectives of separation. The following data were recorded i) date of separation, ii) commencement of next clutch, iii) clutch duration and iv) egg production per clutch for individual broody hen.


Health maintenance of broody hens


In backyard husbandry practices rural women usually offer little or no feed to broody hens, which resulted in enormous loss of body weight of broody hens during incubation and delayed next clutch. Women (beneficiaries) involved in trail were divided into 4 treatment groups. Each treatment group consisted of 12 beneficiaries (each beneficiary was regarded as replication) having at least 3 incubating hens and advised to offer 55, 75, and 95g layer mash respectively per hen daily containing 18 .2 % crude proteins. Treatment group provided with readily available home grown feed (Broken wheat and wheat bran containing 8.5 % CP) was considered as control. Feeds were supplied to the beneficiaries on weekly basis by properly weighing and packing for individual hen. Initial body weight of hens and wt at the day of hatch were recorded. Body wt of hens at 7 and 14 days after hatched were also recorded to know the rate of body wt gain at least up to two weeks after hatch. Data on commencement of next clutch, clutch duration and egg production per clutch were recorded for individual broody hen.


Creep feeding practices for indigenous chicks


Almost 100% women allow their chicks to scavenge immediately after hatch with broody mother. Cerial grains (Broken rice, wheat broken, whole grain) boil rice or other kind of feeds that available in the house is offered to the chicks. Almost no measures are taken to protect chicks from predators and diseases, which resulted in huge mortality of chicks. To reduce mortality, creep feeding of chicks was practiced under confinement up to 4 weeks (four weeks is consider to be vulnerable to chick’s life) followed by semi-scavenging management. Multi storied battery type houses were made by locally available materials with minimum cost (7-14 US$/house) was used for this purpose. The house is found very useful and cost effective. Design and specification was provided. Immediately after hatched baby chicks along with mother were placed in the upper most pen of the house and provided with diet containing 22-23 % crude protein (CP) and 3200 kcal/kg metabalizable energy (ME). Rice straw and waste gunny bag was used as bedding material. Feed and water were offered timely and routinely. Chicks were initially provided with 10g feed per head daily, followed by 5g weekly increments. Chicks were routinely vaccinated with Newcastle and fowl pox vaccines.


Preventive medication was done for salmonelosis and coccidiosis. Bio-security measures were also taken (regular cleaning, restriction of attendants and spray of disinfectant). Broody mother was removed from chicks 5 days after hatch in summer and 10-14 days after in winter. Chicks in the pen were watch for every kind of stresses. Participating women were given practical demonstration training for 4 days regarding routine management of chicks. Feeds were supplied to the households on weekly basis. Data on feed consumption, body weight gain, feed conversion, livability was recorded and cost-profit ratio was also calculated. Data were analyzed and the results are expressed in percentage, mean with standard error.


Results and discussion

Results obtained on performance traditionally managed local chickens and the result of trails on intervened management practices are discussed into the following headings.


Productivity and profitability of indigenous chicken under backyard management


Flock size and its structural pattern


A total of 864 chickens were found in 48 households under study with 18 birds per flock respectively. Flock size reflects high degree of variability. Flock size refers the number of birds in a flock and flock structure is the different categories of bird by which the flock is constituted. Flock structure is essential to estimate the flock dynamics (Buldgen et al 1992) that is the proportion of mature hens in flock that are currently laying and eventually determine the flock productivity. The magnitude of flock dynamic can be influenced by management practices.

The magnitude of flock dynamic can be influenced by management practices. Local chicken flocks of Bangladesh contain many unproductive birds, resting for various durations. They shared feed of productive stocks. Culling of these unproductive birds certainly increase flock productivity. But not generally done by the households due to socio-cultural reasons. Figure 1 revealed that mature hens was only 10 %, presently laying (19 %), layers incubating (10 %), layers brooding (9 %), cock (4 %), pullet (7 %) and chicks are larger (29 %) than others.

Figure 1.  Structure of village chicken flocks

Bessei (1990) reported that, average village flock in Bangladesh comprises 20 birds. Kitalyi (1995) reported that proportion of mature hens that currently laying was only 20% in African village flock. Data obtained on the parameter of flock structure and flock dynamics shows a close correlation with that of African family chicken flocks. But African family chicken faces adverse environmental conditions compared to Bangladesh. Flock dynamics of average chickens of Bangladesh is less than 40 %. It is not viable for economic return. There are ample opportunities to increase this magnitude of flock dynamic by intervening management practices.


Production Coefficient of family chickens


Production coefficient is the flock productivity in a management system. It was seen that more than 86 % hhs under study harvest only 3 clutches from a hen per year with an average 14.6 eggs in each clutch and Clutch length was 17 days. Average duration of a production cycle was found 124 days. Average egg production was recorded 45 per hen in a year. Tadelle Dessie et al (1994) reported that in Tanzania free range local chicken (FRLC) takes 108 to 161 days to complete a production cycle and about 3 production cycles might be achieved in a year with an annual egg production of about 45 (Table 1).

Table 1.  Performance of local chicken under traditional management


Mean ▒ sd

No of clutch/hen/year

3.11▒ 0.29

Eggs per clutch

14.6 ▒ 1.45

Clutch length, days

17 ▒ 1.51

Duration of rearing and idle period, days

84 ▒ 8.05

Length of a production cycle, days

124 ▒ 63.1

Egg production per hen/year

45▒ 27.1

The fact of egg production also supported by the findings of Haque and Rigor (1990), Ahmed and Hasnath (1983), Bessei (1988) and Shawkat et  al (2001). Clutch frequency per hen in a year is supported by the findings of Sonaiya (2005). Production coefficient of village flocks of Bangladesh in traditional management is poor compared to Africa conditions, where chickens are reared under harsh and adverse environmental conditions. In sufficient of feed in the scavenging surroundings and many unproductive layers may be the reasons of low production coefficient of chicken flocks in Bangladesh


Hatchability and survivability of chicks in village conditions


It was seen from Table 2 that hatchability is 84 % under traditional management but average survivability is 43 % up to the age of 10-12 weeks. Chicks that survived only 30 % of them reach

Table 2.  Hatchability and survival rate of village chicks


Mean ▒ sd

No of egg set/hatch

11.7 ▒ 3.19

No of chicks hatched

9.73 ▒ 3.47

Hatchability, %


Survivability up to 10 -12 wks


Reached to age of prodution , %


to the age of egg production. Wilson (1979) reported 90 % hatchability of village chickens in Sudan. Wilson et al  (1987) stated 50 & 56 % mortality of village chicks in Ghana and Mali respectively. Hatchability and survival rate of village chicks of Bangladesh are comparable to the African countries like Sudan, Burkina Faso, Ghana and Mali


Profitability of indigenous chickens in traditional management


Profit was calculated total production basis. Average monthly income per household (hh) was found only 3.94 US$ including the value of eggs & chickens that are consumed. Annual per capita consumption of eggs & chickens was found 36 no and 2.9 kg respectively (Table 3).

Table 3.  Monthly income and hhs consumptions of eggs and chickens


Mean ▒ sd

Monthly cash income/hh, US$

0.66 0.22

Income both in cash & consumption, US$


Per capita consumption of egg / month, no

3.0 1.05

Per capita consumption chicken/ month, g

242 141

Monetary output of village flock comprising average 18 chickens per flock was only 47.3 US$ per year, which also includes the value of eggs, & chickens that consumed. Cash income comprises only 7.92 US$ per year. From above result and discussions it can be said that, production potential and economic output of local chickens of Bangladesh in traditional husbandry practices is poor and subsistence.


Productivity and profitability of local chickens under management interventions


To increase egg production and livability, three management interventions trials were carried out. The effect management interventions are discussed below.


Effect of separation of chicks


Weaning reduces the length of production cycle. It attributes to increase egg productivity of hens by increasing number of clutches. From the Table 4 it is seen that average production cycle was found 68 days.

Table 4.  Effect of weaning on production cycle & productivity of chickens

Per cycle basis Parameters




Weaned after hatch (brooding period), day




Duration of rearing and idle period, day




Laying period, day/clutch




Hatching (incubation period), day




Length of a performance cycle, days




No. of performance cycle per hen/year




Egg production /layer/ clutch




Egg production /layer/ year




This reduced length of production cycle eventually contributes to increase clutch frequency and egg production. Average number of clutch varies from 4.05 – 7.12 with a mean of 5.79 per year. Egg laid in a clutch ranges from 12-23 with a mean of 19. By early weaning, egg production of hen is increased from 54 to 109 with a mean of 96 in a year. In intervened system of management a local hen produces average 96 eggs, just double in comparison to traditional management. It is seen from Figure 2 that length of production or performance cycle reduced to 68 days in intervened management and it was 124 days in traditional management. Hen spare this time for production purposes that might attribute to increase total annual egg production of hens.

Figure 2.  Comperative performance of hen in traditional & intervened management systems

Reduction of rearing period by separation of chicks from broody hens helps to increase the productivity of native chickens. Prasetyo et al  (1985) and Haque et al (1990) supports this fact of increased egg production of native chickens, lay 27-30 % egg per year in intervened system of management fed on 30-40g feeds daily. It is possible to increase the productivity of local chickens by intervening the existing system of management.


The intervened management procedure is cost effective and does not empire the normal production system of local chickens. Rural women are quite capable of practicing the system with minute guidance.


Effect of feed supplementation on egg production of incubating hens


From grassland study, it was found that in traditional management, hen lost average 35 % of its body wt during incubation and regains the lost weight with an av. rate of 5.0 g per day. But feed supplementations of incubating hens have an impact on body weigth gain and commencement of next clutch and its interval.


Body weigth loss of broody hens during incubation fed on different levels of feed and pattern of regain are illustrated in Table 5.

Table 5.  Body weigth Loss and regain pattern of incubating hens


Control (Wheat broken on adhoc basis)

Layer mash per head per day

55 g

75 g

95 g

Initial body weight, g





Weight at date of hatch, g





Weight lost during incubation, %





Weight gain per day, g





Time needs to regain weight, days





Commence of next clutch, days





About 85 days are required to regain the lost wt in control group. But it takes only 40, 13 and 8 days for 55g, 75g and 95g groups respectively. Body wt loss was minimum 4.8 % in 95 g group followed by 7.8 % and 14.7 % for 75 g, and 55 g groups respectively. It was highest 35 % in control. From the Table 5,  it is therefore seen that 95g feed supplementation per hen per day obviously minimizes the body wt loss of hens during incubation. It also reduces the time need to commence next clutch and bring the hen to lay soon after incubation.


Effect of creep feeding on productivity and profitability of local chicks


Study revealed that more than 50 % chicks died within 2 nd weeks after hatch. Creep feeding system of management of chicks under captivity with protein rich diet significantly increases their survivability and growth rate.  From Table 6 it is seen that creep feeding increases survival rate of chicks, local chicks attend av. 465g at the age of 9 weeks of age.

Table 6.  Effect creep feeding on survivability, growth & economic return of chicks


Mean ▒ sd

Hatchability, %

88 ▒ 3

Survival, % up to 5 wks

91 ▒ 2.3

Survival, % up to 10 week

87 ▒ 5

Marketing age, week


Body weigth at marketing, g


Feed conversion ratio (FCR)


Feed cost /batch, US$


Cost of vaccination, medicine, etc. , US$


Sale proceed/batch, US$


Net profit /batch, US$


Investment profit ratio


Feed efficiency was 3:1. Average net investment and profit ratio was found 1:1.75.Average income was found 5.5 US$ per batch of chick. A rural hh can earn 15-27 US$ per month by rearing chicks only. It also increases proportionately with increasing the number of chicks reared per batch. Table-6 revealed that av. monthly income from chicken per household in intervened management was 28.5 US$.




The author would like to express sincere thanks to all farmers who provided the necessary data and all official stuff for their help to conduct this research.



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Received 21 August 2010; Accepted 22 August 2010; Published 1 October 2010

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