Livestock Research for Rural Development 4 (3) 1992

Citation of this paper

Comparative study on egg production and feed efficiency of different breeds of poultry under intensive and rural conditions in Bangladesh

Hossain M Sazzad

Livestock Research Institute, Shaver, Dhaka, Bangladesh


Two experiments were conducted to compare the egg production of Rhode Island Red, Barred Plymouth Rock and Indigenous (Desi) breeds of poultry in intensive and traditional rural systems of rearing. In the intensive system 270 pullets, 16 weeks of age were distributed in floor pens with 3 replications of 30 birds each. In the traditional rural system 180 pullets of the above three breeds at the same age were distributed to village farmers in a design allocating 20 pullets to each farmer with 3 replications per breed. In the intensive system the pullets received a balanced diet and in the village after 4 weeks of adaptation by gradually reducing the amount of balanced feed the pullets were reared in the traditional scavenging system.

Data were collected up to the age of 50 weeks. The results indicate a significant difference (P < 0.05) in egg production between the breeds in the intensive system of rearing. Egg production of the three breeds did not differ significantly (P > 0.05) in the traditional rural system of rearing. Egg weight for the exotic breeds was 72% higher than for the indigenous breed.

In the intensive system, the Rhode Island Red, Barred Plymouth Rock and Indigenous (Desi) hens consumed feed equivalent to about 75 eggs per bird, leaving a gross profit of 167, 35 and a loss of 66 Taka (1US$=25 Taka) per bird for the three breeds respectively. On the other hand, in the traditional rural system these three breeds produced 69, 53 and 29 eggs respectively without any feed cost and the net income was therefore 139, 106 and 58 Taka/bird for the three breeds respectively.

KEY WORDS: Poultry, systems, management, intensive, scavenging, breeds, egg production, Bangladesh.


Poultry production in Bangladesh is characterized by small scavenging operations. For generations, farmers of Bangladesh have practised this type of rearing and most of the poultry in the villages are indigenous birds, considered to be very poor layers. Recently, poultry experts have introduced several methods to increase the productive performance of indigenous birds through: cockerel exchange, fertile egg distribution, supply of trios (ie: one male and two females of improved breeds), backyard units of 10- 15 birds with crossbred chicks and an intensive poultry production program to supply the indigenous x exotic crossbreed layers.

But the results from these methods are either inadequately documented or not available.

The objective of the present study was to compare the egg production and feed efficiency of Indigenous, Barred Plymouth Rock and Rhode Island Red breeds under intensive and traditional rural systems of rearing in Bangladesh.

Materials and methods

Two studies were conducted with three breeds of poultry using Barred Plymouth Rock, Rhode Island Red and Indigenous (Desi) birds under intensive and tradition systems of rearing.

Under the intensive system of rearing at the Central Government Poultry Farm, Bangladesh two hundred and seventy pullets were housed in floor pens with three replications of thirty birds from each breed at sixteen weeks of age. All the birds received a standard pullet rearing ration up to 21 weeks of age and thereafter a standard layer diet (Table 1) containing 17.5% crude protein and 10.5 MJ ME/kg. Feed and water were supplied ad libitum. Data on egg production, egg weight and feed consumption were collected till the layers were 50 weeks old. All the data were summarized by 28 day intervals and submitted to analysis of variance (Steel and Torrie 1960).

Table 1: Composition of experimental diet
Ingredient %
Wheat 50.40
Rice Polish 20.00
Sesame oil cake 12.00
Fish Meal (56% protein) 7.00
Fish Meal (45% protein) 2.00
Salt 0.30
Mineral - Vitamin Premix* 0.30
Oyster Shell 8.00


* The commercial mineral vitamin Premix (Embavit) supplied per kg of diet: Vitamin A, 6000 IU; Vit. D3, 800 IU; Vitamin E, 6 IU; Vitamin B1, 0,4 g; Vitamin B2, 8 mg; Vitamin B6 1.22 g; Niacin, 20mg; Choline Chloride, 600 mg; Vitamin K, 1.5 mg; Santoquin, 100 mg. Trace mineral element: manganese, 55 mg; zinc, 50 mg; copper, 5 mg; iron, 30 mg.


To compare the egg production under rural conditions one hundred eighty birds of the three breeds from the Central Poultry Farm were distributed to the farmers in a village near the Livestock Research Institute. Sixty pullets, 16 weeks old, of each breed were distributed to farmers with 20 for each farmer, thus allowing three replications per breed. The birds were kept in the traditional scavenging system with the modification that the farmers were provided with a complete ration similar to the one used in the intensive system and were advised to reduce the quantity of feed during the first four weeks so that at 20 weeks of age the pullets were without any supplementary feed.

The data on egg production and egg weight were collected daily and were summarized and analyzed in the same way as mentioned above.


The performance data of the hens up to 50 weeks of age in the two systems of rearing are presented in Table 2. In the intensive system the egg production and egg weight of the three breeds differed significantly (P < 0.05). The highest egg production was obtained by Rhode Island Red with 55.8% egg production followed by Barred Plymouth Rock (38.6%) and the Indigenous breed (20.3%). The egg weight of the Indigenous breed was significantly lower (P < 0.01) compared to the other two breeds.

Table 2: Performance of Rhode Island (RIR), Barred Plymouth Race (BPR) and Indigenous (DESI) hens in intensive and traditional rural system of rearing up to 50 weeks of age

Intensive System

Traditional System

Egg production (%) 55.8 38.6 20.3 28.8 22.5 17.5
Number of eggs/hen 133 92 34 69 53 29
Egg weight (g) 52.5 53.2 32.2 52.8 52.5 30.5
Feed intake per hen            
Daily (g) 114 114 102 - - -
Total (kg) 27.2 27.2 24.4 - - -
Total feed cost (Taka*) 149 149 134 - - -
Value eggs (Taka**) 266 184 68 138 106 58
Gross profit (loss) 167 35 66 138 106 58


* 1 kg feed = 5.50 Taka
** 1 egg = 2.0 Taka
1 US$ = 30 Taka


In the traditional scavenging system the egg production of the three breeds during the observation period did not differ significantly (P > 0.05), but a significantly lower (P < 0.05) egg weight was obtained with the Indigenous breed during the observation period like in the first experiment.


In the intensive system of rearing the highest performance was obtained with Rhode Island Red, which is considered to be well adapted to the climatic conditions of Bangladesh. The lesser egg weight of the indigenous (desi) hens correlates with their lower body weight (Sazzad 1986).

No significant differences (P > 0.05) were observed in the performance of the three breeds in the traditional rural system, probably due to the nutritional situation, typical of the system. Though the genetic potential of Rhode Island Red and Barred Plymouth Rock are considered to be 240 and 220 eggs/hens/year (Skinner 1978) the traditional rural system does not allow them to express this capacity.

The results of the present study indicate that unless the feeding problem in the traditional system is improved the introduction of breeds with a higher genetic potential will not give the expected results. However, there is another side of the question to consider. To the non-professional observer, the rearing of poultry in the traditional rural system seems to be primitive and inefficient, but unlike intensively kept poultry the traditional flock is not in competition with humans for food and every egg or quantity of meat produced represents a net food increment.

In the intensive system, from the observations of the present study, Rhode Island Red, Barred Plymouth Rock and Indigenous (Desi) hens produced 133, 92 and 34 eggs respectively during the production period studied, but the cost of the consumed feed alone was equivalent to about 75 eggs per bird. On the other hand, in the traditional rural system these three breeds produced 69, 53 and 29 eggs respectively without any feed cost and the net income was therefore 139, 106 and 58 Taka/bird for the three breeds respectively.

Other work has indicated the total egg production of indigenous birds is about 64 eggs/year, one reason for this being a pronounced brooding instinct (Sazzad 1986). However, with proper selection, it is likely their egg production could be increased significantly (Kumar and Achary 1980). All the birds used in this experiment were raised in an intensive system till they were 16 weeks old and the present study does not answer the question of the effect on egg production of raising the birds under scavenging conditions. Neither were survival rates measured and compared.


Kumar J and Achary R M 1980 Genotypic and Phenotypic parameters of egg production and egg quality of desi poultry. Indian Journal of Animal Science 50:514-519

Sazzad M H 1986 Reproductive performance of Desi (indigenous) hens under scavenging and intensive systems of rearing. Proceedings of the First Annual Livestock Research Workshop. pp63-67

Skinner J 1978 Chicken Breeds and Varieties. Bulletin A 2880, Madison, University of Wisconsin Extension

Steele R G D and Torrie J H 1960 Principles and Procedures of Statistics. McGraw-Hill, New York. pp106-110


(Received 1 September 1992)