Adopt Azolla to get better income from Kadaknath Poultry Farming
Apart from the unique organic fertilizer of paddy, Azolla is also a wonderful nutritious food for chickens.
Kadaknath Poultry Farming | Poultry farming is a special source of income for marginal, small, and landless farmers in villages. The breed of Kadaknath chickens has been considered the best for poultry farming. There is a great demand for its nutritious and tasty meat. On the other hand, poultry farmers get a very good price for it.
In the summer season, the development of Kadaknath chickens slows down a bit as they do not get the proper amount of nutritious food. Poultry farmers are not able to provide an adequate quantity of feed to the Kadaknath chickens in the villages because the feed produced by different companies is very expensive for them.
Poultry farmers often leave Kadaknath chickens free in the yard of their house or in the surrounding area. Chickens eat the fodder and insects available around them with great agility. But, the amount of labor and energy it takes to collect food in this way affects the nutrition of the chickens and slows their growth.
In view of this, a challenge arose before agricultural scientists to find cheap and nutritious food for chickens. So that the difficulties of the Kadaknath chicken and the farmers rearing it could end.
Growth of chickens slows down in summer
In fact, scientists at the Krishi Vigyan Kendra in Bhatpara, Chhattisgarh, realized that as the summer progresses, the growth of chickens slows down because they eat less food and drink more water. Or rather, chickens need more energy to cope with the temperature change. This can be compensated only by a diet rich in protein, amino acids, and mineral salts, which is also cheap. Azolla fulfills all these conditions.
Successful use of Azolla in Bhatpara
Scientists found that Azolla has the potential to become an excellent and inexpensive nutritious feed for Kadaknath chickens as well. But now the challenge has come that how to prove it and how to tell and explain its importance to the farmers rearing Kadaknath hens.
After this, Krishi Vigyan Kendra, and Bhatpara trained poultry farmers in selected tribal-dominated villages around it under the National Initiative on Climate Resilient Agriculture (NICRA) keeping in mind these qualities of Azolla.
Azolla got the status of best feed for chickens
Kadaknath’s Poultry Farming experiment proved to be successful. Soon more than 50 cooked and raw Azolla production units were established in those villages. Azolla was developed to give more production in less time and to be a poultry feed rich in useful nutrients. The nutrients of Kadaknath were replenished by the inclusion of Azolla in the diet.
It also proved to be a very cheap, digestible, and favorite diet for chickens. By its consumption, the effect of obstruction due to seasonal changes in the speed of development of Kadaknath chickens ended.
Why is Azolla the best diet for chickens?
Azolla is a fast-growing aquatic fern. It has a total of 8 species. Its species named Pinnata is found in India. It grows in the form of small dense green clusters in stagnant water. It doubles its growth in 3 to 5 days in a favorable environment. Before being used as a good diet for chickens, Azolla had acquired the status of a very useful organic fertilizer for paddy cultivation due to its ability to absorb nitrogen from the atmosphere. Apart from water, sunlight is required for the vigorous growth of Azolla.
Azolla is rich in nutrients
Azolla is full of nutrients. Essential amino acids, vitamins A and B, beta-carotene, and mineral salts like calcium, phosphorus, potassium, iron, copper, and magnesium are found in sufficient quantity. On the basis of dry quantity, Azolla contains 25-35 percent protein, 10-15 percent minerals, and 7-10 percent amino acids. The amount of carbohydrates and fat in it is very less. These qualities have made Azolla get the status of very nutritious and digestible poultry feed.
How to produce Azolla?
With the help of Krishi Vigyan Kendra, low-cost Azolla production units were established in the village for the availability of Azolla. For this, 4x2x0.4 meter size cement tanks or pits were made. In some places, plastic sheets were laid on the surface of the pits instead of cement to further reduce the cost so that there is no water leakage.
Now the plastic sheet was pressed with bricks on the sides. Partial shade was also given to these Azolla production units so that leaves and other waste materials do not fall in them. 10 to 15 kg of sifted soil was spread under the tree on the surface of the pit or tank. Then, a solution of 2-3 kg of fresh cow dung and 30 grams of superphosphate was poured evenly into 10 liters of water on the surface of the pit.
Then the pot was filled with water up to a height of 20 cm. After this half to one kilogram of Azolla culture was left on the surface of the water. After this, the farmers were advised to keep mixing 40 grams of superphosphate and 2 kg of cow dung in the pot every week. As a result, the growth of Azolla continues at a rapid pace. Farmers were told that under no circumstances the height of water in Azolla-producing tanks should be less than the prescribed level.
How has Azolla affected Kadaknath Poultry Farming?
During the experiment, the scientists suggested to the poultry farmers that they should give Kadaknath grains available at home. Maize, barley, jowar, and rice flakes can be used in the morning and evening. It helps the chickens to get the necessary carbohydrate supply and protein, minerals, and vitamins are supplied through Azolla. After this, the poultry farmers found that the hens eat Azolla with great gusto. Due to this their weight also increased a lot.
Farmers found that the production of Azolla can be done at a very low cost and in a very simple and easy way. That is why Kadaknath became very popular and prevalent among poultry farmers of other indigenous species. Due to this, the awareness of nutritious feed like Azolla has increased among poultry farmers. It has also been established as the best alternative feed.
Cost and yield of Azolla production
While the cost of making a cement house was Rs 1,500, a raw house with a plastic sheet was made for Rs 500. But be it ripe or unripe, 1024 grams of Azolla yield was obtained daily from each pot. This means, 3.74 quintals annually, whose market price is around 3 thousand rupees.
If the cultivation of Azolla done in just 8 square meters is compared to that nutritious diet of chickens available in the market, then it can compete with this production. It will cost less than 10 thousand rupees. This means that if Azolla cultivation is also adopted along with poultry, then the earning can increase manifold. On the one hand, there will be a reduction in cost, and Kadaknath will grow faster and generate more income.
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