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Mango Orchard-Based Poultry Farming: A Comprehensive Guide

Mango orchard-based poultry farming presents a promising diversification strategy, enhancing income, reducing costs, and improving the orchard ecosystem. By adopting this model, farmers can achieve greater economic stability and sustainability in their agricultural practices.

Shreetu Singh
Mango Orchard-Based Poultry Farming (This image has been created with MidJourney)
Mango Orchard-Based Poultry Farming (This image has been created with MidJourney)

Mango orchards are typically cultivated as mono-crops, meaning that the livelihood of mango growers depends solely on the sale of mango fruits. However, increasing production costs due to the excessive use of crop protectants have become a significant burden, particularly for small and marginal farmers. When a mango crop fails, it can severely impact the farmers' livelihoods. Therefore, there is a pressing need for diversification within these orchards. One effective solution is integrating poultry farming into mango orchards. This not only provides farmers with a much-needed additional income throughout the year but also reduces pest loads and the need for pesticides, ultimately lowering production costs.

Suitable Poultry Strains for Mango Ecosystems

  • CARI-Nirbheek and CARI-Shyama: These strains start laying eggs from the fifth month and produce 175-185 eggs annually.

  • CARI Devendra: This strain reaches a body weight of 1.5 kg in four months. Both CARI Devendra and Shyama fetch ₹300-400 per bird.

  • Kadaknath: This strain takes 7-8 months to attain a body weight of 1.5 kg but fetches a higher market price of ₹800-1000 per bird. Kadaknath is very agile and effectively controls mango pests in the upper canopy.

Housing in Mango Orchards

  • The shelters should be constructed in the mango orchards with dimensions of 4×3.5×8 or 12 feet (H×W×L) and can be extended as needed.

  • Construction materials can include mud for walls, polythene sheets for roofs, and small doors made from wire mesh and other waste materials.

Feed for Mango Orchard-Based Poultry

  • The poultry strains can efficiently scavenge for their food in the mango orchards, consuming insects, green weeds, and grass seeds. Supplementary feeding is usually provided in the morning and evening.

  • Azolla, a water fern, is also given to birds as it contains nearly 24% crude protein, making it an excellent supplementary feed. The requirement of supplementary feed ranges from 30-45 grams per bird per day, depending on the available orchard area.

Space Requirements

The space requirement varies between new and old plantations:

  • New Plantations: Generally, 5-10 m² per bird is sufficient if supplementary feeding is not provided. However, if azolla is supplemented, the space requirement is drastically reduced.

  • Old Plantations: In these plantations, where manuring and Azolla cultivation are practiced, about 2-3 m² per bird is sufficient.

The agro-climate also influences space needs. In young plantations, if manuring and Azolla cultivation are practiced, the space requirement will be lower.

Benefits of Mango Orchard-Based Poultry Farming

  • Poultry in mango orchards feed on pests such as pupa, larvae, maggots, and borers found underneath the mango canopy, reducing the need for pesticides.

  • Certain bird strains, like Kadaknath, are particularly effective against mango hoppers and leaf webber insects located on the upper canopy.

  • Poultry helps reduce weed populations and contributes manure, which improves soil aeration.

  • Each bird in a mango orchard produces about 45 kg of manure throughout its life cycle, enriching the soil. Thus, integrating poultry enhances the orchard ecosystem and reduces production costs.

Sustainability of the System

  • This model emphasizes simplicity, adaptability, and cost-effectiveness. Shelters constructed for poultry are sustainable for 3-5 years with minimal maintenance, such as replacing polythene sheets and bamboo structures.

  • The initial capital investment ranges from ₹5,000-10,000, making it accessible to resource-poor farmers. The market demand for poultry and its products ensures economic viability. 

Constraints in Integrating Rural Poultry with Mango Orchards

  • Low Productivity: Some poultry strains may have lower egg production rates.

  • High Mortality Rates: Tropical conditions can lead to higher mortality rates in poultry.

  • Common Predators: Dogs, cats, snakes, eagles, hawks, and thieves can pose threats to poultry.

  • Lack of Veterinary Healthcare: There may be limited access to veterinary services in rural areas.

  • Unavailability of Small Hatchery Units: There is a need for hatchery units to meet the demand for chicks.

Augmenting Income through Mango-Based Poultry Farming

  • Farmers integrating rural poultry into their mango orchards have experienced significantly higher returns. The net returns per acre increased to ₹1,71,828 compared to ₹12,223 per acre for non-integrated orchards.

  • The returns per rupee of expenditure were also higher (1.96) for integrated systems compared to monocrop mango production (1.21). This integration not only provides additional income but also enhances the overall sustainability and productivity of the mango orchard ecosystem.

(Source: Maneesh Mishra (Principal Scientist), ICAR-Central Institute for Subtropical Horticulture, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh and R A Ram, Indian Horticulture, July–August 2021, 27-28)

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