1. Animal Husbandry

Improved Technology for Guinea Fowl Production to Help Farmers Increase their Income

Abha Toppo
Abha Toppo
Guinea Fowl
Guinea Fowl

Guinea Fowl also called “Chitra” and “Titari” - the low input alternate poultry species domesticated for egg & meat are adapted to different Indian agro-climatic conditions and are most appropriate for backyard poultry production.

The Guinea Fowl Meat Being is rich in vitamins and low in cholesterol and thus is valued by people for its taste and nutritional value. The birds are also eco-friendly and helpful in pest, worm and insect control. They provide manure for the field & are seasonal layers with average egg production of 90 - 110 eggs from March to September. The seasonality of reproduction or egg production is, thus, a major problem limiting its egg production and obstructing the large-scale commercial production of Guinea Fowl.

The ICAR-Central Avian Research Institute, Izatnagar in Uttar Pradesh held  four experimental trials in winters (November to February from 2016 to 2021) to break the seasonality in reproduction in Pearl variety of Guinea Fowl. The objective was to reduce the age at first egg, thereby, extending the length of laying period & ultimately improving the egg production.

To find out the optimum dietary formulation and photoperiod to attain the target of breaking the seasonality, the Institute planned dietary and light management interventions.

The birds of fourteen weeks were kept in cages in a room and acclimatized for three weeks before starting the enhanced photoperiod schedule & dietary regime. The Photoperiod of 18 hours was given via natural and artificial light.

The Dietary ingredients used included maize, soya bean, fish meal, oyster shell, lime stone, DCP, salt, DL-methionine, tm premix, Vitamin premix, B-complex, Colin Chloride, Toxin binder, Vitamin - E and Selenium (Se).

guinea fowl
Guinea Fowl

The results showed that 18 hours photoperiod along with 20 percent dietary protein, Vitamin - E (120 mg / Kg feed) & Se (0.8 mg / Kg feed) triggered the reproductive hormones & resulted in egg production in winter. The production began at about 21 weeks of age and the 1st egg was found to reduce to 15 weeks compared to the normal i.e. 36 weeks. The hen day egg production was 53 percent to 56 percent in winter with yearly egg production as 180 - 200 eggs. The fertility (71%) & hatchability (76%) were also found good in chicks hatched in peak winter months i.e. January and February.

Based on findings in 4 times repeat trials, it can be said that a package of practices combining 18 hours light with Vitamin E (120 mg / Kg feed) & Se (0.8 mg / Kg feed) along with 20 percent protein is suitable for breaking the seasonality as well as improving production & reproduction in Guinea Fowl to get eggs & keets throughout the year.

Sarfaraz Ahemad, from Mehsi Village, Motihari, Bihar started Guinea Fowl farming in 2018 under the guidance & improved Guinea Fowl Germplasm from Guinea Fowl Unit, ICAR-Central Avian Research Institute. By adopting the technology in his farm for 1,000 Guinea Fowl, Ahemad earned 3 to 4 times income in a year by selling the fertile eggs, chicks & live birds to West Bengal and North-East States.

(Source: ICAR-Central Avian Research Institute, Uttar Pradesh)

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