1. Animal Husbandry

Poultry Farming: Difference Between Layer and Broiler Chicken

Shikha Parewa
Shikha Parewa
Broiler Chicken

Poultry farming is one of the fastest growing sectors in todays world. Poultry farming is all about raising turkeys, ducks, geese and chickens for their meat or eggs. Each year more than 50 billion chickens are raised for food, including meat and eggs.  

Generally, there are two types of chickens which are reared in poultry farming. They are layers and broilers. Layers are only reared for eggs, while broilers are reared for meat. Nearly, layers and broilers require similar equipment and facilities. 

The growth and economy of all poultry farms is entirely dependent on breed type and manageability. Various high yield layers and broilers can be used. High quality layers and broiler chicks are produced in hatcheries. In poultry, it is necessary to obtain newborn chicks. These 1-day-old chicks are sullenly exposed. Brooding is attention and care that takes place in the first few weeks (40-60 days) after hatching. 

Before starting a poultry farm, you must also know about the best chicken breeds in India for egg and meat. 

What is Layer poultry farming? 

Layer poultry farming is all about domestication of egg-laying birds for the purpose of commercial egg production. These layer chickens require proper care from right from their birth. It takes 18-19 weeks from their birth to start laying eggs. They continue to lay eggs continuously until they are 7,278 weeks old. They can produce about one kilogram of eggs by consuming about 2.25 kilograms of food during their spawning period. 

These types of hens are comparatively smaller in size and prefer less food to eat. Generally they are of white shell. Some of the important white egg laying chickens are Isa White, Lehman White, Nikchik, Bab Cock BV-300, Harvard White, Hi Sex White, Sever White, Hi line White, Bovanch White etc.  

On the other hand hens brown eggs are larger as those of white eggs. Comparatively, brown egg laying breeds eat more than white egg laying breeds. Eggshells are brown. Commercially most suitable layers are Isa Brown, Hi Sex Brown, Sever 579, Lehman Brown, Hi Line Brown, Bab Cock BV-380, Gold Line, Bablona Tetro, Bablona Harko, Havard Brown etc. 

What is Broiler Poultry Farming? 

Broilers are the birds that are domesticated for the purpose of meat. The required poultry houses and equipment are quite similar to those of layer birds. A broiler chicken needs 1 square foot of farm house. The young chicks are brought from the hatcheries and reared in brooders. The brooding time for broilers varies depending on the season. 

In summer they only need 2 weeks, while in winter they need brooding for around one month. After a month, the protective layers of chicks can be removed. At night, enough lighting must be installed. 

Layer Breed

Nutritional differences between layer and broiler chickens: 

  • As boilers are meat producing bred they grow quite faster and require more fed as compare to those of layers. Layer hens generally require a diet that is high in specific vitamins, minerals and trace elements. 

  • Color of egg yolks mainly depends on the nutrition provided to layer hens while feed of boiler chicken influence the taste of their meat to some extent. 

  • The goal of a laying hen diet is to optimize egg production (in terms of egg number, size or weight), providing the nutrition needed to stay healthy and maintain desired body weight. The chicks are given a relatively high amount of energy, protein, vitamins and minerals for the starting period. Once the chicks are completely molted, their energy needs are reduced. 

  • Broilers should be fed compound feed rich in protein. Broiler food should contain targeted amino acids to promote rapid growth and help broilers effectively reach slaughter weight. 

Startup cost of broiler Vs layer: 

  • Initially, starting a poultry farming business requires a lot of capital to start, but the startup cost to start a broiler farm will be less than that of laying hens.  

  • Broilers need clean water, little vaccine, space, light and food. Within 7 weeks (about 2 months) they will be ready to sell and you can start breeding another litter.On the other hand, laying hens also require everything such as multiple vaccinations and quality checks.  

  • Broilers are sold according to their size, but they are more profitable when processed into meat in slaughterhouses and exported to other countries, broilers are fragile and require more care and attention. 

Which is more profitable

Layers farming at the end bring in extra income after laying off eggs as compared to broilers - the chickens could be sold as meat.

Overall, you have to choose based on your preferences which one will be the best for you. Time availability, labor force and financial availability are major factors that to be considered while making choice between boiler and layer chickens.  

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