Improve technology for Guinea fowl production to help farmers increase their wealth.
Guinea Fowl also called “Chitra” and “Titari” – the low input alternate poultry species domesticated for egg & meat are arranged to different Indian agro-climatic circumstances and are most suitable for backyard poultry production.
The Guinea Fowl Meat Being is abundant 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 useful 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 issue 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 research in winters (November to February from 2016 to 2021) to halt the seasonality in reproduction in Pearl variety of Guinea Fowl. The motive was to reduce the age at first egg, thereby, extending the length of laying period & ultimately enhancing the egg production.
To find out the optimum dietary formulation and photoperiod to achieve the target of breaking the seasonality, the Institute intended dietary and light management interventions.
The birds of fourteen weeks were kept in cages in a room and acclimatized for three weeks before beginning the enhanced photoperiod schedule & dietary regime. The Photoperiod of 18 hours was given via normal and artificial light.
The Dietary ingredients used comprised of 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).
The results revealed that 18 hours photoperiod along with 20 percent dietary protein, Vitamin – E (120 mg / Kg feed) & Se (0.8 mg / Kg feed) accelerated the reproductive hormones & resulted in egg production in winter. The production started at about 21 weeks of age and the 1st egg was found to reduce to 15 weeks differed to the normal 36 weeks. The hen day egg production was 53 percent to 56 percent in winter with annually egg production as 180 – 200 eggs. The fertility (71%) and hatchability (76%) were also found good in chicks hatched in peak winter months i.e. January and February.
Based on research 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 adequate for breaking the seasonality as well as enhancing production & reproduction Fowl to get eggs & keets throughout the year.
Sarfaraz Ahemad, from Mehsi Village, Motihari, Bihar commenced Guinea Fowl farming in 2018 under the guidance & enhanced 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.