The term ‘poultry’ refers to domestic fowls that are reared for their flesh, eggs or feathers.
Poultry includes chickens, Sticks, geese and turkeys.
Due to high food value of poultry products and relatively small capital requirement involved, the poultry industry is recognised as an important cottage industry.
The largest number of poultry population in India is found in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Assam. Today poultry farms are being developed in almost all the important urban centres of the country.
The poultry production in the country has made significant progress over the years. According to the Economic Survey 2009-10, India produces about 55 billion eggs per year. Today India ranks fifth in egg production in the world.
Domestic fowls in India are usually divided into two broad groups:
(i) Desi or indigenous, and
(ii) Imported or exotic.
Indigenous breeds encompass all desi fowls which do not belong to any pure breed, e.g., Nocked Neck, Chittagong, Tenia, Punjab, Brown, Chagas, Lolab, Utre, Busra, Karaknath, Denki, Tkllicherry, Kalahasti, etc.
Imported breeds include such fowls as have been acclimatised in India, e.g., White Leghorn, Rhode Island Red, Black Minocra, Plymouth Rock, Light Sussex, New Hampshire, Austra loop, Brown Leghorn, etc.
The poultry sector, besides providing direct or indirect employment to nearly 3 million people is a potent tool for subsidiary income generation for many landless and marginal farmers and also provides nutritional security especially to the rural poor.
To provide necessary services to the farmers of the country region-wise, regional centres have been restructured on the principle of one-window service to the farmers. In these regional Central Poultry Development Organisation (CPDOs) located at Chandigarh, Bhubaneswar, Mumbai and Hessarghatta, training is also being imparted to the farmers to upgrade their technical skills. To monitor the production potential of various stocks in the country, the Central Poultry Performance Test unit at Gurgaon is conducting one layer and two broiler tests in a year.