Wednesday, December 16, 2009

'Sustainable Chickens' (Free Range Birds)

I recently read a very interesting article about 'sustainable chickens' which are genetically-bred chickens introduced by Kegg Farms of India. These birds apparently survive on 'waste', weigh more than the average chicken, and produce five times more eggs than the 'local' birds.    The owner of Kegg Farms (Vinod Kapur) is an engineer by training, turned entrepreneur by becoming the non-executive head of Kegg (Kapur + Eggs) Farms in 1973.  His masterpiece bird is dubbed 'the Kuroiler' (Kegg + Broiler) which is custom bred for the small farmer.

These birds have been a blessing to rural households in India's poorest regions and other parts of many third-world countries by allowing the small entrepreneurs to purchase  and sell the over 200 eggs they produce in an 18-month cycle (as opposed to the 'normal' chickens producing only 40 eggs in that same period).  These Kuroiler roam around the yards, eating insects and other available scraps, supplemented by some wheat grain, and are able to 'run' away from predators.  The idea of developing a bird that was significantly more productive, hardier and disease resistant, has made the role of backyard poulty production much easier in enhancing and sustaining poor peoples lives in developing countries.  These households rely on small scale, low cost, poultry producion to earn and supplement their livelihoods.  The adult Kuroiler weighs approximately 2.8 kg and provides twice as much meat than the usual household chickens.

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