Dual Purpose Chicken breeds for Backyard farming / Vanaraja Chicken farming

The traditional diet of the majority of rural people is moderate in energy and low in protein, because of more use of cereals and restricted use of costly food items like fish, meat and egg are restricted. The vegetable protein sources used by the village households are deficient in critical and, essential amino acids like lysine and methionine which in turn can cause protein malnutrition in them. Feeding of diets deficient in quality protein sources like chicken egg, meat and other products of chicken origin exposes them particularly pregnant women, feeding the mother and growing children to many common diseases. Backyard poultry farming can perform well in village conditions to improve the nutritional status and economic condition of rural poor.

Eggs and birds can be used at home level, as well as it can be sold at premium prices even in an urban market where considerable demand for backyard produced egg and birds.

The backyard breed namely Vanaraja developed by Project Directorate of Poultry (POP), Hyderabad is very well acclimatized to Goan climate with good growth and moderate egg production as per the performance study conducted in our research unit as well as in farmers field Because of their -attractive feather colour they look like deshi bird but their growth and egg productions are far better than deshi breeds. Particularly these backyard breed is resistant to some common poultry diseases. A desirable character i.e. long shank introduced in this breed helps them for faster movement to escape from predators in the backyard condition, the parents of Vanaraja are selected for higher general immunity.

The male Vanaraja kept on low-density diet attain optimum body weight for table purpose at the age of 10-12 weeks. Female birds lay up to 150 eggs per annum under backyard condition with minimum input cost. In backyard conditions protein requirement is met through scavenging

on insects but, the chance of protein deficiency is there. Therefore, feeding of birds with different cereals available in rural areas is always beneficial to sustain optimum production. Some of the important features of Vanaraja which have attracted the attention of rural farmers are as described below.

1. Attractive feather colour.
2. Low input cost.
3. Highqisease resistance
4. Better survival rate.
5. Large egg size with a brown colour resembling deshi egg.
6. Deshi hen can be used for brooding of Vanaraja eggs



The diet of Vanaraja can be formulated using locally available ingredients like bajra ragi, jowar, broken rice or rice kani and cashew apple waste as energy sources, sunflower cake, groundnut cake as protein sources.Under nursery rearing, the chicks require 2400 Kcal ME 16% protein,o.77% lysine, 0.36% methionine, 0.35% available phosphorus and 0.7 % calcium per Kg diet.

Grower feed available commercially can be fed during brooding stage up to 4 weeks of Age.The feed supplement required to be given to these birds for optimum production depends on the intensity of vegetation and availability of waste grains, insects, grass seeds etc. in the backyard where they are reared. In free range system in the backyard at the end of the day they may get or may not get sufficient nutrients to fulfil their requirements so, left over food, grain waste or kitchen waste may be offered to them in the evening as supplemental feed.

The nature of the supplemental feed depends upon the purpose for which the birds are reared i.e. either for egg or for meat purpose. If it is for meat purpose then feeding of commercial broiler starter is suggested up to marketing age i.e. 10-12 weeks. If the purpose is for egg production grower mash can be fed up to 4 weeks followed by either complete feed or cereals like bajra, jowar, broken rice with equal parts of rice polish or rice bran, feed with inclusion of agro-wastes i.e. brewery dried grain and cashew apple waste replacing maize up to 20% level can be feed depending upon the forage conditions available in the backyard.

Composition (%) of low-cost feed for backyard poultry Vanaraja.

Ingredients Diet using CAW Diet using rice Kani
Maize powder 40.00 30.00
Cashew apple waste 10.00
Groundnut Cake 20.00 24.00
Fish meal 10.00 10.00
Rice kani (broken rice) 20.00
Wheat bran 19.00 15.00
Common salt 0.5 0.5
Vitamin and mineral mixture 0.5 0.5


The feeding practices should be regulated to monitor the desired body weight of Vanaraja during laying period because high body weight will reduce the egg production. Sometimes the broken or shell-less eggs can be minimized by supplementing the calcium sources (limestone powder, or stone grit) etc. @ 3-4g/bird/day. Care should be taken to restrict the weight of pullets (female) between 2.2 to 2.5 kg at6.0 to 6.5 months of age i.e. age at sexual maturity.



During initial 4 weeks, the Vanaraja chicks need brooding to maintain required body temperature. At a day old stage chicks need an optimum temperature of 90-95°F at the level of chicks on the floor. The temperature is usually lowered at about SOFeach week until a temperature of 70-7S°F. The position and movement of chicks also tell about the right temperature of brooding. If the chicks huddle or crowd together, they are too cold. If they move away from the source of heat or if they pant and hold their wings away from their bodies, they are too warm. Too cool temperature .cause diarrhoea and increases susceptibility to infectious diseases. Too high-temperature results in reduced appetite and retarded growth.

When the temperature is adequate the chicks will be scattered all over the brooder. Hover type electric brooder with different intensities of bulbs is used. A brooder can be made from wood or steel structures or from locally available cheap materials such as flat bamboo baskets, wooden boxes or any other such structure. These structures should be fitted with electric bulbs as per the heat requirement. The edge of the brooder should be 4-5 inch above the litter to allow the free movement of chicks. Brooding can also be arranged in cages with the provision of electric bulbs to maintain the required temperature.

During this period they must be vaccinated against Marek’s disease and Ranikhet disease (Table). After 4-6 weeks they can be allowed to the backyard for scavenging the free range area. During the initial acclimatization, care should be taken to habituate them to reach the nest in the evening for night shelter. Night shelter should have proper ventilation, required light and protection from predators. Since the chicks move in free range, there is the possibility of parasitic infection. Therefore, periodic deworming at 2-3 month interval is required. Under backyard condition, adult vanaraja birds should be vaccinated against Ranikhet disease at six monthly intervals. Since there is a change of transmission of diseases from native birds to vanaraja, vaccination of vanaraja along with native birds is suggested.

For better Egg output and survivability, the weight of Vanaraja should range between 2-3 kg. Excess body weight (> 3 kg) considerably reduces the egg production. The weight of Vanaraja can be regulated to some extent through controlled feeding of cereals.



1.The ready to lay pullets can be obtained from the Poultry Unit at ICAR Research Complex for Goa, Ela Old Goa or from the available sources.
2. The fertile eggs can be taken from the above Poultry Unit and hatched under desi hen to make the own stock.
3. The eggs obtained from the backyard Vanaraja unit where Vanaraja male is used for breeding can be hatched under desi hen to make the own stock.

Age (Days) Name of the Vaccine Dosage Route of Administration
1 Marek’s Disease O.20ml Subcutaneous
7 Ranikhet Disease (Lasota) one drop Eye drop
18 Ranikhet disease (Lasota) one drop Eye drop
28 Ranikhet Disease (R2B) O.50ml Subcutaneous