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Integrated fish cum poultry farming

  • Much attention is being given for the development of poultry farming in India and with improved scientific management practices.
  • poultry has now become a popular rural enterprise in different states of the country.
  • Apart from eggs and chicken, poultry also yields manure, which has high fertilizer value.
  • The production of poultry dropping in India is estimated to be about 1,300 thousand tons, which is about 390 metric tones of protein.
  • Utilization of this huge resource as manure in aquaculture will definitely afford better conversion than agriculture.

Stocking Density of Fish

  • The application of poultry manuring in the pond provides a nutrient base for dense bloom of phytoplankton, particularly nano plankton which helps in intense zooplankton development.
  • The zooplankton has an additional food source in the form of bacteria which thrive on the organic fraction of the added poultry dung. Thus, indicates the need for stocking phytoplanktophagous and zoo planktophagous fishes in the pond.
  • In addition to phytoplankton and zooplankton, there is a high production of detritus at the pond bottom, which provides the substrate for colonization of micro-organisms and other benthic fauna especially the chironomid larvae.
  • Another addition will be macro-vegetation feeder grass carp, which, in the absence of macrophytes, can be fed on green cattle fodder grown on the pond embankments.
  • The semi digested excreta of this fish forms the food of bottom feeders.
  • For exploitation of the above food resources, polyculture of three Indian major carps and three exotic carps is taken up in fish cum poultry ponds.
  • The pond is stocked after the pond water gets properly detoxified.
  • The stocking rates vary from 8000 - 8500 fingerlings/ha and a species ratio of 40 % surface feeders, 20 % of column feeders, 30 % bottom feeders and 10-20 % weedy feeders are preferred for high fish yields.
  • Mixed culture of only Indian major carps can be taken up with a species ratio of 40 % surface, 30 % column and 30 % bottom feeders.
  • In the northern and north - western states of India, the ponds should be stocked in the month of March and harvested in the month of October - November, due to severe winter, which affect the growth of fishes.
  • In the south, coastal and north - eastern states of India, where the winter season is mild, the ponds should be stocked in June - September months and harvested after rearing the fish for 12 months.

Use of poultry litter as manure

The fully built up deep litter removed from the poultry farm is added to fish pond as manure.
Two methods are adopted in recycling the poultry manure for fish farming.

  1. The poultry droppings from the poultry farms is collected, stored it in suitable places and is applied in the ponds at regular instalments.
    • Applied to the pond at the rate of 50 Kg/ha/ day every morning after sunrise.
    • The application of litter is differed on the days when algal bloom appears in the pond. This method of manurial application is controlled.
  2. Constructing the poultry housing structure partially covering the fish tank and directly recycling the dropping for fish culture.
    • Direct recycling and excess manure however, cause decomposition and depletion of oxygen leading to fish mortality. It has been estimated that one ton of deep litter fertilizer is produced by 30-40 birds in a year.
    • As such 500 birds with 450 kg as total live weight may produce wet manure of about 25 Kg/day, which is adequate for a hectare of water area under polyculture.
    • The fully built up deep litter contain 3% nitrogen, 2% phosphate and 2% potash. The built up deep litter is also available in large poultry farms.
    • The farmers who do not have the facilities for keeping poultry birds can purchase poultry litter and apply it in their farms.
    • Aquatic weeds are provided for the grass carp.
    • Periodical netting is done to check the growth of fish. If the algal blooms are found, those should be controlled in the ponds.
    • Fish health should be checked and treat the diseased fishes.


Poultry husbandry practices:

For the first 14 days, chicks need to be raised separately in a brooder (not on pond), as they need higher temperature of 28-33 ºC (85-95 ºF). Each chick during this period needs a space of 7.5 x 7.5 cm (9 in²). To maintain the required temperature range, surround the chicks in a bamboo fence and hang an electric or kerosene lamp above them. A rice husk heater can also be used.

  • Broilers: 30-50 broilers could be raised on a 1 000 m² pond.
  • The chicken house can be constructed over the pond at least 0.5 m above maximum pond water level, or on the embankment. Each bird requires 1.5 ft² space (50 birds require 75 ft² space). The house can be made of bamboo or any other locally available cheap materials. Roof can be covered with hay or similar material. Enough cross ventilation should be maintained to keep cool during hot days. Floors are to be constructed with bamboo slats, with 1 cm gap, to allow excreta to fall into pond, but not wide enough for the chicken's feet to get caught in between and injured.
  • Any fast-growing chicken, like Shavar Starbro broilers, can be raised.
  • Feed with starter mash for 1-4 weeks and with finisher mash for 5-8 weeks, given as much as they can consume. A 100-kg starter mash requires 50 kg crushed wheat, 14.5 kg rice bran, 16 kg sesame oil cake, 19 kg fishmeal and 0.5 kg salt. A 100 kg finisher mash requires 50 kg crushed wheat, 17 kg rice bran, 15 kg sesame oil cake, 16 kg fish meal, 1.5 kg bone meal and 0.5 kg salt. In both cases, vitamin premix is added at the rate of 250 g/100 kg of feed.
  • Water should be provided at all times.
  • Chicken layers: 30-50 layers can be raised over a pond of 1 000 m².
  • Housing can be constructed on pond or on embankment. Each bird requires 3 ft² floor area.
  • Any good strain of chicken, like Star Cross Shavar, could be raised.
  • For the first 16 weeks, feed is given at the rate of 80-110 g/bird/day and from 17th week onwards, 110-120 g/bird/day. Feed composition is given in the chart below.
  • Temperature in the poultry house should always be above 20-22°C. When the temperature goes below this level, hang two 200-watt bulbs or two kerosene lamps for every 50 chickens. A rice husk heater can also be used.
  • Broilers reach market size of 1.5-1.8 kg in 7-8 weeks and it is possible to raise six batches in a year. Layers start laying after 22 weeks and 250-280 eggs/bird/year could be obtained. Egg laying becomes uneconomical after chickens reach the age of 18 months, when they need to be replaced.
  • Because chickens are usually kept in confinement, they are susceptible to disease. When disease strikes, the whole flock may be affected: growth will be retarded, egg production will go down or the chickens may die. Thus, broilers will not reach market weight in time. For layers, sexual maturity is delayed. Protective measures are needed.


  • Some fish attain marketable size within a few months.
  • Keeping in view the size of the fish, prevailing rate and demand of the fish in the local markets, partial harvesting of table size fish is done.
  • After harvesting partially, the pond should be restocked with the same species and the same number of fingerlings depending upon the availability of the fish seed.
  • Final harvesting is done after 12 months of rearing. Fish yield ranging from 3500-4000 Kg/ha/yr and 2000-2600 Kg/ha/yr are generally obtained with 6 species and 3 species stocking respectively.
  • Eggs are collected daily in the morning and evening. Every bird lays about 200 eggs/year.
  • The birds are sold after 18 months of rearing as the egg laying capacity of these birds decreases after that period.
  • Pigs can be used along with fish and poultry in integrated culture in a two-tier system. Chick droppings form direct food source for the pigs, which finally fertilise the fish pond.
  • Depending on the size of the fish ponds and their manure requirements, such a system can either be built on the bund dividing two fish ponds or on the dry-side of the bund.
  • The upper panel is occupied by chicks and the lower by pigs.


Vaccination for chickens

In some countries, vaccines can be obtained from the nearest livestock office, free of cost. The following are some reminders when collecting vaccines:

  • Bring a good thermoflask and a little cotton wool.
  • Do not waste vaccine. Obtain only the exact amount needed. Vaccine production costs a lot to the government.
  • Store vaccines at low temperature, preferably in a refrigerator, to maintain their effectiveness.
Equipment necessary in vaccination
  • Thermoflask of sufficient capacity to carry the vaccines.
  • Nylon syringe - one or two, graduated at 1 ml intervals. Smaller-capacity syringe is preferable.
  • Needles of gauge 20 or 21 and 14 or 15. Shorter needles of 1-2 cm length are preferable for poultry vaccination. A few large sewing needles are suitably modified for fowl pox vaccination.
  • Measuring cylinder
  • Two wide-mouth bottles: one to carry distilled water and another to dilute vaccines, when necessary. These items preferably should be of nylon or polypropylene which could be sterilized by boiling when necessary.

Reminders when vaccinating chickens

  • Sterilize syringes, needles and all other equipment before using.
  • Put ice cubes at the bottom of the thermoflask and a layer of cotton wool before placing the vaccine vial. Close the flask.
  • Check vaccine if it looks all right. Do not use discolored or unusual-looking vaccines.
  • Use distilled water purchased from a pharmacy when diluting vaccines, or boil clean water for 10-15 minutes. Cool down, then strain into a clean bottle.
  • When only a small amount of distilled water has to be added, draw the required amount into the sterile syringe and inject into the vial. Dissolve by vigorously shaking the vial.
  • Pour the balanced amount of distilled water into the mixing bottle. Draw the dissolved vaccine into the syringe. Pour into the mixing bottle containing the balanced quantity of distilled water. Thoroughly mix with a sterilized rod.
  • In case of fowl pox, remove the required amount into a sterilized empty vial and use for vaccination. This prevents contamination and subsequent waste of surplus vaccine.
  • Do not spill vaccines. This could be fatal to chickens.
  • Hold the needle with the knob. Do not touch the tip when assembling the syringe for vaccination. Contaminated needles should not be used until sterilized.
  • Before vaccination, confine the birds, picking up one by one and releasing after vaccination. This makes vaccination easy and no bird is missed.
  • Do not vaccinate birds suffering from disease or in a state of stress. Vaccinate them only when they are back to normal.
  • Two vaccines should not be given the same day. A 10-day gap is needed between two successive vaccinations.
  • Record data so that the next vaccination will be known.
  • If leftover diluted vaccine can be used within a short period, it should be put in a clean polythene bag and placed in the flask containing ice.
  • Wash all equipment used with soap and clean water, then sterilize in boiling water.
  • Thoroughly clean empty vaccine vials. Return them to the Livestock Officer when collecting the next requirement of vaccines.
  • Vaccinate birds on time.


Source : http://agropedia.iitk.ac.in/, http://www.fao.org/docrep/005/y1187e/y1187e15.htm

Updated on : May 2014


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