Empowerment of Rural Women through backyard Poultry by using Vanaraja breed:

Women's issues are development issues and bypassing them in development programmes means leaving almost half of human resources outside development intervention. Women belonging to poor families in rural areas suffer from double deprivation. They are poor because they belong to poor families. They are also poor because they are women members of those families. The common characteristics of rural women are poverty, virtual lack of assets, a constant battle with insecurity, unemloyment and under employment, low wages and low returns for their labour. Women have some strong qualities desirable and relevant to entreprenureship development such as their ability to manage details, dedication to the work they take up, tolerance and kindness towards people etc. In our society, the mother is the complete manager, as she plans budgets, executes and shows results in the day to day life. Therefore, to raise the status of rural women it is important to empower them by increasing income level. In this context, the backyard poultry farming with improved variety may be the potent tool for upliftment of the rural women in Assam. Rural poultry production is being recognized as important component of socio economic improvement of the poorest of the poor. Besides income generation backyard poultry provides nutrition supplementation in the form of valuable animal protein at relatively low cost and empower rural women.

Background and Problem:

Socially we are having male dominating family system; obviously all income from agril produce is in hands of male farmer. It is observed that there is always shortage of money in the hands of rural farm women. There are some enterprises existing in the present situation which gives some assured income viz. Backyard poultry, small unit of goat keeping etc. in the hands of rural women. However, poor farm women have maintained indigenous low productive stock with traditional management. We are aware that the taste of indigenous poultry were better accepted, it has more demand too. But when we think about commercial point of view, problem of poor weight gain and egg production is the major problem observed by KVK.

KVKs intervention:

Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Jorhat has planned to introduce a new improved variety suitable for backyard poultry to replace existing low productive indigenous bird in the Kaliapani development block of Jorhat district. KVK, Jorhat has selected Vanaraja, a dual purpose improved variety, developed by PDP, Hyderabad as a need based intervention for tackling the problem with indigenous bird and planned to conduct On Farm Trial and Front Line Demonstration in a village where backyard poultry rearing is a common practice. Further, KVK, Jorhat introduced the technology of improved feeding and brooding practices of backyard poultry to reduce early chick mortality to few women in the same and nearby villages for development of mother unit of improved variety for backyard poultry. During FLD programme, KVK scientists regularly monitor the performance of the chicks supplied at the door steps besides providing health care and technical support. Vaccination against Ranikhet and Infectious bursal disease were done regularly.


In backyard it is observed that both live weight and egg production of Vanaraja bird is significantly increased over the indigenous bird.

Result at farmers' field

Mean ( + SE )   body weight (gm) gain of Vanaraja and indigenous chicken at different ages

Age in weeks







Day old

34.36 + 0.82a

31.36 + 0.62b

27.85 + 1.009c

24.25 + 0.77d


925.22 + 47.32 a

861.96 +44.66 b

358.48 +30.24c

301.96 + 17.36d


1218.26 +55.56 a

1162.61 + 38.57 b

486.74+ 27.07 c

454.13 + 31.17 d


1561.96 +34.17 a

1443.70 + 46.76 b

694.35 + 13.84c

639.57 + 23.00d


1991.96 +70.70 a

1489.57 + 65.17 b


848.70+ 29.47d

Means with different superscripts within a row differ significantly (P<0.05).


Performance traits of Vanaraja and indigenous chicken





Age at first egg (in days)

178.13 + 0.79a

191.25 + 1.46b

Egg Production/Year/Hen

145.75 + 1.44a

54.62 + 1.13b

Egg Weight 40 Weeks (g)

51.08 + 0.36a

36.12 + 0.62b

Egg Weight 72 Weeks(g)

59.06 + 0.42a

41.07 + 0.48b

Means with different superscripts within a row differ significantly (P<0.05).


Adoption by the beneficiaries:

Beneficiaries are interested to produce chicks from eggs of Vanaraja by hatching traditionally with their own local hen. Also, two numbers of mother unit for Vanaraja bird was developed by KVK, Jorhat as regular source of the Vanaraja grower bird for the area.

Adoption by non beneficiaries:

Due to good result and return from Vanaraja, the farm women supplied chicks and eggs of Vanaraja to their relatives. Some farm families purchased eggs from beneficiaries at the rate of Rs. 6/- and hatched with their own local hen.


i) Supplementary nutrition: Eggs of Vanaraja bird produced by the villagers were used as supplementary animal protein source by the villagers. Thus, nutrition level of school children and pregnant women might be increased.

ii) Low input: In backyard, birds were let loose during the day time by the farmers and offered on an average 35 g of feed per bird in terms of crushed maize, boiled rice, broken rice and kitchen waste etc. and the rest of their requirement was met by scavenging themselves in the form of insects, worms, seeds of grasses, tender leaves of grasses etc. The unproductive family members, old persons, children can easily manage and supervise the managerial practices of backyard poultry in a very short time.

Social impact:

With the help of backyard poultry with Vanaraj, returns were increased and all these amounts are in the hands of farm women. So, she became a money holder member of a family and ultimately she is one of the major members of the family having the role in decision making of a family.


Commercial poultry are available in urban area and cost of commercial poultry produce are more in rural areas due to transportation and unavailability, while backyard poultry produce are available in village condition. Therefore, backyard poultry produce are the easily available animal protein source for rural areas. Further, the meat and eggs of Vanaraja were preferred by the local consumers and found very demandable in the market owing to its similarity of the typical appearance of the indigenous bird. There was record of selling @ Rs.5 to 6/-per egg and Rs.150/--175/- per Kg live weight of Vanaraja bird by the farmer locally with equal market demand and good realization. So, village itself and daily and weekly bazzar (Hut) in nearby area are the market for chicken and eggs of backyard poultry farming.

Cost benefit ratio:

Generally, the backyard poultry units having an average of 15 birds per family, produced in and around 1800 eggs which costs about Rs. 9000/- and 25 Kg of meat which costs around Rs. 3000/-. The total gross income is around Rs. 12,000/-, while input and other cost is around as Rs. 2500/- only. Therefore, the cost benefit ratio of unit is 1 : 4.91 .