M A I N   N E W S

HP sends back Punjab broilers
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 30
Though no case of bird flu has been reported from any part of the country, poultry farmers have been hit hard following such reports from across the border. Punjab, one of the leading states engaged in poultry farming, has been hit the most, the daily loss being suffered running into lakhs.

Sources said today a number of truckloads of broilers were sent back from Himachal Pradesh to Punjab today. “Rumours about bird flu have made our life miserable”, said Mr Bunty Khanna, a leading poultry farmer.

The official machinery should make a concerted attempt to scotch rumours and disinformation. It should focus on removing fear among non-vegetarian people, say poultry farmers.

The rates of broiler and eggs continue have been falling for the past few days. The sale of broilers has gone down sharply. Broiler meat, which was fetching a price of Rs 30 to 32 per kg a few days ago is now Rs 20 per kg in the wholesale market. The rate of eggs has come down to Rs 125 per 100 eggs.

Another factor hitting poultry farmers is the retention of broilers at their farms. A full-grown broiler of 35 to 45 days consumes about 100 gram of feed. It costs about Re 1 to the farmer. “A poultry farmer with 50,000 birds, will have to bear an additional expenditure of Rs 50,000 per day if he is forced to retain the birds longer”, said Mr Khanna.

There are several farmers having birds in thousands. The acceptability of boilers in the meat market varies as per their age. When its age crosses 45 days, its acceptability in the market starts decreasing. On attaining the age of 55 days, it is almost unacceptable in the routine retail market and has to be disposed of to bulk buyers.

Punjab, which was earlier number one in poultry farming, has now been relegated to the third place. It has over 3.22 crore poultry birds spread over 1749 broiler and 1195 egg-laying farms. The state is a major supplier of broilers to Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi and certain parts of UP.

Mr D.S. Bains, Secretary, Animal Husbandry, Punjab, who visited Hoshiarpur and other areas where poultry farmers were concentrated in big numbers, said there was no report of bird flu from any part of the state. A red alert, he said, had been sounded in the border belt in view of the bird flue reports from across the border.

A control room has been set up in the office of the Director, Animal Husbandry, to meet any exigency.

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