Animal Husbandry – A Major Source of Income


Animal Husbandry Scenario in District

Ahmednagar   District is a drought prone district.  However, due to irrigation sources of four major dams, 26 per cent area is irrigated in the district.  Due to this diverse situation, the district is having two important commodities as major source of income i.e. sugarcane and cattle, resulting in the development of sugar and dairy industries.  Daily average milk collection in the district is 17.29 lakh liter through co-operative as well as private dairies.  Though there are high yielding crossbreds, exotic blood level has crossed the level of 62.5 per cent resulting in low fat and SNF percentage, repeat breeding and health problems.  In the irrigated area, green fodder particularly jowar, lucerne, sugarcane tops is sufficiently available as fodder for cattle.  As dairy industry is the major source of income to family, the health and AI services have been provided by the Paravets (Private Veterinary Service Provider).  There is good network of paravets with the public as well as private sector institutions for extending veterinary services.  Only animal health diagnosis through some tests, major surgeries as well as livestock disease eradication campaign are being taken care by the animal husbandry department.


In unirrigated area crossbreds are low in number compared to irrigated area, which is mainly due to availability of green fodder. However their economy also depends upon dairy enterprise. In this area  indigenous non-descript goats is also a  major income source to the farmers.  The major problem in goat is low twinning percentage, less weight gain and high mortality of the kids.  In the poultry, both i.e. indigenous poultry for backyard production and improved breeds for egg and meat production are important source of income.  There is good scope for commercial poultry production through layer and broiler unit in the rainfed area. While considering overall situation of animal husbandry in the district, KVK has set a vision to improve the livestock production for hygienic milk, meat and egg production, employment generation among the rural youth and improving the socio-economic conditions of the youths as well as the farmwomen.

 To implement this vision, the KVK focused on following missions                            

- Up gradation of local non-descript goat       

- Up gradation of local back yard poultry

- Production of nutritious fodder as per water availability

- Minimize the problems of fat, SNF and repeat breeding

- Promote broiler and layer poultry units for employment generation

- Fish cultivation in farm ponds as an additional source of income

Programmes Conducted

Sr. No.

Name of topic

No. of courses

No.of trainees

Villages covered


Dairy management





Goat rearing





Fodder production





Back yard poultry





Broiler production





Semistallfed goat rearing





Fish farming









Goat Rearing                                                                      

            Goat is being considered as cow of poor family, as goat can be reared without much green fodder.  The landless labors, socio-economically backward class, farmwomen, farmers from rain fed area are the major beneficiaries of the goat enterprise.  However, the goat in the district is indigenous, non-descript type, which is having less twinning percentage, less weight gain and low milk yield.  In view of the importance of goat rearing and its scope for meat and milk yield, the KVK has focused on two aspects i.e. up-gradation of local breed and introduction of semi stall fed goat rearing as commercial venture of goat farming.  For up-gradation of local goat, KVK has introduced two breeds i.e. Osmanabadi for milk and meat purpose where as Boer for meat purpose.  Osmanabadi breed is more suitable in both backyard as well as semi-stall fed goat rearing.  Initially KVK reared the goat at KVK farm and made available the goats as well as breedable bucks to the beneficiaries. Self Help Groups (SHGs) were involved for promotion of the goat farming.  Various activities were conducted for the SHG members besides organizing demonstration of new breeds, preparation of home made concentrate feed and introduction of some fodder crops.  KVK has introduced the up-gradation of goat concept in more than 40 villages through total 44 breedable bucks.  More than 150 Osmanabadi goats were given to the farmwomen.  Similarly village Chinchpur was adopted for complete replacement of the existing breed with Osmanabadi with the help of SHG members.  Due to KVKs intervention 23 stall fed goat-rearing farm were started with average 20 to 30 goats/units.  Each family is getting additional income of Rs. 20 to 30 thousand per annum.  Similarly due to up-gradation of goat programme, more than 3500 goats were up-graded during last 5 to 6 years period.  Due to this up-gradation average weight gain has increased by two to three kg per goat and also improved the twinning percentage. 

            With this intervention, the gain of 7000 to 10,000 kg meat and 1000 kids per annum to the farmers resulted in more than 20 to 22 lakh additional income to more than 1500 families.  On an average there is an increase of Rs. 1400 to 1500 per family due to up-gradation of goat. Similarly 23 rural youths and women are self -employed due to semi stall-fed goat rearing.  These units are providing good quality breedable bucks to other farmers.


Crossbred Cows

            Ahmednagar district is pioneer in rearing cross bred cows, which started in the year 1970-71.  In the district, crossbred population is 5.80 lakh with average milk yield of 10 lit/day/cow. Due to intensive dairy farming, the exotic blood level has gone up to 70 to 80 per cent.  Similarly due to poor nutrition and health management, the problems of repeat breeding, low fat percentage and the outbreak of endo-ecto parasites are prevalent in the district. 

Repeat Breeding and Low Fat Percentage

            In the irrigated area use of sugarcane tops and lucerne as fodder and less use of dry fodder is the common practice.    Similarly the exotic blood level of the crossbred cows has crossed 62.5 per cent, which is not desirable.  This has resulted in problems like repeat breeding and low fat percentage.  KVK has conducted a number of awareness and health camps, trainings, demonstrations and OFTs to highlight the technological options as a solution to these problems. Shatawari  powder as ITK and azolla as a new initiative were tested to improve fat percentage in the cow.  As the milk rate is decided on the basis of fat percentage, farmers have adopted the technologies related to feeding, which has alleviated their problem to a considerable extent.  However, the problem related to maintenance of exotic blood level has not been addressed, as the A.I. services is being provided by paravets.  KVK has also conducted training for the paravets, but the policy decisions and supply of semen to these paravets have remained a basic problem.  Necessary feedback to the research and development agencies is given by the KVK.

Ecto and Endo Parasites

            Every year district is loosing approximately Rs. 100 million due to ecto and endo parasites. Due to these parasites, the animal health problems like fever, Thileriosis, babesiosis have increased.  Besides this the forage conversion into animal protein i.e. milk is also declining.  Tick is the major ecto parasites, whereas different types of worms are important endoparasites.  The KVK has conducted different FLDs, OFTs and training programmes to manage these parasites.  Some ITKs are have also been validated like use of tephrosia purpurea (Unhali) plant and aloevera gel to manage the tick.

            Besides these ITKs, butox, exinot, panacur were also tested and demonstrated to manage the ecto and endo parasite.  Due to KVK’s intervention, the adoption of these new products has increased and it has been able to reduce the problem up to 70 to 80 per cent in the adopted villages.

 Feeds and Fodder                               

Feeds and fodder contribute to 60 to 75 per cent of production cost of milk.  Milking cows needs green fodder, dry fodder and concentrate in balanced form.  In green fodder both legume and non-legume should share equal quantity.  For availability of continuous green fodder, KVK has introduced cowpea, oat, Yeshwant, Jaywant maize and stylo.  During the fodder scarcity, KVK has demonstrated the use of urea treated wheat straw as a fodder. Concentrated feeds are not given as per recommendations due to high cost.   For this, KVK has conducted demonstration on preparation of homemade concentrate feed and azolla production to minimize cost on concentrate.  Feed and fodder management has resulted in overall increase in milk production up to 10 to 15 per cent besides reducing the cost.


Contract Farming in Broiler Production

There is good scope for broiler production in the villages due to dry fresh air, clean water supply and large scale assured market through contract farming.  Therefore KVK has identified contract farming in broiler poultry production as an assured income generating enterprise for the rural youths. Long duration training programmes were conducted and linkages developed with private poultry industries like Venkateshwara, Saguna, Amrut for contract farming.  Through eight long durational training programmes, 204 trainees were trained.  Due to on job training, they acquired skills and confidence at KVK demonstration unit and have established their units.   Contract growing arrangement in broiler is generally a contract between an "integrator", who supplies the intermediate inputs and procures the output from a grower, who provides the primary inputs in the production process. The integrator provides the growing stock day-old-chicks, feeds, veterinary supplies and services and procures the final output. The contract grower typically provides the space and facilities (land and housing), manure and dead animal disposal, equipment, utilities, labor, day-to-day farm management and after 40 days starts the process of sale.   The grower receives a guaranteed fixed amount based on live weight. Growers are required to maintain the standards typically referred to as feed conversion ratios (FCR), harvest recovery (HR, or percent of live birds harvested) and average live weight (ALW for broilers) with maximum allowable mortality up to 5 percent. Additional compensation in addition to the fixed fee is given to the grower for surpassing each of the performance standards. For growers who fall below the set standards, some amount is being deducted as per standard norms.   Different companies are offering rate of Rs. 2.75 to 3.00 per kg on live weight as a fee for rearing of birds.  All these are transparent and prefixed agreements which has resulted in establishing contract farming system in the area.

Now in the 40 km radius from the KVK, there are 32 poultry units that are having a capacity of 5000-10000 poultry birds per unit.  Each rural youth is earning Rs. 12,500-25,000 per month .Due to large size unit, they are additionally generating assured employment for two labors who in turn are earning Rs.1500 per month.

Due to contract farming agreement, the rural youth from the rain fed area has got the mployment opportunities.  The KVK is providing them technical backup support, services like water and feed testing besides solving any emergencies related to their enterprises.

Back yard Poultry Production

  Poultry is the one of the fastest growing enterprise in the district. Though commercial broiler and layer production is growing very fast, there is around 30 to 35 per cent population who demand the eggs and meat of local poultry.  The rates for eggs and meat of the local poultry are 50 to 100 per cent more than the broiler and layer.  The local poultry is being reared by the farmwomen in backyard and this is a major income source for them.  By considering the demand for local poultry birds, KVK has given more emphasis on this concept.  Low weight gain, low eggs production and availability of chicks are the major issues, which have restricted this enterprise.  The KVK has also introduced Giriraja breed of Karnataka for meat production during the year 1996-97.  Similarly, RIR was introduced for the eggs as well as meat purpose.  Both these breeds were promoted through the SHGs and the acceptance is very good due to increase in the weight gain as well as eggs production.  The KVK has demonstrated various feed preparations to increase the income.  With the increase in demand for these breeds, the KVK has established a small hatchery unit with 400 chicks capacity incubator.  The chicks produced from this hatchery are provided to farmwomen as per their demand.  Some farmers have also started commercial poultry unit with this Giriraja breed.

            Total 78 small units of RIR and 35 units of Giriraja have been established apart from 27 commercial units (500 to 1000 birds) of Giriraja.  Similarly one trainee has started outsourcing of the Giriraja chicks and is providing the same to the farmwomen and youths for their units.  This activity has supported more than 140 families providing them an income of Rs. 500 to 5,000 per month based on the size of units.

Azolla Production

            To enrich the feed and fodder of the cows, goat and poultry, the KVK has introduced an innovative concept i.e. Azolla as a feed.  Azolla is a blue green algae and is generally used as biofertilizer due to its high contents of proteins and minerals.  Basically azolla is a bioagent can be produced with very little investment with minimum technology.  For the intervention, KVK has conducted trials on cow, goat and poultry and has found that not only we can save the costlier concentrate feed by 20 to 25 per cent, which is very costlier, but also the yield of meat or milk can be increased by 10 to 15 per cent.  To promote azolla production on large area, the KVK has conducted trainings for 121 farmers and farmwomen, demonstrated the technology with the 46 farmers.    KVK is intensively working in one village to see the aggregate results where local dairy cooperative is involved to record the results and outcomes.

 Self Employment Generation 

Sr. No.


No. of units started

Total employment mandays/ annum


Broiler poultry




Goat rearing




Backyard poultry