General Information

India has made considerable progress in broiler production in the last two decades. High quality chicks, equipments, vaccines and medicines are available. With an annual output of 41.06 billion eggs and 1000 million broilers, India ranks fourth largest producer of eggs and fifth largest producer of poultry broiler in the world. The broiler production has also sky rocketed at an annual growth rate of about 15 percent at present. Broiler farming has been given considerable importance in the national policy and has a good scope for further development in the years to come.

Advantages of Chicken farming

Classification of Breeds of Poultry

  • American Class

Eg. New Hampshire, white Plymouth Rock, Rhode Island Red, Wyandote II.


G:\Chick-PlymouthRock.jpg Plymouth Rock

G:\Chicken%20-leghornm%20Breed.jpg Leghorn

  • Mediterranean Class:

They are light bodied and well developed for high egg production.
Eg. Leghorn, Minorca, Ancona


  • English Class

They are mostly utility breeds noted for their excellent flushing properties. Eg. Australorp, Cornish, Sussex, Orphington

  • Asiatic Class

They are large bodied with heavy bones feathered shanks and poor layers.

  • Indian breeds

Eg. Aseel (Fighting purpose), Chitlagong, Kadacknath (Resh is black in colour) Bursa

Commercial Broiler strains
Eg. Cobb, Hubbard, Lohman, Anak 2000, Avian -34, Starbra, Sam rat etc.,

Commercial Layer Strains
Eg.BV-300, Bowans, Hyline, H & N nick, Dekalb Lohman etc.

Broiler: Broiler are young chicken of either sex, which are reared primarily for
meat purposes and marketed at an age of 6-8 weeks
, .
Grower: The management of birds during 9-20 weeks or to the point of laying is
referred to as grower period.

Layer: The management of birds during 21-72 weeks of age for the purpose of laying eggs (egg production).

(Source: Dr.Paul Pricely Rajkumar, AC&RI, Madurai )

Breeds of Chicken

Chickens are grown for their egg and meat. Likewise they are classified as egg-type chicken and meat-types chickens. Egg type chickens are composed of stock that has been developed for egg production and are maintained for the principal purpose of producing chicks for the ultimate production of eggs for human consumption. Breeds of meat type chickens primarily include broilers, fryers, roasters, and other meat type chickens. Here broilers and other chickens are raised for their meat. Broilers are genetically selected for fast growth and raised for meat rather than eggs e.g. White Synthetic Male line (WSML), white synthetic dam line (SDL), coloured synthetic male line (CSML), coloured synthetic female line (CSFL), introgression of frizzle gene etc.

Native breeds of egg type chicken in India


Body weight
(20 weeks)

Age at sexual maturity (days)

Annual egg production (No.)

Egg weight at 40 weeks (g)


Hatchability FES (5)






















Naked neck







(Source: Central Avian Research Institute)

Indigenous Breeds

The common control hen, the desi, is as a rule the best mother for hatching. She is a good forager. Some of the Indian flows resemble the Leghorn in size and shape, but have poor laying qualities. They are Found in various colours. one variety found in India resembles the sussex or Plymouth Rock in shape but is smaller. These birds lay family well and are more common in the eastern parts of the country.

The Indian birds are mostly non-descripts, and are of very little value as layers. They have several local breed names such as Tenis, Naked Neck, Punjab, Brown, Ghagus, Lolab, Kashmir Faberella, Tilri, Busra, Telllicherry, Danki, Nicorai and Kalahasti. There are only 4 pure breeds Karaknath and the Busra. The last occurs in western India. A large number of flows of different size, shapes and colours, and for the most part resembling the jungle fowls, are found all over India. They vary in appearance according to the locality in which they have been bred. These with Chittagong, Aseel, Langshan or Brahma blood in them are bigger in size and better in meat quality than the common flows.



Aseel is noted for its pugnacity, high stamina, majestic gait and dogged fighting qualities. The best specimens of the breed, although rare, and encountered in parts of Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Rsjasthan. The most popular varieties are peela (golden red), yarkin (black and red), Nurie 89(white), kagar (black), chitta (black and white silver), Teekar (brown) and Reza (light red). Although poor in productivity, the birds of this breed are well-known for their meat qualities. Broodiness in most common and the hen is a good sitter and efficient mother. They possess pea combs which are small but firmly set on head. Wattles and ear lobes are bright red, and the beak is hart. The face is long and slender, and not covered with feather. The eyes are compact, well set and present bold looks. The neck is long, uniformly thick but no fleshy. The body is round and short with broad breast straight back and close - set strong tail root. The general feathering is close, scanty and almost absent on the Brest. The plumage has practically no fluff and the feathers are tough. The tail is small and drooping. The legs are strong, straight, and set well apart. Standard weight (kg): Cocks, 4 to 5; hen 3 to 4; cockerrels, 3.5 to 4.5; pullets, 2.5 to 3.5.

G:\Aseel.jpg Aseel

G:\Kadaknath.jpg   Kadaknath


The original name of the breed seems to be Kalamasi, meaning a fowl with black flesh. However, it is popularly known as Karaknath. The eggs are light brown. The day-old chicks are bluish to black with irregular dark stripes over the the back. The adult plumage varies from silver and gold-spangled to bluish-black without any spangling. The skin, beak, shanks, toes and soles of feet are slatelike in colour.The comb, wattles and tongue are purple. Most of the internal organs show intense black colouration which is pronounced in trachea, thoracic and abdominal air-sacs, gonads and at the base of the heart and mesentery. Varying degrees of block colouration are also seen in the skeletal muscles, tendons, nerves, meninges, brain etc. The blood is darker than normal blood. The black pigment has been due to deposition of melanin, The flesh although repulsive to look at, is delicious. A medium layer, lays about 80 eggs per year. The bird is resistant to diseases in its natural habitat in free range but is more susceptible to Mareks disease under intensive rearing conditions.
(Source: Dr.Acharya, Handbook of Animal Husbandry)


G:\naked neck.jpg   Naked neck ( Photo source: kvk Namakkal )

File:Sophia and ZsuZsu walking the property.jpg

A pair of urban Barred Plymouth Rock hens

File:Phoenix rooster and hen.jpg

Phoenix rooster and hen

File:Rooster at Scottish poultry show.jpg  A Minorca breed rooster



Other commercial breeds of broiler chicken in India


First egg

50% Production

Peak production


Egg production peak

Feed efficiency

Egg weight

Net egg
production (72 weeks)


17-18 weeks

150 days

26-28 weeks

Grower (96%)
Layer (94%)



54 g

280 eggs


18-19 weeks

155 days

27-29 weeks

Grower (96%)
Layer (94%)



54 g

265 eggs


17-18 weeks

150 days

26-28 weeks

Grower (96%)
Layer (94%)



57 g

290 eggs


18-19 weeks

155 days

27-29 weeks

Grower (96%)
Layer (94%)



54 g

275 eggs


18-19 weeks

155 days

27-29 weeks

Grower (97%)
Layer (94%)



50 g

200 eggs

(Source: Central Avian Research Institute)

Commercial available meat-type chicken in India


Weight at six
weeks (g)

Weight at
seven weeks

Food conversion ratio












CARIBRO Multicoloured





CARIBRO Naked necked










(Source: )


Australorp Chickens

Color and Appearance

Australorps are large and soft feathered. Glossy black Australorp chickens were the original color. However, other color types of chickens have been developed and are blue and splash.

Origin of Black Australorp chickens

Black Australorp chickens were developed in Australia in the early 1900s from Orpingtons imported from the UK, in a bid to improve on their utility. They were known as Black Utility Orpingtons.

Size of Australorp chickens

Large Australorp:

Roosters should be between 3.9 kg (8.6 lbs) and 4.7 kg (10.4 lb), while hens weigh in between 3.7 kg (8.2 lb) and 4.5 kg (9.9 lb).

Bantam Australorp:

Bantam roosters weigh from 1.8 kg (4 lb) to 2.3 kg (5 lb), with hens weighing between 1.7 kg (3.7 lb) and 2.2 kg (4.8 lb).

Temperament of Australorp chickens

The Australorps are quiet chickens, easily contained and handled.

Uses of the Australorp chicken

Australorps are a hardy, dual purpose types of chickens. Originally developed for exceptional egg laying (around 250 pale brown eggs a year), they also are a good meat bird, with reasonably early maturity and white skin.

However, their actual egg laying performance will vary from strain to strain.





Barred Plymouth Rock ChickensBarred Plymouth Rock Chickens Barred Rock Chickens

Color and Appearance

Barred Plymouth Rock chickens, Plymouth Rock chickens and Barred Rock chickens (after their most usual color) are not different breeds of chickens, but different names for the same types of chickens.

Apart from their namesake barred coloring, they also come in blue, buff, columbian, partridge, silver laced, silver penciled and white. They are large birds with excellent table qualities.

Origin of Barred Rock chickens

Barred Rock chickens originated in the United States in the mid 1800s and soon became very popular.

Size of Barred Rock chickens

Rooster: 9.5 lbs (4.3 kg) Hen: 7.5 lb (3.4 kg)

Temperament of Barred Rock chickens

Generally docile, but occasionally aggressive, Plymouth Rock chickens adapt well to confinement and are usually easy to handle.

Uses of Barred Rock chickens

Plymouth Rocks are a cold hardy, dual-purpose fowl, useful for their meat and egg production. However, some strains have been developed principally for egg laying, and others for meat. They tend to go broody and make good mothers.

Overall they are good producers of light to medium brown eggs, yielding about 200 eggs per year. White Plymouth Rock hens are still used today to produce commercial broiler hybrids.






Brahma chickens

Brahma ChickensColor and Appearance

Brahmas are amongst the biggest types of chickens, whose size is exaggerated by their thick, loose feathering. The feathering extends down the legs and onto their toes.

Recognized colors are light, dark and buff. The light Brahma hen is white with black tail and black, white-edged hackles, whereas the buff Brahma hen is gold where the light is white. The dark Brahma hen has black, white-edged hackles with dark grey and black penciled body.

Origin of Brahma chickens

Brahmas originated in India.

Size of Brahma chickens

Originally much bigger, the standard weight for a cock is now around 11 lb (5 kg), and for a hen is 8.5 lb (3.85 kg).

Temperament of Brahma chickens

Brahmas are quiet chicken renown for their docile, unruffled demeanor. They are also friendly birds that are rarely aggressive.

Uses of the Brahma chicken

Brahmas are average layers of brown eggs. Though they reach a large size, they are slow to mature so not fantastic meat birds. However, they are hardy in both cold and hot conditions and make good mothers.







Cochin Chickens

Cochin chickensColor and Appearance

Like the Brahma, the Cochin is a big bird whose soft abundant feathers make it appear even larger. Similarly, it also has feathered legs and feet.

Cochins come in a variety of colors: buff, partridge, white, silver laced, gold laced, black and blue.

Origin of Cochin Chickens

The Cochin is originally from China.

Size of Cochin Chickens

Standard weight is 11 1b (5 kg) for a cock and 8.5 lb (3.9 kg) for a hen.

Temperament of Cochin Chickens

Cochins are docile, gentle and quiet chooks.

Uses of the Cochin Chicken

Cochins lay less well than most popular types of chickens, but will produce well in spring and make great mothers. Their eggs are brown, and the skin color is yellow. They are hardy, cope well in range conditions, and mature into an excellent table bird.





Cornish Chickens

Cornish ChickensColor and Appearance

Cornish chickens are chunky birds with large breasts and thighs, and close fitting feathers. Color varieties include white, white laced red, dark birds with brown patterning on a dark blue-green background (the Cornish Game) or lighter birds with the same patterning on a light wheaten background (Jubilee Cornish Game).

Origin of Cornish Chickens

The Cornish originated in England and was first known as the Indian Game.

Size of Cornish Chickens

Though they may grow heavier, the standard weight for a male is 7.5 lb (3.4 kg) and for a female is 6 lbs (2.7 kg).

Temperament of Cornish Chickens

A loud and active breed that is not especially docile, but takes confinement well.

Uses of the Cornish Chicken

Of all the different breeds of chickens, the Cornish are the definitive meat bird, consuming substantial amounts of feed and growing rapidly. Their skin is yellow.

Crossed with white Plymouth Rocks, they form the basis to most commercial broiler production. They are poor layers (50/year) of brown eggs of low fertility, are winter hardy and apt to go broody.




New Hampshire Chickens

New Hampshire ChickensColor and Appearance

The mature birds are a rich chestnut red, of a lighter and more even shade than the Rhode Island Reds.

Origin of New Hampshire Chickens

The New Hampshire originated in the state of New Hampshire in the United States.

Size of New Hampshire Chickens

Roosters weigh in at around 8.5 lb (3.9 kg), whereas hens are lighter at 6.5 lb (2.9 kg).

Temperament of New Hampshire Chickens

New Hampshires are competitive and aggressive.

Uses of the New Hampshire Chickens While it is a fair producer of large brown eggs, the New Hampshire was developed more for meat production than egg production. Medium heavy in weight, it matures early and dresses a nice, plump carcass as either a broiler or a roaster. The hens are prone to go broody and make good mothers.







Orpington Chickens

Buff Orpington ChickensColor and Appearance

The Orpington are large types of chickens with a soft appearance. It has a wide chest, broad back, and small head and tail.

They originally came in black, white, buff and blue. Other varieties have also been developed including porcelain (speckled), red, mottled and birchen.

Buff Orpington Chickens pictures

Origin of Orpington Chickens

The original Orpington (the Black) was developed in 1886 by William Cook. He crossed many different breeds of chickens, chiefly Minorcas, Langshans and Plymouth Rocks, to create the new hybrid bird.

Size of Orpington Chickens

The Orpington is a heavy breed, weighing from 7 lb (3.2 kg) to 10 lb (4.5 kg). Its soft, profuse feathering makes it appear even larger than it is.

Temperament of Orpington Chickens

Docile, affectionate and easily handled types of chickens.

Uses of the Orpington

The Orpington was bred as a dual-purpose breed, famous for good egg laying capacity (from 110 to 160 beige eggs/year even through winter), moderately early maturity, and good carcass qualities. Hens may go broody.






Rhode Island Red Chickens

Rhode Island Red ChickensColor and Appearance

These chooks normally have hard rust colored feathers, but may be darker or almost black.

Origin of Rhode Island Red Chickens

The Rhode Island Red are types of chickens originally bred using an infusion of Malay chicken bloodlines in Adamsville, Rhode Island in the USA.

Size of Rhode Island Red Chickens

Rhode Island Reds are large: roosters weigh in at around 8.5 lb (3.8 kg), the hens 6.5 lb (3 kg).

Temperament of Rhode Island Red Chickens

They are generally good pets to keep. However the roosters, and sometimes hens, can be quite aggressive.

Uses of the Rhode Island Red

They are a tough utility bird, raised for meat and eggs. Indeed they are among the best laying types of chickens. With good feeding their egg production is excellent, being from 250 to 300 large, light brown eggs a year.

They are moderately early maturing. Rhode Island Reds are also used for creating many modern hybrid types of chickens. However, their large comb makes them susceptible to frost bite.





Sussex Chickens

Sussex ChickensColor and Appearance

The most famous Sussex chooks are the Light Sussex. These are very distinctive types of chickens having a white body with a black tail and black wing tips, neck being white striped over with black.

Other colors include Brown, Buff, Light, Red, Speckled, Silver, White and Coronation.

Origin of Sussex Chickens

The Sussex chicken was created over a century ago in the county of Sussex, England.

Size of Sussex Chickens

Cocks should weigh approx 9lbs (4.0 kg), and the hens (females) 7lbs (3.2 kg).

Temperament of Sussex Chickens

The Sussex chicken is an alert, docile breed that can adapt to any surrounding, comfortable in both free range or confined spaces.

Uses of the Sussex

Sussex are dual purpose types of chickens that are good foragers, and understandably popular in backyards.

They (especially the Light Sussex) a good producers (240 to 260 a year) of large beige eggs.

It is also a good meat bird, maturing quickly for a heavy breed, and may go broody.