The term poultry refers to the rearing and breeding of avian species
such as chickens, ducks, turkeys, geese and guinea-fowls which have been domesticated. They are the best converters of feed into animal protein
compared to other livestock. Chickens are the most common poultry
enterprises. Chickens alone occupy 90% of the total poultry.
There are more than hundred breeds and more varieties of fowls.
The fowls are classified based on their utility to man. They are meat type,
egg type, dual type and games and ornamental type. Based on their origin
there are four major exotic breeds of fowls. They are American breeds,
Asiatic breeds, English breeds and Mediterranean breeds. In addition to the
above many of the indigenous breeds are also reared.
I. American breeds:- (Poultry Breeds)
Most of the American breed of fowls are dual purpose forms giving
meat and egg. These breeds are characterized by yellow feathers, red ear
lobes and many of them lay brown-shelled eggs. Rhode island reds,
Plymouth rock, New hampshire and Wyandotte are some of the
important breeds of American class.
a. Plymouth rock:- poultry breeds
Plymouth rock is the oldest and most popular breed of
America. The birds are single combed with long and deep body . The breed
produces good sized eggs. The plumage is generally greyish white.
The female looks darker in colour than males. This colour feature is used to
distinguish the sex of the birds. The females usually have black spots on the
b. White plymouth: poultry breeds
The white plymouth rock has white plumage throughout
the body and it is commonly used in broiler production. Standard weights of
cock, 4.3kg; hen 3.4kg; cockerel,3.6kg; pullet, 2.7kg.
II. Asiatic breeds:- poultry breeds
The breeds of this class belong to Asian continent. They are
characterised by large body with heavy bones, feathered shanks, red ear
lobes and yellow skin. They are used for egg and meat purpose. The egg
shells are light to dark brown in colour. The important breeds of this class
are Brahma, from Brahmaputra valley in India, Cochin and Langshan are
Brahma :- poultry breeds
Brahma breed is well known for its massive body with heavy
bones, well – feathered and proportionate body. Peacomb is one of
important breed character. Light, Dark Brahma are of two common varieties
of Brahma .
Light Brahma :- poultry breeds
It has light grey to white colour and the hackle feathers
are black. The beak and legs are light yellow coloured. Standard weights of
light Brahma are, cock 5.4 kg; hen 4.3 kg; cockerel 4.5kg; and pullet 3.6 kg .
Dark Brahma:- Dark brahmas are light black or steel grey coloured with
greenish hackle. standard weight of dark Brahma are, cock 4.9 kg; hen
3.9 kg; cockerel 4.0 kg; and pulet 3.1 kg.
III. English breeds :- poultry breeds
All the breeds of this class originated from England. Presence of white
plumage and pink coloured earlobes are the characters of the breed of this
class. Most of them lay brown shelled eggs. Sussex, Orpington, Australorp
and Corinsh are some of the important breed of this class.
IV. Mediterranean breeds:- poultry breeds
Breeds of this class originated from European countries which are by the side of Mediterranean sea. The important breeds of this class, Leghorn
and Ancone originated from Italy whereas Minorca originated from spain.
The breeds are light bodied with non feathered shanks. The fowls of this
class lay white shelled eggs and they are non-sitters.
Leghorn:- poultry breeds
The white leghorns are the most popular and commercial breed
in India, Colours of plumage may be white, brown or black. The fowls of
this breed are small, compact with single comb and wattles. Though the
leghorns are adapted to most of the climates, they are thriving well in dry
areas. They mature early and they begin to lay eggs at the age of 5or 6
months. Hence, the breed is economically important and preferred in
commercial forms. The standard weight of the cock is 2.7kg; hen 2.0kg;
cockerel 2.3kg; and pullets 1.8kg.
V. Indigenous breeds of fowls: poultry breeds
The common country hen of India is known as ‘Desi’ which is the
best mother for hatching. Some of the Indian fowls resemble the leghorn, but
have poor laying qualities. Chitagong, Aseel, Karaknath and Busra are four
breeds of indigenous fowl in India.
a. Aseel:- poultry breeds
Aseel is noted for its pugnacity. The colour of the breed is white
or black. The hens are not good egg layers but are excellent sitters. Aseel
breed is found in almost all states of India, but abundant in Andhra Pradesh.
b. Chittagong:- poultry breeds
Chittagong breed is largely found in West Bengal. The
plumage colour varies, but the popular shade is golden or light yellow. The
beak is long and yellow in colour, the ear lobes and wattles are small and red
in colour. They are good egg layers and are delicious.
c. Karaknath:- poultry breeds
It is a fowl with black flesh. It is abundant in Madhya Pradesh
and bred by tribals and the eggs are light brown in colour. The adult plumage
varies from silver and gold-sprangled to bluish- black. The comb, wattles
and tongue are purple in colour,
d. Busra:- poultry breeds
This is a small to medium sized bird found in some parts of Gujarat
and Maharashtra. They are light feathered with wide variation in body colour.
Related Topics in Zoology:
- Livestock and Management
- Important cattle breeds and their characteristics
- Milch breeds (or) Dairy breeds
- Dual purpose breeds & Draught breeds
- Exotic breeds of cattle
- Common diseases and control in Cattle – Contagious diseases
- Non-contagious diseases – Cattle
- Techniques adopted in cattle breeding
- Poultry Breeds
- Farming methods
- Poultry byproducts
- Fish Pond
- Edible Fishes Of Tamilnadu
- Medical Lab Techniques – Stethoscope
- Urine Sugar analysis
- ECG Electrocardiogram
- Computed Tomography CT
- Endoscopy (Laproscopy) techniques , Artificial Pacemaker