In the wake of the spread of avian influenza, poultry owners in Hesaraghatta are resorting to selling chicken at a low price to clear their stock.
According to the department of animal husbandry, there are more than 15 poultry farms in the 10-km radius of Hesaraghatta. Each of the poultry farm has the capacity to accommodate 10,000 to 40,000 birds. The unfortunate incident where thousands of turkeys died because of avian influenza has made many poultry farm owners to go for distress sales.
For example, Harish Gowda of Lakshmi Breeding Poultry Farm, at Byatha village, had to incur a relative loss of Rs30 lakh because of spread of avian influenza at turkeys unit maintained by the Central Poultry Development Organisation and Training Institute.
According to Harish Gowda, the news of the death of turkeys has made poultry farmers either postpone their plans of starting breeding or dispose of the existing broilers at any cost. “I had to sell more than 30,000 broilers at a low price. It made me incur a relative loss of more than Rs30 lakh. I might have got Rs80 lakh had I waited a few more weeks to sell the broilers. I got only Rs 50 lakh,” said Gowda.
Stating that he has been spending a lot of money on medicines and labourers to keep the poultry farm clean and free from virus.
“We ensure that the labourers change their dress and clean hands and feet as soon as they enter the premises. No visitor was allowed to enter the premises without taking precautions to avoid infection of broilers,” he said.
With the ban on the sale of poultry products, closure of poultry farms and postponement of breeding programme, the outbreak is set to have a cascading effect on hundreds of families depending on poultry farms for livelihood. “We have employed 30 labourers. They are staying at the farm premises... They will be sitting idle till the breeding work commences,” said Muniswamy, manager of a poultry farm at Hesaraghatta.