Gujarat’s Ankleshwar chicken breed gets a genetic makeover
VADODARA: A couple of years ago, this indigenous chicken breed of Gujarat was facing a crisis of sorts. Poor egg production and slow growth had started adversely impacting the population of the Ankleshwar chicken breed. But thanks to the intervention of scientists, the ‘desi’ chicken breed has undergone a genetic improvement in its makeup.
With the help of the National Bureau of Animal Genetic Resources (NBAGR), Karnal, Haryana, the Anand Agricultural University (AAU) has got success in conserving the indigenous breed.
In fact, genetically improved Ankleshwar chickens have been provided to local poultry farmers to conserve the original breed. AAU also won an award for conserving this native breed.
“We have received ICAR-NBAGR, Karnal sponsored breed conservation award 2022 for Ankleshwar chicken,” Dr. K B Kathiria, vice-chancellor of AAU who as director of research and dean of P G Studies had initiated the project to conserve the breed.
“Ankleshwar and Busta’s chicken is the only local breeds of Gujarat that are registered with the NBAGR – the nodal agency for registering breeds in the country. Of the two, Ankleshwar chicken is exclusive to Gujarat while Busra is found both in Gujarat and Maharashtra,” said Dr. F P Savaliya, principal scientist and head of poultry research station (PRS) at AAU.
“After carrying out a survey, we had got the Ankleshwar chicken as an indigenous breed in 2004-05,” he said.
“In 2012, we collected the fertile eggs from the breeding tracts of the Ankleshwar breed from Narmada and Bharuch districts.
These fertile eggs were artificially incubated and chicks were generated at PRS. “From this base population, a genetically improved breeder stock was established and conserved under a planned scheme of our university and also under an ICAR sponsored all India-coordinated research project,” Savaliya said.
After carrying out a few generations of purification and improvement, the breed was conserved ex-situ, meaning the breed was preserved other than its breeding tract. Since then, 60,000 chicks of this genetically improved breed were supplied yearly to needy rural poultry farmers.
Earlier, the hen used to produce 80-90 eggs. “But with genetic improvement and a balanced diet, one hen produces 140-150 eggs up to 64 weeks of age. This naturally helps in improving the income of poultry farmers,” Savaliya said.
The university has also carried out in-situ conservation of the breed for which chicks of the genetically improvised breed were provided to 50 beneficiaries in Umarvada village of Ankleshwar taluka so that the farmers can themselves breed the chicken. “Being a dual type of breed, this chicken is used both for egg and its meat,” he said…….click here to read the full news