The poultry farms, which supply eggs to Samrang, are facing a difficult time saving their layers from a fatal faeces disease.

Poultry farm owners say that competition, frequent outbreaks of such diseases and high feed prices are forcing them to lose interest in the business.

A farm owner, Maniraj Limbu, 41, from Nangsuthang Toe started his poultry farm business this year and has already lost about 25 layers within six months to the disease.

The farmer does not know what the disease is called but explains that the hens’ droppings are white, after which wounds inflict the body.

He said gewog officials gave 50 birds to each poultry farmer through gewog development grant (GDG). “But the layers are dying every week because of the unidentified disease.” Maniraj has 25 layers left.

Poultry farm owners said that the assistant livestock officer is helpless since there is no medicine.

Samrang gewog does not have a livestock officer and Pemathang gewog’s livestock officer looks after livestock issues in Samrang. “It is difficult for Samrang officials to reach on time when we complain about a disease,” a farm owner said. “By the time the officials reach here, our birds die.”

They said that the poultry farmers would benefit if the government could deploy a separate livestock officer for Samrang gewog.

A farmer, Ram Chandra Pradhan, 58, from Choding also started poultry farming this year. He lost seven layers to the disease. “I sell 10 to 12 trays of eggs a month now,” he said. A tray of egg fetches Nu 250.

He said that without a livestock official in the gewog, they couldn’t treat the sick hens. “We were given CGI sheets, feeding pots and materials for coops but untimely medication and poor management results in more deaths,” he said.

Poultry owners also say that the feed for birds are becoming expensive while the egg price has remained the same.

Ram Chandra said he paid Nu 1,000 for a 50kg bag a few years ago but the price today has increased to Nu 1,610. “I purchase feed from Pemathang since we don’t get at Samrang and a 50kg lasts for about six days.”

He said that they are not allowed to sell hens or pullets before 18 months. He earns about Nu 5,000 a month by selling eggs but the number of eggs depends on how they feed the birds.

Another farmer, Tekbir Limbu, said he started a poultry farm in June last year with 50 layers but he has only nine birds left today. “I lost 41 layers to the disease,” he said. “We have reported the issues to the gewog but no one turned up. If we can get our layers treated on time, I think we can save them.”

Samrang gup, Tarabir Bista, said the gewog is in need of a livestock officer since the officer cannot reach on time from Pemathang. “But livestock officials from Samrang mega project do help us.”

He said he would discuss the issue in the upcoming gewog tshogde (GT) and raise it the coming dzongkhag tshogdue (DT).

Kelzang Wangchuk |  Samrang