English | Dzongkha Saturday, May 8, 2021

Farmers in Rookha losing poultry birds to wild animals

Dec 6, 2019

Human-wildlife conflict is putting the culture of rearing local poultry at risk in Rookha Chiwog in Wangdue Phodrang. As the village falls under the Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park, the farmers have been losing their local poultry to wild animals such as leopard, eagles, and yellow-throated marten. 

Local poultry needs to be raised in the open. Farmers said rearing them in the coop is affecting egg production. But it is a challenge for the farmers as the wild animals often attack the birds when they are let on their own in the open.

“Since our village is in the jungle, eagle frequents three to four times or at least twice a day and kills our hen and rooster. Actually, I fetch around Nu 7,000 to Nu 8,000 in a year from the local poultry. But the business is seriously affected by the eagle, leopard and yellow-throated marten,” said Penjore from Rookha Chiwog.

“Even birds fall prey to snakes. Last time a snake had killed seven hens,” added Dawchum from Rukha.

To keep the poultry farms from wild animals, the government also issued wire mesh fencing but it failed to keep the birds from eagle attacks. Most of the coops can be seen in the open without any roofing.

“The wire mesh is not much of a benefit as the eagle directly gets into the coop and takes our hen because the coop does not have a roofing. It would be better if the concerned authorities could provide us with some CGI sheets for roofing,” said Kezang.

“We are loosing two to three hens and roosters to wild animals in a month. Eagles appear during the daytime and take our chicks from the coop. However, we don’t inform the government as we did not want to bother and this is not a new issue here, it happens daily in our community,” said Karma Wangmo.

The situation is likely to get better as the Wangdue Dzongkhag Livestock Office has plans to help the farmers.

“We have several plans and strategies to resolve this issue. We heard that eagles are trouble for the farmers. So, we are planning to provide enough wire nets at reasonable rates so that farmers can use it to cover the roof as well as the surroundings of the coops to protect chicken from predators,” said Ugyen the Wangdue Dzongkhag Livestock Officer.

Although the farmers in Rookha also raise imported chicken for both layer and poultry farming, the rearing of local poultry is an essential farming practice in the locality. For some farmers, local poultry farming is convenient as the birds are less vulnerable to diseases, unlike other breeds of poultry. There are around 40 households in Rookha and every one pursues local poultry farming.

Changa Dorji

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