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Professor D.N. Maitra, M.Sc. (AH), Ph.D.
Animal Production and Management, Bidhan Chandra
Krishi Viswavidyalaya, Mohanpur, Nadia
PIN-741 252, W.B.


Integrated fish-livestock production has been studied under different agro-climatic zone by the Cen tral Inland Fisheries Research Institute (CIFRI). A scientifically sound and economical integrated livestock-fish system has been developed. Results from a polyculture of Indian and exotic fingerlings of surface, middle and bottom feeders in different ratios showed promising production with integration of pig, ducks and fowls. Stocking densities of 6000–8500 fingerlings/ha resulted in fish production of 4000–7000 kg/ha/year without any feed supplement for fishes. Suggested livestock density/ha of pond surface was 40, 300 and 500 for pig, ducks and fowls respectively.


To increase the livestock production capacity of integrated farming system, different species of livestock raised in the same compound has been introduced so as to fully utilise the inputs viz. feed, land, manpowers, capital etc. Many of such adaptations have shown positive outcome and this farming methodology has proved beneficial in all respects.

The impact of livestock raising on the environment must also be considered with particular reference to the “green house effect” of the global atmosphere. The future development trend is directed towards the introduction of newer technologies of renewable and recycling natural resources. Hence, the system of crop-livestock-bird-fish integration seems to be an appropriate practice to maintain the natural ecosystem on one hand and economic development on the other.

Available Resource

With sufficient sunlight, optimum range of atmospheric temperature and abundant water sources, the country has a high potential of fish aquaculture. However, the cultivable inland water in different geoclimatic conditions differ owing to the differences in the biological productivity. The biological units of production viz. pond and tanks and other inland water sources in various regions are managed differently depending on the soil status. Intensive fish production is now based on the selection of fish with fast growth rate, combination of species which are tolerant to each other and complementary feeding habits. Intensive fish cultivation involves an effective manuring of the water sources, recycling of agrobased wastes and providing supplementary feeds to fishes so as to maximise the carrying capacity of the water. The introduction of exotic varieties of fishes have added an additional momentum. The livestock population including ducks and fowl is quite substantial and effective utilisation may prove highly beneficial.


Culture of fish in paddy fields either as a secondary crop after paddy or along with paddy cultivation has being carried out with promising results in various parts of India, particularly in West Bengel and Orissa. However, integrated fish-livestock farming system in the country has yet to gain momentum.

Fish-livestock production on the other hand is very well developed in China and Malaysia and considerable progress has also been achieved in Taiwan, Vietnam, Java and Philippines. A brief account of the species combination and the production rate in some of the countries is given in Table 1.

Compared to the progress achieved in the Eastern part of Asia, little progress has been made in India due to the lack of interest. However, exploratory investigations initiated at CIFRI since 1977 were aimed to increase the efficiency of resource utilisation for the integrated livestock-bird-fish aquaculture. Sharma et al., (1978), Sharma et al., (1979a, 1979b), Natarajan and Sharma (1980), Sharma et al., (1985) and Sharma and Olab (1986) investigated the different aspects of production system.

At present, investigations on integrated farming systems involving fish-livestock are in progress in the States and most of the Universities. Water sources other than fresh and saline water such as sewage water have also been used but such systems has received more attention from the public health point of view rather than for aquaculture. Physico-chemical and biological features have been studied by many of the Indian Universities in the revulatechannels receiving sewage from the cities containing biological and industrial wastes. In such situations there is considerable variation in the filling of water and dilution of sewage wastes. Fish production under these models varies from 150–200 kg/ha/year assuming a 50 per cent sewage dilution and in most cases, the tilapia dominates over the crap.

A team is presently working in the Department of Zoology, Hariana Aqricultural University, Hissar under the leadership of Dr. Yadava who has been investigating wide aspects of the integrated system. Their model include aquaculture in fresh and saltrich water with ducks and fowls. They have used sewage water as well. Experiments on recycling of wastes from pig, goat, sheep and bovine are now in progress. Dr. Sharma of Central Institute of Fresh water Aquaculture, Kausalyaganga, Bhubaneswar, Orissa has generated valuable informations on the integrated farming system.

Sharma and Das (1980a) explored the economic viability of the system and conducted some trials involving fish with pig, duck and poultry. They have used various combinations of stocking densities with different types of livestock. The fingerling density was 8500/ha in the pig system and estimated annual yield was 6790 kg. In the case of duck and poultry systems, the fingerling density was 600 and annual yields per ha were 4329 and 4665 kg respectively. The cost of production per kg fish was found to be the least in pig-fish combination (Rs. 2.48) whereas the highest cost was for the duck-fish combination (Rs. 3.60) with poultry-fish combination being intermediate (Rs. 3.33). Sharma (1988) recorded the fish yields at 67 91, 4340 and 4665 kg/ha/yr through recycling of the excreta of pig, duck and poultry respectively without any supplementary fish feed and inorganic fertilizer. They also recorded gradual increase in nitrate, phosphate, organic carbon and total nitrogen contents. Higher values of dissolved oxygen (DO) were also noted in some period even under organic loading which might be due to abundance of phytoplankton. The net returns over variable cost (expressed as percentage) were estimated to be 75, 69.3 and 50.3 in pig, duck and poultry combination respectively for the two species. Das (1989) conducted a series of experiment involving different livestock species combination. He used polyculture at various stocking densities with different livestocks. With pig-fish combination, the annual yield/ha varied from 6000–7000 kg. However, the productions were between 2000–35000 kg and 3900–5000 kg for duck and poultry combinations respectively. He estimated that the costs of production (kg fish) to be Rs. 6.90, 8.60 and 7.80 for pig, duck and poultry systems respectively. The returns on variable cost when expressed as percentage were found to be 51.95, 46.90 and 54.10 for pig, duck and poultry combinations respectively. This paper presents an account on the technological development that has been practised in India.



Investigations at CIFRI indicated that aquaculture in stagnant fresh water integrated with pig, duck or fowl were scientifically sound and economically viable. To integrate aquaculture with livestock bird, a combination of different Indian carps species and exotic varieties has been recommended. Indigenous species such as catla (Catla catla), the surface feeder; rohu (Lobeo rohita), the column feeder; mrigal (Cirrhinus mrigala) and Kalbasu (Labeo calbasu), the bottom feeders have been recommended with exotic varieties. The exotic types commonly used for composite culture are grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella - Cc) silver carp (Hypophthalmichthys molitrix Sc) and common carp (Cyprinus carpio - Cc). For these systems of culture, the stocking densities and ratio of fishes are maintained and they are regularly fertilised with organic and inorganic fertilizers. In the integrated farm systems the same basic principles have been advocated. However, in latter cases, the additional application of fertilizer and fish feed in any form have been omited.

Table 1. Fish-livestock production in Polyculture

CountryLivestock combinationFingerling densityProduction
Livestock densityReference
PhilippinesPig20000780060Tan (1980)
PhilippinesPig10000–20000780060Cruz and Zaid (1980)
PhilippinesDuck200006760750Cruz and Shehadeh (1980)
TaiwanPig3555007371210Chen and Yen (1980)
TaiwanDuck108525671500Chen and Yen (1980)
MalaysiaPig3700137538Tan (1980)
Hong kongDuck12507389500Sin (1980)
VietnamDuck100005000-Delmendo (1980)
West JavaDuck227.5 kg seed63003000Delmendo (1980)
West JavaChicken250 kg seed182501000Delmendo (1980)

Water source

In any type of integration, stagnant water accumulated in the natural depressed or excavated land are to be avoided. The perennial source of water, be it a pond or a tank which retains water throughout the year is to be selected. A depth ranging from 1.5 to 3.0 m is being considered congenial for good biological productivity. A source with loamy and clay loamy soil having pH ranging from 6.5 – 7.5 may be considered good.

Detoxification: Ponds which are infested with various types of weed are considered undesirable and the weeds to be removed either mechanically, biologically or chemically.

The predatory fishes need to eradicated. Besides the pesticides or toxicants Mahua (Bassica latifolia), cake treatment has also been suggested. The toxicity of the cake lasts for about two weeks. This is added at the rate of 2500 kg/ha/meter of water. This agent only kills the unwanted fish and it also acts as an organic fertilizer.

Time of stocking and harvesting: It has been suggested to stock the ponds in June-September and to harvest them after about 12 months. The growth of fish is affected at a water temperature below 18 – 20°C. Hence, it is recommended that the ponds should be stocked after severe winter. In the Northern and North-western States, they should be stocked in March and harvested in October -November.

Mode of fertilization: In these systems, the organic manure that is the excreta of livestock and birds, is the only fertilizer used. With the duck-fish culture, the ducks feed on the water table during the entire day with droppings spreading over the entire pond uniformly. The ducks also help in the aeration of water. However, the excreta accumulated in the night house are spread over the water table of the pond manually. In cases where the animal houses are erected over the pond, droppings can also be discharged directly into the pond. The excreta from the pig and duck houses may also be channelled directly into the pond. The litters from the poultry house can also to be applied manually.

Polyculture and stocking density: The culturable water units are charged after proper detoxification and a polyculture of Indian carps and exotic varieties of seed. Usually 5 or 6 species combinations have been recommended by CIFRI workers. The traditional combination in West Bengal is 30 percent catla, 30 per cent rohu and 40 per cent mrigal. In this system, major attention has been attached to the types of fishes used such as surface, column and bottom feeders while using indigenous and exotic polymixer. The recommended ratio is 40:30:30 but it is not absolute. It may be varied depending on different factors. CIFRI advocated a stocking density of 6000 animals/ha for ducks and fowl and may go to a higher stocking density of 8500 animals/ha for pig. They have noted a reduction in fish production when the density is above 8500/ha.

Carrying capacity of livestock: The basic principle behind the system is recycling of animal excreta for fish production without altering the aquatic ecosystem. The excreta is used as fertilizer and is degraded on the water bed. Thus the quality and the quantity of the waste are important in maintaining a good aquatic environment. These, in turn, are dependent on the nature and quality of the ration and live weight. The waste produced is directly proportional to the live weight and may varies from 3–10 per cent depending on the species. Table 1 gives the quantity and quality of the excreta of the stock and suggested carrying capacity under recommended practice.

Plankton analysis: The plankton volume was estimated to be 0.5 – 2.0, 0.1 – 1.0 and 0.5 – 2.0 ml/50 litre with pig, duck and fowl systems respectively. Phytoplankton in general predominates in summer and zooplankton in winter.

Limnology: The physico-chemical properties of water under the three systems of integration as studies by CIFRI have been complied and given in Table 2.


The production rate in the country is usually between 200 – 500 kg/ha/year which has been improved considerably with the technical know-how of polyculture. Depending on the nutrient and soil condition, the yields may vary from 3000 – 9000 kg/ha/year.

Integrated aquaculture with pig, duck and fowl have been carried out. The results were encouraging and the production was achieved at per or even higher as compared to the ponds provided with supplementary feeding. In the absence of supplementary feeding and organic or inorganic fertilisation, the entire production depends on the recycling of animal waste. The results of such trials at CIRFI have been consolidated and given in Table 3.

The survival rate in all the trials with different livestock combinations ranged from 80–90 % and the growth rate was quite satisfactory Table 4. The average live-weight of fishes in the geo climate condition for the different species of fish was catla, 1000 -1000 g, rohu 800 – 1000 g, mrigal 700 – 800 g, Sc 1100 – 2000 g, Gc 1300 – 1800 g.

Therefore, the potential of such integrated fish farming without any additional expenditure appears to be highly economical and promising.


The economic aspects of raising livestock in this system is self limited and no positive beneficial effect is obtained from aquaculture.

The non-discripts as well as the exotic or improved varieties of pig are recommended for rearing. With good managerial practices, these projects are economically viable. In spite of the variation in litter size and slaughter weight between the local and improved breeds, these breeds are quite suitable for economic raising.

The local duck are not suitable for commercial raising and for that, khaki campbell, India runners are suggested. The traditional system of duck rearing by the villagers is done on a small scale and iis therefore not considered commercially viable. The egg production level for commercial rearing should be around 200–240 eggs per year. The same goes for laying fowl. Commercial strains for meat and egg production (fowl) are now available and have been proved successful. The feed consumption should be monitered and should not exceed 3.5 kg, 40 kg and 60 kg for broiler, laying fowl and laying ducks respectively.


India has a considerable livestock and poultry population. All efforts have to be mobilised to reclaim the resources and to put them to use effectively.

Investigation an different aspects of waste utilisation have to be geared up. Suitable technology has to be developed for the treatment of wastes and their all round effective utilisation.

Table 2. Quantity and quality of excreta

SpeciesAnnual yield of extract per unit
Carrying capacity per haMoistureChemical composition
% of dry matter

Table 3. Limnology in integration

ParametersTypes of combination
Total alkalinity (ppm)286–292156–198170–276
Nitrate (ppm)0.2–0.250.1–0.20.1–0.3
Chloride (ppm)36–4327–3121–33
Phospate (ppm)0.23–0.360.1–0.20.1–0.3
Dissolve organic matter (ppm)5.0–7.51.5–2.62.1–5.6
DO (ppm)5.3–8.64.5–7.53.0–6.5
BOD (ppm)6.0–10.75.0–6.04.0–10.6
Temperature (°C)19–3419–3317–34

Table 4. Polyculture combination and stock density and production (per hectre)

Livestock-combinationRatio of fish speciesfingerlings densityYield
Livestock density
Fowl (litter)2020201520560004665300
Fowl (fresh)203030155-80003940300
(deed litter)         

C - Catla
R - Rohu
M - Mrigal
Sc - Silver,
Gc - Grass,
Cc - Common


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