Ramesh Raju on his farm, where he has also set up a workstation, in Coimbatore | U Rakesh Kumar
Express News Service
COIMBATORE: ‘Work from home’ often includes much more than just working from home. It could involve babysitting, cooking, shopping, honing a skill, indulging in a hobby — you name it. Perhaps, it boils down to how you define ‘work’. For 50-year-old Ramesh Raju, it was a chance to pursue his interest in rearing nattu kozhi (country chicken). And to get the best of both worlds, the data analyst even set up a workstation on his farm.
Working for a US-based multispecialty hospital, Ramesh decided to establish a country chicken farm during the lockdown. He did this on a one-acre piece of land near Irugur by the Neelambur Bypass Road in Coimbatore, and with the help of a friend in Pollachi, bought some Peruvidai nattu kozhi chicks.
“I had been practising natural farming as a hobby since 2018, and used to sell multiple crops. But the pandemic caused my sales to reduce, so I decided to rear and sell country chicken,” he explains, adding that unlike broiler chicken, which take just 48 days to grow, Peruvidai chicken need five-to-six months to reach a weight of 2 kg.
As for why he raises only country chicken, Ramesh says, “Broiler chicken and other associated breeds are tailor-made and genetically modified. They are given several shots to make them grow, which is harmful to those who consume the meat.”
To keep his chickens healthy, Ramesh says he gives them herbal drinking water, and organic vegetables and greens as feed. He and the co-founder of the farm, Sumathi, go to the facility on alternate days to take care of the birds.
On Sundays, Ramesh dons the hat of a delivery executive, and supplies the fresh meat at the doorsteps of customers across the district. He sells each 1-kg live bird for Rs 500, and 500 g of curry-cut chicken for Rs 400. As for his data-analyst job, he said his work involves facilitating appointments and medical claims for patients at the hospital, and submitting them to the doctors concerned. He works five days a week, from 5.30 pm to 2.30 am.