AICRP on Poultry had a modest beginning during the IV five-year plan period. Indian Council of Agricultural Research sanctioned two coordinated projects entitled “All India Coordinated Research Project on Poultry for Egg” and All India Coordinated Research Project on Poultry for Meat” to evolve suitable strains of egg and meat type chicken that combine well for production of commercial layer and broiler crosses. Both these projects were merged into a single project known as “All India Coordinated Research Project on Poultry Breeding” during the V plan period with no change in objectives. The ‘Rural Poultry’ component of the project was initiated with one centre at Agartala in 2001. Subsequently, it was expanded to six centres during XI plan with the sole objective of development of location specific rural varieties. This was elevated to the status of a Project Directorate during the VII plan period. Besides AICRP on Poultry Breeding, Project Directorate also encompassed two more coordinated projects i.e. AICRP on Poultry Nutrition and AICRP on Poultry Housing and Management, which were subsequently phased out during 1992-93.
The coordinating unit of the AICRP on Poultry breeding as Project Directorate on Poultry was established at A.P. Agricultural University Campus, Rajendranagar, Hyderabad with effect from 1st March 1988. Coordination and monitoring had been the only work assigned to the Directorate Unit (Coordination Cell) to start with. Subsequently, Nucleus Stock Production Unit as a centre of AICRP on Poultry Breeding was established at the Project Directorate for multiplication and supply of the parents and their commercial crosses released from the project centres. From 1st April, 1990 the Project Directorate had been entrusted with additional responsibilities of maintenance, evaluation, reproduction and supply of control populations of egg and meat to the coordinated centres. Maintenance of layer and broiler control previously maintained at HAU, Hissar and UAS, Bangalore respectively was assigned to this Directorate w.e.f. 1.4.1990. The Directorate had been entrusted also with the evaluation of commercial layers and broilers developed at different centres of the project vis-à-vis those available in the market from other hatchery sources and maintenance of the elite stocks of layers and broilers available in the country/to be imported from abroad in future and to undertake their genetic description and characterisation with respect to bio-chemical, immunological and cytogenic traits and resistance to diseases. Research was also envisaged in the areas of poultry nutrition, poultry housing and management, and poultry health. Identification of alternative feed resources and their chemical and biological evaluation and development of least cost poultry ration was the priority of poultry nutrition research. In the discipline of poultry housing and management, biological efficiency of different management practices for economic poultry raising was intended to be determined. Surveillance and monitoring of poultry diseases and development of kits for quick diagnosis of diseases was proposed to be the main objective of poultry health research.