There are some 1.5 million village or household scavenging chickens owned by 27% of households (1990 census). About 50% of households in Milne Bay, Madang and East New Britain provinces kept chickens, but chicken-keeping was not adopted in the highlands until the 1950s. Commercial poultry production only began in the 1970s, fostered by deliberate government policy and protection from imports. Domestic production has grown from around 4000 tonnes in 1980 to 24 000 tonnes in 2005. Two large companies, one operating through contracted outgrowers, supply the bulk of the frozen chicken market.
A feature of commercial production is the large number of smallholder farmers, perhaps up to 15 000, who purchase day-old hybrid broiler chicks in lots of 50 or 100 from one of the three hatcheries and sell them when grown, mainly as live birds in local markets. Niugini Tablebirds imports fertile eggs of hybrid broiler grandparent stock from which the final chicks are derived through parental crosses, while Zenag Chicken imports fertile eggs of parent stock. The Christian Leaders Training College (CLTC) at Banz in Western Highlands Province buys parent stock from Niugini Tablebirds and produces 30 000–45 000 day-old chicks per week for highland farmers. Total production of day-old broiler chicks from the three hatcheries is about 400 000 per week.
Commercial egg production, dominated by Zenag Chicken, has also grown from essentially nothing in the 1970s to estimated current production levels of 45 million eggs. About 200–300 day-old layer chicks per week are sold to villagers by the Zenag and CLTC hatcheries.
Muscovy duck ownership is increasing, mainly for household meat and egg production in scavenging systems. There are no estimates of total numbers but there could be more than 10 000 duck-owning families. The National Agricultural Research Institute has a flock of layer ducks and a few farmers are raising domestic pigeons or Japanese quail.
Despite various attempts by the Australian Administration and by the PNG Government to promote layer ducks, domestic pigeons, Japanese quail, geese, turkeys and guinea fowl, there has been no successful development of commercial production.