Kadaknath, a breed of black chicken found in Madhya Pradesh’s tribal-dominated Jhabua and Alirajpur, is slowly gaining popularity in South India.
A Kochi-based entrepreneur, K Georgekutty, who started breeding Kadaknath in his hometown after procuring 1,000 eggs from Krishi Vikas Kendra, Jhabua, is now helping set up Kadaknath poultry centres in Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
Scientific studies have shown that Kadaknath has high protein, iron and low fat content and is beneficial for people suffering from asthma, cardiac disease and other ailments.
“I happened to get into Kadaknath breeding by chance. I manufacture solar incubators for hatching chicken eggs, and a Jhabua-based official had approached me for purchasing the machine. Then, I visited Jhabua and came back with 1,000 eggs of Kadaknath chicken to Kochi,” Georgekutty told Hindustan Times over phone.
Georgekutty, who travels frequently for business, said he started supplying eggs and chicks to people interested in breeding the chicken in Kerala and other states.
“I also provide the incubator and give guidance to successfully hatch the eggs. Today, people are breeding Kadaknath in Pala and Aluva in Kerala, Ananthapur in Andhra Pradesh and Salem in Tamil Nadu. Many rural women are gainfully employed in the project, which will soon be launched in Manipal in Karnataka,” he said.
The black chicken, known as “Karinkozhi” in Kerala, fetches Rs 600-700 per kg while the egg is sold for Rs 30-40.
“The awareness about the nutritional and medicinal benefits of Kadaknath is spreading gradually, and as the demand goes up the people breeding it will have a steady income. The initiative is also helping women earn money for their families,” Georgekutty said.
The chicks are raised in protective environment to provide them suitable temperature at early stages of growth.
Officials at Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Jhabua, from where Georgekutty procures eggs are also delighted over the success of the programme. “Kadaknath chicks are sensitive to climate conditions, so it is very encouraging for us that Kadaknath is being successfully bred in Kerala and elsewhere,” said Dr. I S Tomar, programme coordinator
“Scientific data show that Kadaknath chicken has high protein, iron and low fat content, and we have been working for the past few years to increase the population of this breed that was once in danger of extinction,” he said.
A few years ago, high demand for Kadaknath led to an alarming decline in the chicken’s population, prompting the Madhya Pradesh government to announce incentive scheme for people who were interested in breeding the bird.
Both the meat and eggs are rich source of protein (25.47% in flesh) and iron
Its meat is used for curing of pulmonary problems like tuberculosis, and heart diseases and neurasthenia
The meat contains vitamins B1, B2, B6, B12, C and E, niacin, protein, fat, calcium, phosphorus, iron, and nicotinic acid
Its consumption helps increase red blood cells and haemoglobin
The eggs are used to treat headaches, post delivery problems, asthma and nephritis