TIRUPPUR: Black colour is frowned upon across most of India. The latest casualty of this belief is the Kadaknath chicken.
Poultry farmers say customers are not buying the meat because it is black. Despite the bird, originally from Madhya Pradesh, having a GI tag and its meat being highly nutritious, the myth associated with its colour has come in the way of it being in demand.
S Vinoth Kumar, a poultry farmer in Palladam, said, "I have been selling Kadaknath chicken and eggs since 2013. I have over 300 birds on my farm. The eggs are in demand but there are very few takers for the meat, when compared to broiler chicken or native breeds like Asil. I sell 50-75 eggs every day. Though the meat is high in protein and its flavour is desirable, people do not prefer it as the bird – its plumage, skin, shank and internal organs – is black."
Echoing similar views, R Kishowara, owner of RK Poultry Farms, said, "There are more than 1,200 Kadaknath chicken in my farm. Most of the buyers are from Bengaluru and other parts of Karnataka and a few from Kerala. The breed has a strong immune system. A few years ago, a mysterious disease attacked my farm. All my birds, including those from Asil variety, fell dead. But, Kadaknath stood strong. Ever since, I have been rearing only Kadaknath chicken, the raising of which is similar to that of broiler chicken or Asil. It gains a body weight of 1.20 kg in four months and 1.75 kg in seven months. It starts laying eggs in six months and lays 120-140 eggs in a year. The meat fetches a good price. While broiler chicken is sold for Rs 140 a kilo and Asil for Rs 450-500 a kilo, Kadaknath meat is sold for Rs 600 a kilo. However, in the past three years, only a few have shown interest in rearing Kadaknath. A primary concern for the farmers is the colour of the bird. The black colour of the meat creates a false sense among customers that it could be contaminated."
Speaking to The New Indian Express, Dr Parivendan, Joint Director (Animal Husbandry) - Tiruppur district, said, "Kadaknath is from Jhabua district of Madhya Pradesh and has Geographical Indication (GI) tag. Rearing the bird could offer income for the farmers as its meat fetches a higher price than broiler chicken."