Kadaknath Chicken Farming
Kadaknath is one of the rarest poultry breeds and is unique because of its black coloured meat and egg because of the deposition of melanin pigment in their body. This breed is native to the Dhar and Jhabua district of Madhya Pradesh, India and is found in Madhya Pradesh mostly and in the Eastern parts and neighbouring areas of Rajasthan and Gujarat. It is also known as ‘Black Meat Chicken’ (BMC) or ‘Kali Masi’ in local language.
The breed is highly popular because of the quality, texture and taste of its meat. Also, the meat is highly nutritious with low fat and cholesterol levels and due to this the demand for it is continuously increasing day by day across the Indian states.
These birds are very useful to homoeopathy and in the treatment of nervous disorders. The chicken breed is reared especially in the states of Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Tamilnadu.
Here we will learn about their (Kadaknath Chicken) Farming.
Kadaknath Chicken is a unique breed because of its meat colour and also because of the numerous health benefits. These birds can accommodate under hot semi arid and climatic conditions and are completely adapted to the local environment.
They can survive the temperature range of 12°C to 42°C. They are highly resistant to the diseases as compared to the other exotic breeds. They can thrive very well under adverse environmental conditions like poor housing facilities or management and poor feeding as well.
The internal organs of all the varieties of Kadaknath breed exhibit intense black colour because of the deposition of melanin pigment in the connective tissue of organs and in the dermis. Due to this pigment, their body parts are completely black such as legs, toenails, tongue, comb, wattles, beak, bones, meat and even the internal organs are dark in colour.
They have poor potential in the production of eggs but the meat is very delicious, healthy and also famous. The fat content of this chicken breed varies from 0.70% to 1.05% where the other breeds have 12% to 26% fat. The flesh has high nutritional value and is used for the treatment of many diseases by the Tribals and Adivasis that live in the Jhabua district of Madhya Pradesh.
These birds are of great demand and are very costly in most parts of India. Due to the high consumer demand and lack of commercial farmers, the breed population is declining rapidly these days.
The breed was initially reared by the Tribals/Adivasis who live in the western regions of Madhya Pradesh and this breed is also found in China where its known as Silkie and also in Indonesia where its called as Ayyam Cemani. Kadaknath Chicken has mainly three varieties which are as follows:
- Jet Black Kadaknath – All the male and female chickens of this breed are in black colour.
- Golden Kadaknath – The male and female birds have golden feathers on the head and neck regions.
- Pencilled Kadaknath – The adult male and female of this variety have black colour with white feathers on the neck region.
All the three varieties have their skin, beak, shanks, toes and soles in dark grey colour and the tongue being dark grey or light black colour. The comb, wattles and earlobes are light grey to dark grey coloured and in some they are even purple hue coloured.
Health Benefits of Kadaknath Chicken
The Kadaknath breed of chicken has a lot of health benefits in their meat apart from the delicious taste and is highly nutritious compared to other chicken breeds of India.
It has a rich source of vitamins such as Vitamin B1, B2, B6, B12, Vitamin A, Vitamin C and the 18 amino acids and is also rich in Calcium, Phosphorus and is beneficial for the strength of bones. The meat also helps in strengthening the immune system, better functioning of kidney and blood flow and also for the TB and heart disease curing.
They have 25% of protein content with only 18% to 20% of protein in other breeds and cholesterol levels being only 0.73% to 1.37% which is about 13% to 25% in broiler chickens. They also have antioxidant properties.
Some of their medical benefits are:
- They prevent muscular degeneration thereby protecting eyesight.
- They are good for older people who are suffering from heart diseases as they have low levels of cholesterol.
- It prevents the risks of Anaemia being a good source of Iron.
- It promotes strong bones and metabolism and helps in the formation of muscles and regulates blood vessel flexibility.
- It promotes women’s health with regular menstruation and fertility.
- It increases the blood flow and acts as an aphrodisiac.
Feeding of Kadaknath Chicken
For the commercial breeding and farming of these Chickens, they are given pre-starter broiler feed with the crumbs of maize during the first 2 months. After 2 months, they are given 20% protein diet food. Depending upon the body weight and age, they can be feeded with regular feed after the broiler feed.
Their food varies from market waste to leafy vegetables, grass, etc and in Open range farming they feed upon small insects, seeds, grass and other things.
You can understand it better from the following table:
|Brooder mash (0-8 weeks) in grams
|Grower mash (9-19weeks) in grams
|Layer mash (20-72 weeks) in grams
Housing Management & Care of Kadaknath Chicken
For optimum breeding of the Kadaknath chicken and for getting huge profits, the housing must have a room temperature of 20°C to 26°C with the humidity of 50% to 70%. The birds survive in temperature range of 16°C to 35°C and they should be reared in a litter system or in cages which is free from natural predators such as cats, dogs, snakes, any type of predatory birds or rats and it should always be free from flies and mosquitoes.
The chickens must get a comfortable housing condition with adequate light and ventilation system in all the seasons. The floors of the shed must be spread with sawdust, chopped straw, paddy husk, etc and it should not contain any sharp objects which could harm the birds.
The width of the shed must be maintained at 30 feet and length can be taken of any size and the centre of the shed should be 10 to 15 feet with sides of about 8 to 10 feet in height. The flooring should be made of concrete so that it could reduce disease, infection, maintenance and the roof can be made up of coconut leaf, asbestos, plastic fibreglass, etc.
Care of Kadaknath Chicks
The baby chicks require proper attention and an incubator. The eggs should be placed in an incubator for about 21 days with suitable temperature and after hatching the egg the chicks should be removed from the incubator after 48 hours.
The Kadaknath chicks should be handled carefully while taking out from the incubator and after taking them out they should be placed in the brooder. The temperature of the brooder should be maintained at 35°C for the first week and thereafter it should gradually decrease every following week. They should be given a proper feed at a proper time along with clean and fresh water every time in the brooder.
The Kadaknath hen reaches maturity from the 6th month onwards and they start laying eggs at that time. They lay eggs in three clutches with every clutch producing 25 to 40 eggs thus producing about 100 to 120 eggs in a year.
They are poor brooders so it should be ensured that maximum hatching takes place because the losing of one egg without hatching could be a great loss, so the eggs should be collected for artificial incubation and hatching.
The hens should be provided with sufficient nest boxes so that they lay eggs on them and avoid lying on the floor. The farmers should collect these eggs at least 4 times a day with cleaned and sanitised hands to reduce the egg contamination and microbial load. The eggs which get cracked or misshaped do not hatch properly and also the small or large eggs or with thin or porous eggshells do not hatch properly.
Temperature is the most important factor along with humidity, ventilation, position of eggs and turning of eggs, during the incubation period. During the embryonic growth period, the temperature should be over 24°C and below this temperature the embryo would not be properly developed.
The temperature should be maintained at 37.5°C for the first 18 days and during the hatching period it should be maintained at 36.9 °C. Also the relative humidity should range between 55% to 60% during the first 18 days of the incubation period and 65% to 75% during the hatching period to avoid dehydration of chicks.
Diseases in Kadaknath Chicken
The Kadaknath breed can tolerate the summer heat and winter cold and it can thrive well under limited food resources and minimum management conditions. The birds are hardy and they exhibit an appreciable degree of resistance to the diseases as compared to other poultry birds and exotic fowl breeds but overcrowding of the chicks or breeds in the brooder shed can prevent coccidiosis disease.
Some diseases in the Commercial Kadaknath Chicken Farming are:
- Bird flu – To control this disease, use Germ destroyer such as Qualitol and spray it in and around the chicken house and don’t take anything inside or outside of the chicken house, also treat your feet with medicated water before entering into the farm and use separate shoes for going inside the chicken
- Vitamin A deficiency – Feed with vitamin A foods to treat this deficiency.
- Vitamin D deficiency – Add Vitamin D3 in the feed to treat this disease.
- Fainted paws – Add vitamin B2 in the feed to control it.
- Chicken pox – To cure chicken pox, use homoeopathic medicine of antimonium tortrix.
- Coccidiosis – This disease requires proper sanitation and treatment with coccidiostat for chickens up to 12 weeks in their feed.
- Leukosis and Marek’s – Vaccinate the chicks of one day old with Marek’s vaccine and proper sanitation and care should be maintained.
- Ranikhet disease – Vaccinate with Ranikhet medicine of F strain to the chickens of age 1 to 2 weeks and then give them F1 vaccination after 4 weeks interval.
- Fatty liver syndrome – Reduce the energy content in the field to treat this disease.
- Aflatoxin – The infected chickens should be given Livol or Liv-52 or tefroli tonic by adding it to their feed or through water.
Challenges in Kadaknath Chicken Farming
Kadaknath chicken farming is a profitable business and their egg and meat have a lot of nutritional benefits but it has certain challenges as well.
The inadequate availability of the Kadaknath chicks and the lack of proper financial support from the government and local agencies causes major hurdles in the farming of these Kadaknath birds; and for better development of this breed, local governments need to provide subsidies and loans to small scale farmers.
Marketing of Kadaknath Chicken
For getting profits, proper marketing is essential and this could be done through leaflets, banners regarding their health benefits, or educating the local citizens of the area, can help in increasing the sales. Online and Social media can also help you grow your business and other modes of communication can include newspapers, posters, flyers etc.
Kadaknath chicken farming is a profitable business and provides job opportunities to many people. The eggs are rich in nutrients, vitamins and protein and the meat also is one of the healthy poultry products with numerous health benefits.
According to a report it is estimated that a tribal family who are rearing this chicken can earn about ₹5000 per year on one Kadaknath bird and the entrepreneurs and existing poultry farmers can also get a high return on their investment.