Kadaknath, new prospect in poultry | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 26, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:17 AM, April 26, 2018

Kadaknath, new prospect in poultry

A couple of months back, world's most expensive chicken became a hot news online. Those were deep black in colour. Even though the colour black doesn't get much acclamation, the black chicken is getting the most value. The name of this very unique chicken is Ayam Cemani. The origin of this chicken is in Indonesia's Java island's Cemani area. It came to the news that an American breeder Paul Bradshaw started selling this black bird from 2013. At that time, they were priced 2500 dollars. In Bangladeshi currency, it would be at least over 2 lakh taka. Over there, this black chicken was named Lamborghini. Not only its meat, but also its tongue, headpiece, bone and even bowels are black. Scientists call this genetic state of black tissue as Fibromelanosis. Chinese Silky variety is similar to this variety. The weight of this alluring cock is approximately 2-2.5 kg. The hen weighs around 1.5-2 kg.

Indonesia's Ayam Cemani is known in India's Madhya Pradesh by the name of Kadaknath or Kala Mashi. It has great demand in India. In the age of globalization, whatever there may be in another corner of earth, it takes no time to reach us. Entrepreneur, Kamrul Islam Masud of Narsingdi's Shibpur upazila's Majlishpur village has indeed collected Kadaknath. He has already started raising this chicken in his own farm.

After getting the news, one fine morning, I started for Majlishpur in Narsingdi. Poultry farm is one of the main earning sources of this village, like cash crop. Moreover, Masud plays a big role here. After reaching Masud's poultry farm, I felt entirely different looking at the chicken. I was trying to visualize the Ayam Cemani that I saw on the internet. And, it was just the same. 

I am calling it different because of another reason as well. Generally, chickens are raised in cages, but Masud lets them run around in the field. I have seen a similar farm in England where poultry chicks are grown with absolute freedom. There are many kinds of chickens in Masud's farm. However, black bird Kadaknath is at the centre of all attention and attraction. This black chicken has diverse qualities. Masud has big dreams regarding Kadaknath.

This progressive entrepreneur not only raises chickens, but also produces day old chickens (DOC). A large number of DOCs are being produced here every month. Like other poultry chickens, Masud is producing DOCs from the eggs of Kadaknath chicken in 21 days. He produces 1700-1800 DOCs every month. He is saying that the demand of Kadaknath is huge at the moment. If anyone wants to take chicks from him, he has to place the order at least one month earlier. These chicks are very expensive. A month-old chick costs 700-800 taka, 1.5-month-old chick 1000 taka and two-month-old chick 1200-1500 taka.

Kamrul Islam Masud has already researched a lot by himself on Kadaknath. He has collected three varieties of Kadaknath. One is totally black. Second one has a silver glint on the neck. It is known as White Pencil. Third one has golden colour on the neck and it is called Golden Pencil. However, all of them have black bones and meat, same food habits and their height and weight are the same.

I wanted to know from Masud why these black chickens are so popular. He said that high feed cost is one of the main reasons that make poultry business not so profitable. Kadaknath's biggest characteristic is that they require less costly feed. On the other hand, it has more nutrition in its meat than other chickens. There is little fat. They are even fed raw grass at ease. They are more disease tolerant. I heard turkey farmers say the same thing regarding food requirements and disease tolerance of turkey.

Forty-seven-year-old Kamrul Islam Masud works at a multinational company. During in his student life in the 80s, his interest grew to build an agriculture farm. The inspiration behind was BTV's Mati O Manush (Soil and People) programme. He arranged his farm gradually then. The most profitable part of his farm is now Kadaknath. He is able to sell each chicken for 7-8 thousand taka. Extension of the Kadaknath variety is more of a purpose to this entrepreneur than achieving the immense commercial possibilities. 

There is a small incubator too in the firm to produce chicks from eggs. Altogether, arrangements and preparations for expanding these black chickens are very solid. Even the workers of this farm are very curious about this new chicken. The locals are curious as well.

In this year's Krishi Budget Krishoker Budget, many poultry and layer farmers complained that they are not making any profit, sometimes even failing to recover the production cost. Many have left this profession and started doing something else. Small farmers are becoming losers because big companies are commercially producing poultry and layer. In this state, farmers are looking to produce and market turkey, partridge and koel. Kadaknath can be the latest addition in the poultry market.

Dear readers, Bangladesh's young entrepreneurs and fancy farmers are very curious about something new and productive. They are interested in commercial production as well as in collecting and rearing new varieties of poultry chicks. Kamrul Islam Masud filled his farm with amazing variety out of his own interest. It is exemplary for other entrepreneurs. I sense there should be elaborate research on Kadaknath. We need to bring the small farmers under proper planning and support. These varieties of domestic birds and animals can enrich our farming sector and meet the demand of meat or protein. Kadaknath can certainly be a new possibility of poultry farming and its trade with support from stakeholders.      

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