UDAIGARH (ALIRAJPUR): Nine districts of western Madhya Pradesh are currently plagued by bird flu (avian influenza), with hundreds of crow and other birds dying from the disease. Against this backdrop, special attention is being paid to the famous Kadaknath hens in Jhabua and Alirajpur districts of Madhya Pradesh.
After a private Kadaknath breeding and rearing centre at Rundipada village, in Jhabua district, received an order from Dhoni, special care is being taken for fear of bird flu before the chickens are transported.
Earlier, during the pandemic, Kadaknath emerged as a major immunity-booster, but now, due to the bird flu scare, Kadaknath, itself, is being given an immunity dose. Along with being vaccinated, the Kadaknath chickens are being given a solution of Vitamin C, Vitamin D and turmeric in liquid form.
Amar Singh Diwakar, in-charge of the veterinary department, Kadaknath Centre, in Jhabua, said health check-ups of the chicks were being carried out before they are transported to Ranchi.
An agriculture scientist at the Agriculture Science Centre, Jhabua, IS Tomar, said the Kadaknath chickens were kept isolated in their coops, but now, the vigil against the bird flu danger had been tightened. Earlier, workers sanitized the entire coop once or twice a week, but now, it is being done daily. Entry of outsiders into the Kadaknath farmhouse had been banned and workers’ movements were also restricted only to certain sections, Tomar added.
In Jhabua, alone, three big and about 60 small private breeding centres operate in the district. Besides, over 500 birds are housed at the Krishi Vigyan Kendra and 1,000 in the veterinary department. In Alirajpur district, there are eight to 10 breeding centres, besides 60-70 families associated with the Madhya Pradesh Livelihood Mission Group, which is engaged in the breeding of Kadaknath here.
Experts said that the spread of bird flu in Jhabua and Alirajpur could be checked only through awareness as the districts had unregulated markets for the sale of Kadaknath chicken and the practice of backyard poultry farming was also prevalent on a large scale in the district.
Senior scientist at the Agricultural Science Centre, Alirajpur, coordinator Dr RK Yadav advised the farmers to protect their chickens from the cold, as well from exposure to wild birds. Dr Yadav said that the hens did not have any kind of disease right now. The virus gets wiped out when cooked at a temperature of more than 56°Celsius, so it can be eaten without any apprehension of contracting the disease.
Everyone from Kohli to Dhoni loves Kadaknath
Kadaknath chicken meat is becoming very popular now. Kadaknath’s chicken has been praised by everyone from Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli to Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Not only that, but Dhoni has also started rearing Kadaknath hens. At the same time, the craze for Kadaknath chickens can be seen among many Bollywood celebrities.
Kadaknath, a breed of black chickens found in tribal-dominated Jhabua and Alirajpur districts, has high protein and iron content and low fat content compared to the ordinary breed of chickens. Locally known as “kali masi”, the chicken is popular for its black meat, which is rich in protein, iron and minerals. Scientific data show that the iron content in Kadaknath chicken is nearly 10 times that in ordinary chicken.
Protein: 24% (Kadaknath); 18 to 20% (Local breed)
Fat: 1.94 to 2.6% (Kadaknath); 13 to 25% (Local breed)
Cholesterol: 59 to 60 mg/ 100 gm (Kadaknath); 218.12mg/ 100 gm (Local breed)