Kadaknath Chicken Farming

An average backyard poultry farmer has 5-50 chickens on a farm. The setup is moderate to minimal and the birds scavenge for feed. Commercial broiler chicken and other breeds used for commercial chicken cultivation are not preferred due to high maintenance and problems with the birds’ health itself. Maintenance costs for commercial breeds of chicken are high. 

With Desi chickens breeds or native chicken breeds, maintenance is much lower and feed is moderate to none as they scavenge. The native breeds of chickens also have the advantage of high prices in the market for eggs and meat. But with the right variety of birds, small and marginal farmers can double the profit from the same number of birds.

Enter Kadaknath Chicken, the black chicken famed for its health benefits and low cholesterol level. Apart from some medicinal benefits, The meat of the Kadaknath chicken is preferred for its taste and is considered exotic. While commercial chicken costs 100-200 Rs per kilo, the desi chicken costs 400-500 Rs kilo. But then with the Kadaknath, the price for one kilo of meat goes as high as 900 rs. 

The price margin is much higher with the efforts being the same, making Kadaknath one of the few profitable farming businesses for small households and backyard poultry farmers. Kadaknath chickens are perfect for free-range chicken farming. They are good scavengers, require a similar amount of feed as to desi, native chicken, and grow a bit faster than other breeds of native varieties of chicken. They lay a bit more eggs than native varieties too. Overall, the Kadaknath Chicken farming is one of the few profitable poultry which can be incorporated with little change, yet yield a considerably bigger profit. 

To assess the difference lets take a farm of 100  chickens in desi/ native variety and the same number of Kedarnath chicken side by side to know the difference

Cost / Expense of Kadaknath farming (100 Birds)

Desi ChickenKadaknath Chicken
Shed Construction (60X20 Feet)1400014000
Cost of chicks25005500
Feed and Medicines60006000
Total Expense2250025,500

Revenue From Kadaknath vs Desi Chicken Compared

Desi ChickenKadaknath Chicken
Sale of chicken after 6 months (fully grown)80,000180,000
Sale of Eggs1200030,000
Total Revenue92,000220,000
20% Mortality1840044,000
Gross Profit after Mortality73600176000
Net Profit First Year51,100150500
Net Profit Second Year65100164500

Mortality rate of chicken in free-range could vary from 10% to 50% depending on the housing of the chicken and other management practices including diseases. The average range of mortality among chickens in free-range is approximately 10%. We have calculated a higher amount at 10%. The price of desi chicken meat could range from 400-500 rs per kilo and the price for Kadaknath chicken could range from 800-900 rs per kilo. The price of eggs is 8 and 12 rs respectively. 

The average egg yield for desi chicken is roughly 30 in free-range conditions and 50 among Kadaknath chickens. The calculations are considering a very moderate amount in consideration and it is still very profitable with a good management system and housing in place for the birds.

Kadaknath chicken and its Farming in free-range conditions.

To begin poultry farming, it’s important to understand the characteristics of the bird you intend to farm. When it comes to Kadaknath chicken there are a few things you need to know as a farmer. To begin with, Kadaknath does best in open farms. 

  • They are capable of scavenging for their food after they are mature (15 weeks). Till the age of 15 weeks, these birds need to stay protected from predators. Fox, Cats, Dogs,  Eagles, snakes, and a wide range of predators are common problems in open range farms. Research indicates that more than 50% of all losses in open range farms are contributed to predators. Less than 20% are caused by diseases. Protecting the flock during the first few weeks when they are vulnerable is key. 
  • Kadaknath Chickens are known to attain approximately 1.5-2 Kg in weight in roosters and 1.2-1.5 kg in weight in hens after 25 weeks. In free-range farming, the weight of the birds may vary a bit and will be on the lower side if a balanced feed is not provided. Birds that scavenge are known to be slightly on the lower side of weight but still very healthy.
  • Kadaknath hens start laying eggs in 20 weeks. Kadaknath hens lay up to 50 eggs a year in free-range conditions and if taken care of, are reported to lay up to 80 eggs a year. 50% of the eggs are fertile with 52% hatchability. It is approximately 40% more in yield than desi chickens in free-range conditions
  • Kadaknath Meat is considerably expensive and goes for a price of 900 rs per kilo. The birds are rare and thus the demand is high. The meat is slightly blackish and not red or pink like regular chicken. The eggs of a Kadaknath chicken are brown and not black. The skin of the Kadaknath chicken is always black. Kadaknath Chickens are expensive because of their rarity and high demand. To add to the fact that the meat and eggs are nutritious compared to desi chicken, the price is also on the higher side. Growing Kadaknath is slightly more expensive too. All this adds to the price of the chicken.
  • Kadaknath Birds can live a lot longer than native chickens. Kadaknath chickens are known to live up to 15 years while the native breeds live up to 8 years. Though this is not of any importance to most farmers, it’s good information to keep in mind.
  • Kadaknath chickens do not usually hatch their eggs like native breeds. The hatchery is a good business and considering the demand, investing in a medium to small scale hatchery could add revenue to farmers.
  • Kadaknath chick hatches in 21 days in a hatchery. The chicks are required to be in protective conditions for at least 4-to 5 weeks before they are moved to a pen. They need to be protected from predators for at least 15 weeks when they can easily fly and run. 
  • The market potential for Kadaknath eggs and meat is mediocre at best at the moment. People are just starting to be aware of the breed and getting accustomed to the taste. Commercial farming of Kadaknath chicken is profitable in some areas, especially near metros. Farmers should start with a minimum number of birds and increase the number depending on demand. This is one reason why backyard farming of Kadaknath is much more favorable than commercial Kadaknath poultry farming.
  • A bigger farm does not mean bigger business. With poultry, especially the exotic varieties, an increased number also means more maintenance. With fewer sales, chances are that you will be maintaining a large flock without sales. You will need to find a balance to keep the right number of birds throughout the year 
  • Kadaknath chicken and eggs are seasonal. In this sense, the customers prefer eggs and meat during the colder seasons and monsoons rather than summer. During the summer, sales usually dip. This should not discourage farmers and farmers on the contrary should be prepared for such seasonal dips and rises.

Myths about Kadaknath Chicken and farming

  • Kadaknath chickens are not hard to raise. They take the same effort as desi chickens. They can scavenge for food and are not reliant on the feed you provide for survival. Though they may do better with additional feed, their ability to survive by scavenging for food is impressive.
  • Kadaknath eggs are not black. Kadaknath chicken eggs are always brown. The eggs are marketed to be black but surely these are not Kadaknath chicken eggs.
  • Kadaknath is not a hybrid bird. They are natural and all pure breed. There is no artificial interference in the bird to make them hybrid.
  • Kadaknath eggs are not Black either. Kadaknath eggs are red and the meat has a slight black hue. The outer skin is almost always black though.
  • Kadaknath is Ayam Cemani! No 3 black chickens in the world are natural and not hybrid. Kadaknath, Ayam Cemani, and the silky black from china. They are all markedly different and their similarity is the color alone. 

Considering all the facts, it is important to analyze if Kadaknath chicken farming is profitable. With all the data provided by farmers and government statistics, it is evident that Kadaknath is fighting a losing battle. Fortunately, this is the reason why most farmers should undertake Kadaknath farming vigorously. The chances of the Kadaknath chicken prices going high is evident. The possibility of increased profit with more production and better marketing is possible with technology. Kadaknath eggs sell at record high prices and the meat too is slowly being recognized by consumers. Taking all these into consideration, it is a favorable time for farmers to start poultry farming with Kadaknath chicken.

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