Image above from http://kadaknath.blogspot.com
The Kadaknath is a little-known, rare chicken breed that originated in Madhya Pradesh, the direct center India. In their native territory, kadaknath chickens are called “kali masi”, literally meaning “black fleshed fowl”…
Why is the Kadaknath all Black?
The unique “black fleshed” trait in the Kadaknath breed is caused by fibromelanosis. Fibromelanosis is a buildup of melanin in the bird’s body that causes the dark coloration of the skin, internal organs and even bones. Fibromelanosis is a genetic trait that is also present in Silkies (aka Chinese Silk Chickens), Sweedish blacks and Ayam Cemanis.
Kadaknaths are supposedly very hardy. In their native country, kadaknaths have a reputation of surviving and even thriving in difficult conditions. However, they have come close to extinction because of their popularity as meat birds…
Kadaknath Breed Endangerment
… The reason why this unique variety of chicken nearly became extinct is not just because they have high meat quality or a rapid growth rate. Rather, Kadaknath meat is believed to have very unique, healthful qualities. However, little scientific research has been that proves many of the supposed special properties of Kadaknath meat.
In India, Kadaknath chicken meat is believed to be able to heal many ailments when eaten. Such ailments include infertility, heart problems and Asthma. Some also claim that it is also an aphrodisiac and has a higher nutrient density than meat from other breeds. However, I personally need more scientific and medical convincing before I would realistically consider many of those claims.
Because of the Kadaknaths’ ‘special properties’, the demand for Kadaknath chicken meat heightened and the breed population began to dwindle… In order to save the nearly extinct Kadaknath chickens, the Indian government set up breeding programs. These breeding programs helped keep Kadaknaths from complete extinction.
Kadaknath Breed Characteristics
Kadaknaths come in 3 known feather varieties (Black, penciled and Golden) but the flesh of each variety remains black. However, the American Poultry Association does not yet recognize the Kadaknath as a breed. In fact, it is extremely rare (if possible) to come across a Kadaknath in the U.S because. This is largely because of the legalities on importation. Partialy due to the Kadaknath’s rarity and the lack of research done on the the breed, it has a mysterious reputation. Kadaknath chickens also have an extremely high material value.
Image above of a Kadaknath pair by Arulnathan