Bhutan Journal of Natural Resources and Development

College of Natural Resources

Native Chicken beyond Meat and Eggs

, Penjor.;  Chhetri, Shekhar .; 



The farmers in the rural areas of Bhutan have been rearing native chicken for centuries and the intervention by government to upgrade native chickens and boost their production seems to have remained unfinished goals of many five year plans. Some of the pertinent issues related to native chickens that provide insight into preference for native chicken by the rural communities obtained through informal discussion with elderly people are highlighted herein. The rural communities prefer native chicken to exotic chicken for a number of reasons. For instance, native chickens are robust and cheap source of protein that help women recoup their lost energy during pregnancy and delivery. The native chickens are very agile therefore can escape predators such as eagle and are comparatively resistant to some endemic diseases compared to exotic chickens. Native chicken serves as an object of gift, where grandparents give pullet to their grandchildren with the unspoken message of ‘rear this pullet, when it lays eggs, eat the eggs and grow healthy.’ Some ethnic groups require specific strains of native chicken to be reared as a symbol of reverence to household deity, while for some communities native chickens serve the purpose of harbouring invisible granny associated with the households. Rural communities also attach medicinal value to meat of certain strains of native chicken. The native chickens are important source of organic manure for vegetable growing. Even the feathers of native chickens are used for various purposes in the households.


Chicken, culture, deity, egg, meat, native

Full Text



Ghallay, C. (2014). Effect of feeding poultry droppings on the body weight gain in dairy calves. B.Sc. Dissertation submitted to the College of Natural Resources.

Duncan, J. (2005). Composting Chicken Manure. Available at

Kuensel. (2018). Women’s Khuru more popular than men’s. Available at.

Nidup, K., Penjor., Dorji, P., Gurung, R., Arasta, P. and Moran, C. (2005a). Genetic Structure of the Indigenous Chickens of Bhutan. SAARC Journal of Agriculture. 3: 69-89.     

Nidup, K., Dorji, P. and Penjor. (2005b). A Review of Poultry development in Bhutan. Family Poultry, (1): 8-15. FAO, Rome. Available at:

Nidup. K. Penjor, and Dorji, P. (2008). Poultry. Animal Genetic Resources of Bhutan. Pp.26-46.

Nidup, K. and Tshering, P. (2007). Status of the family poultry production and HPAI in Bhutan. Proceedings of the 8th Asian Pacific Poultry Conference of the World’s Poultry Science Association. Pp.78-83. March 2007, Bangkok, Thailand.

Penjor. (2008). Marriage system in lower Kheng. Bhutan ways of knowing. Information Age Publishing, 2008. ISBN 10: 1593117345 ISBN 13: 9781593117344, pp.141-154.