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.
KeywordsChicken, culture, deity, egg, meat, native
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