Jhabua housewife changes her family’s fortunes with Kadaknath poultry farming; sells chicken at Rs 500 per kg

Pushpa Dohare began Kadaknath chicken farming in 2019 when her family struggled with low agriculture profitability. She now sells the desi breed chicken at Rs 500 per kg and eggs at Rs 25 a piece to buyers from Madhya Pradesh and nearby states

Rashmi Pratap
New Update
Pushpa Dohare at her poultry farm in Jhabua

Pushpa Dohare at her poultry farm in Jhabua

Pushpa Dohare’s family in Antarveliya village of Madhya Pradesh’s Jhabua district found making ends meet through farming difficult. They owned six acres of land on which they grew maize, wheat, and other crops. But labour, irrigation, and other costs ate into revenues, leaving negligible profits.

“The crops were not giving adequate returns due to the high costs. That’s when I began to search online for other income-generating opportunities around me. One such search in 2019 led me to KVK Jhabua, and I learned about rearing Kadaknath chickens,” recollects Pushpa, 36.

Kadaknath, also called Kali Masi (fowl with black flesh), is a desi or indigenous breed of chicken. There are three varieties of Kadaknath -- jet black, golden and pencilled.

Native to Dhar and Jhabua in Madhya Pradesh, Kadaknath birds were earlier bred by the rural and tribal people. Its grey-black meat, high in protein, low in fat and rich in essential nutrients, received the geographical indication (GI) tag in July 2018. 

Also Read: How Happy Hens Farm reached Rs 8 crore revenues with its free-range eggs

Giving wings to entrepreneurship

“I invested Rs 15000 to purchase 200 chicks (15 days old) from KVK Jhabua, each costing around Rs75. There was a single room at our farm and I put the chickens there,” she says. Pushpa purchased readymade poultry feed for them but was not aware of their vaccination schedule. “While they grew well, only 140 survived due to my lack of knowledge. Yet, I was able to recover my costs and make some marginal profits,” she says.

kadaknath chicks
15-day-old Kadaknath chicks cost Rs 75 per bird. Pic: Desi Kadaknath Jhabua 

That’s when Pushpa decided to go for training in Kadaknath breeding. She participated in a 30-day skill-based training programme on Small Poultry Farming at KVK Jhabua and set up a commercial hatchery for chick production, naming it Desi Kadaknath Jhabua. Her husband Mahaveer Singh Dohare and her in-laws encouraged Pushpa to make a fresh start. 

“I again procured chicks from KVK and this time, the business took off. I made more rooms on a part of our land and put the chickens there. During the lockdown, when people wanted to eat healthy and improve their immunity, they would come to the farm to purchase eggs and meat,” she says.

Also Read: How this 27-year-old woman entrepreneur is taking camel milk products from Thar across India

The business of Kadaknath chicken farming

Kadaknath birds grow to a weight of 800 gm to one kg in three months while broiler birds achieve this weight in just a month. “So the time taken in Kadaknath breeding is longer and the returns are also higher,” Pushpa says.

She sells Kadaknath meat at Rs500 per kg and eggs at Rs 25 per piece while broiler chicken meat is sold at around Rs 90 to Rs 100 per kg. 

“I sell 150 to 200 birds every month. The weight of the birds ranges between 900 gm and 1.3 kg. The demand for eggs increases from Diwali onwards and continues to be high till mid-March,” the poultry farmer says. 

Buyers approach her directly and procure meat and eggs from the farm. She also sends eggs to other cities and states including Gujarat. “People come from other cities like Indore and Bhopal to buy Kadaknath and its eggs. We also send eggs to places outside Madhya Pradesh,” she says.

kadaknath meat is rich
The meat of Kadaknath birds is rich in nutrients and proteins and low in cholesterol. Pic: Desi Kadaknath Jhabua

Kadaknath birds are grey-black all over including legs and toenails, beak, tongue, comb and wattles. Even the meat, bones, blood and organs are black-coloured due to the presence of melanin.

Broiler vs. Kadaknath

While a white leghorn lays 320 to 330 eggs a year, a Kadaknath hen lays only around 120 -130 eggs while taking the same amount of feed. A broiler chicken gains around 2.5 kg of body weight in 40-45 days and gets obese. But in the case of Kadaknath, which is a wild breed, weight gain is slow and steady. It reaches a body weight of 1.5 kg in about four months and lives till the age of 12 years if not killed.

Also Read: In shortage of vets, Pashu Sakhis support cattle & poultry farmers in Jharkhand’s tribal hinterland

Kadaknath is well suited to local conditions and requires only two vaccinations, unlike broilers where medical expenses are much higher. 

“Kadaknath breed also has high resistance to disease and extreme climatic conditions like summer heat and cold in winter. The feed requirements vary as per the age of chickens but the average for a grown-up bird is around 100 gm per day,” the woman entrepreneur adds. 

the unit
Desi Kadaknath Jhabua poultry farm in Antarveliya village.

The number of birds at the farm keeps changing depending on the sales. “Right now, I have around 600 layer birds which give eggs. We keep some birds separately for breeding,” Pushpa adds. The birds roam freely on the farm during the day and are kept indoors at night. 

Pushpa’s average monthly income is around Rs 1.5 lakh as sales increase manifolds during winter and are subdued during summer. 

“This income has given a lot of financial stability to my family,” says Pushpa, who is also involved in horticulture and Azolla production on her farm.

Fresh Azolla is included in the feed of birds. “About 15 percent inclusions in poultry feed can enhance performance and growth of chickens,” says the rural entrepreneur who also supports the district administration in fulfilling the demand for Kadaknath chicks.

Pushpa has hired three people to work with her at the hatchery. “I have also started rearing the Sonali breed of chicks since last year. Sonali is a crossbreed of Fayoumi female and RIR (Rhode Island Red) male and gives around 150-200 eggs annually. The meat and eggs also sell at higher market prices than other crossbred varieties,” Pushpa says. Sonali chicken sells at Rs 220 to Rs 250 per kg.

Pushpa also supports other women with knowledge and training about livelihood opportunities in poultry farming and horticulture.

(Rashmi Pratap is a Mumbai-based journalist specialising in business, financial, and socio-economic reporting)

Also Read: How Assam’s techie entrepreneur built Rs 22 crore egg business

Look up our YouTube Channel