Seeing this chicken’s photo for the first time, you may think that this chicken has a rare skin disease without knowing that this is normal.
Dong Tao chicken, also called Dragon Chicken, is a rare Vietnamese chicken breed with enlarged feet, that originates from the village Đông Tảo in Khoái Châu District near Hanoi.
Dong Tao chickens are valued as a delicacy in Vietnam. They are difficult to breed as their large legs make hatching difficult, and they are also sensitive to changes in temperature. Hens often break the eggs with their bulky legs, thus eggs are usually kept in an incubator. It takes eight months to one year until the chickens are ready for slaughter at five to six kilograms of weight.
In Vietnam, Dong Tao are bred specifically for meat. It has been reported that 1 kilogram of Dong tao meat can cost around 350,000 to 400,000 VND or P733 to P838. Although this looks not so expensive here in the Philippines, in Vietnam where the average daily wage is 142,915 VND. Only the upper class Vietnamese can actually afford to taste this rare chicken meat people grow the chicken for personal consumption.
Aside from the meat, the chicken is raised for beauty contests during lunar years which is considered a special day in Vietnam.
The Dong Tao chicken has an imposing figure, a healthy body, and stout legs covered with reddish scales. A male adult Dong Tao chicken can weigh up to 6 kilograms and develop legs as thick as a human’s wrist. The hens are generally white, while the cocks have colorful feathers. Females can reach up to 4.5 kilograms and both male and female leg weights contribute to their massive weight.
Growing and Raising Dong Tao Chicken
Growing Dong Tao is a bit of a challenge. The chicken is very sensitive to weather changes and tends to lay fewer eggs than normal chicken. Their unhelpfully big feet make the hatching process even more difficult, so breeders have to assist the hens in order to produce chicks. A newborn chick takes eight months to one year to become a sellable bird of three to five kilograms.
Dong Tao in the Philippines
Few backyard breeders are growing Dong tao in the Philippines and the price is not pocket-friendly at all. Ayam Cemani is known to be the most expensive chicken breed but Dong tao comes close in second. With day old chicks priced from P600 to P1,500 (ungendered), you should think many times before buying and growing this rare breed.
As of this writing, this author knows only two people who grow and sell Dong Tao chicken with extremely limited supply. You can find these breeders in Alabang and Calamba City. The price depends on the age of the chicken but as we mentioned, chicks can cost up-to P1,500.
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