Vietnam readies rare birds for 'Year of the Chicken'

By Ngoc Thanh   January 1, 2017 | 09:33 pm GMT+7

Some of these prized breeds can fetch up to $2,000 apiece.

Vietnam's zodiac calendar holds 2017 as the Year of the Rooster. Breeders throughout the country are getting their best birds ready for market.

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Vietnamese have viewed the nine-toe chickens of Phu Tho Province as fortuitous offerings since the Hung Kings ruled Vietnam (roughly 2,800 BC). While most domestic hens have five toes on each foot, this special breed can carry up to nine.

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The Japanese Onagadori breed is prized for its incredibly long tail feathers, which can stretch up to nine meters. A pair of Onagadori chickens can run up to VND65 million ($2,860).

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The British Seabright breed is very small; males weigh an average of 0.6 kilogram and female 0.5 kilogram. Sebrights range in price from VND6 to 7 million ($260-310).

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Breeders seek out Polish chickens for the v-shaped comb that's typically obscured by a large crest of feathers. Many breeders sell them for VND1-4 million ($44-176) per bird.

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The Brahma is one of the largest breeds on earth. A single bird can weigh up to 18kg and fetch hundreds of U.S. dollars.

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Breeder Tran Giap Nhat of Thanh Tri District in Hanoi has 18 Black Ayam Cemani chickens, which he imported directly from Indonesia. He plans to sell the black-skinned birds for VND50 million ($2,200) apiece.

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Breeders in Malaysia only developed this sub-species of Serama in the last 50 years. They make ideal pets as they are small, gentle, and easy to handle. Vietnamese breeders sell them for VND25-30 million ($1,100-1,300) per breeding pair.

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This eponymous local bird originated in Dong Tao Village in the northern province of Hung Yen. They are difficult to breed, so a single Dong Tao chicken can sell for as much as VND50 million ($2,200). The birds have come to be valued as a delicacy and sell well during Tet (Lunar New Year).

Photos by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh

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