The Peruvian rooster is so popular that a breeder in Vijayawada received thousands of bookings as much as 14 months in advance.
The cock fights that take place in coastal Andhra Pradesh during Sankranti are extremely popular.
However, there is an added element to it this time. An “exotic” rooster breed — if one can call it that — native to South America’s Peru has emerged as the clear frontrunner this year.
The Peruvian rooster is so popular that a breeder and poultry farm owner in Vijayawada received thousands of bookings as much as 14 months in advance.
“I sell chicks of both pure Peruvian roosters, single cross-bred with the local Aseel variety, and not the grown-up roosters. I have no idea what the buyers do with the grown-up birds. Compared to last year, this year there was a lot of demand for both pure Peruvian and cross-bred roosters,” Inti Pradeep of Pradeep Farms told South First.
A single pure Peruvian chick is sold for ₹5,000, and a grown-up rooster after 14 months — used in cockfights — at times commands a price of ₹1.5 lakh.
“For a few, it’s a status symbol, and for some, it’s a hobby to have an exotic bird like a Peruvian rooster,” said Pradeep.
So why are the Peruvian rooster and its crossbreed famous this season?
Peruvian birds are very quick and attack faster when compared to local breeds like Aseel. However, local breeds can last longer in a cockfight.
So, a combination crossbreed of the female Aseel and the Peruvian male is the hot favourite among betting enthusiasts.
Peruvian birds were introduced in the Sankranti cock fights in 2021, but gained popularity only this season.
“It was in 2017 that I first imported one plus four Peruvian birds from the Philippines on a trial basis to see if they could be bred in the local conditions,” said Pradeep.
“Subsequently, I procured a few more birds year after year. Now I have at least 100 female pure Peruvian birds,” he added.
“I sell both eggs and chicks. Their transportation and logistics costs were higher than the actual cost of the birds,” said Pradeep.
For instance, the initial batch of the birds imported from the Philippines was only ₹80,000. However, the transportation, logistics, and other expenses cost as much as ₹4 lakh.
“Last year I tried local breeds and this year I bought a Peruvian crossbreed for ₹1.5 lakh. My bird won at least four consecutive fights,” said K Ganesh from Undi in the West Godavari district.
Peruvian roosters are famous for cockfights in Indonesia and the Philippines.
Though there are approximately 20-30 varieties of roosters used in cock fighting, five of them are in high demand: pacha, benaki dega, kaaki nemali, setu, and kaaki dega.
These five varieties are well-known for their fierce fighting abilities.
These varieties range in price from ₹25,000 to ₹30,000 each.
A fighting rooster that arrives at the weekly shandy markets a month before Sankranti costs ₹6,000.