Dong Tao Chicken: Facts, Uses, Origins & Characteristics

Dong Tao Chicken

Dong Tao chicken is a special breed of chicken popular in Vietnam. It is also known as Dragon-Feet chicken due to its unique physical appearance. 

Dong Tao chickens have white feathers, an orange crest of feathers atop their heads, and legs that are densely covered with scales. These features make them highly sought after for local cuisines. 

Originally created by Nguyen Huu Canh, the last Vietnamese king, Dong Tao chickens were used for royal feasts. 

Unlike other breeds, Dong Tao chickens have flesh that is incredibly dense and meaty, making them perfect for slow, stew-like dishes. 

Dong Tao Chicken
Dong Tao Chicken

Over time, the breed has spread out to other parts of Vietnam and is a popular choice in many local restaurants. 

In terms of cooking techniques, Dong T have an advantage in that they do not take much time to cook. 

This is because of the density and texture of their meat, and they are usually simmered in spicy chili pepper sauce. 

Dong Tao chickens make excellent crêpes, and they are also known for their excellent stewed soups.

Quick Facts about Dong Tao Chickens

OriginVietnam
WeightMale 5.5kg to 6 kg Female 
Temperament4.5kg to 5 kg
PurposeMeat
AppearanceMulti-Colored
Lifespan 2-2.5 years
Eggs 50-60 years annually
HardinessVery low
Egg ColorTinted White
Other NamesDragon chickens
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Dong Tao Chicken Origins

This breed originates from the Dong Tao region in Northern Vietnam.

This striking bird is known for its peculiar appearance, being both much larger than a normal chicken.

The breed is believed to have originated from the cross-breeding of native chickens and a specialized breed of Thai birds. 

The breed had been a local secret for many years, until the late 1990s when it started to gain popularity.

Farmers began to take pride in raising the bird due to its obvious uniqueness, and soon it began to be accepted as a local breed in the north. 

This bird is cultivated primarily for its distinct flavor and incomparable meat, both simple yet surprisingly rich.

Today, Dong Tao chickens have become quite popular not only domestically, but internationally as well. 

It is commonly raised by many farmers in Vietnam, especially those from the hilly region of Sapa. 

They are well known for their mouth-watering meat, and have become one of the most sought after dishes throughout the country.

Dong Tao Chicken Characteristics

Dong Tao chicken is a unique breed of chicken of Vietnamese origin, native to Vietnam’s Dong Tao commune in Vinh Phu province. 

It is one of the most distinctive breeds of chicken in the world, distinguished by its large legs and feet, large comb, and unusual coloration. 

Meat Flavor

Dong Tao chickens are well known for their meaty flavor and low fat content, making them one of the best sources of lean protein. 

They are also a popular food choice throughout Southeast Asia.

The Dong Tao chicken breed is a hybrid of two ancestors, the Chinese Shanghai Chicken and the Burmese Shan Chicken. 

These two breeds were selectively crossbred in Vietnam to create the Dong Tao chicken, which was then further developed in the country over several generations. 

The breed is easily recognizable by its large feet and legs, which tend to stay upright with each step. 

The average rooster stands about 85 cm (33 inches tall), while the hens stand at around 60 cm (24 inches tall). 

Dong Tao chickens also feature a large, upright comb and wattles that are typically bright red in color. 

Appearance

The Dong Tao chicken, which translates to “money chicken” in Vietnamese, is a breed of chicken that is native to Vietnam. 

In comparison to other breeds of chickens, Dong Tao chickens are quite unusual in both their appearance and varieties. 

Appearance: Dong Tao chickens are characterized by their unique physique. They are typically medium-sized, with a wingspan measuring around 24.4 inches. 

Although their wings and tail feathers are noticeably smaller in comparison to other breeds, the real distinguishing feature of the Dong Tao chicken is its legs. 

This type of chicken has disproportionately large and heavy legs that are covered with a colorful set of feathers of various hues. 

Due to their rather ungainly yet exotic look, they are sometimes referred to as the “lobster chicken”. 

There are currently three recognized varieties of the Dong Tao chicken, all of which have their own distinct characteristics.

Uses of Dong Tao Chicken

Dong Tao chickens are a rare Vietnamese chicken breed known for their extravagant feathers and dramatic size. 

They are prized for their meat, eggs, feathers, and even their unique characteristics and appearance. 

These chickens can grow up to 3 feet tall, weigh between 6-10 lbs, and can have up to three cascading layers of feathers. 

The tightly wound feathers of the Dong Tao chicken give it the appearance of having a “lion’s mane”, adding to its distinction. 

The use of Dong T chickens goes back centuries in Vietnam. They are commonly used for traditional Vietnamese celebrations like Tet, the lunar new year. 

During these festivities, the chickens are often roasted and served as a main course. 

The meat can also be used in other dishes like soups, stews, and stir-fries. The eggs of the Dong Tao chicken are also in high demand in Vietnam. 

The flavor of the eggs is said to be robust and creamy, and the size of the egg itself is often larger than your average chicken egg. 

Dong Tao eggs are popularly used in traditional dishes like Ga Kho, a sweet and sour ginger-based chicken dish.

Population and Habitat

Dong Tao chicken is a species of domesticated chicken found in Southeast Asia.

It was believed to have evolved from jungle fowl native to the area. The Dong Tao is called “dragon chicken” due to its unusually large feet, resembling those of dragons. 

The Dong Tao is an endangered species, mainly found in Vietnam and neighboring countries. 

Due to loss of habitat due to overgrazing, deforestation, and urbanization, its population is declining.

To further preserve the species, researchers developed a breeding program to produce offspring from captive birds and reintroduce them into the wild. 

Habitat of the Dong Tao chicken is generally limited to lowland forests and shrub habitats, often near rivers and wetlands. 

It is an omnivore, feeding on various insects, as well as vegetation such as grasses, seeds, and fruits. 

Its large paws are ideal for rooting in the loose soil, seeking out earthworms, larvae, and other small creatures. 

Dong Tao Chicken
Dong Tao chicken

The species is listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, and researchers have recommended the implementation of protection plans to enhance the sustainability of Dong Tao populations.

Are Dong Tao Chicken Good for backyard Farming?

Dong Tao Chicken, is a rare breed of bird native to Vietnam and is quite popular in the local cuisine. 

They are well-suited for backyard farming because they are relatively low-maintenance and are pleasing to the eye. 

Dong T Chicken are an ideal bird for backyard farming because they don’t require much space or to remain healthy and productive. 

They also have excellent foraging abilities, which means they require minimal feed and water supplies. 

These chickens are also pleasing to the eye due their stunning multi-colored feathers.

Their feathers are brown, white, and yellow in a unique pattern, and their tails are commonly speckled with gold as well. 

Furthermore, they are very low-noise birds who are seldom heard clucking and crowing.

Pros and Cons of keeping a Dong Tao Chicken

Dong Tao chickens, also known as “dragon chickens” or “dragon claws”, are a unique, rare breed of poultry. 

Native to the Dong Tao region in Vietnam, these chickens are prized for their large size and unique features, such as their long feathered feet. 

If you’ve been thinking of adding a Dong Tao chicken to your backyard flock, here are some pros and cons to help you decide. 

Pros 

1. Size – Dong Tao chickens are a large breed, with males weighing up to 8 pounds. They are also known for their feathered feet, which can reach up to 10 inches in length. 

2. Breed Versatility – Despite their large size, they can be used for a variety of different purposes. They are good for meat purposes.

Cons

1. Health Issues – Dong Tao chickens can be prone to a variety of health problems, such as swollen head syndrome and respiratory infections. To keep your chickens healthy, it is important to buy only from trusted breeders.

Expansive

Late Maturity

Rare to find

Are dong tao chickens natural

But the main question is: are dong tao chickens natural? In short, the answer is yes.

Despite being artificially cultivated over the centuries, dong tao chickens are descended from wild ancestor Cuon Sánh, a large-sized wild pheasant found across Southeast Asia and parts of China.

It is believed that the domestication process for the dong tao chicken began as early as the Han Dynasty as a way to develop a hardier bird with more meat and ornamental characteristics.

Due to its popularity in China and Southeast Asia, the dong tao chicken has become a symbol of regional culture and is an important food source.

Dong tao chicken remains a common sight in many Southeast Asia countries and can even be found in wet markets.

Dong Tao chickens are much larger than other chickens, typically reaching over 4 pounds.

They have distinctive features such as long, thick feathers and spurs that are much larger than other chickens.

Their feathers can be reddish brown, white, or a combination of both.

These unique features make them visually appealing, which adds to their premium reputation.

The flavor of Dong Tao chickens is complex and rich. It is described as smooth and velvety with a slight sweetness.

They are known for being well-marbled, meaning that their fat is well incorporated within the muscle, resulting in a juicy, tender meat.

When you consider their quality, rarity, and unique characteristics, it makes sense that Dong Tao chickens are very expensive.

In Vietnam, they are considered an expensive delicacy. With demand for high-quality food growing around the world, they have become increasingly expensive to obtain.

why are dong tao chickens so expensive

Dong Tao chickens are much larger than other chickens, typically reaching over 4 pounds.

They have distinctive features such as long, thick feathers and spurs that are much larger than other chickens.

Their feathers can be reddish brown, white, or a combination of both.

These unique features make them visually appealing, which adds to their premium reputation.

The flavor of Dong Tao chickens is complex and rich. It is described as smooth and velvety with a slight sweetness.

They are known for being well-marbled, meaning that their fat is well incorporated within the muscle, resulting in a juicy, tender meat.

When you consider their quality, rarity, and unique characteristics, it makes sense that Dong Tao chickens are very expensive.

In Vietnam, they are considered an expensive delicacy. With demand for high-quality food growing around the world, they have become increasingly expensive to obtain.

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