The fighting rooster comes under the spotlight with the three-day Sankranti festival fast approaching. The varying colours, the fighting spirit, origin and the other traits of the fouls keep dominating the public talk in the rural parts of the twin Godavari districts in the runup to the festival.
The organisers are busy preparing the battle grounds and the game roosters with sharp edged swords tied around their legs are roaring for the D-day. Certain places have become synonymous with cock fights and some other places are identified with certain popular brands of roosters. Those noted for cock fights with high stakes ranging up to Rs 1 for each game in the district are I. Bhimavaram, Juvvalapalem, Chinamiram, Ganapavaram, Poduru etc. The battle ground at I. Bhimavaram draws film stars and VVIPs who came by helicopters in the past.
The places known for breeding the chicks with traits associated with aggression and fighting spirit are Ardhavaram and Srungavruksham in the district. Ardhavaram Parla, a type of foul, has got a lot of fan base for its `heroic’ track record. A lot of preparation and training go into the bloody event. The cocks are prepared for the battle royal for a period of three months. Fed by almonds, meat, and millets, the gaming roosters are treated as special guests. They are allowed to swim in water bodies in the morning, given hot baths, muscle-strengthening exercises, vitamin B Complex tablets and, of course, mock fights on a daily basis. “Swimming helps rooster burn fat in its body and move their legs swiftly at the time of fighting”, says Boppana Sudhakar, who has a roosting place with 60 gaming birds at Ramachandrapuram under Pedavegi mandal. Mr. Sudhakar spends Rs 4000-5,000 per bird on feed during the preparation period.
Mallemoggala Madhusudhan Rao, a player from the city, pins all his hopes on a cock named Kaki Nemali. “It won three fights successively. It flies in air, lifts legs and trounce the rivals with ease”, he says with a sense of admiration for his pet. The price of fighting rooster depends on the craze of buyers. “The price some times even goes up to Rs 1 lakh”, Madhushan Rao adds.
The gaming roosters are credited with offering a sport that brings people of all parties and ages together from far and wide. After all, it is a blood sport for the birds while it is a fun for the onlookers.