Written by Rabindra Debbarma and translated from Kokborok by Manisha Debbarma
Bamboo is one of the most versatile resources that a forest provides people living near it. Right from using it as a cooking vessel and tool to building houses to making mats and eating bamboo, its uses are plenty. The tribals of Tripura, not unlike many other indigenous communities across the world, use bamboo in creative and resourceful ways.
One of the ways the tribals of Tripura use bamboo is by making a ‘Takhuk’ or a chicken cage. This is considered essential in the household, as almost every family in tribal communities rears chicken at home. Without a cage, it is impossible to do that. For confining and sheltering the chicken and for them to lay eggs, a cage is needed. A cage also helps us carry the chicken easily.
This cage can also be used to shelter ducks, something which is commonly done. Unfortunately, this skill of making chicken cages seems to be dwindling, as people are not inclined to learn the art of making such a cage and the system of poultry is also changing.
To make such a chicken cage, bamboo, at least one-year-old, is needed for splitting it. It is important that this bamboo be straight. The split bamboo should be 2 meters long. Knowing the dimensions of the cage helps in building it well. The height of the chicken cage should be 2ft and the sidewalls of the cage around 10-12 inches. The door of the cage should be 6-7 inches.
The demand for such chicken cages is considerably high in markets, as a lot of people need them, but very few are actually making them. We make and sell these cages to add to the income of the family. The cost of making one cage is 60-70 Rupees. I am sure that this is a viable source of income, and tribals can and should take advantage of this and make these cages to earn at least 5000 Rupees a month selling them. Not only will this help them financially, but it will also help keep the skill of making Takhuk alive.
About the author: Rabindra Debbarma lives in Tripura. He is a beekeeper and is working towards growing his bee farm. He loves to travel and learn about what’s new in the world.