After slaughtering a family chicken that hadn’t laid a single egg in five years, a woman found a tennis-ball sized brown object inside its belly, which may earn her up to an equivalent of $350,000.
The spherical object is referred to as “chicken gold” or “chicken treasure” in China where it is a highly valued food. When it occurs naturally, it is worth up to an equivalent of $3,000 per gram (0.03 ounces), according to a video report by Sichuan Pear, a local Chinese news outlet, on April 2.
Du Xiaoxia’s chicken left her with a 115 gram (4 ounce) ball of this treasure in Sichuan, China.
A local professional appraiser has assured Du that she had indeed struck “chicken gold.”
Some say that chicken gold forms from an accumulation of immature eggs inside the hen.
Its value comes from its suspected use in modern Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).
Striking Chicken Gold
Du’s family owned the chicken for five years. Du’s mother said that the bird never once laid a single egg. The family then decided to slaughter it for a large family reunion, according to the Sichuan Pear.
After the deed was done, they unexpectedly found a large object inside the belly of the chicken. It was the ball of chicken gold, just slightly smaller than a tennis ball.
Du’s mother, named Zheng Xiaoqin, said they thought at first that it was just a large, double yolked egg. Later, they thought it instead must be chicken treasure.
After comparing what they had found to pictures online, they were confident that they had chicken gold. A professional antique appraiser verified the treasure through photos sent via Du’s smartphone.
“After it’s air-dried, it can be sold as a valuable TCM ingredient,” a woman working for the appraiser responded over the phone in the Sichuan Pear video. “To give a reference based on prices from the last one to two years, it will be about 20,000 Yuan ($3,000) per gram (0.03 ounces).”
The report did not say if Du had made a sale.
Departure of Traditional Chinese Medicine
Certain ingredients in TCM are sourced sometimes from uncommon or endangered animals. The parts of the animals used are even more surprising at times.
The chicken treasure mentioned above is said to be a rare ingredient that is used in TCM.
Other peculiar ingredients are tiger bones and pangolin scales. In these cases, the animals are killed for their body parts.
But much of modern TCM has departed from its original form, as the knowledge was widely suppressed in China during the civil war and the following years. Modern TCM is the product of Mao Zedong’s later attempts to revive Chinese medicine after years of denigrating traditional knowledge. Mao led the merging of eastern and western medicinal practice during the Cultural Revolution, a reform which resulted in the creation of another kind of medicine.