You heard about Sarail greyhounds, right?
But do you know about the Hansli or 'Ancheel' roosters?
This fighter rooster is another integral part of Sarail's culture. The name comes from the Arabic term 'Aseel', which means pure.
These roosters are unlike any other breed – aggressive looking with longer necks and feet. They are also more muscular, which is why they are called 'fighters'. In fact, these birds are usually reared for rooster fights.
According to history, in the 16th century, the Sarail Zamindar family first brought the Hansli rooster breed to Bangladesh from Iran. From then on, the area has been hosting Hansli rooster fights, especially during weddings and other festivities.
In the last decade, the number of owners with Hansli roosters have almost doubled. According to the Livestock Conservancy website, the Hansli breed has been improved several times in India and Pakistan for rooster-fighting.
Although these fast-moving roosters look light-weight, they are actually quite heavy. They have small, strong beaks with wide heads and a pair of fierce eyes.
The rooster fights are mostly held between January and April. During these months, participants from all over the country come to Sarail.
Sometimes roosters and their owners go to other parts of the country to take part in competitions.
There are around 100 families in Brahmanbaria who rear Hansli roosters; most of them are based in Sarail Upazila. There are 15 to 20 families who also rear these birds for commercial purposes.
One family can sell four to five roosters every year. Each bird can be sold from Tk5,000 to Tk50,000.
The price is fixed based on age, physical fitness and experience. Obviously, the rooster with more experience is sold at a higher price.
A Hansli can be 28 to 32 inches tall. Its fighting age is from one and a half to four years, after this, they are used for breeding purposes.
These birds usually eat grain but a few months before the competition, they are fed pigeon meat, cashew nuts, almonds, raisins and boiled eggs for extra strength and energy.
One fighting team consists of seven to eight caretakers and around 10 to 15 roosters. Seven roosters from each team can take part in a fight at a time. One bird has to fight for two hours and twenty minutes.
A resident of Kalikochho Union in Sarail, Mohammad Masud said that rooster fights are a good source of entertainment for people.
Mon Mia, who lives in the Kuttapara village, has been rearing Hansli roosters for generations. Other than taking part in competitions, he can sell four to five roosters every year.
He said, "We have been rearing Hansli for three generations. I have four of these birds who are currently ready for fighting. Unfortunately, due to my old age, I have not been able to take part in competitions since last year."
Md Idhon Ali lives in Mogoltula village. He has been rearing Hansli for the last 15 years. His rooster sometimes takes part in competitions by representing an organisation called 'Mitali Hansli Morog Unnayan Shangstha'.
He commercially rears Hansli roosters and can sell each one at Tk10,000 to Tk12,000. But he informed us that sales have decreased.
President of 'New Shonar Bangla Acheel Club' in Brahmanbaria, Ibrahim Shah, said the authorities should take steps to ensure these traditional rooster fights do not fade away.
On this note, Sarail Upazila Nirbahi Kormokorta (UNO) Ariful Haque Mridul said Upazila authorities have built an exhibition farm for the Acheel roosters.
The farm has collected six birds for commercial exhibition and also for teaching farmers about them. Moreover, an informative billboard has been set up to help locals know more about Hanslis.
Recently, three scientific officials from the Livestock Research Institute visited Sarail. They spoke to the Hansli caretakers and revealed ongoing plans for genome sequencing of these birds, which can lead to Bangladesh's recognition as the original breeding source.