Thadou subsistence activities include animal domestication (i.e., gayals, buffalo, pigs, goats, dogs, and various fowl), cultivation (e.g., rice, taro, beans, millet, Job's tears, sesame, maize, chilies, mustard leaves, cotton, ginger, turmeric, onions, pumpkins, cucumbers, and gourds), hunting, and fishing. Jhum (slash-and-burn) agriculture is predominant. Small hoes are used to dig holes into which seeds are planted. Sawedged sickles are used in crop harvesting. Guns and traps are used in hunting. Poison, bamboo rods, and various types of traps are used in fishing. Men and women share labor-related responsibilities. However, Thadou women assume a disproportionate share of these activities.
Industrial manufactures include the following: cloth, cups (of bamboo), plates (of wood), daos (adzes), and spearheads. Shaw reported that cooking utensils (of earthenware, aluminum, and iron) were purchased in Manipuri markets. He also noted that a number of indigenous metal implements once produced by the Thadou (e.g., gongs, basins, plates, head adornments, decorative iron racks, and knives) were, during his time, purchased from Burma.
The Thadou rely upon their market relationship with merchants in Manipur and Myanmar (Burma) to secure essential supplies that are not produced by Thadou artisans.
Little detailed information is available on the Thadou system of land tenure. In theory, all village land is owned by the village chief. Each village household pays an annual ( changseo ) fee of one measure of rice to the village chief for the privilege of cultivating land.