Investing in native chickens

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By Edna Garde

Edible Landscape

Tuesday, July 1, 2014


RAISING native chickens is not new to me. As a farmer’s kid, I was trained by my parents to take care of our backyard chickens at home. This is one reason I love the idea of farming and wanted to explore on my own as I grew up.

The idea of taking up an Agriculture course though was not a priority but a welcome one. I happened to graduate from an agricultural high school that as early as that I was already trained on how to take care of poultry. We were under an adviser who was in-charge of a poultry project. It was a memorable experience for me.

But raising my own chickens was only realized more than five years ago. It started from a dispersal of five Cabir chicks from the Provincial Veterinary Office during the Panaad sa Negros Festival.

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Thanks to my friend who was in-charge of selling those chicks during the festival. From that time on until now, I still raise my own chickens in the backyard, mainly for my table. They are raised in a controlled environment. But they are not pure Cabir anymore. After one cycle of breeding, I eventually changed my three hens into native chickens.

We are maintaining 10 ‘mestizo’ hens only with the basic concept of just supplying our ‘food on the table’ but with these, we sometimes sell eggs and even dressed chicken and live ones for friends who want to go into backyard raising, too.

Of course, we raise them the organic way. Why will you raise your own chicken for meat and eggs when you still follow the commercial way with all the additives in the feeds to make them grow fast and lay eggs without rooster? My original Cabir rooster has also been changed, courtesy of my radio listeners from the field. My second rooster was from Mr. Jesus Muyco, the current one is from a farmer-listener at Candoni.

You may wonder why I am talking of mestizo here when the title of my article is ‘raising native chicken’. It is because based from an Agriculture regional office information material, our ‘bisaya’ or native chicken in the real sense of the practice is not anymore the pure wild chicken we call “ilahas.”

It has been raised eventually as a combination of different strains or breeds and is being raised now as a native.

After the onslaught of Yolanda, the Science and Technology community of the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources and Research under the Department of Science and Technology offer viable and profitable technology options that would help the survivors rebuild their lives. One of the options is the production technology for native chicken.

Native chicken is an important livestock resource for rural farmers. It is a primary source of eggs and meat that are of high quality protein. Native chicken production is also regarded as a good source of additional income to many Filipinos.

Resiliency is also one of the important characteristics of native chicken making it a preferred business option of many. They are known for their adaptability to local agro-climatic conditions, hardiness, ability to utilize naturally-occurring feeds, farm by-products, and high tolerance to diseases. They require minimal care, technology, and financial inputs.

Meat and eggs of native chickens are preferred by many Filipinos as well, because of their unique taste and flavor, leanness, pigmentation, and suitability to Filipino dishes, and the perception, that these are healthy foods.

These special characteristics of native chicken contributed to the establishment of its ‘niche market’, which is seemingly unaffected by pressures from commercial layers and broiler markets.

For technology assistance, email pcaarrd@pcaarrd.dost.gov.ph or visit its website www.pcaarrd.dost.gov.ph.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on July 01, 2014.

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