Monday, August 11, 2008

Native Chicken

Chickens raised and produced through open type? In western Mindanao, open-range type upgraded native chicken production is a common practice to increase the fowl’s protein requirement in a semi-commercialized enterprise. A demonstration farm is found in one of the research stations of DA-Regional Field Unit XI of the Western Mindanao Integrated Agricultural Research Center (WESMIARC) in Zamboanga Sibugay province.

The demonstration farm which serves as breeding area and source of upgraded stocks is a perfect site for the open-range production system. This production system was introduced by the DAWESMIARC manager, Dr. Francisco Geromo and DA-DBC Station Superintendent Ms. Fe Gomez. The farm is improved through the results of adaptability tests and action researches on the improvement of native chicken using Kabir cockerel and tried management practices in Ipil and Dumalinao, Zamboanga del Sur. This on-farm research led to the identification and participation of farmer/raiser cooperators of the new native chicken production system.

Bio-physical Requirements of ORT Production

Open-range type production (ORTP) requires simple management within open spaces where native chickens could freely graze and move around. An average of 1000 to 5000 square meters (0.5 hectare) is ideal for a minimum of 1:25 ratio of cockerel and native hens or more depending on the management of the given land area. Since this is open-range, the number of chicken may increase to manageable proportions. This type of farm is best on an upland plain to slightly rolling or less productive area (rocky) or under fruit trees or plantation crops such as rubber, coconut, and banana.

The system is best in a Type IV climate where there is an equal distribution of rainfall throughout the year. This condition ensures minimal infestation and prevalence of pests and diseases. Historically, native chickens are generally resistant to pests and diseases because of their natural adaptation to their physical

Minimal vegetation is suggested to be part of the land area to serve as shelter during slight rain showers and too much direct sunlight at high noon. It is also the best source of natural food for the animals such as crawling insects, earthworms and even grasses. This provides for the organic feed requirement and natural sources of feed for the chicken. Based on the experience of DAWESMIARC, natural free flowing water helps in cooling the area and the chickens can swim and enjoy the water coming from the creek or spring.

Technical Requirements

Based on researches and actual farmer/raiser experiences, the native chicken ORTP is very feasible. The technology is very simple and easy to follow by an ordinary farmer including interested individuals who want to engage in a small-scale business considering that the native chickens can thrive on locally available feedstuffs, can be ranged, and are resistant to major pests and diseases.


Although the ORTP is in open spaces, simple yet affordable and easy to maintain native chicken housing is also a must to ensure increased production. At the very least, a farmer or raiser can build improvised shelter which includes a mating pen or perch house, individual nest and brooder house. The materials could be bamboo scraps, nipa leaves and logs that serve as foundation and structure for the main chicken house. When the house is not in use, this could serve as a resting shed for the farmer and his family or for simple outdoor activities such as picnics and games.

Feeds and Feeding

Feeds given to native chickens do not require much attention. Feeding starts immediately as soon as hens are at brooding stage. They must be provided with booster or starter mash feeds ideally given in each brooder house. During the rearing stage, the chickens are fed with locally available feeds (rice/corn binlid, corn/rice bran and ulon-ulon, full grains of rice) and they can range/graze on the grasses abundantly found in the area. By nature, they freely scavenge the soil in search for crawling insects and worms. However, farmers and raisers can use farm by-products such as ground corn cobs and chopped leguminous fodders together with salt to augment their feed requirement. A feeding trough, strategically placed within the area with fresh and clean water, should be strategically located in the area.

Care and Management

Giving vitamins and antibiotics when necessary is encouraged. Using the alternative but sequential ration, this can be done in 3 days with water + vetracin or soluvites; 4-5 days with plain water; and 6-7 days with water + electrolyte. Deworming (following recommended dosage) is done every three months. To control mites and lice, area sanitation must be done. This is supported by bathing of hens after weaning the chicks (usually one month after hatching) with detergent and bathing the rooster every week with detergent. This practice ensures the chickens to be free from infestation of pests and diseases. Supplemental feeding including vitamins and minerals, administered when appropriate, ensures the chickens’ health and vigor for quality meat.

Social and Economic Contributions

Socially and culturally, chicken is part of the main course of authentic and original Filipino cuisine. They dictate the nature of our culinary style and skill to come up with delicious menu. With this developed and innovative technology, Filipinos are assured of quality chicken meat. Since the technology is after the improvement of the physical characteristics of the native chickens particularly body size, proper management is a must. This even contributes to a longer period of production.

With today’s food and health concerns, native chickens produced organically or with lesser vitamins, minerals and antibiotics in their body is the “in” thing. This is also the reason why specialty restaurants cater to the health conscious customers. This technology is gaining popularity. The meat produced out of this chicken commands higher price, has sociocultural relevance and there is a better meat quality that is tender, meatier, and tastier when prepared and cooked as tinola (broiled chicken with vegetables and seasoning), inasal, (grilled and barbeque that originated in Bacolod City), adobo (dried chicken meat stew), pinikpikan (traditional chicken preparation commonly served in the Cordilleras), and tinobook (chicken delicacy preparation common in Zamboanga Sibugay).

Cost and Return

Technology users, takers, and adopters can successfully engage in native chicken ORTP in two production scales, small and medium scale enterprises. For small scale enterprise the cost of production totals to Php 9,958.00 with 10 breeder pullets and 2 rosters at Php 150/layer or rooster in one year cycle. For medium scale enterprise, the total cost of production is Php 34, 198.00 with 40 breeder pullets and 4 roosters at Php 150/layer or rooster.

The costs of production for both enterprises include housing and fence, vaccine and veterinary drugs, feeds and supplements, and labor. The net income derived from the small and medium production scales are Php 9,542.00 and Php 61,800.00, respectively. The ROI for the egg produced is is 96% and 181% for the meat. The specific details of the cost and return analysis could be secured from the technology developer.

The increasing demand for native chicken produced using this technology has become an alternative livelihood for backyard farmers and raisers. With proper support from local government units and continuous technical support from researchers and poultry experts, this will make our farmers self-reliant, goal-oriented, and motivated.

Starting with a small capital, it can become a big business with the proper management skills and motivation of our chicken farmers.

For more information, please contact Dr. Francisco R. Geromo, center manager of the Western Mindanao Integrated Agricultural Research Center (WESMIARC), Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay or email your inquiries through

Bureau of Agricultural Research
Department of Agriculture
3/F RDMIC Bldg., Visayas Ave.
cor. Elliptical Rd., Diliman Quezon City 1104

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Sunshine Chicken

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Manila, July 24, 2003 (STAR) Native chickens used to be grown in backyards and were intended for family consumption only. Hence, there was no native chicken industry to speak of in the old days.

But Anthony P. Inocencio, who used to be a contract grower for a big food company in the 80's, decided that native chicken could become a profitable industry, provided someone starts breeding it with other foreign breeds on a commercial scale.

In 1997 he decided to mate imported sasso (an acronym for selectione de avecole dela Sartre et sud ouest or selections from Sartre, France and southwest) with local native chickens to produce a superior breed in meat and egg production. SASSO is a cooperative of native chicken farmers in France who bonded together and adopted the acronym as the trade name as well. The biggest farm in France produces 25 million heads a year and the smallest produces 60,000 chicken a year.

In Asia, sassos are being bred with the native chickens in Thailand, Malaysia and Taiwan with the later having the biggest production at 100,000 heads.

Inocencio said he shifted from white leghorns to native chickens knowing how they are being pumped with so much chemical medicines and preventive antibiotics the residuals of which are eaten by humans making them more prone to allergies and other diseases such as breast cancer, among others; and b) because free range chicken are healthier since they feed themselves with more greens that in turn get to be consumed by humans.

Besides, he said, there is room for starting a commercial native chicken industry in the country considering that more and more consumers – who can afford it – are following the Westerners hunger for organic food and the mounting volumes of scientific and medical research showing the ill effects of residual antibiotics and inorganic medicines on humans.

With the GATT in place next year, there is no telling how big the organic chicken market abroad is, which could not be filled unless someone starts an industry now. This early, he said, Germany has required only the sale of table eggs from free range chicken by 2004 and in the whole of Europe by 2007. By 2012, the European market will buy only free range (native) chickens.

The Inocencio Farm, which used to be called Teresa Farms when it was still a white leghorn enterprise, devotes half of its 20 hectares of rolling terrain to sasso chickens, which are kept in existing houses but are allowed to roam freely for the entire day. Though they are fed with the feeds that Inocencio himself formulates, they are left to go around pecking at plants, roots, soil and other things.

The farm contains 10,000 head of chickens at any given time – but only 8,000 of this population is for production purposes – to produce chicks that would be distributed to other satellite breeders of sasso in the country.

While the price of native chicken is P95 per kilo for live and P150 to P180 per kilo for dressed chicken versus the leghorns' P80 per kilo dressed, there is a huge local market, which could hardly be filled by local sasso production, Inocencio said.

Demand for chicken in the Philippines is at 635 million a year. Chicken is the cheapest protein source.

The breeders produce to four to five times a year and are productive for one to one-half years with those that have gone past their productive stage being put under rehabilitation or are sold as meat (with trade name Tony's Country Chicken) in organic stores including Landmark. A breeder can last up to five years.

A female can produce 150 chicks with the chicks costing P35 a piece, Inocencio said.