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The Fate of Native Chicken in the Philippines

Php 220 per kilo! This is the current price of live native chicken here in Cagayan de Oro City. This is the exact price that could seriously open your mouth in shock and awe as you ask the vendors of this great Philippine Native Chicken.

(Photo Courtesy of mexico.olx.com.ph)

November of 2010, I started raising 50 ready to breed native chickens in my farm. At that time the live weight price of this native fowl was playing between Php100 – Php120, depending on the volume that you want to acquire.

Barely two months later, my native hens have started to produce cute and healthy chicks. It was a very fulfilling moment while witnessing the simultaneous hatching of several colored chicks. “Our 40 hens just gave us 386 Chicks!”, I told my wife.

15 days later, my friend told me to vaccinate all my fowls with B1B1 and La Suta strains to avoid the entry of dreadful chicken viruses in my farm. But confident as I am, I convinced my friend that there is no need to vaccinate my chickens since there is no such case of chicken disease outbreak as far as my farm is concerned and vaccinating them means exposing my poultry to the viruses instead.

Two months later, my native fowls started to die mysteriously. According to my farm-hand, a nearby commercial poultry farm financed by a known Philippine company has just vaccinated their 10,000 broilers… and the rest was history.

Native chicken in the Philippines in so far is the best chicken that I have ever tasted in my entire life. Although there are those who insist that sasso, kabir, sunshine and colored chickens taste like Darag or Philippine native chicken when fed organically but per personal observation it isn’t. Their claim is merely a matter of commercial gain- to create a demand for free-range imported chickens in the market.

Due to rapid and global commercialization of our food, we tend to forget the essential processes that make our food palatable and healthy. Consider a broiler chick fed in just 35 days from hatching and compared it to Darag chicken.

The fact is, in just a month a broiler can reach an average of 1kg while it takes at least 3 months for a native chicken to reach such weight. What kind of discrepancy or anomaly that you would consider to explain this huge gap of attaining such weight?

Theoretically, eating a commercial lechon manok or broiler meat is like eating an abnormally bloated chick. It is like eating a cotton candy which size is artificially manipulated to fulfill the human desire.

Imagine, a chicken embryo needs 17 days to have feathers and 21 days to hatch. Isn’t it unusual that broilers need only 35 days to weigh a kilo?

Be that as it may, but the grim truth is this – We are about to deprive the new generations of Filipinos from their right to know and savor the real Philippine native chicken, the real Darag.

I am afraid that 2 decades from now, due to massive commercialization, there will be no more Darag in the Philippines.

I am even more afraid that 3 decades from now, the real image and taste of this native chicken will then becomes a myth to the succeeding generations to come.

What Now?

 


3 Comments
  1. Am starting my small scale darag farm can i seek more tips in handling native chickens?

    • In venturing into native chicken raising one must consider the following: 1.) neighboring chicken farms -the existence of neighboring chicken farms especially the commercial one is also a sign of danger.. Watch out for their vaccination schedule once they do vaccinate, then likewise do the same thing to your chickens otherwise expect your native chicken to be wiped out in just a week. Situations like this is certainly not fit for organically raised chicken advocates since you need to employ vaccine to your flock 2.)Be mindful of the environmental landscape (for free range type of raising) -- Native chicken wants grass, cool shades and trees for perching purposes.. not to mention “pool of dust” to bathe with.. 3.)Consider planting more hot pepper in your area.. Darag loves eating red chili pepper as their past time and red hot chili pepper is also believe to be a natural anti-bacterial for native chicken.. 4.) Be mindful of your chicken diet -- Crack corn or even corn grits is still the best food for native chickens along with papaya and other fruits. African Night Crawler or Earthworms are also best source of protein.. watch out for more tips here at http://www.eco-philippines.com

  2. The native chickens are still around. But consider getting the new free range chickens as they have the capability to upgrade our 1-2 kilo birds to 3-5 kilo birds. The resulting effect is better bec they will have bigger bodies and bigger eggs. These free range chickens looks like genetic replicas of New Hampshire chickens and some look like Rhode Island chickens in the United States. These birds are dual purpose for meat and eggs. Since our native chickens are dual purpose as well, we might as well level up their capabilities by crossing our native hens with the free range rooster. The 45 day rooster/chicken can do that but since they balloon their feed intake must be controlled so that they can be bred to native hens and thus produce the same result as free range roosters.

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