Of the seven strains of native chicken, only the Darag from the island of Panay has been purified after six years of breeding and selection. Now, the Darag chicken has more or less uniform plumage pattern, similar body conformation and size so that now there’s a Darag producers association that is poised to raise the improved Darag so meet the demand for native chickens.
According to Dr. Synan S. Baguio, OIC of the Livestock Research Division of PCAARRD, several million pesos was allocated to improve the qualities of the Darag.
Now six other native strains are awaiting to be purified to boost production of free-range chickens that can be raised even by ordinary families in the countryside. The strains include Bolinao, Camarines, Bohol, Banaba, Zampen and Paraoakan from Palawan. Perhaps PCAARRD and local LGUs where the native strains exist schould cooperate to hasten the purification process. Purified native strains will surely encourage more investors to go into the business of hatchery to produce chicks in beg numbers
Producing day-ld native chicks can be profitable because the price of P50 per head is virtually double the price of the day-old white chicken. Another possible area of agribusiness is the production of effective yet affordable feeds. The use of fermented feeds, for instance, is one way of cutting cost of production. Forage crops that chickens love to eat should be in the agenda.
The Bureau of Animal Industry should also get involved in promoting native chicken production by assuring the availability of New Castle Disease (NCD) which has knocked out a number of flocks that did not get any vaccination.
Why does it take so many years to produce a purified native chicken? Well, because it is really a very slow process. The chickens for breeding are confined in enclosures with 10 hens and two roosters. The two roosters more or less assures that there will be no inbreeding which is a no-no. When the hens lay eggs, the color of the eggshell is observed. Those eggs that have the most number of similar color are hatched and then the chicks with the dominant color are grouped together for further observation.
When the chickens become of breeding age, two roosters and 10 hens are confined in an enclosure where they will produce eggs for hatching. The same procedure is followed. The eggs that are of the same color are selected for hatching. After hatching, some of the chicks are not of the same color. So those that are of the same appearance are selected for further rearing as breeders.
Actually private growers may do their own breeding and selection program following the procedure used by PCARRD researchers. Who knows the private practitioner can develop his own stabilized native chicken breed.
THIS FARM IS SPECIALIZING IN BANABA CHICKEN.