Poultry Farming Guides

The (Good) Business of Native Chicken Farming in the Philippines

Native chicken production has a long history in the Philippines.

At first, locals simply foraged for the eggs of the wild Red Jungle Fowl that roamed the area foraging for whatever was available. Native Filipinos also caught and killed the Jungle fowl for a principal source of meat.

Gradually, residents of the Philippines began to tame these wild fowl, luring them to their backyards with scraps of food and whatever the skitter birds could find growing in the yards. Next came erection of shelter from wind, rain, and scorching sun and building of crude nesting boxes so the eggs would be easier to find.

To the Red Jungle Fowl, other breeds were introduced. These included Palawan, Basilian, Darag, Banaba, Iloilo, Batangas, Camarines, Joloano, Bolinao, Paraoakan, and Pangasia.

Still, native chicken raising was a sideline which Filipinos carried on for personal eggs and meat and to sell or barter with other locals for goods they needed. In the Western world, this type of poultry would be termed “raising free range.”

Nowadays, many Filipinos turned raising native chicken into a successful farming business.

If you want to get a native chicken farming venture started, make sure to continue reading, and also to check out our guide, Native Chicken Farming in the Philippines.

How Important is Native Chicken Farming Business?

Once considered a supplement to other income for food and to make ends meet, native chicken raising has taken on more importance with growing interest in eating healthy, organically grown whole foods.

Each native chicken lays between 150 and 200 eggs each year. While native chickens are raised throughout the Philippines, a large portion of this farming occurs in the Western Visayas. In 2015, it is estimated that the Philippines produced almost 180 million native chickens. Native chicken accounts for about half of the poultry in the Philippines where the country produces over 95% of the chicken it consumes.

Recognizing that poultry production represents 11% of the income of the Philippines, the government has implemented incentives to encourage the growth and improvement of native chicken farming in the Philippines. They are also working to protect the native chicken market from competition from imports.

The Downside of Native Chicken Farming as a Business

Native chickens raised in numbers sufficient to show a profit often suffer heat stress. These deaths affect profits. The challenge is to keep the chickens cool. Finding ways to do this cuts further into profits.

Food is another expense.

Efforts are being made to keep native chicken diet as close to what they’d get in their natural environment but still boost meat and egg growth. Getting this food is expensive, again cutting into profits.

While raising native chickens isn’t nearly as labor-intensive as mass production of commercial chicken, it isn’t as profitable either. Native chicken raising is at best a small-scale agricultural venture. Which, on the other hand, makes it an ideal starting point for an aspiring chicken farmer.

It’s important for both quality and profits that native chicken raisers have a healthy, productive stock. This too is relatively expensive. No longer can residents simply corral and feed wild fowl.

It’s hard to convince serious production of native chickens.  Large farming operations don’t want to commit their resources to native chicken production. They just don’t see a sufficient return on investment. There are other agribusinesses that would show far greater profits.

When native chicken raising is a spotty prospect, there is little assurance of a uniform quality for buyers.

All of the above, however, create an opportunity in the market. A niche waiting to be filled by aspiring native chicken farmers.

Native Chicken Farming Is a Good Niche Business

All the news is not bad.

There’s a strong market for free-range chickens both as meat and eggs producers.

The upward trend in a desire for whole foods and organic farm products shows little sign of decreasing. Moreover, clients who put a high value on both the health benefits and the tastiness of the chicken and eggs are prepared to pay higher prices for native chicken.

Several Filipino restaurants would like to serve classic chicken dishes made using native chicken products. To date, they have been unable to do so consistently because they can’t get enough native chicken meat. They need a reliable source of consistently good quality meat.

Capital required to start a native chicken operation is comparatively low.

This industry can also be combined with a job or career in another area.

Government measures to standardize the quality of native chicken products should improve both interest and profits in this agribusiness.

As such, even despite the drawbacks mentioned in the section above, if you are determined to make your native chicken farming business a success, you can do so.

Startup Costs

Clearly, to start native chicken farming on a small scale, you need quality birds.

You also need an area for the chickens to range. This requires land and fencing. The land should be good quality pasture field. Good pasture gives chickens a good source of food in vegetation and bugs.

Fencing the area, adding cover from the elements, roosts and nesting boxes is another expenditure.

In addition to what they can forage, giving them supplements which contain oils, proteins, vitamins, minerals, and fats is important.

An ongoing source of good water is also crucial.

You might also consider planting supplemental vegetation in the free range area. Look for plants that the chickens can easily digest. Choose ones high in nutrients and non-toxic. Good choices are duckweed, pinto peanuts. Azolla, Guinea grass, malunggay, centrosema, signal grass, caraboa, and Madre de Agua.

Native range chickens also benefit from additions of kitchen scraps, fruit rinds, rice, vegetable scraps and kangkong.

A good way to get started is to begin with ten hens. You can then gradually increase your flock.

Choose your hens and your rooster from separate sources so you do not get flock inbreeding and let hens hatch whatever number of chicks you want to increase your existing flock and replace older hens. A cockerel program will help you with this.

Ten hens will cost about P2,000. You should also have at least one rooster per ten hens.

Consider vaccinating chickens regularly and adding supplements to their food to keep them healthy and disease free.

Other than costs of your flock, materials, food and medical costs the only other consideration is labor involved in gathering eggs and keeping the coop, roosts, and nesting boxes clean.

Potential Profits from Native Chicken Farming

Because there is a large and growing demand for native chicken meat and eggs, Filipinos who venture into this specialized farming area are guaranteed a ready market. Native chicken eggs sell for between P8 and P10 per piece. This is significantly higher than eggs from caged hens.

In order to make native chicken production profitable, Filipinos need to have a systematic approach to what they buy, how they raise chickens and what they feed them.

Improvements in Native Chicken Raising in the Philippines

Agricultural research facilities are busily researching ways to improve present native chickens though mixed and cross-breeding. Their goal is to produce native chickens with increased performance in egg and meat production. This will increase profits for present and future native chicken producers.

These improved varieties will retain the stamina of the original native chickens but will be more resistant to pests and disease.

Both government and private sector are attempting to produce quality stock.

Focus is already placed on producing native chicken varieties that can be multiplied on a massive scale without affecting the color, plumage, growth, size, egg production and overall health of the native chickens raised.

West Visayas State University has an entire center dedicated to raising native chickens.

They are committed to the growth of this industry in an area of high concentration of native chicken operations.

More Information on Native Chicken Farming in the Philippines

If you are interested in more information on native chicken raising in the Philippines, make sure to check this article, and also our eBook, Native Chicken Farming in the Philippines.

Posted by poultrymanual in Chicken Farming, Poultry Business, Poultry Farming in the Philippines

Benefits of Rearing Darag Native Chickens in the Philippines

Along Parawakan chickens, Darag chickens are some of the most popular native chicken breeds among Filipinos that want to go into the native chicken farming business. Similarly, they are also popular among people that want to start a free range chicken farming venture in the Philippines.

In this article, we take a look at all of the things that you need to know when considering raising Darag chickens – ranging from what their defining characteristics are, through the advantages and disadvantages of rearing them, all the way to their commercialization potential.

What Are Darag Native Chickens?

Having evolved from the Red Jungle fowl (Gallus gallus bankiva), darag chickens are indigenous to – and still can be found mostly in – the Western Visayas region of the Philippines.

Some of the defining characteristics of this strain of chickens include a single comb, a whiteish earlobe, and a gray shank. Furthermore, the female chickens – oftentimes simply referred to as “Darag” – are typically yellowish-brown color. And, the males – or simply “Alimbuyog” or “Labuyo” – typically have black feather and tail, and red wings and hackle.

In terms of their weight, while females average 1 kilogram when they reach adulthood, males average about 1.3 kilogram.

Advantages of Rearing Darag Native Chickens

While there are some disadvantages to farming Darag native chickens instead of the various commercial varieties – some of which we will look at in the next section – there are also many advantages working in favor of the native breed.

Perhaps the very first advantage that should be mentioned here is the fact that over the years as commercial varieties took over the market, Filipinos started craving the taste of the traditional Darag chicken. As such, a fairly sizable niche market for Darag chicken products has formed.

One of the reasons that the native chicken are regaining their popularity in the Philippines is the fact that they have a unique, and arguably better, taste as compared to the commercial varieties. That applies to both their meat and their eggs.

The above, as well as the fact that the products made out of Darag native chickens have better nutritional composition is largely a result of the fact that while the commercial breeds are often raised indoors with high stocking density and fed with regular formulated diet, the native chickens are raised in free range – and often organic – conditions.

That in turn means that rather than eating formulated diet, they are exposed to natural nutrients such as grubs, worms, legumes, grass, and so on.

And, because of all of this, the customers that buy Darag chicken products can be sure that instead of being full of chemicals, antibiotics, and other elements that might help speed up the production but lower the quality of the product, the chickens are full of vitamins and healthy in general.

Besides the benefits above – which are largely focused on the end consumer eating the poultry products – there are also numerous benefits for the farmers.

First of all, farming native Darag chicken doesn’t require the same strict biosecurity and feeding standards as farming commercial varieties, especially as a contract farmer, would.

Second, the Darag native chickens are also lower maintenance compared to the commercial breeds. They are able to live in a natural hardy environment without any special housing or feeding requirements. Plus, the process of natural selection ensured that the Darag chickens are highly resistant to diseases. As such, they have excellent survivability and they can thrive even in the harshest environments of the Philippines where commercial breeds would rarely stand a chance.

Furthermore, because of the above, the barriers to entry into farming native chicken are much lower in spite of the fact that native chicken products can fetch good prices in the market.

The skill barrier is lower since the birds are not as difficult to raise as the commercial breeds (get our guide to learn all the necessary basics), and the financial barrier is lower as well since the there is no necessity to build elaborate chicken houses and buy expensive poultry feed.

Finally, because of the uniqueness of the Darag native chickens, it is hard to replicate their taste and quality in commercial conditions. That ensures that the native chicken farmers will have a constant stream of demand, since there will always be people preferring the taste and quality of this breed.

Production Characteristics and Cycle of Darag Native Chickens

Since they are birds that evolved naturally rather than birds that got engineered by major poultry companies, the birds generally don’t have excellent production characteristics like their exotic counterparts. That is not a big issue on the smaller scale, but if you plan to scale your native chicken farming into a larger venture, it could pose you with challenges.

The biggest disadvantage of farming native chicken is the difficulty of getting consistent results in terms of production cycles, egg sizes and colors, and meat amount. In general, however, your farming cycle will be very similar to the below.

The mature Darag chickens will lay eggs – although not as prolifically as commercial layers. But, the eggs will be full of nutrients and will taste great. As for the small chicks, they will be in brooding period during the first three weeks of their life.

Once they are through the brooding period, they can be – and often are – taken through a hardening process which helps improve their livability and makes them resistant to diseases and environmental extremities. This process involves exposing the chickens to rugged conditions under which they naturally thrive and grow, and it takes place roughly until the seventh week of their life.

With the hardening process over, the chickens become ready to take care of themselves in free range and semi-free range environments, foraging for their own food and developing their own survival mechanisms against predators, harsh temperatures, and other challenging things.

The chicken will mature anywhere between the eleventh and the eighteenth week of their life depending on what environment they grow in, and at that point they will be ready for slaughter. Depending on the farmer’s preferences, they might even be raised a bit longer.

For more information about raising Darag and other native chickens, make sure to check our Native Chicken Farming in the Philippines guide.

Commercialization of the Darag Chicken

While, as mentioned above, the Darag chickens are not perfectly suitable for commercial production, there are still ways to produce enough of Darag products for a sizable business. We will introduce you to some of the methods that farmers use to scale their production of Darag chickens below.

One of the keys to succeeding with commercial production of Darags is the “hardening” phase mentioned in the above section.

During the “hardening” phase, chicks are separated from mother or removed from brooder and fed on a formulated diet and other diets until they are about 45 days old. While they can be started to get introduced to a free range system here, in this phase they should still be in a tightly controlled environment. Then, after 45 days, they can be united with the rest of the Darag flock in natural conditions.

Also, to the extent possible, you should buy Darag chickens that have been professionally bred and brooded by a reputable seller. That way, you can ensure that your flock will be as standardized as possible which will lead to the maximum possible consistency in your product quality – which in turn is highly appreciated by restaurants and other buyers.

Another thing to keep in mind is that while in the beginning of the article we mentioned that the biosecurity does not have to be as strict as with commercial varieties, that does not mean it should be neglected – especially not in case you are trying to run a successful commercial venture.

Instead, the chickens should be provided by good housing and overall environment, and be raise using management practices that will minimize diseases, contamination, predation, and other various stressors that might have negative impact on yield.

And, while the chickens are generally fairly disease-resistant, they should still be vaccinated according to schedule determined with your veterinary as that will increase their survivability even further.

Finally, just as with any other business, while creating a good quality product – raising chickens that produce quality meat and eggs – is important, marketing and selling the products is equally important.
As such, you will need to adopt not only the best chicken management practices you can, but also the best possible business management practices.

The Future of the Darag Chicken

With their special place in the Filipino culture, there has always been an effort in the country to improve the production characteristics of and husbandry systems for Darag chickens to boost production levels and farmers’ incomes.

As part of that, for example, West Visayas State University has conducted a lot of research into how to improve the Darag chicken production systems, especially when it comes to smaller rural farmers that may not have enough resources for commercializing their production.

As mentioned above, the current recommended production mechanism involves putting the chickens through a commercial layer and broiler production system at first to “harden” them before releasing them into a free range system in which they can forage and survive like traditional Darag chickens.

However, the research is still ongoing, and there will certainly be more news coming on this front – whether it be about new methods of raising the Darag chickens or news about improved varieties of the breed.

For now, if you are interested in farming native chickens, our guide might be a helpful partner in getting your farming venture off the ground.

Posted by poultrymanual in Chicken Farming, Darag Chickens, Darag Native Chickens, Darag Native Chickens Philippines, Darag Native Chickens Visayas, Poultry Business, Poultry Farming in the Philippines

Chicken Breeds in the Philippines and Choosing the Right One

If you plan to venture into chicken farming in the Philippines, one of the very first and the most critical decisions that you will have to make is deciding on what kind of niche you will (initially) focus on.

Once you pick one – such as meat production, egg production, or breeding – you will have to decide which breeds of chicken you will farm. This article will take a closer look at what to consider when choosing the right breeds for you, and what chicken breeds are available in the Philippines.

How to Choose the Right Breed to Farm

Before you get into picking the breeds that you will start with in your farming venture, here are some of the factors that you have to take into consideration in the selection process.

First of all, you will have to decide on the type of chicken that you will farm. In general, there are three types – commercial layers (for egg production), commercial broilers (for meat production), and native chicken that can be used for either purpose and are especially suitable for free range and organic farming systems.

In case of layers, you will have to consider the number, size, as well as the color of eggs the hens will lay. In case of broilers, the amount of muscles and fat is an important factor to look at, as is their survival rate and the speed at which they grow.

Finally, you will also need to consider the conditions in which you will raise the chickens. While in the Philippines, you will definitely want chickens that prefer warm weather, you will also need to consider things like street noise and the amount of space you will have available per bird.

Chicken Breeds in the Philippines

While in the past, Filipino farmers had to rely solely on native Philippine breeds of chicken, nowadays there is plenty of choice.

Besides the native chicken, there are imported commercial breeds, as well as improved native breeds which are engineered to retain the positive characteristics of the native breeds while also acquiring some of the good characteristics of commercial breeds.

Below, we will take a look at several specific commercial broiler, commercial layer, and native Philippine chicken breeds that you can get in the country.

Commercial Broilers in the Philippines

First, let’s go over some of the most common commercial broiler breeds available in the Philippines. You should consider one of these if you plan to focus on producing chicken meat.

Arbor Acres Broilers

Arbor Acres broilers were bred by Aviagen, a major American poultry company. In the Philippines, they are supplied by San Miguel, and they are one of the most popular broiler breeds in the country.

The advantages of Arbor Acres include excellent livability, very good growth rate, efficient feed conversion ratio, and very good meat yield.

It is especially the fact that they grow fast that makes them popular among farmers seeking quick harvests and profits. Of course, those can only be achieved if proper management practices are incorporated.

Hubbard Broilers

The Hubbard broilers were originally developed by Hubbard, a French company, that is now part of Aviagen. In the Philippines, they are supplied by Tyson Agro Ventures, and are especially popular in the free range chicken meat production business.

Shaver StarBro Broilers

This breed, bred by the Canadian company Shaver, is one of the older ones. In spite of that, it still enjoys some popularity in the Philippines where it can be sourced from Universal Robina Farms.

Ross Broilers

Being part of Aviagen’s portfolio of brands, the Ross broilers are one of the world’s most popular broilers. That is not surprising given that they are excellent meat producers and have especially good breast yield. As such, if managed properly, they will reward you with excellent performance and profitability.

Cobb Broilers

Cobbs are all rounded broilers that can survive in various environments that can be found in the Philippines. While they can be farmed in a conventional system, they thrive exceptionally when farmed in alternative poultry production systems such as in free range conditions.

Commercial Layers in the Philippines

If you are looking into starting egg production in the Philippines, then commercial layers are the way to go. For detailed instructions on how to farm them, make sure to check our [Farming Egg Layers in the Philippines guide](poultrymanual.com/ebook/layer-management-guide/2).

As for layer breeds, there are a number of them that you can raise in the Philippines including the ones below.

Lohmann Layers

Lohmann layers are one of the most common and “classic” layer breeds in the Philippines as well as the rest of the world. Originally, they were bred in Germany by Lohmann Tierzucht, and in the Philippines, they can be acquired from San Miguel among other companies.

Dekalb White Layers

Dekalb White layers are another one of very popular layer breeds used for egg production in the Philippines.

They were developed by Hendrix ISA, a US company, and have characteristics that make them not only the one of the most popular, but also one of the most suitable layers for raising in the Philippines.

One of the advantages of the Dekalb White layers is that they have an excellent, mild, temperament. Dekalb Whites are generally quiet and are also suited for alternative poultry rearing systems including backyard chicken farming, enriched cages, as well as free range chicken farming.

Other characteristics of the Dekalb White layers include good livability, large number of eggs laid, good egg size, as well as high quality of the eggs produced. Talking about the eggs, they are generally crisp white with rich yellow yolks, and they have an average weight of 63.1 grams.

Combined with the fact that the chickens also have a very good feed conversion rate, the Dekalb White layers are likely the best option if you are looking into farming commercial layers in the Philippines.

Babcock White Layers

Babcock White layers are another breed of layers that is prolific in the Philippines, and especially well known for their large eggs. Not only that, but they are highly adaptable chickens and perform well in a wide variety of climatic conditions. And, they also have a very calm temperament.

Native Chicken in the Philippines

The last category of chicken that you can farm in the Philippine are the native breeds. They are specific to each region of the Philippines, and among others include the following:

  • Banaba chicken from Batangas
  • Darag chicken from Panay Island
  • Parawakan chicken from Palawan

Their advantages of farming native Philippine chickens include the fact that they are quite hardy, have excellent survivability, and grow well in a wide variety of conditions.

However, on the flip side, they do not offer optimal and efficient production characteristics – such as feed conversion ratios, egg sizes, and so on – as you would find in the commercial breeds mentioned above.

No Right Answer When Choosing a Breed to Farm in the Philippines

While it would be great if we could give you one breed that you should start with in your Philippine chicken farming venture, it is not as easy as that.

One of the main choices you will have to make is whether you will go with one of the commercial breeds with predicable productivity or with the potentially higher product quality but less predictable native chicken.

Whichever way you go, however, the key to your success will be implementing proper management techniques, as well as actively marketing your products. After all, you cannot have a business without sales, no matter how tasty your chicken meat or eggs.

To get some help with that – if you are interested in farming chickens in the Philippines – make sure to get our guides that will help you with getting your poultry venture off the ground. Currently, we offer one focused on farming egg layers, and one focused on farming native chicken in the Philippines.

Posted by poultrymanual in Chicken Farming, Poultry Farming in the Philippines

Poultry Feed Formulation: The Basics You Need to Know

If you are new to owning chickens, turkeys, or other poultry, there are probably plenty of words you see being thrown around that you aren’t familiar with. And, poultry feed formulation is likely one of those terms.

Rather than getting frustrated with trying to figure out what all the jargon means, let’s take a few minutes to go over what “poultry feed formulation” means and how it can help you raise better birds.

What Is Poultry Feed Formulation?

The term “poultry feed formulation” is one you will run into very often online and in publications about farming poultry. Poultry feed is, obviously, feed for your chickens and turkeys. But, when you see poultry feed formulation being talked about, this is referring to the process through which the ingredients in the feed come together in order to form a complete diet.

When considering poultry feed formulation, you are helping to ensure that the diet your poultry are eating meets all of the nutritional requirements to keep them alive and well – and to ensure the highest possible quality of the poultry products you make.

Feeding Poultry Is Not Cheap

If you already own poultry, you probably were surprised by just how costly keeping them is. In fact, the cost of feeding poultry accounts for between 65% and 75% of the total costs of live poultry production worldwide.

With that in mind, consider the cost and importance of poultry feed formulation – if a mistake is made in the process, it can lead to both monetary losses and the loss of members of your flock (resulting in additional monetary losses).

Factors to Consider When Formulating Poultry Feed

Poultry feed formulation must take many aspects into account. You need to clearly understand these factors in order to make the right decision for your flock:

  • What are the nutritional requirements of your particular class (layers, breeders, broilers, etc.) and specific breed of poultry?
  • What ingredients will you have in your feed?
  • What is the ingredients’ nutrient composition and how easy is it to process by the birds?
  • How much do the ingredients cost?
  • How readily available are the ingredients?

If you’re a small-scale farmer, formulating your own poultry feed may not be the most economical option. But for larger-scale farmers, many of whom typically have their own feed-making mills and in-house nutritionists, poultry feed formulation is a critical aspect in running a sustainable and profitable business.

That doesn’t mean that if you are a small-scale farmer you don’t need to understand poultry feed formulation.

In fact, to ensure that each chicken’s requirements are optimally met, the formulations you make need to be fairly accurate. Correcting mistakes or inaccuracies after the feed has been manufactured is extremely costly. And, for small-scale farmers, so is sourcing new feed after initially getting the wrong one.

Poultry feed formulation seriously is a science, and it requires empirical measurements and exact proportions of each ingredient. At the same time, it’s also an art. The person formulating the food has to have an in-depth knowledge about the various ingredients that can be used, and an understanding of the poultry themselves and their feeding requirements.

The animal nutritionist in charge of the process will need to know the impact of using various proportions of the ingredients of the poultry feeds on the well-being of the birds. How will these ingredients impact the pellet quality, and how the poultry diet responds to feed additives as well as what effect does it have on the animal’s gut health.

Two things that one needs to be especially careful about when putting together a formulation are anti-nutritional factors and toxins.

Anti-nutritional factors affect the digestivity of the feeds and potentially deny the birds essential nutrients. One example of an anti-nutritional factor is anti-trypsin that is found in soybean meal. Luckily, various ways of controlling or even mitigating the negative impact of anti-nutritional factors on poultry feeds exist.

As for toxins, quite obviously, when present in a large enough amount, they can be detrimental to the health of your poultry flock. As such, it is important to avoid them completely or limit their presence to the minimum amount possible.

What Does A Formulation Include?

If you choose to begin putting together a poultry feed formulation yourself, it needs to include many different pieces of information in order to be viable.

First and foremost, you need to know the ingredients that will be used and the exact amount of each. You’ll also need to include information about the composition or concentration of each vital nutrient within your flock’s diet.

By looking at the nutritional information of a poultry feed formulation, you’re able to tell whether it is adequate for the class of poultry that you’re planning to feed. Energy value, protein content, vitamins, minerals, and other nutritional values are all needed to properly evaluate a formulation for your flock.

In addition to the above, your poultry feed formulation also needs to include comprehensive information about the concentration of digestible amino acids and the mineral value found within the feed. Out of all the amino acids that may be found with your poultry feed formulation, the most common is the limiting amino acid known as methionine. However, there are ten other essential amino acids that are commonly found in poultry feed formulations.

Here’s a recap of what a poultry feed formulation needs to detail:

  • All of the ingredients that will be used in your formulation
  • The nutritional content of each ingredient
  • The overall nutritional content of your mix

Formulations need to be proportional, meaning you could make 10 lbs of the mix or 100 lbs of the mix and taking a serving out of either finished batch would have precisely the name nutritional content.

That’s essential to ensuring your chickens are getting the nutrition they need.

For easy reference, most formulations are written based on the pound(s) needed for each ingredient to make a 100-pound batch. See the example formulation below.

Sample Formulation: A Winter Mix for Egg-Laying Hens

Curious to see what a finished formulation actually looks like?

Here’s an example of a winter mix for egg-laying hens.

Notice that column A details the name of each ingredient, while column B details the weight used (in pounds). Column C shows the amount of proteins contained in each ingredient. Finally, Column D shows the amount of that ingredient per 25-pounds. Row 18 shows the totals.

How Does One Go About Formulating a Poultry Feed?

Now that you know what a finished poultry feed formulation looks like, let’s take a look at the actual process of formulating a poultry feed.

Most farmers will formulate a food on a “least cost” basis, which means that your formulation process will consider the nutritional needs of your flock while also taking into account the raw materials available and their cost. In other words, the least cost formulation method will find a way to formulate a feed that fits your flock’s needs at the lowest price point possible.

To follow this formulation method, you need to have a sound understanding of your flock’s class of poultry. You also need to know the nutritional content of the raw materials you are considering, along with the prices of each ingredient.

A mathematical formula will then be used to derive the amount of ingredients that will be used as part of your poultry feed formulation. If you only need to use a few ingredients, this formula is typically rather simple. However, it can get more complex when you begin adding multiple ingredients to the formulation.

Scratching your head?

Poultry feed formulations require precision and a great deal of research (and general background knowledge). If you find yourself confused by the process, you’re not alone. That’s why there are people who devote their entire careers to formulating poultry feeds.

It’s a difficult (and very crucial) process that requires accuracy at every level.

Now, if you aren’t a large-scale farmer, you probably can’t justify hiring your own nutritionist for your flock. But, you can take advantage of some of the tools out there for smaller-scale farmers.

Feed Formulation Packages are marketed for this exact purpose.

Using Feed Formulation Packages

If it’s all starting to sound a little too complex and time-consuming, don’t fret.

Fortunately, there are numerous feed formulation packages that you can buy for very affordable prices and use as part of your poultry feed formulation. A feed formulation package, like that offered by Brill, is basically a piece of software that will help you with the chemical analysis and financials of a poultry feed formulation that you are considering.

Feed mills will generally apply various quality control measures before producing large amounts of feed and distributing it to the market. A poultry feed formulation may be tested in the lab or used in feeding trials to ensure that it’s an adequate diet for the type of chickens it will be used for.

To ensure that your poultry feed formulation is both accurate and cost-effective, you should measure the chemical composition of each ingredient. A feed formulation package will help give you all the data in an easy-to-digest form so that you can make the right decisions for your flock.

Don’t Forget to Consider Seasonal Variations

Now, using a feed formulation package doesn’t make it okay to “just guess” about what your flock needs.

You still need to put in the up-front research to learn more about your chicken variety’s nutritional requirements to be certain your feed will meet them. You should also keep in mind that your flock’s nutritional needs are likely to differ as the weather changes. In the colder winter months, they will likely need more protein than in the hot summer months.

Similarly, the cost of various ingredients you might want to use will likely differ by seasons.

As such, once you have found the information you need about what your chickens require in their feed, the next step is finding cost-effective ingredients for each season that you can put into your formulation.

This may mean making two, three, or even four different mixes to keep up with your flock’s needs throughout the year, but that’s when your feed formulation software will come in handy.

Posted by poultrymanual in Chicken Farming, Poultry Business, Poultry Feed, 1 comment

Native Chicken Production in the Philippines

Native chicken production has long been a way for Filipinos to supplement their income from other sources in the Philippines.

Native chickens originally roamed about as wild fowl and fed on what they could find. The native Filipinos caught them for food and searched for their eggs. And, chicken meat has always been a major ingredient in Philippine dishes.

So what’s involved in native chicken raising?

In the earliest of days, you simply kept a small flock and let them roam your yard or field eating what they could find. You gathered eggs wherever they laid them and butchered the meat you needed. If you had a rooster and a dozen hens, the breeding process was assured.

Eggs left for hens to nest produced the baby chicks you need to continue your flock.

What eggs, meat and even chicks you didn’t need to sustain your family became something you could barter for other things you needed. For fruit, vegetables, flour, sugar, a new axe…

What are Native Chickens?

In its purest form, there is not much work involved in native chicken raising.

In the more remote areas of the Philippines, native chickens are still raised in backyards. There may be a few of them or upwards to two dozen. They are free to hunt and peck whatever grows or crawls about in that fenced backyard. In some areas, they aren’t even fenced in. Shelter from the sun and from night-time predators is most often provided. Eggs are usually laid in the morning to mid-afternoon. Egg collection occurs daily after that unless eggs are needed earlier for family consumption or sale.

The average native chicken produces eggs only up to sixty days annually. So each chicken may lay 150 to 200 eggs each year. Whether she has a good diet affects both the number and quality of these eggs.
If they are being raised for meat, it takes between 74 and 125 days for them to reach an ideal weight of two pounds (1 kg).

The original, wild native chickens were very nervous around people.

Crossbreeding has made them more comfortable around people. Some might now be considered tame enough to be pets. But they will still peck aggressively if frightened or angered.

Native chicken producers try to maintain the type of diet for their chickens that they would get if they were foraging for themselves. Native chickens weigh in at one or two kilos (2 to 5 pounds).

There are several breeds including Palawan, Basilian, Darag, Banaba, Iloilo, Batangas, Camarines, Joloano, Bolinao, Paraoakan, and Pangasia breeds. Darag native chickens are particularly popular. Each breed has its own meat flavor. Today’s native chickens seem part wild fowl called Red Jungle Fowl, part domestic hybrid. It is believed that the chickens which mated with the Red Jungle Fowl were brought to the Philippines by European explorers.

Many of the native chickens in the Philippines are red with black tails and brown hackles. Combs on healthy native chickens are red. Female native chickens are less brilliant with yellowish brown feathers.

While native chickens are raised throughout the Philippines, the greatest concentration is in Western Visayas.

The Philippines is not the only area to raise native chickens. In fact, this is becoming a dying farm-form there. While other countries like Indonesia and Malaysia and Thailand report growths of almost 20%, the Philippines native chicken industry shrank by nearly 15% last year. Singapore, once also a high producer of native chickens, reported a decrease of nearly 40%.

Numerically, this means that in 2015 the Philippines produced almost 180 million birds. By the following year, this had dropped to 175 million and has steadily declined since then.

Why are native chickens so popular?

In spite of the decline mentioned above, native chicken farming is here to stay. After all, humans cannot do without chickens. And, nowhere is this more evident than in the Philippines where chicken is a major source of protein.

Native chicken producers raise the chickens for the eggs and sometimes for meat. Many of them have ongoing buyers. However, others are taken to local markets where they are sold live or bartered for other commodities. For sure, they are a significant, sometimes major, source of the family’s income. It supplements their other income while providing a vital source of protein for the family.

Native chicken meat and eggs are lower in cholesterol and, hence, healthier. People will pay more for eggs and meat of native chickens. Those who have tasted native chicken swear that it is more moist and flavorful than other types of chicken.

Native chickens have a competitive edge over commercially raised poultry because the public believes they are hardier, healthier, and tastier.

Native chicken raising has long been seen as a viable way to supplement rural incomes. It is also an important source of protein in the diet of developing and underdeveloped countries of the world.

Factors to Consider Before Entering the Market

Urbanization is certainly a factor in native chicken farming.

There are fewer areas of the country where it is legal to raise chickens. Choosing where you can locate a native chicken raising business needs to be a consideration in establishing a business. Just as urbanization has increased, so, too, available natural food sources have become less readily available for native chickens.

Duplicating what chickens foraged for in their natural environment must now be factored into your chicken raising business in the Philippines.

On the upside, where some native chickens were raised not for meat or eggs but for cock fighting, this has become thankfully far less of a market. This vicious fight-to-the-death sport has declined in popularity.

Native chicken production is now predominately for eggs and meat.

The Future of Native Chicken Raising in the Philippines

What’s in the future for producers of native chickens in the Philippines? Or is there one?

Is this another instance where factory farming and mass processing is going to squeeze out the little guy?

The answer is a positive one!

The Philippines produces over 95% of the poultry it consumes, including native and commercially produced poultry. Native chicken production accounts for slightly more than half of the country’s poultry industry.

In short?

Native chicken farming is alive and well.

There is a growing interest in chicken meat and eggs that are free range. This makes native chicken farming appealing. There is a ready and growing market.

For the most part, except for specialized food and shelter, native chicken farming is not a high-cost venture. There’s a strong niche market for free-range meat and eggs. This shows no immediate sign of shifting. Consumers are prepared to pay higher prices to get free range native chicken and eggs.

The capital investment for farmers looking to get into native chicken production is relatively low.

The standardization of the quality of native chicken eggs and meat is also being addressed. This should improve sales. It should also mean that those farmers who are trying to supplement a meager income with raising native chickens in their backyard don’t lose out on this much-needed money.

Thanks to modern technology, it is now possible to have a native chicken with more stamina to fight disease and harsh weather conditions. It is now feasible to have native chicken breeds with enhanced egg and meat production capabilities.

Need for Government Support in the Sector

For intervention in competition from imports and for standardization of quality in native chicken, the government needs to take action.

Adding subsidization would also encourage potential native chicken farmers to get into production. How much capital is required? The Philippines Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources and Development has conducted a study into that.

They estimate that in order to raise a thousand chickens for native chicken production P94,000 is needed. In the third month, a net profit of P23,000 would be gained. This is a nearly 25% return on investment (ROI).

As such, native chicken farming can be a fairly lucrative venture. (To learn all you need to know about farming native chicken, make sure to check our guide.)

What else can be done to motivate native chicken production?

Advertising and promotional pamphlets, billboards, and videos could educate residents about the potential for native chicken farming as a sideline to supplement another income. Potential native chicken farmers need to see that for eight and a half million of the world’s residents, most of them in the Philippines, native chicken farming provides a significant source of revenue.

An example of one such effort is our eBook entitled Native Chicken Farming in the Philippines. It is filled with important information and practical tips about native chicken farming.

What to Know Before Getting Started

One of the reasons native chicken raising is on the decline in spite of an ever-increasing interest in the product is that so-called native chickens have been allowed to interbreed, producing mongrel offspring.

In short: They’ve lost the characteristics that made them a hardy, healthy breed.

Alas, the result of this indiscriminate crossbreeding is not good.

Today’s chicken, the outcome of ignoring how these chickens mate, is chickens that have little resistance to disease and harsh climate. They are also poor egg producers and slow to grow as meat sources. The meat from these mongrels is stringy and less tasty.

So first you need “pure” hardy native chickens.

Next, you need to consider food sources.

Like the breeding, if you are serious about raising native chickens you can’t let all they eat be only the things they catch. Devising a personal formula for what you feed your flock is ideal.

Otherwise, you need to find an available source of organic chicken feed.

The latter is costlier and a bit of a stab in the dark.

Good organic materials include rice, hammered corn or corn bran as well as copra meal. Food supplements like dried malunggay leaves or ipil-ipil also improve production. Growing your own coconuts, bananas, and squash provide a good natural food source along with supplements.

It’s important to set up and stick to a feeding schedule.

Like humans, native chicken like three meals a day.

Water is vital for the flock. When they first arrive add a little sugar. Lack of fresh water will stress your flock. This leads to lower egg production, disease, and even death.

Native chickens also need to be vaccinated against such diseases as fowl pox. They should also be dewormed. This should occur every month and a half for free range poultry. Find a veterinarian in your area that specializes in treating birds.

Like every venture, raising native chickens in the Philippines can be lucrative. However, if you don’t start out with good stock or you don’t know what you are doing, this entrepreneurial venture could be a disaster.

The Philippines Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources and Development advises first-time native chicken entrepreneurs to start with mature chickens.

Sure, chicks are cute.

Starting them from hatchlings is cost effective.

Chicks cost less than mature hens and a rooster.

However, hatchlings are a long way from laying eggs and being ready for market. If you can, purchase young pullets just about ready to lay. You know they have survived early death, disease, crowding that will smother chicks and predators. Avoid mature hens or you’re likely to get the culls of someone else’s flock.

Select a dual-purpose breed.

That means it is used for laying eggs and for meat. Even if you don’t use them for both, the option is always there. These dual-purpose chickens often seem hardier.

Don’t spend huge amounts on your coop. That eats into the profits. Your chickens need shelter and safety. Make sure they have a secure fence to protect them from predators and a roof from the cold, and rain. They also require a place to roost and nesting boxes where they will lay their eggs.

Try to keep the environment as natural as possible. Remember that’s the intent of natural chicken raising. Use homemade roosts and boxes. Set up natural dusting materials for them.

Keep food as natural as possible.

Get to know your local feed store. Talk to them about “natural feeds”. Add crushed eggshells for calcium. Feed your natural chicken food scraps. This helps provide extra nutrients. It’s also a great compost alternative. Win-win!

Keep lighting natural too. You’ve heard of those places that force laying by leaving lights on night and day. Let nature take its course when it comes to egg production. Your chickens won’t be as stressed.

Like children, native chickens thrive on routine.

Establish a timetable for feeding and egg gathering and adhere to it. This keeps your hens happy and unstressed.

Keep the coop and eating area clean. Make sure the boxes have fresh bedding and food and water feeders are clean and filled. This makes for a happier flock and prevents disease.

In its original form, natural chicken raising was a small farming sideline.

It brought healthy eggs and meat to the table of Philippines families. A return to this method and intend will encourage a renewed interest in native chicken production.

If you’re interested in starting a native chicken farming venture, make sure to check our guide, Native Chicken Farming in the Philippines.

Posted by poultrymanual in Chicken Farming, Poultry Business, Poultry Farming in the Philippines