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

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Native Chicken Farming in the Philippines

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