An organic “Pinoy” chicken can become a livelihood source for rural folks who wish to make money out of their own backyards.
A farm in Batangas, owned by agribusiness consultant and farm entrepreneur Pablito Villegas, is now producing day-old chicks (DOC) from Grimaud Freres breeds from France and is selling these to free range chicken growers.
But raising free range chicken offers more prospects than just to entrepreneurs and gourmets.
It is opening up opportunities for government executives and policy-makers to look into a highly potential livelihood program for backyard growers specially when a Pinoy organic chicken will have been developed.
Dr. Erwin Joseph S. Cruz, Grimaud Freres country representative, said the breeding of a Pinoy organic chicken is possible. “We can create a ‘Pinoy Chicken’ by importing breeders and mixing these with native breeds,” he said.
“And let the poor farmers feed the rich.” Such breed should be a superior one.
It can even be known as Climate Change-adaptable breeds as Grimaud Freres chickens can be adaptable to weather that is four to five percent hotter.
These chicken breeds have been developed extensively by the French government and private farms. That’s why what came out were breeds that have good genetics, good manageability, and good nutrition absorption.
Grimaud Freres chickens are nutritionally healthy chickens. They have 45% less fat compared to commercial broilers. They find markets in discriminating shops like Rustan’s and Pamora’s niche distribution channels.
They say it clicks because the taste is distinctively palatable. They are marketed well at a higher price of maybe P230 per kilo, giving farmers better income opportunities. Yet, that is still a competitive price, nearly comparable with native chicken whose price ranges from P180 to P250 per kilo.
But it takes shorter time to grow it compared to native chicken’s six to eight months to reach one kilo. At 55 days, these chickens can grow to 1.5 to 1.6 kilos.
Free range chickens can be more cost-effectively grown in backyards since they can survive well in this environment even if they are not given the same antibiotics as those injected in white broilers.
They are known for their hardiness, ranging ability (the whites do not range), and ability to digest vegetation (legumes, herbs, and even napier grass eaten by goats).
But the key to a successful backyard chicken farming is the adoption of know-how on raising these chicken from a small number of animals to ensure one really gets to learn the rudiments of raising them.
” The objective should first be food on the table,” said Cruz.
For a family of four or five, 20 to 40 heads may be enough for the initial try. Aside from requiring a small capital, this size is easier to manage.
“If you’re looking for a livelihood component of a program, this is the cheapest cost,” said Cruz. The Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) have tied up to implement a livelihood program on this chicken in a northern Luzon province.
This involved a total of 400 pieces for 20 houses at 20 per house.
“This can be a cash crop for DENR (long-gestating) forestry projects,” he said, explaining foresters can already make money while waiting for forest trees to become harvestable. This backyard program is being adopted by local government units (LGU) like in Bukidnon which can use its excess corn profitably by feeding backyard chickens. There are farmers in Mindanao who put their chickens under their houses (silong).
For LGUs, this livelihood program is good for converting carbohydrates into proteins, literally from corn to meat.
After the first aim of simply putting food on the table, the time to shift to the second objective comes. That is skills efficiency, and then the third stage follows which is the semi-commercial operation.
Cruz, a diplomate of Philippine College of Poultry Practitioners, advises these stages have to be followed strictly. This is in order to give farmers an ample time to acquire the know-how since he has seen over 11 years of experience that many who have tried raising foreign-bred organic chickens have failed to sustain their operations.
There are presently several breeder farms of Grimaud Freres in the country– those of Villegas, another in Antipolo, one in Cavite, and Grimaud is looking for entrepreneurs hoping to put up a breeder farm in Visayas and Mindanao.
Villegas’s breeder farm offers a good business opportunity. The farm has 500 female breeders and 100 male which produce 1,200 to 2,000 (DOC) weekly.
These are sold at P35 to P40 per DOC while the farm pays P1.50 per hatching of each egg at an outside hatchery farm. These chickens can lay 320 times a year.
To maximize Grimaud Freres chicken raising, Cruz believes certain guidelines should be followed. One is F1s or the product of breeders should only be used for meat and not be used as breeders or else DOC production will be poor.
Breedership should only be started small at 250 to 500 head level.
Nutrition for the chicken should come from high quality feed—natural feed, with less antibiotics and chemicals. And the birds should be grown in correct farm housing and equipment. There is a standardized feed with an input of sili and oregano, watermelon, and banana.
There is a standardized system for housing, called a condo nest, that can be duplicated. This why there is a uniform weight too for the DOC which is 45 grams. The Villegas farm does not sell it at less than 30 grams to ensure quality. There is less medication and more herbal treatment.
These chickens have an herbal regimen, or are considered pre-herbed chicken. With this, they become free from carcinogens. Their immune system is stronger with intake of herbs like sili and oregano. They have genetic resistance to disease which makes them also healthier to eat.
Tags: antiobiotics, banana, Bukidnon, chemicals, Climate Change, condonest, DA, day-old chicks, DENR, Department of Agriculture, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Erwin Cruz, free-range chicken, Grimaud Freres, livelihood, organic chicken, Pablito Villegas, Pamora's, Philippine College of Poultry Practitioners, Rustan's, sili and oregano, watermelon