The current financial condition of the country is improving. With a growth rate of 6.6 percent last 2012, the Philippines has earned the praise of the world’s fiscal ratings agencies. The prospect is better than the past.
However, the question remains as to when all these figures could be translated to food in every table of every Filipino family. Let the economies and figures do the talking by themselves later as the figures are not easily convertible to cash for every one to spend.
In this section, the paper will be discussing simple things and the ways to make use of it using the God-given gift of nature like the land, the plants and the animals in order to yield some income if not riches for the family. Although, any endeavors to improve the means of nature will definitely give one a shot to the millions.
George Fredrick Roxas, the out going director of the Center for Philippine Native Chicken of the West Visayas State University suggested that one good way to start a living if not a business is to raise chicken in the backyard though systematically.
Native chicken are easy to raise because of its sturdy characteristics even with minimum attention. There are a lot of breeds available for raising. He suggested to make use of what is locally available and improve it with other native breeds especially those that are physically big and can adopt with the local environment easily.
The ways of raising native chicken in the backyard are not complicated. Roxas said that with a minimum capital input anybody can easily start a small native chicken raising business with five hens and a roster provided that the roster does not come from the same source. This is to ensure that in-breeding will not happen.
In-breeding means the mating of two chicken of the same mother and/or father. Experts say this results to weaker and smaller chicks or batches. One must therefore consider, purchasing or borrowing of rosters during mating season or batch in order to produce a much improved and healthy breed/batch.
With only six chicken to start, the current market price puts the capital input to P900.00. The most ideal ratio of roster to hen is 1 is to 5 or a maximized ratio of 1 roster to 10 hens.
Chickens are expected to lay eggs at least four times in a year or under human intervention and supervision a maximized laying cycle of up to six times in a year.
Eggs hatch from 20 to 22 days of breeding. If they are feed well with a good nutrient intake, the birds can reach the market weight of 850 grams to 1 kilogram in 130 to 140 days. In cases where the nutrient intake is not so good, the desired market weight can be attained in 150 to 160 days. On the average, hens start laying eggs at five to six months old.
The native chicken specialist of WVSU computed that the five hens can produce an average of 150 to 200 eggs in a year and at a very conservative hatching and growing rate of 50% the expected income in a yearis P11,250.00 to P 15,000.00.
Once the first batch is grown up, the farmer can already start choosing additional hens for raising up to the fourth bacth. The income potential is exponential enough to feed the whole family and even defray other basic expenses and costs in raising a family.
Factors to Consider
The primary consideration in raising the birds is the location. A backyard will do provided that the chicken can have access to the kitchen refuse at the drainage of the kitchen. The must have a small place or structure for the nests of the hens.
The second consideration is the carrying capacity of the location. This refers to the grasses that will serve as the food of the birds. Grasses should be trimmed regularly for fresh shoots to come up. Chicken love to eat fresh and young grasses. It is a good source of nutrients and a little protein which the chicken need. It is aso very inviting to host of insects like grass hoppers and dragon flies which could also serve as food for the chicken.
This system means a reduced commercial feed cost thus making it only as a supplement rather than the need.
The third if not the last factor is the bio-safety and security. This is to ensure proper vaccination in commercial levels of production and proper hygiene and timing of production in backyard industries.
(Bio-security will be discussed extensively in the next issue.)
Roxas lamented however that often times, Filipinos believe that native chicken are survivors afterall they are considered the “native breed”. He explained that while the native breed of chicken are naturally resistant, the farmer must always give importance to the well being of the poultry animals.
Often times according to him, the common Filipino considers growing these chicken as mere options rather than the main source of living thus resulting to non prioritization of its potentials.
He said that those who succeed who believe that the chicken are capable of producing enough income for the family.
While some people think of raising these poultry animals as some kind of a diversion, whne taken seriously it becomes an income potential that can eventually bail out the family from poverty.
If one will fully understand the proper way of raising native chicken, there is no more need to wait for the influx of the new investments in country and the economic growth to trickle down the table of everyone as food. In fact, a full production of a backyard chicken if exploited by every family can be integrated fully to the whole economic prospects of the country and make it as a very viable industry which in its own way can make the small farmers as active stimuli of their own income wheel.