Whether you are a farmer hobbyist or one who farms for money, doing your own experiment could be most enjoyable, fulfilling and rewarding. There are many things that you can undertake as an experiment, but what we are thinking at the moment is that you can purify one of the strains of native chickens that have been identified by our experts from PCAARRD, the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development.
As of now, only one of the seven strains, the Darag of Panay Island, has been purified through research, financed by PCAARRD with millions of pesos in a period of at least six years. This means that Darag through judicious and continuous breeding and selection, the purified Darag has become more or less uniform in the color pattern of its plumage, body size and conformation, and higher productivity of egg and meat. It also means that the performance of the birds is predictable, which is very important in a farm business.
Most of the native strains are mongrels. These include the Bolinao, Banaba, Camarines, Bohol, Zampen and Paraoakan. Being mongrel means that they come in different color patterns, sizes, body conformation and performance in terms of growth rate and egg production.
Dr. Synan S. Baguio, the OIC of the Livestock Research Division of PCAARRD, in a presentation at the Agribiz Kapihan recently, explained a simple enough process of purifying a strain of chicken. It takes a lot of time, patience and practical insight to undertake the experiment. But that’s where the excitement comes from because if you achieve something significant, that will really make you proud and fulfilled.
Here’s how to go about your own experiment. First, create something you call a Chicken Family. Select 10 females as initial breeders and provide them with two roosters that are unrelated to avoid inbreeding. You can confine the birds in an enclosure outside where they live as free-range chickens, of course, providing them with a simple house.
When they lay eggs, observe the color of the eggshells. Hatch the most number of eggs of the same color. When the chicks are hatched, observe them as they grow and soon you will notice some birds exhibiting similar color and other vital characteristics. Put them together and grow them as the next generation of the Chicken Family.
Continue the same procedure one generation after another. Select those with similar characteristics and multiply them. Perhaps, after so many generations you will be able to come up with your own purified native chicken with predictable performance. And you may name the purified chicken after yourself as developer or after a special someone you really love.
Why don’t you start your native chicken purifying project now? That will give you a lot of enjoyment and perhaps frustration at times. Whatever. Doing your own experimentation will keep you busier, more mentally alert and more inquisitive. And that will be good for your physical and mental wellbeing.