White Chickens Now Free-Ranged

[Re-Posted from 2012] As per the experience of Dr. Rey and Sandy Itchon, the white birds are just as tasty as the free-ranged colored fowls by following a management technique that is not really hard to follow. For sometime now, they have been raising the white birds in their Isabela farm.

There are a number of good reasons why they shifted to the white birds from the colored ones from France. For one, the while day-old chicks can be bought in many places in the country. They arc also much cheaper. At present, the white day-old chicks sell at P24 a-piece while the colored chicks used to be sold anywhere from P40 to P60 per piece, and they are not always available.

The Itchons raise their white chickens in simple houses just like what they used with the colored Sasso or Sunshine birds. They arc brooded just like the colored chicks (21 days) but they are released to the pasture one week earlier.

Instead of using veterinary drugs, they apply fermented plant juice (FPJ) in their drinking water from Day 1 to the time they are harvested. This helps the birds grow faster. They also give the birds every three days another fermented product called OHN or Oriental Herbal Nutrient which is supposed to enhance their immune system so that they arc resistant to disease and stresses.

The Itchons make their own fermented plant juice. Their favorite plant materials are those that are fast growing such as alugbati, kangkong, camote, banana trunk and water hyacinth. They shred these materials and ferment them with molasses. For every three kilos of shredded plant materials, they add one kilo of molasses. This will give them 2.5 liters of fermented plant juice. Two tablespoons of FPJ is added to every liter of drinking water.

While the commercial integrators want their birds to be harvestable as fast as possible (30 days or less), the Itchons purposely delay the growth of their chickens so that they will be about 1.9 kilos (liveweight) at 60 days old. They delay their chickens’ growth by feeding them with commercial feed only once a day, at 5 o’clock in the evening. By doing this, the growth is slower than the usual rate under the integrator’s practice. But this gives enough time for the chickens to develop more muscle which improves the flavor of the meat. During the last 20 days, they give a lot of corn grits to make the skin of the chicken yellow. The Itchons claim that their white birds taste just like the free-ranged colored birds.

Sandy says that raising white chickens the natural fanning way can be profitable. As per their computation, the cost of producing a two-kilo bird, including the cost of the chick, is about P100. They sell their dressed chicken at P200 per kilo. The two-kilo bird (liveweight) will usually have a dressed weight of 1.3 kilos which would sell for P260.

The Itchons are new advocates of natural farming. They are members of a natural farming society whose members produce vegetables, fruits, pigs, chickens and other livestock the natural farming way. The head of their group is Andry Lim of Davao City who runs a 30-hcctarc farm planted to cacao, vegetables and other crops. He also raises pigs without antibiotics, feeding them only once a day with his own formulation.

Another fellow who has shifted from the colored French birds to the white chickens is Alexander Yu who has a four-hectare farm in Baras, Rizal. He is raising his white birds up to 90 days because his target markets arc people who prefer the jumbo size.

The Itchons, on the other hand, prefer the 60-70 day-old birds that weigh about 2 kilos each because that is what their present customers prefer. They have developed a network of customers who buy from them different products produced the natural farming way.

author: Zac B. Sarian, source: www.trc.gov.ph

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