Free Range Chicken Farming a journey..

Since I was a kid I am already engaged in growing free range chicken. I can still recall when we got our first two chicks that my father has bought for me and my big brother. It was a black and brown chicks from a agricultural shop in Marikina. It was new to my sight because that time I can only see white chicks in most agri shops. Those white chicks they called it “Vantress” and the two colored chicks they called it “Hubbard” that was according to my father and my big bro. We just put them in a box at night and transferred them in a cage at day time. After two weeks they’ve grown some true feathers and we let them roam in a scratch fence. A couple of months passes by and the two chicks have already grown into a  lovely hen. The black chick have grown into a Plymouth Barred Rock like hen and the brown chick have grown into a light brown feathered chicken. We fed them with just 10% commercial feeds and the rest were all kitchen remains. Most of the time we gave them vegetables and breads. I can still remember that every time I will eat “pan de sal” both of them will just stand in front of me waiting for their share. We just let them roam around and eat what they wanted to eat. The two grown to be healthy with out the aid of antibiotics and vitamins supplement. Baranggay Fiesta is past approaching and my father is planning to butcher both of them for the feast. My brother and I refused and they turned out to be our pet.  I believed it was in the last week of June so my father decided to buy twelve new chicks to grow, enough time for the August Feast of San Roque. Few months more and I started worrying, because I can’t find neither of them. It was unusual not to find them during  my breakfast. I tried to look for them and search our vicinity. After few minutes I finally found them. They are in a box of old cloth sitting. When I tried to pull the brown hen up I notice a couple of eggs there on top of the old shirts.. They are already laying eggs!! I was so amazed coz that’s the first time I saw hens who laid their eggs. Now they are giving back what we are giving them… Breakfast! A year passed and I already started going to school. Most mornings I won’t be with them I will just see them after I went home from the school. It was a daily routine except Saturday and Sunday. Months passed after coming from school I didn’t see them both. I search for them and couldn’t find them. I went inside the house and ask my mother were are the hens. My mother told me they’re gone, she cooked them because they are getting older and weak. I felt so sad that moment but can’t do anything. They are already with young papaya, ginger and onions. I didn’t get another chicken to take care of since then. Later on we moved onto a subdivision in year 1986 also in Marikina.  A decade, I graduated in college. That’s how fast time fleet. I started to venture in poultry farming without careful planning. We have some big chicken cages so I bought 100 heads of broiler chicks. My father asked me why I bought that much. And I replied, they will grow just right before Christmas where prices of chickens are high. I didn’t realize until later, they are already growing. My father told me that my cage is not enough that we need to set up a big chicken coop in our farm lot. He was in a hurry and didn’t wasted any time to build a big chicken coop for my flocks. I still remember when I bought a buy and sell publication to search for chicken feeders and brooder. I found one seller in Laguna and commute to go to his place to pick up those items. I bought 20 galvanized chicken feeder ( long feeders ) and a gas brooder. Then I took a bus going to Cubao and another bus going to Marikina. Only now I am wondering, how did I brought all those items from Laguna to Marikina. Some can imagine how heavy those old school feeders are. So my new chicken coop was up and feeders are in place. Time to move those growing chicks to a bigger location. And so we did. After transferring them to their new home, I also ended up in a new home. I stayed in the farm to take care of those chicks who are already three weeks old I think. Since we don’t have anybody to look after them suddenly I became a farmboy. I stayed there for the whole week and will come home during the weekends. One of our “sapatero” was coming to relieve me from my post. I will then return after two days bringing feeds where I bought from “bayan” and to be commuted by jeep. Those were my routines until my flocks are ready for selling. I contacted my “ninong” who have his stall in Munoz Market. After all those hard works and travels here comes the badnews. My ninong gave me the price of Php65 for each head. Where the price of the dressed chicken that time was Php135-140 per kilo. I was expecting more but that moment I can’t think of anything but to sell them rather than returning them to their coop and continuously feed them. Wherein in these chickens are like dinosaur who feast day and night. And that was my venture.. My misadventure. After that day, I didn’t plan to go back to that poultry business again. Lesson learned, don’t go to a battlefield without bringing a weapon. After my misadventure, I started looking for job. I ended up working for Philippine Seven Corporation. I worked there as a Store Clerk. It was year 1999 if I’m not mistaken, one time while arranging the magazines on their racks, one publication caught my attention. It was a Magazine with a picture of a big brown hen similar to my pet when I was a kid. My curiosity grew and scan the content. It was about “Sasso Chicken”. Description says it was a breed from France and the one which caught my attention was that they can be grown free range. No antibiotics and growth hormones needed just all natural feeds. Again my farmer instinct came out. I wanted to try growing these chickens. I want to give it another try. But not without training this time. I need a weapon before returning to the battleground. So I searched for reading materials about Sasso Chicken. Books, magazines etc. For internet were not yet so affordable that time. I found some information about the chicken and the supplier. I then scan the agriculture section in the buy and sell magazine and found someone advertising his Sasso Chicks for sale. I got so eager to have them and try growing them. I just want to know how hardy they were and how fast they will grow. I also wanted to check out the potential buyers and market for these breed. I bought five chicks and kept them in a small cage. I tried posting it in buy and sell magazine and the feedback was enormous. My first five chicks were sold in a day. So I order another and another and another.  Some are coming to our place with bodyguards, some came on their mercedez benz and some of them made their reservation for the next batch of chicks. That gave me an idea to again start with chicken farming but this time ” free range chicken”. I have read from one Agriculture Magazine, resource person and contact number was there. It was the ” Teresa Farm” in Teresa, Rizal. A farm owned by the late Mr. Bobby Inocencio. After few  of scanning and skimming, I saw a post from a magazine that Mr. Bobby Inocencio was conducting a training on free range chicken farming. It will be held in Teresa Farm. I asked my father about the location and told me that he knew the place. I contacted the number posted on the publication to confirm my reservation for a seat on the said seminar. The day of training came, my father and I traveled from Marikina to Teresa, Rizal. We arrived at the location after few minutes. I missed those days when you can travel without the hassle of traffic in Masinag. I registered on the table at the entrance of the venue. I think I paid for Php350 for the said training with free snacks and lunch. There came Mr. Bobby Inocencio and we started introducing ourselves. I was at the back of the group and I was listening to their introduction and objectives on why we attended. Most of the attendees are Senior Citizen. Some are retired Colonel from the Army, some are doctors, some are engineers and some are backyard farmers who wanted to expand their started flocks. And then goes my turn. Mr. Inocencio called me up and said ” ikaw totoy, naligaw ka yata dito” and everyone in the room laughed so hard and I am also one of those who laughed. It was 1998 and I am 22 years old that time. So I started introducing myself. And when I mentioned my objectives and plan on why I attended the seminar they all turn their head and looked at me. Some became interested and talked to me during our snack break. And what was our topic? Well it was not that important ( grin ). The snack they served was a boiled egg. The other was a chicken sandwich. Chicken and Eggs freshly harvested from their farm. Nice! And our lunch were tinolang manok and nilagang manok. All from the farm of Mr. Bobby Inocencio. What made me more interested to that breed was their taste, it tasted like native chicken but tender like broiler. The best of two breeds  in a single chicken. After the seminar there was only one thing in my mind. I will start a flock of this chicken. And so I did, this time I started small. While having my flocks I still continued to buy chicks from other hobbyist and sell them right away. Then one day I met Mr. John Dizon. I saw his post on buy and sell publication and set a meeting date in a hatchery in Marikina. This guy was also a former student of Mr. Bobby Inocencio who attended a training in Teresa Farm. He was on a large scale production. His farm was located in Tui, Batangas. He invited me to visit his farm so that I will have an idea on the farm setting. I spend a night at his farm and he shared his ideas and tips on how to grow free range chicken. He also allowed me to purchase some of his Ready to Lay hen so that I can jumpstart on my production. Months and years have passed and my business and flocks are going well. But then, in the year 2002 a badluck was about to struck  my business. I received a call from a buyer who wanted to order 50 heads of 21 days old, 50 heads of 14 days old and 50 heads DOC. We agreed to meet by March of the said year. A week before the birthdate of my third son. I prepared everything for the said orders. It was last week of February and just ample time to produce twenty one days old chidays. The following week I took fifty heads chicks for the 14 days old and another fifty heads a day before our meetup in Makati. On the day of the meet up, we prepared the chicks and put them in a box respectively. The sad part, my father forgot our delivery. He was in the “Sabungan” (cockpit arena) that I need to hire a taxi. Our meeting time was 5pm and it was already 3pm. I was about to put the boxes at the back seat of the taxi when the driver told me we can put them in the trunk instead. That time I was so dumb to have believed the taxi driver that his air-conditioning can reach the taxi’s compartment for ventilation. Enough said, we put them in the compartment then head on our way to Makati. We’ve reached our destination at around 4:30 and when I am about to unload the boxes. I noticed that they are very quiet unlike when we loaded them there. I tried to peek on the box hole and noticed that they are not moving. I opened each box and saw them all lying some are unconscious and some tried to walk but seems to have lost balance. We were in front of Dunkin Donuts shop and Dusit Hotel I think. The 14 days old and 21 days old were completely devastated while the Day Old Chick were just fine. I started bringing out the affected chicks from the boxes and put them on the sidewalk to get some air, hoping they will recover. My Sister and I kept on swinging our towels to cool them down and somehow hope they will stand up. One by one bystander came and became a crowd. Most of them asked me what are those breeds? While swinging my towel i kept on answering their queries and explained how to grow them. A lot of those who inquired took my contact number and kept it. They were my prospected customers who later on ordered hundreds of chicks.. We were in that scene when the buyer arrived. When he saw the chicks he was saddened of what have happened. He didn’t take any of the chicks but he handed me a Php500 bill. He said ” eto para sa ginamit mong pamasahe”. Bro, whoever and wherever you are right now I didn’t have time to thank you and get your name that moment because of the situation. Thank you so much. That day was my unlucky day, oh not really! Orders boosted after that incident. Mostly from those bystanders whom asked me ” anong klaseng sisiw yan? “, ” gaano kabigat ang maximum weight nila? “. I knew they are from those bystanders because before they will order they will say ” ako yung humingi ng number nyo sa Makati”. And so that incident was not bad at all. Orders boom, my father started buying his own flocks and a big incubator to hatch our hen’s eggs. So that was my journey on the free range chicken farming. 2004 I left Philippines to work abroad. I can’t bring them here with me so management was left to my father. But last year I started my flocks, I got my farm help to take care of my Chooks. Hopefully by 2018 I will be managing the farm personally. For now you can order Certified F1 Chicks from us. Our email address and contact number are posted here in our page. You can also contact us on our Facebook Page. Stay tuned for my next post. I will tackle topics on how to start a free range chicken farming, preparing probiotics and making yogurt for your chicks. Thank you.

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