White Paraoakan at Horti 2014
The new all-white strain of Paraoakan chicken will be one of the attractions at the Horticulture 2014, the big garden show slated at the Tropical Garden at the Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City from January 24 to February 3.
This pure white Paraoakan is the product of continuous judicious selection by Ernesto Abalos, a rancher with a diversified farm in San Mateo, Rizal.
Paraoakan is native of Palawan which is the biggest strain of native chickens in the country. Ordinarily, Paraoakan comes in various colors but most of them have dark feathers. Abalos has been growing mostly the black Paraoakan in the past several years.
One time, he noticed that in a batch of chicks that he incubated, there were three males and two females that came out with all-white feathers when they had grown bigger. This sparked his curiosity and segregated the five fowls to find out how they will fare.
It turned out that they bred true to type. All the eggs of the females that were hatched came out with all-white feathers. This motivated him to multiply this strain which exhibited the common trait of the Paraoakan – with long legs, long neck, big head and with bigger body than the other strains of native chickens.
He has also observed that the white Paraoakan is more easily domesticated. They are not flighty like the black Paraoakan. The white Paraoakan has also attracted the interest of a restaurant owner from Batangas who has ordered a lot of the black Paraoakan for breeding purposes. Abalos told his visitor that he was not releasing any of his white Paraoakan. But he would not leave his farm unless Abalos relented to sell him a couple of young white Paraoakan even at P1,000 apiece.
Abalos quipped that he is going native as a strategy in his agribusiness. Aside from native Paraoakan, he is also multiplying the native black pigs which are very hardy, prolific and can subsist on waste products in his farm. He also grows the small-fruited native squash and the native winged bean which has short pods. They are tastier than the hybrids, he claims.
In the case of the white Paraoakan, he has observed that they really love eating the green leaves of the Madre de Agua, an imported small tree with broad leaves which are relished not only by chickens but also by pigs, goats and cattle. This is a fast-growing small tree that produces a lot of herbage for as long as it is fertilized with a lot of manure which the Abalos farm has plenty of.
To promote better egg laying of the white Paraoakan, he feeds them with layer mash which he himself formulates. He has his own feed mill because he has a 40,000-Leghorn layer operation aside from his Brahman cattle, native pigs, goats and turkeys.
Why is Abalos turning to native chickens and native pigs? Well, native chickens are slower in growth as compared to the commercial white broilers produced by contract growers. But they are prized for their special taste and consumers are willing to pay a price higher than the white broilers.
Abalos said that for meat production, the males will attain 1.2 to 1.3 kilos in six months. But that’s all right because, they can subsist with little commercial feed, supplemented by leafy greens of Madre de Agua and malunggay. Besides, slower-growing birds like Paraoakan develop more muscle at the time they attain slaughter size so they are more tasty than the commercially grown broilers, according to Abalos.
The Paraoakan eggs are also saleable. For instance, at the recent Agrilink trade show, Abalos sold brown Paraoakan eggs at P10 apiece which is much higher than the price of the commercial white leghorn eggs.
As of now, the white Paraoakan breeders are confined to their house. They are not yet let loose on the range. That’s for convenience in giving them personal attention so they could reproduce much faster. For every five female hens, Abalos provides one male so that more fertile eggs will be produced for hatching. Ordinarily, the recommendation in poultry breeding farms is to provide one male for every 12 females.
As of now, Paraoakan eggs are being hatched by a company that does custom hatching for a fee. For every egg placed in the incubator, Abalos pays six pesos whether the egg will hatch or not. Abalos reports a high hatching percentage as a result of the high number of males in the flock to inseminate the layers.
There are simple techniques that Abalos practices in taking care of his Paraoakan. To prevent the proliferation of chicken lice, he places fresh leaves of kakawate in their nests.
Like other native chickens, the Paraoakan will brood and stop laying after laying about 15 to 16 eggs. That means egg production will stop. But Abalos can prevent the occurrence of brooding. He immerses the broody chicken in cold water for about one minute. Only the head is above water. Abalos assures that the chicken will forget about brooding after one week and egg laying will resume in a matter of time.
In the case of the black Paraoakan, many of them are let loose on the range where the Brahman cattle are also grazed. Sometimes the hens lay their eggs in nests they build in the grassy portion of the property. After hatching they will come out in the open with as many as 15 chicks with them.
The black Paraoakan that are let loose in the range are totally self-supporting. They usually subsist on what they can scavenge from the manure of his Brahman cattle and insects among the grasses in the field.
Aside from raising Paraoakan for meat purposes, there is also money in producing day-old chicks. The chicks are being retailed at P80 apiece and the buyers are not complaining. This is more than double the price of the day-old white broilers.
Selling ready-to-lay Paraoakan is also lucrative. Buyers are willing to pay P800 per bird, according to Abalos. In fact a grower from Batangas bought P50,000 worth of three-month-old black Paraoakan pullets and roosters for breeding.
DRAGON FRUIT LADY AT THE HORTI 2014 — Ilocos Norte’s pioneer dragon fruit producer, Edita Dacuycuy, will also showcase her many processed byproducts of the dragon fruit.
She has developed several processed food and wellness products from different parts of the dragon fruit plant. She has developed sweet wine, vinegar, lumpia, ice cream, hopia and several others.
She will be showcasing her products in a booth in the Friends of AANI section of the commercial section.
Right now, her farm in Burgos town is a tourist destination. She has planted 10 hectares to this fruit-bearing cactus plant.