Wednesday, April 9, 2008

An Introduction to Darag

What is Darag?

Darag is a general term used for the Philippine native chicken strain indigenous to and most dominant in Western Visayas. It evolved from the Red Jungle fowl (Gallus gallus bankiva).

The typical plumage for the male, which is locally called Labuyo or Alimbuyog, is the red wings, hackle and black feathers and black tail.

For the female, also called Darag, the plumage is yellowish-brown.

The comb is single, the earlobe is whitish and the shank is gray for both male and female.

Adult male weighs an average of 1.3 kilograms while the female weighs an a average of 1.0kilogram.

Labuyo/ Alimbuyog & Darag

Stages of Development

  1. Mature Darag hens, called breeders, lay the eggs.
  2. Eggs will hatch from 18-21 days.
  3. Chicks go through brooding stage from the first week to the twentieth day.
  4. From 21-45 days, chicks go through the “hardening” stage. During hardening, chicks are prepared for the rugged conditions of the environment, thus, improving the livability of chicks.
  5. “Hardened” chicks are then left to grow in the field.
  6. At age 75-120 days, the chickens are mature and are ready for slaughter.
For those who are eager to know what Darag can do for you, here are the benefits:

1. Good source of livelihood and additional income.

The Darag is best known for its unique flavor, taste and texture of meat that is preferred by most consumers. This makes it a commercially lucrative commodity. This distinct taste of the native chicken can be attributed to the presence of free amino acids in their bodies like aspartic acid and glutamic acid.

2.Low maintenance cost and adaptability to free-range management.

These chickens are left in the fields to fend for themselves, leaving minimal inputs of feedand medicine including breeding, treatment and housing management.

3.High resistance to disease compared to commercial breeds.

The natural selection process of native chickens under local environment caused it to develop patterns of behavior that allows them to survive and reproduce even in the most marginal environment and with minimal management intervention.

4.Good source of protein-rich food.

Aside from having chicken meat and eggs always ready in the backyard for consumption, these are also proven to be good sources of protein.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

“Darag” Native Chicken Offers New Hope to Farmers

San Carlos City- With a purpose of ‘raising awareness on the potentials of native chicken as a livelihood commodity’, the ‘Darag’ IEC Team led by Prof. Marilou Ang Lopez visited Hacienda Malinong Multi-Purpose Cooperative in the town of Pontevedra, Negros Occidental on March 12, and San Carlos City on March 13, 2008.
The Regional Magsasaka Siyentista Joselito Pudadera “JoePud”, who is also a commercial Darag farmer from Leganes, Iloilo, joined the advocacy team.

Speaking before the Malinong Coop members led by Mr. Eduardo Monarca, Coop Chair, Prof. Ang Lopez explained the benefits from Darag Native Chicken which is one of the six commodities for science and technology focus in Region 6. The other regional focus commodities are mango for export, muscovado, bamboo, piƱa fiber and coconut.

Similar explanation on the potential of Darag native chicken as a livelihood commodity was given to the audience in the Farmers’ Forum in San Carlos City which was composed of farmers, entrepreneurs, NGO representatives and members of the Sanguniang Bayan. The Farmers’ Forum was organized by the City Agriculture Office under the leadership of Mr. Edgar de la Cruz.

Darag is considered as the most popular native chicken in the region. The niche market for native chicken has evolved because of its unique flavor, nutritive value, adaptability to a wide-range of environmental conditions. These are the plus factors that give Darag production a high mark for livelihood and business. “Organic Darag native chicken also fits well into the organic food production program of the Negros island”, Prof. Ang Lopez further noted.

On the other hand, Mr. Joselito Pudadera shared his personal insights and experiences as a Darag native chicken farmer. His discussion revolved on the Darag’s characteristics and habitat, the local or indigenous practices for feeding and health management, and current market price of day-old chicks, hardened chicks and ready to slaughter chickens.

“We can have the full potentials of darag once we recognize its rights,” said JoePud. As a Darag raiser for almost a decade now, he reminded the audience, especially those who are interested of going into large-scale production to take into consideration the nature and characteristics of this highly-sought commodity. His greatest inputs into his Darag production venture is “hard-work, resourcefulness and perseverance”. He believes that no amount of technology can substitute for hard-work in the native chicken production and marketing.

As a regional focus commodity, the research and technology packaging for Darag native chicken production and commercialization is funded by DOST-PCARRD. West Visayas State University leads the S ad T Program for Darag Native Chicken. The other cooperating agencies and SUCs are DA-WESVIARC, UP Visayas, Aklan State University, Capiz State University and Iloilo State College of Agriculture-Dingle campus.

The Project on IEC Strategies for Philippine Native Production and Marketing which is based in the School of Technology, UP Visayas, is a component of the S and T Anchor Program for Philippine Native Chicken. The Project aims to promote Darag native chicken and enhance its production and marketing aspects in the region.

Information/Technologies on Darag Native Chicken Production are available at School of Technology, UP Viasayas, Miagao, Iloilo. Please address your request/inquiry to Ms. Irene R. Maquiling at (033) 3159631 to 32 local 303.