Life is slowly going back to normal, and the Philippines is rising again as we are starting to see encouraging signs of progress. While the whole country is not out of the woods yet, the collective Filipino effort is showing a positive impact on recovery not only on the economic aspects but also on the quality of life for everyone.
Some of us might appear more optimistic than others, and I was one of those who chose to see the positive side of things. We can all agree that, despite a decline of such an unprecedented scale, humanity will still have the resilience and find the strength to recover. That’s what makes us who we are.
It may seem like a distant long ago, but I still clearly remember the day I landed in Manila. My heart was full of anticipation and positive thoughts for the future. I could have chosen another country to spend my retirement years in, but my heart chose the Philippines. The beauty of the Philippines is known worldwide, but even in its nooks and crannies, the country has many wonderful things to offer. Here I found my awesome Barkadas, built a family, and was allowed to live my dream– to run my very own farm and play Sabong as often as I could. The Filipino Sabong community is the best I’ve seen and experienced, and I am proud to be part of it. I learned more about the value of friendship and the importance of connecting with people; not only those who are your allies but even those who are your adversaries. I must say that I may look American on the outside still, but I am now a Filipino on the inside.
I often say I am a Sabungero through and through, not because I’m a gambler but because I am a breeder at heart. I hate to be called a braggart, but I believe I am good at my craft. It’s the personal touch that makes a lot of difference. What I love about Sabong is the friendship that comes with it. It’s the noise I hear when I enter the Arena, the excitement of the spectators, the pounding of the elevated heart rate that I feel while preparing my entries, the shaking of hands, the vendors selling peanuts and drinks, the friends celebrating with you in your victories and, the warm and friendly handshakes exchanged with your competitors. It’s the human interaction that I sorely miss. And today, I asked myself, what is the future of this sport that I love so much?
Will we ever go back to how we were before the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on our lives?
The truth is, our world could change in many ways beyond our imagination. The human condition has been dramatically altered due to the policies enacted for our protection. The safety measures have diminished our ability to connect in the physical sense, but they are not necessarily less meaningful.
Everyone is becoming more comfortable with virtual communication, and Sabong has been greatly affected by these changes. What is the future of our sport? The future is unknown, but we’ll cross the bridge when we get there.
What is the future of Sabong? Who will inherit the sport? Who will keep it alive? How will our generation work it out?
If what we witnessed in the past few years is even a slight indication of how strong and resilient the Filipino spirit is, then I am excited to enjoy the ride and watch this next chapter unfold.
If the strong Filipino spirit of rising through the ashes is alive, now that is something I’m willing to watch unravel.
The Philippines is a country with a lucrative market for gamefowl production and sabong remains a very profitable enterprise for those who have the determination and passion. Whether they are in this venture as a hobby or as a business, the ultimate goal of any breeder and cockfighter is to raise their gamefowl in the most optimal condition to maximize their performance.
But, setting up a gamefowl farm requires profound expertise and investment. Thus, it is always better to start right and practice good farm management every step of the way to be successful. Below are some of the most important factors to consider when starting a gamefowl business.
Location. The selected area should have at least a 0.5-kilometer distance from other farms to avoid contamination and spread of diseases. It is ideal to choose sites with good drainage and porous soil type. Keep away from flood-prone and environmentally critical areas like watersheds. There should be a 25-meter distance from sources of ground and surface drinking water.
Medium and large farms should be at least a kilometer away from residential, commercial, and industrial areas. For smaller poultry farms, a 0.5-kilometer distance from built-up areas is preferable—select locations with sufficient water and electricity sources. When constructing facilities, consider other factors like drainage and waste disposal and that these activities will not cause problems for the residents living near the farm area.
Biosecurity. 80% of the diseases in a poultry farm are likely carried by contaminated people, equipment, and vehicles. Growers should put a sign indicating that entry is allowed only for authorized people with official business. There should be an allotted station for workers and visitors where they can change clothing and decontaminate their boots before entering the growing house. A footbath should be maintained at every section of the growing area. It is also important to restrict the entry of visitors that have been in recent contact with other farms. Only authorized vehicles should enter the farm, and these should be decontaminated on entry and exit. There should also be a parking area with enough distance from the flock.
Ensure that the design of the shed prevents the entry of rodents, insects, and wild birds. Practice cleaning and disinfection of houses before the arrival of new birds. Tools and equipment should be regularly disinfected. Farm staff should systematically visit the flock from the oldest to the youngest to minimize the spread of diseases. Most importantly, as gamefowl business managers, your farm workers must receive regular training on biosecurity guidelines to guarantee the consistent implementation of good practices.
Disease Management. Breeders need to be aware of diseases that may infect the flock and their symptoms. Newcastle disease can be identified by symptoms like torticollis and greenish diarrhea and can be prevented by vaccination with NCD LaSota, B1B1, and Clon. Marek’s disease can be observed on birds suffering from hurdle paralysis and blindness; the vaccine should be given to day-old chicks by subcutaneous injection. Chronic Respiratory Disease (CRD) can be prevented by vaccination with live or killed Mycoplasma Gallisepticum Bacterin of 45-day-old birds via an intraocular, intramuscular, or subcutaneous method.
Aside from these, there are still several viral, bacterial, and parasitic diseases that can affect the flock. Each disease has different symptoms and treatment methods.
Nutrition. Every competent breeder understands that excellent and high-quality feeds are vital for the gamebirds to achieve their full genetic potential through selection and breeding. Unlike layers and broilers, the main goal of gamefowl nutrition is for the stags and cocks to reach optimal pit performance—to be a champion.
Salto Feeds provides top-quality gamefowl nutrition for balanced growth, increased resistance, development of ideal body frame, agility, stamina, and power. Salto has a complete line of excellent feeds from chick development until fight conditioning.
Location, Biosecurity, Health Management and Nutrition are just some of the things you should prioritize when going into gamefowl raising and production. Through Salto Feeds and the expert advice and support of Salto technical specialists, your gamefowls can reach their top form for superior pit dominance.
Medical Care. Salto. Retrieved October 25, 2021 from https://www.salto.com.ph/services/caring/medical-care/
Biosecurity on the Poultry Farm. December 29, 2021. Veterinaria Digital. Retrieved October 25, 2021 from https://www.veterinariadigital.com/en/articulos/biosecurity-on-the-poultry-farm/
Resolution No. R-874. August 17, 2000. Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board. Retrieved October 25, 2021 from https://hlurb.gov.ph/wp-content/uploads/laws-and-issuances/policies/R674s2000.pdf
Biosecurity Guide for Commercial Poultry Production in the Middle East and North Africa. US Soybean Export Council. Retrieved October 26, 2021 from https://ussec.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Biosecurity-Guide-ENGLISH-BR-27.pdf
“Invest Wisely,” ito ang pangunahing prinsipyo ni Alas ng Salto Benzen “Moi” Llamado. Para sa kanya, napaka-importante para sa isang breeder at cocker na mag-invest sa magandang breeding materials, mainam na nutrisyon , at maayos na health management.
Si Moi Llamado ang may-ari ng BTL Gamefarm na matatagpuan sa probinsya ng Capiz, Iloilo, at Negros Occidental. Maganda ang lokasyon ng kanyang gamefarm. Nakatayo ito sa isang lugar na may maburol na lupain, maayos na water supply, at tamang distansya mula sa siyudad. Dito niya pinapalaki at inaalagaan ang kanyang mga signature bloodlines na McLean Hatch, Lemon, Boston Roundhead, at Sweater.
Disiplina at talino ang naging pundasyon ni Moi upang maging matagumpay sa industriya ng gamefowl breeding at conditioning. Hindi matatawaran ang kanyang husay na makikita naman sa kanyang sunod-sunod na mga parangal, tulad ng: 2009 CAGBA 5 Cock Champion, 2010 CAGBA Stag Champion, 2011 Marvin Aces 5 Cock Big Event Solo Champion, 2015 UGBAP 7 Bullstag Champion, 2019 UGBAP Breeder of the Year Runner up, at 2018 7 Cock Candelaria International Champion.
“Tinitingnan ko ang consistency ng lineage,” ang sabi ni Moi tungkol sa pagpili ng materyales. “Dapat may cutting power. Tinitingnan ko ang body conformation at station.” Ayon sa kanya, mas gusto niya ang mga gamefowls na medium-high station dahil mas mataas ang accuracy nito at mas maganda ang recoil ng palo.
Para kay Moi, mas mainam na magsimula ng tama lalo na sa pagpili ng breeding materials upang hindi masayang ang gugugulin na panahon, pera, at pagod. Ang payo niya lalo na sa mga baguhang mga breeder ay huwag manghinayang sa pagpili ng magandang bloodline. Siguraduhin na matapat at may magandang record ang panggagalingan. Dahil dito, malaking bagay para kay Moi ang magandang relationship sa mga breeders na kinukuhanan ng kanyang mga materyales dahil nakaka-sigurado siya sa lineage at pedigree ng mga broodstocks niya.
“I practice inbreeding, at kapag deeply inbred na sila, then I go to line breeding.” Payo ni Moi, kailangan mag-selective breeding upang mapanatili ang fighting style ng mga panlabang manok.
Pero hindi natatapos sa breeding ang pagbuo ng champion na panabong. Para kay Moi, dapat sundin ng mga gamefowl breeders ang basic foundation upang makuha ang full potential ng mga manok. Importante ang malinis na kapaligiran, 100% Salto high-quality feeds, at vaccination programs.
Prevention is better than cure, ika nga niya. Importante din na mag-invest sa mga tao na tumutulong sa farm upang lalo nilang pagbutihin ang pag-aalaga sa iyong mga manok. Para sa ating Alas ng Salto, upang maging mas magaling na breeder, dapat din na maging up-to-date sa mga bagong developments at inventions sa industriya.
Nagsimula si Moi sa paggamit ng Salto Feeds nang ma-introduce ito sa kanya ng isang Salto Gamefowl Specialist. “It was breeding season when I tried Gallimax 21. Better siya compared sa dating produkto na ginagamit ko. It is very impressive. Yung fertility at egg production ng mga manok ko is very good. At pag marami nang na-produce, I use naman the Salto Chick Booster, then Gallimax 2 and 2+ and then lately pag-conditioning na, I shift to Salto Conditioner. ”
“Pero bottom line, it’s the support of the Salto Team. Yun ang nakapag-convince sa akin,” sabi ni Moi. “Nagustuhan ko talaga ang regular na support ng Salto team. Yung ibang feed companies, hindi ko sila laging nakikita. Kapag nakuha ka nila, wala na. Pero yung service ng Salto, iba talaga. They are just one call away. They give me support on vaccination at health programs at sa magandang feeding combinations.”
“Sa Salto, maganda ang culture nila on how they treat their clients. I am happy here so I treat Salto as a family,” sabi ni Alas ng Salto Benzen “Moi” Llamado.
Experience is the best teacher, ika nga nila. Ang mga karanasan mula sa maraming taon ng pagsasabong ang naging dahilan upang lalong mag-improve ang kakayahan, decision-making, at abilidad ng Alas ng Salto na si Boy Gamilla. Ito ang nagdala sa kanya sa tugatog ng tagumpay sa larangan ng gamefowl breeding at fighting.
Si Jaime “Boy” Gamilla ang may ari ng BMJ Gamefarm sa Bulacan, Cavite, Antipolo, at Bacolod. Pangarap ng madaming gamefowl breeders na marating ang naabot niya. Ang sunod-sunod na panalo ni Boy sa malalaking patimpalak ang nagpapatunay sa lawak ng kanyang kakayahan: 2008 Bakbakan Solo Runner Up, 2011 RGBA Star Fighter of the Year, 2013 Digmaan Runner Up, 2013 Bakbakan Champion, 2017 BNTV Champion. Maikukumpara si Boy sa isang beteranong heneral na alam ang bawat epektibong strategy upang makamit ang tagumpay sa mahihirap at malalaking labanan.
Mahalaga ang bloodlines para kay Boy kaya naman ito ang pinaka-una niyang pinagtutuunan ng pansin, bago ang lahat. Sa pagpili ng broodstags at broodpullets, kinukuha niya ang may balance, 45 degrees ang buntot, sakto ang haba ng binti at hita. Sa BMJ gamefarm, ang kanyang mga bloodlines ay binubuo ng 5k, Goldenboy, Gary Gilliam Roundhead, Gilmore Hatch, BMJ Black, at BMJ Dom.
Ang manok na maganda ang balikat, maliit ang baywang, maganda ang mata, at hindi lubog ang pisngi and karaniwang hinahanap ni Boy. Mas pinipili niya ang stags na above-average ang height at malaki ang buto, heavy-boned o brusko. “Para sa pullet, basta maganda at alam ko ang linyada ay doon ako. Kailangan yung parang pang-Miss Universe,” sabi ni Boy. Sa BMJ Gamefarm, pag harvest pa lamang ay mayroon nang selection at marking upang maging mas madali ang traceability.
Para naman sa fighting style, kinakailangan ng manok na listo at focused, “Kailangan nasa ibabaw. Kailangang mautak sila. At importanteng malakas ang palo para mas nakaka-penetrate ang tari. Kaya importante na may power.”
Kasama ng top of the line breeding at selection ang tamang nutrisyon mula sa high-quality feeds upang makamit ang superior performance ng ating mga panlabang manok. Ang Salto feeds ay tumutulong upang lalong ma-enhance ang genetic potential ng mga bloodlines ni Boy Gamilla.
Nagsimula sa paggamit ng Salto Feeds si Boy nang may bumisita sa kanya na Salto Gamefowl Specialist at ipinasubok ito sa kanyang mga alaga. “Sinubukan ko sa isang batch ko at ikinumpara ko sa other brand, at maganda ang resulta ng Salto. Nakita ko na hindi buhaghag ang balahibo ng mga sisiw ko. Naging tight-feathered at matipuno sila kahit sisiw pa lang. Pagdating naman sa breeding ay ginagamit ko ang Gallimax 21. Napatunayan ko na effective siya kasi kahit yung 8 years old ko na hen ay napa-itlog ko at nagkaroon pa ako ng production.”
At dahil epektibo ay nag nagtuloy-tuloy na si Boy sa paggamit ng Salto Feeds. “The following year ay gumamit na ako ng Salto Feeds. From Day 1 to 30 ay gumagamit ako ng Salto Chick Booster. Sa 2nd up to 4th month ay Salto Baby Stag Developer. After ng 4th month ay Stag Developer naman. At kapag nasa cord na sila, ginagamit ko ang Salto Powermix. Nakita ko na talagang hindi sila nag-aaccumulate ng fats, at talagang matipuno yung mga manok ko,” sabi ni Alas ng Salto Boy Gamilla.
Bilang isang multi-champion sa big derbies, payo ni Alas ng Salto Boy Gamilla sa mga aspiring breeders at cockers. “Aspiring means yung mga breeders na may pangarap na maging magaling ang mga alaga nila. Kailangang mag-umpisa ng tama. Huwag manghinayang na pumili ng tamang breeding materials. I-assess natin ang mga for breeding at panlaban natin.”
Solid experience, good management, at excellent feeds – ito ang mga bagay na naging dahilan upang maging matagumpay si Alas ng Salto Boy Gamilla sa industriya ng gamefowl breeding at fighting.
Proper pullet management is vital for the long-term success of your gamefowl breeding business because it is directly related to the quality of eggs produced. The pullet develops reserves in its body for future laying during its developmental stage; thus, good management during this time determines optimal egg and chick production.
Pullet preparation starts at day one by ensuring that the chicks have ready access to high-quality feeds and water, promoting early growth and development. Reducing stress during the first month of the chick’s life positively impacts feed digestion and nutrient absorption. Early feeding enhances small intestine development. A sufficient quantity of feeders and waterers ensures flock uniformity, and adequate living space promotes social development, decreases pecking, and increases the comfort and performance of the pullets.
Ideal breeding for pullets starts at 8 months old. But, as a breeder, it is still essential to monitor your broodstock’s developmental phases. Week 6 to 12 is the period of rapid growth where the pullet builds her structural organs like feathers, bones, and muscles. Growth begins to slow down at Weeks 12 to 18, while the reproductive tract matures in preparation for egg production. At this stage, muscles and fat continue to develop as it reaches sexual maturity.
Routine visual check is necessary because weight and body composition determine the sexual maturity of a pullet rather than specific calendar age. The ideal weight at Week 12 is 800 to 900 grams per bird. The optimal body weight of the pullet depends on the breed but it mostly ranges from 1.35 to 1.65 kgs at the start of egg production. By providing the right feeds and environment during the growing stage, breeders can reach a minimum of 85% uniformity of pullets before point of lay at 18 weeks.
Gallimax 21 Chicken Pre-Lay is designed to prime the pullets’ fleshing and reproductive development for optimum egg size, reproductive longevity, and better chick quality. With optimum levels of selenium yeast, inactive yeast, balanced proteins, and organic minerals, it boosts the pullet’s fertility and ensures uncompromised egg size and ideal hatchability.
Gallimax 21 Chicken Pre-Lay is ideal for pullets with an age range of 4 to 8 months. It also has a calcium level of 1.5% to 2.20%, which helps prepare the pullet’s reproductive tract for breeding.
Once the eggs hatch, it is essential to provide the correct temperature, lighting, and humidity during the chick’s brooding stage to minimize mortality. They still cannot regulate their body temperature; thus, their environment must be monitored and adjusted. The chicks should have access to clean water and high-quality feeds in the first 48 hours.
Salto Baby Stag Developer contains the ideal amount of VITAMIN B-COMPLEX to combat the stress of the transition from brooding to ranging. It also contains a coccidia inhibitor to protect the chicks from coccidiosis during ranging. Additionally, Salto Baby Stag Developer has ImmunoDigest properties to ensure a healthier gut for full absorption of essential nutrients and a more robust immune system for protection against diseases.
For gamefowl breeders, knowing the stages of development of pullets and stags will help identify the proper management practices for implementation. Salto’s Gamefowl Specialists, with their hands-on experience and extensive technical knowledge, are always ready to support the breeders in ensuring they are in the right direction.
Salto Products. Retrieved September 27, 2021 from https://www.salto.com.ph/products/
Pullet Scheduling and Management. September 17, 2020. Salto Usapang Pagmamanok. Retrieved September 27, 2021 from https://www.salto.com.ph/pullet-scheduling-management/
Good Management Practices of Pullets Rearing in Commercial Layer Farms. July 24, 2019. Retrieved September 28, 20201 from https://www.pashudhanpraharee.com/good-management-practices-of-pullets-rearing-in-commercial-layer-farms/
Perfecting Pullet Management. March 11, 2019. Fertrell Blog. Retrieved September 27, 2021 from https://www.fertrell.com/blog/perfecting-pullet-management
Importance of Pullet Feeding Programs in Ensuring a Profitable Laying Flock. January 1, 2008. The Poultry Site. Retrieved September 27, 2021 from https://www.thepoultrysite.com/articles/importance-of-pullet-feeding-programs-in-ensuring-a-profitable-laying-flock
The performance of a rooster on the fighting pit depends significantly on its genetic build passed on from the qualities of its parents, which is achieved through breeding. The main objective of breeding is to improve the next generation of gamefowls in terms of gameness, endurance, cutting ability, speed, power, and stamina. Modern breeders improve the bloodlines of great families of gamefowl through a basic understanding of genetics.
Crossbreeding is an effective method in producing superior gamefowls. It is the mating of two different breeds of gamefowls whose main objective is to identify new combinations of characters or genetic potential that will lead to the formation of a new and better breed. One example is the combination of unrelated strains like a Hatch and a Sweater.
Many of the most successful battle crosses are produced through crossbreeding of inbred family of fowls. The combination of these superior gamefowl through crossbreeding took full advantage of heterosis or hybrid vigor—a phenomenon observed in plants and animals where the first generation of hybrids exhibit characteristics superior to their parents. The gamefowls that benefited from this are faster, smarter, and stronger than their parents.
Here are the three variations of crossbreeding:
- Straight Cross is when two strains are mated—for example, breeding a Ruble Hatch and a Black Traveler to take advantage of their power and speed blend.
- A Three-Way Cross, for example, is the matching of an even cross with good power and cutting ability like a Hatch–Claret with a Kelso who has a superior wallop and is a power-hitter.
- A Four-Way Cross matches two straight crosses like the mating of a Hatch-Claret to a Kelso-Roundhead.
Crossbreeding improves the overall health of the flock through genetic diversity as introducing a new breed can solve the challenge of lack of breeding improvement of the flock.
When starting, it is best to source a specimen from a breeder with good history and reputation who maintains a closely inbred strain. Through observation in the fighting pit, the breeder can learn the weaknesses and strengths of his fowl in terms of fighting style, speed, and cutting ability. Make the cross if the broodstock is free from defects, has strong disease resistance, and has the desired body conformation, temperament, and performance.
However, the genetic potential of the gamefowls can only be maximized by providing them with the right environment and proper growing management. Breeder and Alas ng Salto Dr. Marlo Lasutaz emphasized that the characteristics of the parents will be expressed better if the fowls received high-quality feeds and nutrition. Gallimax 21 Chicken Breeder Ration optimizes egg production, fortified with Selenium, Vitamin E, and Liver Protech for better liver health, stress and disease resistance and results in stronger power and stamina.
Engr. Arturo Bona praises Salto Stag Developer, which is specially formulated for the development of bones and muscles that helps his gamefowl achieve the ideal body frame.
“Tama ang timplada ng feeds at ang nutrition na naibibigay ng Salto. Nakita ko na maganda resistance ng mga manok ko. Mula noon ay iniwan ko na ang dati kong produkto at ipinagpatuloy ko na ang Salto.” LSBBA 2019 Breeder of the Year and Alas ng Salto Engr. Arturo Bona stated.
Crossbreeding: Advantages and Disadvantages. August 10, 2020. Breeders Academy. Retrieved August 29, 2021 from https://www.breedersacademy.com/crossbreeding
Alas Tips. Salto. Retrieved August 29, 2021 from https://www.salto.com.ph/blog/alas-tips/
Basic Breeding for Gamefowl: Inbreed to Fix Traits, Cross Breed to Add Traits. February 10, 2014. Reach Unlimited. Retrieved August 29, 2021 from http://www.reach-unlimited.com/p/763910690/basic-breeding-for-gamefowl–inbreed-to-fix-traits-cross-breed-to-add-traits
The Gamecock – Basic Breeding Concepts and Considerations. March 22, 2013. Gamecock Care. Retrieved August 29, 2021 from https://gamecockcare.wordpress.com/2013/03/22/the-gamecock-basic-breeding-concepts-and-considerations/