A primer on free range chicken production and management, part 2: Feed

Featured photo by Brenda Timmermans from Pexels

By Patricia Bianca S. Taculao 

Free range chicken production is an animal husbandry method where chickens can roam freely outdoors. In this setup, the breeder need not worry about starting with a large capital for feed or cages since the chickens can forage their food from available natural resources. 

Moreover, breeders need only provide shelter for the chickens to secure them particularly during extreme weather conditions. 

CPV Natural Farm in Tungab, Misamis Occidental follows such farming practices. Its proprietor, Bhal Abad Cabrera, even uses available raw materials in free range chicken production to promote sustainability. 

In the previous article, Cabrera shared which breeds are suitable for free range production and some housing tips for the chickens. Now, he talks about the proper feed component to enhance growth. 

Feed components 

Although free range chickens can be mostly left out on their own, breeders can also provide feeds to enhance the quality of their health or to expedite their growth. 

“One thing we need to know about the feed for our free range chickens is that they should contain five components, namely carbohydrates, proteins, fats, minerals, and vitamins,” said Cabrera. 

According to him, the free range chickens on CPV Natural Farm include rice bran or corn grits for carbohydrates, madre de agua for protein, coconut oil for fats, rock salt or carbonized rice hull for minerals, and fermented plant juice, fermented fruit juice, or oriental herbal nutrients as a source of vitamins. 

Cabrera added that the ingredients can be substituted but he emphasized that it’s best to practice sustainability and use ingredients that can be readily found on a farm or in nearby areas. 

Vegetables can also be thrown into the mix to further enhance the health of the chickens. Cabrera explained that almost any vegetable can be added into the feed formulation. 

As for the ratio of the feed formulation, the farm’s proprietor recommends a blend with 60 percent carbohydrates (six kilograms), 10 percent fats (one kilogram), two percent protein (two kilograms), five percent of minerals (0.5 kilograms), and 1.5 liters of vitamins. 

This measurement is best for chickens during the growing period. For those in the finishing stage, Cabrera said that the protein amount should be adjusted accordingly. 

An advocacy of the DA 

ATI Northern Mindanao decided to discuss the specific topic on free range chicken production and management because it is one of the advocacies of the Department of Agriculture. 

“Back-to-Basics sustainable livestock and poultry production is one of the advocacies of the DA promoted through the National Livestock Program,” said Aleli Jean Paulican, a technical support staff for ATI’s Regional Training Center in Region X (RTC X). 

According to Paulican, the Back-to-Basics sustainable livestock and poultry production aims to promote food availability and security in households, especially during times of crisis, so that people won’t have to worry about their daily needs as they could easily provide it for themselves while also getting a chance to earn an income from livestock. 

This webinar was part of the AgriStoryahay webinar series launched by the ATI Northern Mindanao on Facebook. Watch the full video here.

For more information, visit ATI Northern Mindanao on Facebook. 

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Patricia Bianca S. Taculao
Patricia Taculao, or Patty as she likes to be called, is a content producer for Manila Bulletin Digital Lifestyle. She graduated from University of Santo Tomas with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism. She loves to spend her free time, reading, painting, and watching old movies.

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