BREED NAME: Philippine Native Chicken
BRIEF DESCRIPTION: The Philippine Native is also known by the name: Darag. To those with a sensitive pallet for poultry, the Darag seems to have a unique flavor far above common commercially bred and raised chickens, especially when free-ranged.
There is much variety in today’s Native Chicken due to influence from exotic breeds, some selective breeding for cock-fighting and some traits established through natural selection. In some areas the Native Chicken still resembles its wild Junglefowl ancestors.
By all reports, it seems to be part land race, part domestic and part wild Junglefowl. Philippine Native ,The Facts:
Class: Light Game
Size: Standard Male: 2.9 Ibs. / Standard Female: 2.2 Ibs.
Comb, Wattles & Earlobes: Red single comb and wattles, lobes whitish.
Color: An adult male is shiny red with light brown hackles and black tail feathers. The female has less shiny and yellow-brown feathering. The shanks may vary from yellow to gray. Place of Origin: Philippines
Conservation Status: doing well
Special Qualities: In many remote areas the Philippine Native Chicken is commonly found in backyards and farms breeding true to their wild ancestor’s traits.
A flighty chicken uneasy around people and hardy without much human care, they are moderately prolific and a ready source of inexpensive meat and eggs.
This “natural” breed is finding attention in the market place due to its healthy free-range diet and life-style. Some are considering this small somewhat wild chicken a healthy alternative to cultured broilers and layers.
The Philippine Native makes up a large proportion of total chicken numbers in the country and has long been part of the natural environment.
It is believed to be a descendant of the Red Jungle Fowl as are most chicken breeds world-wide. The hen is not the best setter, even when confined and well fed, though she is a good mother.
She commonly lays only 40 – 60 eggs a year, but some studies have proved she can lay as many as 130 – 200 eggs per year if given a high quality layer diet.
The breed is being raised commercially with every attempt to maintain a natural diet in as natural an environment as commercially possible. A published formula produces Philippine Native Chickens raised in the field from 45 days and ready to butcher at 75 – 120 days, at weights of about 2 lbs.
This natural resource is reviving as a more popular part of the rural diet. What meat and eggs lack in quantity, they make up for in healthy food value and flavor.
Traditional chicken recipes were developed with the Philippine Native Chicken’s quality meat, something industrial chicken can’t match. More and more Filipino city residents prefer the low cholesterol healthier eggs and meat from these chickens, even at higher prices.