Gray Matter


Raising Chickens in the Philippines

chickensI don’t know much about city ordinances in the Philippines. They’re obviously different in every city. I’m sure some places have restrictions on where chickens can be raised. Most Filipinos would simply ignore those restrictions or find a way around them. Having food on the table is far more important than following rules.

Raising chickens can be an exercise in frustration if the chicken coops aren’t built properly. Even when they are built properly, other things can happen to make raising them harder than it should be.

Disappearing Chickens

This is what happened to us in October 2015. Josie, my wife, bought 90 chicks (sisiw in Tagalog). We were planning a big party for when our younger son, Jon, would arrive for vacation in December. Those chicks would grow into broiler chickens, ready to eat in 45 days.

By the end of the month, we were down to a little over 70 chicks. Some neighborhood cat, a stray scavenger, found a way to get into the chicken coop. That chicken coop was checked a dozen times to make sure it was secure. The superstitious people living in our compound thought it was an Aswang, pretending to be a cat.

Raising Chickens Can Be Expensive

The previous time I paid for raising chickens, a sister-in-law took care of feeding them. I spent around 13,000 pesos (more than $250 USD) for the chicks, the chicken feed and the Vitracin (water + vitamins + antibiotics). Josie took care of the finances the last time, so I have no idea what she spent.

It really isn’t cost-effective to raise a lot of chickens unless they’re going to be sold when they mature. It’s hard to store the meat after they’re slaughtered. The previous time, I had to have the meat stored in three different places and two of those places weren’t in my house.

We have some “native” chickens running around (more likely junglefowl), crapping all over the place. No one feeds them. They’re truly free-range birds. No one seems to eat them, but they eventually disappear.

I’m Not Fond of Eating Chicken

Judging by how many people I see in every place that sells fried chicken, a lot of Filipinos are very fond of it. I’m not. I’d rather eat a salad than a piece of chicken. Perhaps it’s because I’m always around chickens, in one form or another (alive or cooked).

I don’t like being near chicken coops or having chickens underfoot. Chicken sh*t is nasty. Chickens are stupid, and I think they’re some of the stupidest animals on this planet. I once saw a chicken being slaughtered in the backyard and another chicken strolling through the blood while it was happening.

My grandmother, on my father’s side, used to raise chickens (and pigs and other farm animals). I’ve been around chickens most of my life, and I’m simply tired of looking at them.

Edited and updated. Originally published at one of my other websites in October 2015.

Author: RT Cunningham
Date: November 2, 2020 (UTC)
Categories: Food and Drink

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