Gamefowl breeding season, typically from October up to March, is an exciting time for gamefowl breeders. While it can be a long period of tedious preparations, breeders will agree that this process can be very rewarding. That is, if you plan ahead of time, of course.
Gamefowl breeding season: why preparation is key
Veterans would caution beginners that if you do not have the heart for gamefowl breeding, don’t do it. It’s a very lengthy and tedious undertaking that requires your full attention and a lot of resources. But much like the game itself, the reward can be worth the risk.
Aside from having a big and lucrative market for fighting cocks locally, one major reason why raisers enjoy gamefowl breeding is the idea of producing a winner by their own design. That is because they call the shots in every step of the breeding process, from choosing brood stocks, the method of breeding, what they eat, and so on.
To help you in preparing for breeding season, here are some key areas you need to focus on:
It’s good to follow the advice of fellow breeders but it’s more important that you plan your breeding around your budget as well as your time. If you are starting out, know that having a huge farm is not necessary to raise quality gamefowl. Later on, you can decide to keep your numbers, grow them, or cut them down through selective breeding and hatching.
Another thing to prepare is the environment you will be raising in. The good thing about gamefowl breeding is that it is not as sensitive as raising broiler chickens. Aside from keeping the farm clean and sanitized, it is also good to keep your gamefowl in teepees that are a good distance from each other while they are being conditioned for a fight or for breeding.
Selecting a broodcock
While some say it’s about luck, most breeders would say it’s about maintaining strict standards in choosing brood fowls in order to produce high-quality gamefowl. An ideal fighting cock is one with good balance; fighting styles may differ, but a cock with balance will fight better.
Some ideal characteristics include:
- A small head
- Eyes that are bright, fierce, and red in color
- Long and well-proportioned neck
- Football-shaped body
- Keel bone – If you can feel it all the way to the vent, the cock has strong hitting ability
- Leg should be longer than the shank
- Tailbone feathers should be at a 45 degree angle
In choosing bloodlines, you can choose 2-3 to maintain at the breeding farm. This is how you can monitor the quality of the gamefowl.
Set a good conditioning program
After selection, setting a conditioning program helps keep your gamefowl healthy and free from sickness and infections. This includes delousing and bacterial flushing. Gamefowl are susceptible to colds when there is a sudden change in weather, in such case they are given antibiotics once a day for 3-5 days. Delousing is done every 2 weeks to ensure that their skin and feathers are in good condition. For hens, delousing is done right before breeding season.
Breeder hens especially need more nutrition to ensure proper production of eggs. Each hen requires 40-80 grams of layer feeds twice a day, once in the morning and once in the afternoon. Fighting cocks, on the other hand, need to build more muscle versus fat so overfeeding should be avoided. During the maintenance period, make sure to switch to maintenance feeds, but when kept in the cording area, upgrade to 40 grams of high-protein performance pellets twice a day.
Multivitamins with amino acids may also be added to the daily drinking water of your chicken (1tsp to 1L of water) to help improve their health and fertility. For fighting cocks, this is only given 5 days in a month to avoid excess weight gain.
Read more features on pig and poultry care, and farm tips from UNAHCO.