With the high cost of producing imported breeds of birds for meat and eggs, the current trend for farm households is to revive the traditional family backyard poultry project using local and upgraded birds. These local breeds survive the adverse conditions found in the rural areas.

backyard poultry photo

Photo by Bev Wagar

By using improved feeds and management practices, these local and upgraded birds can provide at least 130-200 eggs and extra poultry meat throughout the year for the family. These birds can be allowed to search for feed on the range or in confinement using a low-cost poultry compost litter system, practiced by some farmers in Cavite, Philippines. This system can sustain 6 hens and 1 rooster or 3 hens, 30 chicks and 1 rooster for at least 3 – 4 months. The compost litter is then removed and used as organic fertilizer and a new batch of farmyard manure is added. Production of a small flock in the backyard can help fill the family food requirements for eggs and meat, provide extra family income and utilize the manure as an excellent organic fertilizer.


The farm family should properly select an upgraded rooster (Cantonese, New Hampshire, Plymouth Rock breeds) and hens/layers.

Other poultry birds, like Muscovy duck. native or Pateros ducks, Peking duck, geese and pigeons are hardy and can also be raised under backyard conditions. They do not require elaborate housing and can subsist on inexpensive feeds.


Construct the house using local materials to minimize expenses, (cogon/nipa for roof, bamboo or used fish nets for siding’ end ipil-ipil/madre de cacao as posts). The house should be located in a dry, well-drained area. Perch racks, roosts, nests, feed hoppers and waterers made of low-cost materials should also be provided.

The house should not be less than 2.0 m in height with a floor area of 3 m x 3 m. The house should be fenced; or if the hens are raised with chicks, they can be raised in a separate open house.

Before constructing the house, dig a pit in the floor 1/2 m deep, extending the length of the house (3 m) and 2 m wide. Once the building is completed, the pit should be filled with fresh manure of cattle, carabao or goat. Keep the manure moist for one week (to encourage the growth of worms and maggots as feed for the chickens) and then place the upgraded/native birds in the poultry house. While scratching the ground, the birds will be eating as well as hastening the composting process.


The family should provide extra feed supplements, like kitchen refuse, fish entrails, corn/sorghum, ipil-ipil leaves and others. Clean, potable water should be always available.

Home Made Chicken Ration

· 4 parts yellow corn, broken rice (binlid) or sorghum. Boiled gabi, fresh ubi, camote or cassava (bitter type should be boiled) can also be substituted.
· 1.5 parts rice bran (darak). Dried azolla or filter cake (from sugar mills) can replace rice bran.
· 1 part dried fish meal or 2 parts fresh fish/golden snail
· 1.5 parts cope/oil meal
· 0.5 part ground sitao/mongo (mung)/patani (lima bean)/soybean/kadios (pigeon pea) seeds
· 0.5 part dried ipil-ipil leaves
· 1 tbsp salt
· 1 handful powdered oyster shell/agricultural lime

Note: Double the recommended amounts if ingredients are not in dry form.

Other Low-cost Poultry Feeds

Carbohydrate Sources

Protein Sources

– Bananas

– Azolla

– Gabi

– Earthworms

– Ubi

– Filter cake (dried and powdered)

– Cassava

– Kitchen leftovers

– Camote

– Mole crickets

– Spoiled papayas

– Sorghum

– Rice bran

– Fish fingerlings

– Crushed golden snails

– Termites

– Tadpoles

– Fly maggots


Regular immunizations against Avian Pest, Fowl Pox and Fowl Cholera must be followed. A regular schedule of deworming, according to local conditions, must also be followed.


Other management practices like brooding, rearing the chicks, culling and selection and record-keeping should be practiced.

Source: nzdl.org