|Posted by Rey Bajenting on December 9, 2009 at 3:55 AM|
Controlled natural selection
By Rey K. Bajenting
RB Sugbo Gamefowl Technology
(This is part of an article written by the author for Pit Games Magazine under his regular column "Secrets I learned from the Masters." The article is pubished in Pit games no. 27.)
Nature may have endowed animals with the instinct necessary in an environment of survival of the fittest, but no doubt human intervention did wonders to the remarkable improvement of breeds of many kinds of animals from horses to cattle to dogs and to fowl. As breeder of gamefowl, is there a way to have the best of both worlds?
It is said that when chickens are left alone in the wild, the male will pick from among the flock a few favorite hens to mate. Likewise, hens, when allowed to roam freely in a yard of corded roosters, will also have preferences. Meaning, chickens, when left on their own, rely on instinct to choose their own mates which they believe are best to insure the continuity and improvement of their genetic line. This is part of what is called natural selection process.
When it is man who picked which broodcock to mate with which hen, it is called controlled selection process in forming, improving and/or propagating a bloodline.
Naturalists believe that nature endowed cocks with the instinct to determine which hens,and vice versa, possessed the right genes to combine with their own in order to produce better offspring in the succeeding generations. In short, they believe in the theory that nature knows best.
On the other hand, others believe that man can always improve on nature. They maintain that human intervention is paramount in improving breeds and producing superior individuals, as science proved true, time and again, through the years.
We, at RB Sugbo Gamefowl Technology, believe in both. We recognized the evidence of remarkable progress that abound in the various fields of breeding as result of man’s intervention. However, we also acknowledged that nature might have endowed chickens with deep instinct that man can never fathomed.
Thus,we experimented with what we called “controlled natural selection” mating method. We used this method in breeding some of our battle pures, particularly of the ponkan bloodlines. For those who were not familiar or who had heard of the ponkans for the first time, here is a short backgrounder:
RB Sugbo ponkan is not a color but a bloodline. The ponkan is one of the two bloodlines RB Sugbo has developed. The other is the blakliz. The ponkan is a blend of a sweater line, the lemon 84 and Lance’s roundhead. Ponkan, the original came from Doc Ayong Lorenzo, through our common friend Art Panuncillo. Ponkan’s blood constitutes 5/8 of the ponkan bloodline, thus, the name. The 84and the roundhead came direct from the originators themselves, Mr. Paeng Araneta and Mr. Lance de la Torre. I got ponkan the original in year 2000. The 84 and the roundhead two years later from the two distinguished breeders and gentlemen. It was during the time I went to Negros to research on the “History of the Philippine Lemon” which I wrote for Pitgames. Thus, I owed to my publisher, Manny Berbano, my introduction to theoutstanding lemon breeders and my initiation to the world of serious gamefowl breeding.
The ponkan is RB Sugbo’s commercial line. The blakliz is personal. It is named after my wife Liz. The blakliz is black. Though, Liz is not.
The ponkan caters to ordinarycockers and the small- big timers. Among the loyal ponkan customers are AlanYaplito of Ozamis, Franklin Tan of Iligan, Simy Irigon, a cockpit operator and derby promoter in Calbayog, Western Samar, and his townmate Ronnie Rosales; Lemuel Go of Tacloban; Manalo brothers and Mison brothers of Clarin Bohol. Some politicians-- a couple of mayors in Cebu; and one in Sorsogon; and Dennis Aguilar, a councilor of Las Pinas. There are also Roy Abian and his friends from far-away Palawan; Adolp Lee as far south as Basilan and Dr. Delizo as far north as La Union. Among the recent converts are kamana Teofilo Morando of San Pedro, Laguna and Jayson Fajardo who is abroad. There are others but no super big-timers. The real big timers don’t buy cheap chickens. And, the ponkans are a bargain for its class and today’s standard.
Now we go back to controlled natural selection. The process involves putting a number of broodcocks, say three or four, in the same yard along with a number of hens, say a ratio of five hens or more per broodcock. The broodcocks are corded far apart from one another. The hens are let loose in the yard. The hens will now have the choice of which broodcock to go for mating. The broodcocks may also have the pick of which hen to mate among those who came nearby. In this sense, it is natural selection process at work. However, we see to it that the broodcocks are full brothers coming from one family of ponkan. And that all the hens belong to another ponkan line that is as far related to the broodcocks as possible inorder to avoid inbreeding. Therefore, whichever broodcock mates with whichever hen, the outcome or the genetic composition of the offspring is the same. In this sense, it is controlled.
We only apply this method to produce some of our battlefowl, not all. Some lines do not result in uniformed offspring if mated this way. Because some lines are not characteristically pure as the others. We never do this to produce our broodfowl. We only single mate to produce broodfowl.
We have considered our experiment with this method a success. The offspring out of this method performed as good in the pit as the other sugbos. It is noteworthy,however, that chickens out of controlled natural selection had a higher survival rate as chicks and in the free range than the others. This could be because nature indeed gifted the chickens with the instinct necessary in the survival of the fittest environment. Well, I have to consult with a real master on this. I will find time to discuss this topic with Dr. Andrew Bunan, the breeding and genetic expert.