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Game Fowl Breeding Tips from Bagyo Gonzales

team of bagyo gonzales

(l-r) Benedicto Ligaya (their driver during special events, Aaron’s grandson Roman, Aaron with their NGBA championship trophy, handler Butch Gonzales, and handler Michael Padpad.

Bacolod breeder Bagyo Gonzales is a humble man who admits that he was taught a lot by the late veteran breeder Otic Geroso.

Related Stories:
*Aaron Gonzales and His Breeding History
*The Game Farm of Bagyo Gonzales

But aside from the tips that he learned, Bagyo also did a lot of breeding experimentation in the farm. And he said that many of the things he is practicing right now are the results of trials, errors, and successes.

However, in terms of medication and supplementation, Bagyo just asks around, especially those at the feed store. He would inquire about new products as well as the medicines and supplements that are good for a certain fowl condition. Then he would try it on his flock and just find out what works. But of course, he keeps a record of his observations.

Bagyo also believes that a good looking rooster is not always a good fighter. That is why, he says, that one should not always rely on the looks but to always consider the bloodlines. Experience has taught him that if you have found the bloodline that you like, that is when you start breeding them to produce the battle crosses.

cord area

The cord area in the Gonzales farm.

Game fowl health is of utmost importance at Bagyo’s farm. Their place is naturally cold and is always raining, so protective measures are in place so that the birds are not sickly especially when they are still young. Bagyo’s birds are hen hatched and the ranged when they are a day old. But at night, the chicks are gathered in closed teepees so that they are sheltered from the rain, winds, and the cold temperature at night.

When derby time comes, Butch selects the best birds from their flock and confers his choices with his uncle. Bagyo says that among the birds that they have set aside for conditioning, they eliminate birds based on a couple of criteria. Firstly, the birds should maintain its robust body conformation throughout the conditioning period. And secondly, the chosen birds should improve in their performance every time they are sparred.

Since Bagyo’s handler and gaffer is also his nephew, he is always confident that Butch would always do a good job.

Bagyo has come a long way in his breeding. While enjoying their last championship, that episode wasn’t the end but rather a new challenge to work harder not just to maintain but also to surpass their past achievement. The trophy, however, gave this team the much needed confidence that they have what it takes to make it into the big league.

Aaron Gonzales may be reached in Bacolod City through Mobile No. 0918-388-0615.

cord area

The team checks the cord farm while Aaron’s grandson tags along

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The Game Farm of Bagyo Gonzales

conditioning area

Conditioning area

Last year, I went to Brgy. Alangilan, which is about 20 minutes from downtown Bacolod City, in order to visit the game farm of Bagyo Gonzales. But the trip doesn’t end there as from the barrio proper, it takes about another 15 minutes of edge-of-your-seat drive to where the Gonzales home and game farm are located. But being co-champion with 8.5 points in the 2010 NGBA 9-Stag derby held in October, Bagyo’s farm naturally deserved my visit.

After a long, bumpy drive on a narrow road with tall grasses and tree branches flapping on the windshield and sometimes on my face, I was surprised to see a clearing at the end of the road. Then I was refreshed to see a nice homey, bungalow house and a carport. You would not expect such a suburban sight in what seems to be the middle of nowhere on top of a mountain.

But being holed way up high in the mountain has its advantages, Butch Gonzales (Bagyo’s nephew and handler) reveals. Since they are so far away from the residential areas, they have not encountered problems related to game fowl theft. And if ever someone will try to break in the property, then he or she will be easily caught because of the difficult roads.

Though you will pass by a forest that looks like the one featured in the TV show Lost, Bagyo’s game farm is expansive, tidy, and dotted with corded stags and cocks everywhere. The more than 3-hectare rolling terrain was strategically divided for the breeding area, the range, several cord areas, and the conditioning area. At the end of a long walk down a hill is a sparring area. The soft spoken Bagyo, 56, roams up and down and around the farm everyday to check on the condition of his birds. And that also serves as his exercise.

breeding pens

The breeding pens

The farm is planted with trees all around. It also has a lot of bamboo plants all over, which Bagyo says, were the ones he had planted when he was still single. The bamboo is very useful because its wood is used to make teepees, cages, and other necessary wooden fixtures in the farm. This is one way that they keep the farm sustainable, the breeder reveals.

 

Despite producing more than 1000 birds per breeding season, there are only five people working in the farm, including Bagyo himself. His handler/gaffer, Butch, takes care of the selection, conditioning, and even gaffing. However, Butch is not exclusive to his uncle. He also accepts conditioning jobs for other breeders. And for the last 15 years now, Bagyo’s farm and entries are being financed by Manila businessman Emil Tiu, whom Bagyo met through Otic.

If the cards are right, Bagyo is thinking of expanding their production. That means that they will have to add to their seventeen (17) units of 30 feet x 20 feet breeding pens. They are just thankful that their water supply is free flowing in the farm and that they have a lot of available materials that they can use to minimize costs and keep the farm operations afloat.

Bagyo’s farm is now registered with the NGBA, GF-BAN, Rambolan 1 and Rambolan 2. But so far, the 2010 NGBA Stag Derby was their most memorable fight. Although they do win championships or get good scores in 4-Cock or 5-Cock derbies, this was the first time that they championed a big-time stag derby. Because of this feat, they are more confident to join more stag derbies this year, including the Bakbakan.

Lacy Roundhead stag

A Lacy Roundhead stag

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Aaron Gonzales and His Breeding History

Bagyo Gonzales with a Cecil Davis-Dink Fair stag

Aaron "Bagyo" Gonzales holding a greenlegged Cecil Davis-Dink Fair stag

During my visit last year to the farm of breeder Aaron “Bagyo” Gonzales, it was no joke when his handler Rex “Butch” Gonzales said that the game farm was in the sky. Or at least very near it.

Butch, who is also Bagyo’s nephew, picked me up at my place in order to drive me to the game farm that bred the winners of the team, Las Altas Mega Ono.

Located at Purok Las Altas, Barangay Alangilan, Bacolod City, going to the Gonzales game farm is literally like going up on a stairway to heaven. The concrete road ends at the barrio proper so the rest of the ride to the game fowl heaven is a bumpy one.

Bagyo shares that he had always been a farmer, planting rice and corn in this same area. A high school graduate, he tilled the soil and used his produce and earnings to support his growing family.

ruble grey

A Ruble Grey stag at the Gonzales Game Farm--Las Altas Mega Ono

But the now-famous breeder is not new to the game of breeding and cockfighting. When he was a young boy, he used to go with his father Leopoldo whenever the latter would join hack fights (incero) in nearby villages. That was a long time ago and Bagyo has gone a long way from that.

In 1995, Bagyo Gonzales started working for the late Negrense breeder Generoso “Otic” Geroso. It was Otic who inspired, encouraged, and even provided the young Bagyo with materials and knowledge so that the latter can start breeding. Bagyo’s farm then became Otic’s satellite area. And Otic had used a lot of Bagyo’s produce in derbies.

Among Otic’s original lines that are now with Bagyo are the Sweater and Bruce Barnett. He has crossed them with Givens and the Ruble.

Bagyo Gonzales game farm

Aaron shows his pure Given brood cock from Otic Geroso while his two grandsons, Mark Aaron, 5, and Roman, 3, look on.

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