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Winning a fight takes more than luck. Much like athletes, fighting roosters undergo a lot of preparation or conditioning before fight day. Conditioning fighting birds ensures that they grow healthy and strong and be in their best state in order to win the fight against their opponents.
Training your gamefowl and letting it undergo a conditioning program doesn’t just mean that you have to make it exercise as much as possible. There are necessary steps and a whole schedule to follow if you want your rooster to reach its full potential. Learn about the 21-day conditioning program in this article.
Is the Pre-Conditioning Stage Necessary?
Pre-conditioning is the stage that gamefowls have to undergo before transitioning into the conditioning stage. It is the gradual shifting and improvement of gamefowl care that readies your birds for the more stressful practices in the upcoming conditioning program.
The pre-conditioning method can be very demanding as it consists of a daily routine of exercises from the cord area, fly pen, and scratch box. Sparring sessions are also included, and the cocks also need to find time to rest.
A diet high in protein, nutritional supplements, and processes such as deworming, delousing, and bacterial flushing are important parts of the pre-conditioning routine as well.
What Do You Give a Rooster Before a Fight?
A fighting rooster needs to be strong and powerful before its grand fight. To improve the strength and health of your gamefowl, it needs to be given a balanced feed mix packed with nutrition.
Roosters are also given vitamin and mineral supplements to make up for any nutritional deficiency that the feed cannot provide. Some of those include B-complex vitamins, amino acids, magnesium, iron, and the like. Furthermore, a lot of handlers give their roosters crude protein to repair muscle and increase power before fight day.
How Much Protein Should I Feed My Gamefowl?
Protein helps build and repair the muscle of the gamefowl. With the muscle developed, it results in a fighting rooster that has more power. Experts suggest starting with 16% of crude protein from day one up to day eleven, and then you can increase the amount to 22% after that.
Important Components of a Gamefowl Conditioning Program
Gamefowl conditioning has two important aspects: feeding and exercising. The success of the performance of any fighting rooster is attributed to many factors, but the major contributor to that is the feed mix it is being fed with.
Hand in hand with a proper feed mix is a combination of exercises that can keep the birds active and help them stay in top condition.
The feed is the rooster’s primary source of energy and nutrition. In order to have a winning gamefowl on fight day, your rooster has to be given the right feeds that meet its nutritional requirements.
During the conditioning phase, most handlers feed roosters with a variety of grains. The exact ingredients depend on the handler, the breed of the bird, and the locality but most incorporate cracked corn, wheat, oat groats, jockey oats, and mixed grains.
The amount of water the cock consumes is important too. Any handler should keep an eye out on the water intake of the cock during the entire conditioning program. Water affects roosters in two ways: one as a supply of moisture needed by the body for normal bodily functions and two, as a temperature regulator. The roosters need drinking water to properly digest the feed it consumes, otherwise, their life may be in danger.
The weather also plays a role in the amount of water they drink. During hot summer months, roosters will most certainly drink more water to regain lost moisture and regulate their body temperature.
Exercise can stimulate the bird’s muscles as well as its mind. In some cases, exercises can even improve cognitive function and develop the rooster’s fighting style.
There are numerous ways to train a rooster but a lot of handlers find the rotation method to be one of the most efficient ways of keeping the gamefowl active. Rotation simply means transferring the cock from one pen to another after spending some time in it.
Most handlers do a rotation of transferring the cock to the cord area, to the fly pen, to the scratch box, to the resting coop, and back to the cord again.
The scratch box allows the rooster to practice the proper extension of its legs and of course, for scratching. The fly pen lets the rooster strengthen its wings. The cord area should be their sleeping ground, while the resting coop is a special area for the cock to rest in between rotations.
The 21-Day Conditioning Program
Handlers have varied approaches when it comes to conditioning their fighting cocks but ultimately, the goal is to put the rooster in its best shape possible and mentally prepare them for fight day.
Here is a 21-day conditioning program that you can apply to your fighting cocks:
Day 1: Deworming
The first day of the conditioning process is to deworm the cocks. For this, it is important to not give the rooster its afternoon feed the day before. It is advisable to deworm between 4 to 5 AM.
Give the rooster medicine and then place it back in the cage. Don’t forget to provide it with clean drinking water. Observe if its feces contains worms. Put the gamefowl on a soft diet between 9 to 10 am, then go back to regular feeds at 5 PM.
Day 2: Bacterial Flushing
Do an antibiotic flushing and then inject the bird with an injectable that contains high levels of B-complex vitamins for optimum muscle development and better nutrient utilization. Then, bathe the rooster with medicated shampoo to remove external parasites.
Day 3: Rotation Day and Administration of Injectables
Record the weight of each rooster before starting each rotation. Then, start rotation at 4 or 5 AM at the scratch box. At 7 AM, give the rooster its morning feed. One hour after giving the morning feed, administer the B-complex injectable and amino acid. Next, allow the rooster to rest in the cord area.
Day 4: Rotation Day and First Sparring Day
Day 4 is the first sparring session in the conditioning program. First, perform rotation as usual and then give it a morning feed. Then, add oral supplements and electrolytes to their drinking water. Around 4 PM, allow the fighting cocks to spar. Record their performance rate accordingly. Feed at 5 PM and let it rest.
Days 5 to 7: Rotation Day
Follow the usual daily routine. On the morning of day 5, give calcium lactate before performing rotation and then give oral supplements after their morning feed. On day 6, give them multivitamins to boost immunity.
On day 7, give them ascorbic acid to ward off colds. Allow the rooster to get sun only from 6 AM to 8 AM. Day 7 is also a sparring day so spar with the rooster using a variety of exercises.
Day 8: Rotation Day, Sparring Day, and Fasting
Perform rotations and give the rooster its morning feed. Give supplements and electrolytes in drinking water both in the morning and the evening. Do some sparring around 3 PM and don’t forget to record their performance. Don’t give the rooster any afternoon feed to prepare for deworming the next day.
Day 9: Deworming, Delousing, Grooming, and Administering of Injectables
Deworm the rooster between 4 to 5 AM. After their morning feed, apply a delousing solution on the gamefowl. After bathing them, allow the roosters to dry under the sun. Administer injectable B-complex and amino acid, and then return to regular feeding at 5 PM.
Day 10: Rotation and Bacterial Flushing
Perform rotation as part of the daily routine. Reconstitute the water-soluble antibiotic and administer it in the morning and again around noon with a new solution.
Days 11 to 13: Rotation and Sparring Day
Perform rotation as usual on days 11 and 13. Day 12 is a sparring day. Do some spar exercises around 3 PM and record their performance. Give multivitamins to boost immunity.
Day 14: Last Sparring Day
This is the final sparring day before the actual fight. Allow the bird to rest and give it morning feed. Then, give oral vitamins and electrolytes in the drinking water. Do some sparring around 3 PM, record the performance, and rate your birds. This is where you will choose which gamefowl you will be using for fight day. Give afternoon feed and anti-stress medicine.
Day 15: Rotation and Delousing
Perform the daily routine and give morning feed at 7 AM as well as vitamins. After the morning feed, bathe thoroughly with a delousing solution. Allow the rooster to dry in the sun.
Day 16: Mild Exercise
Give the rooster its morning feed and vitamins at 7 AM. Allow it to do some mild exercises for 5 minutes around 3 PM. Then, give the afternoon feed at 5 PM and give anti-stress medicine as well.
Day 17: Keeping and Carbo-Loading
This stage of the conditioning program is where “carbo-loading” begins. Carbo-loading is the technique of increasing or “loading up” carbohydrates in the diet of the rooster to give it as much energy as possible in order to enhance its power. Carbo-loading is typically done in the last three days of the conditioning program and is a part of “pointing.”
At 6 AM, warm up the birds and wash their feet. Record their weight and give them morning feed. Administer injectable B-complex and amino acid one hour after morning feeding. Around 12 PM, allow them to limber and defecate. Give them the afternoon feed by 5 PM.
Day 18: Keeping and Carbo-Loading
Similar to day 17, record the weight of the rooster first thing in the morning, and then give it its morning feed. Administer injectables, and by 12 PM, allow it to limber and defecate. Give it feed at 5 PM.
Day 19: Keeping and Carbo-Loading
At 7 AM, let the rooster limber. Record its weight and observe. Give it a morning feed. By 12 noon, allow them to limber and defecate, and then allow the cocks to take walks. Give it a snack such as a ripe banana. Around 4 PM, let it out to defecate once more. By evening, take the rooster to the cord area which must be open without any disturbance.
Day 20: Keeping and Carbo-Loading
At 6 AM, allow the rooster to limber and defecate. Clean the bird’s face and feet. At this part of the conditioning stage, carbo-loading is of utmost importance and so, the rooster should be given around 20 grams of morning feed. By noon time, let it limber and defecate, and then rest.
Around 4 PM, let the cock limber once more before feeding it. Afterward, take it to the cord area, then let it rest. In the evening, take the rooster to the open cord area once more and ensure there is no disturbance, and then let it rest after.
Day 21: Fight Day
By 7 AM, let the fighting rooster limber but it must not see a hen or another cock. For its morning feed, only give it 1/4 of the feed mixture and give 8 to 10 dips of drinking water.
Give it anti-stress medicine if you are traveling to the cockfighting venue. Allow the bird to defecate every 1 to 2 hours. Know what time the fight starts to see if the bird needs feeding again.
Fighting Rooster Conditioning Program Tips
You’ve crossed out proper feeding and have a daily routine in your conditioning program checklist. Aside from those, here are a few key things that you need to do and remind yourself to ensure that your rooster will reach its full potential:
Maintain a Normal Feeding Schedule
Always feed the roosters on a regular basis. For example, if you give your rooster its morning feed at 7 AM, then be sure to also give the morning feed at the same time the next day and the next. If you give it its afternoon feed at 5 PM, do the same thing the next day, and so on.
It is important to stick to schedule as gamefowls have a unique digestive system that can only accommodate a small amount of food at a time.
Use Corn for Carbo-Loading
A gamefowl must store enough energy in his body to use during the actual fight. The carbo-loading days are critical as these are the days when you, the trainer, would want to load up the gamecock with as much energy as possible. For many handlers, corn is the first choice for carbo-loading as it contains high amounts of carbohydrates compared to other feed ingredients. It is also low in fat.
Sparring is Vital
Sparring is a key part of conditioning but unfortunately, most handlers tend to play it down or skip it. Trainers should make the most out of each sparring day in the conditioning schedule to help the rooster become a clever fighter.
While the conditioning schedule details day 14 as the final sparring day, you can do a final sparring period with your cock 48 hours before a fight. This final session will serve as a tune-up session to keep your rooster on the edge. Only do two rounds to prevent muscle stiffness.
Undergoing a conditioning program can be very challenging but with a lot of patience and consistency, your hard work will pay off on the fight day. Stick to the daily routine, give your morning feed and afternoon feed at a consistent schedule, give your rooster nutritious supplements, monitor its water intake, spar regularly, and use various exercises and equipment to improve its attacks and reflexes.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the recommended crude protein for gamefowl?
Experts recommend 16% up to 22% of crude protein for gamefowls to keep up with the development and repair of muscle tissues.