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Raising fighting roosters includes feeding them properly with the best kind of food. However, a regular feed may not be enough to provide roosters with the energy needed for power and endurance. Fighting roosters require a highly specialized diet that can help them become amazing pit fighters. Here’s a guide on what to feed your fighting rooster.
What Is the Proper Feeding of Gamefowl?
Gamefowl breeders take a lot of care in feeding their fighting roosters in order for the birds to achieve their full potential. They have to be given the right feeds that can meet their nutritional needs. This means that just mixing corn, oats, and grains won’t be enough for a gamefowl to grow.
One must develop a successful feeding program for the gamefowl and in order to do so, it’s crucial to consider which period they are in maintenance, conditioning, or pointing. This is because the required nutrients in each feeding program period are vastly different from one another.
A rooster in the pointing period cannot be fed the same thing they were being given during the maintenance phase. It’s highly important to formulate feeds with the different nutrients required in each period.
Can I Use A Chicken Feed Mix to Feed Roosters?
Most poultry raisers feed roosters with chicken feed. It’s recommended to feed chicks with starter feed that contains 20% to 24% protein and has a fine texture which is ideal for growing roosters between 1 to 20 weeks of age.
Once the roosters reach between 6 to 20 weeks, they can switch to eating growing feed. This one contains 13% to 18% protein and it’s specially designed to increase the growth rate of roosters.
If you’re raising roosters for breeding or for their meat, they will greatly benefit from this type of feed. It’s also ideal for a mixed flock. However, if you have roosters that are being raised only for breeding, they should only be fed limited amounts of grower feed.
What Is the Best Maintenance Feed for Gamefowl?
One of the most important aspects of feeding a gamefowl properly is to give them the right feed mix and supplements during their maintenance phase. This phase is where the rooster is not being conditioned for a show but instead being prepared for conditioning and pointing. The recommended components for a maintenance feed include:
An essential component of a gamefowl feed, maintenance pellets usually come with 18% crude protein (CP) and are fortified with vitamins and minerals. These pellets are the primary source of protein in the diet, contributing to sustaining and maintenance of muscle tissues of the rooster.
Corn is a high-energy feed and the best grain for carboloading. During the maintenance stage, gamefowls do not need large amounts of energy but they do need to get used to consuming corn as it is a vital ingredient in later-stage feeds. It’s recommended to use whole corn during the maintenance phase as it contains more protein and is more economical than cracked corn.
Also referred to as scratch grains, mixed grains are a high-fiber multi-grain feed that usually comes with 14% CP. This fibrous feed is what chickens eat more naturally and allows them to have good nourishment that comes economically.
The grains are a mix of tapilans, lupins, peas, wheat, oat groats, jockey oats, safflower, barley, corn, and sorghum. Some mix in beans, sunflower seeds, and other seeds. The more diverse the components are, the more combinations of nutrients there are.
These are also known as whole oats or racehorse oats. High in fiber grain, jockey oats that are not dehulled are usually added to the maintenance feed mixture as it supports the gamefowl’s overall health during this period.
High-protein grains such as soybeans, corn gluten, and wheat middlings are excellent sources of protein that help gamefowl develop strong muscles and bones. They are also essential for the conditioning stage, ensuring that the game fowls are in top physical shape for their performance.
Incorporating high-protein grains also contributes to the balance of the mixture. While they only comprise 10% of the gamefowl feed, they are vital as they ensure that the roosters receive the right amount of protein for their growth and development.
These supplements are dietary additives or products given to gamefowls during the off-season. Maintenance supplements help maintain the overall health, well-being, and performance level of the fighting roosters even when they are not being prepared for shows.
These supplements often contain a blend of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, herbs, and other natural or synthetic ingredients that support the immune system, digestive system, respiratory system, and other bodily functions of a fighting rooster.
Conditioning Period Feeding Program
Much like athletes, fighting roosters undergo a lot of conditioning before the battle day. During this phase, gamefowls are conditioned to ensure that they grow healthy and strong to have the upper hand in winning a cockfight.
Protein is a vital component in any gamefowl feed as it is responsible for building and repairing muscle. Gamefowl feeds must have crude protein of 17 to 19% to properly pre-condition gamefowls. An approach focused on the amino acid composition of the diet and supplements can also be done to ensure that the roosters absorb the correct amount of protein to enhance their muscles.
Conditioning Phase Feed Composition
Depending on the resources available and different localities, the components of the conditioning phase feed can vary. Here are some key ingredients:
Grains are the primary source of energy for gamefowl and the type of grain used during this period depends on the desired outcome. Some of the best grains to include are corn, wheat, oat groats, jockey oats, mixed grains, and barley.
Corn provides high energy to roosters but if consumed too much, it can make gamefowl heavy. Wheat is a great grain that helps develop breast muscle. It must be soaked or fermented before feeding.
Oat groats with the husk already removed are the softest grain, making them the easiest to digest. Jockey oats are high-fiber grains that are used to make gamefowl lighter.
Mixed grains, composed of peas, wheat, oats, barley, sunflower seeds, beans, and other seeds, provide ample sources of additional nutrients to roosters. These grains are what chickens eat regularly. They can have 14 to 18% CP.
Other breeders add barley but there are also ones who do not add it on its own; the barley mixed in the scratch grains is enough. Grains make up 10% of the feed but can be increased to 20% in hot weather.
Conditioning pellets are specially formulated feed supplements that are designed to provide additional nutrients to fighting roosters during the conditioning phase. These pellets containing a higher crude protein content are fortified with higher calcium, vitamins, and minerals to raise the amounts to the minimum level needed by gamefowls. They are usually given 30% to 40% of the whole diet.
Conditioning pellets also often come with Phytic Acid Neutralizer (PAN). Phytic acid is an antinutrient found in grains that can interfere with muscle contraction. Adding PAN to the pellets neutralizes the negative effects of phytic acid.
Animal protein is a crucial supplement during the conditioning phase as they are essential for muscle tissue repair and growth. Compared to plant sources, animal proteins contain many amino acids that are required to create muscle tissues.
Egg white is an excellent source of protein that can help create lean muscle. It is cholesterol-free and fat-free, making it a healthy source of protein. It also has the ability to add moisture to the feed. It’s worth noting that it should be cooked or treated with heat before it can be fed to roosters as raw egg white may interfere with their digestion.
Beef is another excellent source of protein and is widely used in gamefowl conditioning. It has a higher crude protein content than egg white and pork. Beef liver is the best food for roosters in the precon and conditioning phases. Like egg whites, beef should be cooked before being added to the mix. It can be cooked rare.
Milk is another source of protein that can be given to gamefowls. However, gamefowls are not mammals and do not produce lactase, which is an enzyme that breaks down lactose into glucose and galactose. This means that the energy from milk is not easily absorbed by roosters.
Milk can be fermented to break down the lactose into a simpler form, allowing roosters to easily assimilate it. Most breeders use 1/2 part lactic acid bacteria pure culture to 1/2 part fresh milk.
Grits are vital as they are the key to grinding the feed to be digested by roosters. A feeding cup filled with grits allows the gamefowls to have them anytime they want.
Conditioning supplements are dietary additives that are given to roosters to enhance their physical and mental capabilities. Some common examples include protein supplements, energy supplements, and vitamin and mineral supplements. There are breeders who also include other supplements such as herbal and fat supplements in their gamefowls feed.
Pointing Phase Feeding Program
The pointing stage is a crucial phase that breeders must not overlook. The main purpose of this stage is to ensure that roosters reach their tip-top shape. All efforts put into the conditioning phase will go to waste if the pointing stage is not done properly.
The type of pointing will be different depending on the breed of the rooster but most expert breeders agree that the most important exercises must be done and the best food must be given to the fighting rooster so that it stays in pearl form before and during its match.
Pointing is typically done three days before an event. During this, breeders still give the roosters vitamins such as vitamin B12 which can be in an injectable form or caplets. The protein intake of the gamefowls must also be decreased to lighten up their weight and feeling. Water intake is vital as well and mixing electrolytes is encouraged in most cases.
During the pointing period, a feed mix consisting of oat groats, cracked corn, concentrate, chopped boiled egg whites, and dextrose powder is fed to the roosters. Supplements are also given to the rooster; most often, they contain a blend of vitamins, minerals, herbs, amino acids, and other natural ingredients.
Feed Preparation and Processing
Knowing the right ingredients and supplements to feed roosters is not enough. The gamefowls must also be able to effectively absorb the nutrients from the feed. This is where feed processing comes in. The four methods of feed processing are soaking, fermenting, germinating, and cooking.
Soaking the grains is an effective method to eliminate hazardous materials such as toxins and phytic acid which can reduce muscle contraction, resulting in poor power and extension. Soaking can significantly decrease phytic acid. Additionally, soaked grains will be assimilated more than dry grains.
Fermenting is soaking the grains for at least 48 hours with an effective organism such as lactic acid bacteria solution or beneficial indigenous microorganisms. This process provides beneficial organisms to the rooster and makes the fibers more digestible. A lot of breeders prefer to ferment grains, especially when feeding conditioned gamefowl.
This process involves soaking the grains for 7 to 12 hours and then transferring them to a dark area in a draining container, covered with a towel or newspaper. The grains are allowed to sprout for 24 to 36 hours. This process adds a variety of essential nutrients, particularly vitamins, to the feed.
If the first three methods are not feasible, cooking the grains is an alternative method to enhance digestion and palatability. It should be noted that some roosters may not eat the dry feed if they are used to soaked ones.
Correct Feed Mixing Procedure
There is a correct way to mix all the components in a rooster feed. Throwing all the ingredients in one bowl will not work. Below are the proper steps for mixing rooster feeds:
- Rinsed the soaked grains.
- Drain the grains.
- Prepare a mixing bowl that can accommodate all the ingredients.
- Add grains to the bowl.
- Add the supplements.
- If the rooster is in the conditioning phase, add the beef and egg whites.
- Mix the components in the bowl.
- Add the conditioning pellets.
- Mix again with all the ingredients added.
Raising a gamefowl requires a delicate balance of nutrition to ensure optimal growth and performance. They need a specific diet that includes the right mix of feed as well as supplements. Furthermore, in order for the roosters to properly absorb the nutrients, the method used in preparing and processing the feed is also important.
While there are a lot of components needed and a lot of steps to undertake, knowing that your rooster is being fed properly will ensure that it is in the best shape possible and potentially win in its matches.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you condition a rooster for fighting?
Handlers have different approaches when it comes to conditioning gamefowls but most have a daily routine that consists of exercising, sparring, and finding time to rest. Roosters are also given a high-protein diet along with nutritional supplements.
How do I make my gamefowl stronger?
You can make your gamefowl stronger by ensuring that it has a healthy diet of nutritious foods. You can also give them supplements of vitamins and nutrients such as B12, calcium, D3, B2, B6, folic acid, and the like to keep them healthy and improve their overall well-being.
Plenty of exercise and stimulation is also important; you can keep them active by letting them free-range or providing them with toys and perches.