Monday, October 25, 2010

Healthy Signs Of Life

White molds on the ground...that is a sign that your land is healthy and good bacteria is growing and being fed well.  Don't be worried about them.  The good bacteria eat the bad.

What other signs are there in your farm that excites natural farmers...

Molds on the ground.  Birds and nests abound in our farm, both on treetops and ground level.  Signs of life everywhere.  Insects of all shapes and colors....
This spider was able to swing around fast!  By the time we saw him the next morning, his web was clinging to the branches  from different trees, on the ground now.

Strong winds shook the trees to show us the cobwebs :)

Don't take it for granted.  Observe the farms that uses chemicals will notice the difference of healthy life.

Brooding For A Storm

We all had a lot of warnings.  There was a lot of time to prepare way before the expected landfall of Megi, Typhoon Juan in the Philippines.

For pastured chicken farmers like you and I, what can we do?  Moreso when you have a batch brooding.

For now, we are brooding in the same range housing.  They were in shaded areas, but no good fencing around.  Doc Rey wanted an area that will have windbreakers, near the caretaker's house, accessible to water.  So he assessed what we had that may work for us:

1) In the garage, he saw unusued aluminum vans and the dismantled truck bed enclosures.  He asked that be brought to the spot he saw that had trees that will be good windbreakers.  Close to the house of the caretaker and the water pump.

2) Not just sitting them on the ground, he sort of had it buried a bit.  Dug canal around the cages and area, for drainage.

3) Found old roofing materials that was wrapped all around.  Why?  Don't forget the RATS!  They will surely want dry ground for themselves too :)  They can't climb the slippery surface.  

But can the chicks have good air circulation inside that cage?  There was a reason why they were retired to the garage.  These pieces of roofing material had holes on them already. Perfect for air inlets.  The wire mesh all around the cage was guarantee enough that fresh air circulates and bad air escapes.

Others were set on top as roofs. They were tied to the cages.

4) Trucks' tarpaulins were set on top of the roof.  Remember those yeros were butas already :)  Roofweights were needed.  Got old tires and the stacked chicken crates that were near the water pump for washing.

It was very good!  Did what it was supposed to do, as planned, from materials that were to be found around you.

The trees all around fell and didn't withstand the strong winds of Juan, but it did to the cage its purpose.  It protected the brooder from the rage of the typhoon.  The brooding Sunshines were very healthy and energetic when the cage was opened after the storm!

We had several of the cages set up.  You don't want them to pile up one on top of the other when they get afraid and cold.  Stampedes are less likely in smaller spaces.

Let's take a closer look inside.  Aside from the gas brooder that was good for 1000 birds, there was another standby brooder for the same capacity.  If you will notice, this area isn't for 1000 birds, so why have big capacity brooders being used?  You have to make sure they are warm.  It will be terribly cold out there during the storm and no such thing as over prepared. 

From the other side and behind:  The fallen tree was acting as shade before the storm came, as it was prepared a couple of days prior.  The large LPG tank, the source of energy for the gas brooder.....heavy stuff, can't be blown away.  Doc Rey still played safe.  He had charcoal heaters on standby.

We've learned over the years.  I hope you have taken some points from us too to guide you through.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Creatures Of Habit

After we opened the cage for the 14days to start ranging, we passed by this 49days range area.  

This batch is the one that holds my spot for my favorite Aratiles tree.  "My Spot" had fallen too from the ravage of Juan, together with almost 99% of our fruit trees.  As they went out to hunt for food today after the storm had left, in groups, they find their regular joints.

This group obviously loves Aratiles too.  They were just attracted and concentrated on the fruits they have enjoyed on the ground daily.  They must have not noticed that the source of those fruits are no longer standing there.  Nor that the Mango tree that used to give them shade while they scout for their fruits, are now at their eye level.
That was the side story....

I was trying to point out that they are willing and able to to take care of themselves!

Here Comes The Sun

 Touted as a super typhoon....we had days to prepare as information dissemination had been non-stop and with the availability of the internet, there is no reason to feign ignorance of the obvious comings.  Some newspaper was so safe and printing news that they cited several weather observation stations' predictions of Megi's route. 

It was said to be hitting the Northern tip of Cagayan.  I must have drank coffee that night and had been clicking "refresh" on my browser so often.  I know that just before I slept, I saw the path switch downward....or maybe dreaming?

Not to be too alarmed about our Sunshines....our buildings are strong, so I wasn't worried about housing going down.  This is the design we are now using for the ranges.  It withstood the strong winds :)  The Sunshines they housed were not a bit affected.

Electricity wasn't an issue too...there are alternative sources of heat like your charcoal etc.

We were brooding a batch and will be close to 2weeks when the storm passes us.  That was what Doc Rey secured.  How he secured the brooding calls for another post :) I won't show you yet the photos of brooder.  The photo below will be a good preview.

We hurried to the farm the day after....fallen trees all around.  The brooding area is surrounded by Banana trees....all down to the ground. That looks like a lot of FPJ in the next weeks.

The 14day old Sunshines still got out to their range on the appointed 14day outing!  They were excited to to go out, while we were appraising the damages to the farm.  The Sunshines took their walk with us among the fallen trees.

They ran to the door.  Took a peek and sighed that they saw their elder sisters on other pens, ranging.  "Everyone was OK"!

The day after Typhoon Megi (Juan to us in the Philippines):
The rage of Juan the previous day, was now they took their first steps and bites of grass.

The fallen trees became instant playground!  They loved to climb the branches and can't get enough of burying themselves in the trees on the ground.

Brooding is utmost.  The housing is very important.  If the chicks are secure in good brooding cage, have the right space and are warm, enough food...then they will be OK even during a storm.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Why You Don't Have To Get Chicks From Us

We have refocused and making it cheaper and easier for all to have  access to good tasting and healthy chicken meat.  You may grow your own food or get from farmers you know and trust.  Get to know your farmer.  Its all about farming :)

How did we make it cheaper and more accessible to grow clean meat?  We run trials and have gotten the results we wanted by using the white chicks that are used for commercial poultry raising.  

When given probiotics/fermented plant juices and pastured for the same time as its colored cousins, they have the same taste, and surely the healthy benefits are in how it was raised.

We are teaching you a concept.  We are selling you the idea of raising/eating well.  Food that you may grow yourself.  Food that you may entrust to farmers you really know.

If for some reason you can't find dayold chicks in your area, or you want the brand that we use, then we can cater them to you.  But again, the ,most ideal is get the chicks from your area.  The point was to make it cheaper and easy for all farmers.

Another plus side:  Easier to teach when we aren't selling anything to you :)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Listen to Good Job, Philippines!

Maggie knows me for the pastured Sunshine Chickens, but of course I will also talk about my current passion that evolved from our raising Sunshines....which is, natural farming :)

Wherever you are that day or night, I hope you can join us on Saturday, October 23, 10am, Manila time :)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

At 42days, Still Kids

As I was having a good time and exercising from bending to take the photos.....this cute thing ran, trying to avoid me....just like a tyke who knowingly did something naughty.

See his dirty feet? You suspect he was into something :)
He is still a kid at 42days, even if he weighs 1.5kgs. Now you won't be surprised why the commercial supermarket chickens are tastless. They were barely out of their nurseries when harvested at about 30days :(

Contented Chickens

Have you ever seen your chickens this way?  You have always pictured your chickens in cramped cages and dirty looking with sad faces :(

Here now:

Morning shade....all the food you want, buffet style....fruits galore....lounging chair (yes, it is an instinct for all chickens to perch, so pity the caged ones) pond around...

We are almost describing ourselves on the beach!
Its not about colored or white. It is all about being caged or pastured :)....End result: Healthy and Tasty!

Water Lily

During the El Nino, when the ponds in the farm dried up, the Water Lily was still abundant and we saw that the chickens went down to play....or so we thought.  After a closer look (I have posted a thread on this previously), the Sunshines eat the Water Lily! 

We searched in it and read that it is edible and had medicinal properties.  We had tons of Water Lily and cleaning up the ponds had been a problem!
So to make it easier for the free ranging chickens, the farm help brings up some for the white Sunshines, since they thought that they were "special" and might not know what they are to do.  We all took it that they didn't know how to eat.  We forgot about "instinct" to get what is good for oneself :)
Convinced that it was indeed good for the chickens, we tried using it for FPJ.  This will be a great answer to our clean up of the ponds all around the farm, at the same time giving good nutrients to the pastured chickens.

Too much to clean up and it thickens faster than we can manually chop chop.
To ease up work, a shredder/chopper will be the answer.  A great farm tool.  More on that on another posting.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Don't Throw It All Away

Can you make out what is laid in the basins for the Sunshines to eat?  And those dark liquid in their drinkers?

That is FPJ...if you had made your own fermented plant juice by now, then you will know how they look like :)  After you have harvested the FPJ, you will have a sludge.  

Don't throw it all away....feed them to your chickens, pigs and other farm animals. 

Sustainable....nothing is thrown away in natural farming.  Philippines for natural farming!

Cages are well ventilated, aired, a lot of sun...

My Spot

I have a favorite spot in the farm.  It past the holding area for the "to be harvested", after where Doc Rey decides to normally park.  If he brought a 4X4 then it means I am closer to my spot.  After the 1st housing is an Aratiles tree.  Very short walk from the parked truck, so this is my favorite place to reach out for my treasures of those reddish, sweet, juicy beads.

Surprise!  I now have white competitors.  Thank you that they can't reach up, they just contend themselves with what falls on the ground.

See how they love it!

6weeks old :)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Mercato Centrale @ BGC

 Updated 25 October 2010

Mercato Centrale @ BGC starts on 21 November that is a Sunday. Thereafter, it goes on every Saturday and Sunday.

It is envisioned to be the market to go to.  Very comfortable setting and air conditioned.

Strategically located beside Serendra and Bonifacio High Street.
First it was at AGRILINK 2010, now our 2nd time to step out will be at the Mercato Centrale @ BGC.  Starting in November.  A Naturella Farm Store will be there every Saturday :)
 Read about it .  See you there!

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Naturella Offers

As purveyors of what is best from natural farming practitioners, we are always on the look out for what is good and best at a given time.  Just like season changes and weather permits, there will be problems at source farms that may affect supplies' availability.

If you want something, please let us know and we will try best to bring it to you.  That will also be our opportunity to go further and farther :)  Please click "LIKE", and then leave a note at our FB page "A Naturella Farm Store" or drop us an email:  

For orders pls call/text (0917) 847-2639.
If you call/text in advance, you may pick up at 19 Lipa Rd, Philam Homes QC for no minimum orders.

1) Sunshine Chicken (no antibiotics, no hormones, pastured chickens)
Dressed chickens PHP200/kg
Pure Liver Pate PHP300/tub
2) Pork from naturally farmed pigs.  PHP200/kg
3) Fresh Sweet Tuba (Coconut Nectar) PHP60/bottle

1) Shredder/Chopper PHP45,000
2) Fermented Concoctions PHP100
3) Likasaka Manwal great book on the principles of natural farming.  PHP400
4) The Secret Is In The Soil beginner's guide to natural gardening. PHP300

Tuesday, October 05, 2010


The fairy is there.  Simple lines and self explanatory sign.  The look is whimsical?  Must be too much Facebook ads I see :)  

From now on, this will be the name we will be marketing.  Sunshine Chicken will be one of the products it will carry.

First stop:  AGRILINK 2010, World Trade Center.  Oct 7-9

Nice weekend market had been booked. Will post details.

Join us and LIKE "A Naturella Farm Store" in Facebook!

Naturella Steps

What was just a name last week has now developed naturally and will take first steps during AGRILINK 2010.

Natural farming and marketing takes the focus of our lives now.  Everything is falling into place as timing that the loyal clientele that Sunshine Chicken has developed, are also asking for other products that they know will be sourced dutifully for them.

Now A Naturella Farm Store will act as purveyors of  products from natural or organic farms.  You may pick-up from us or avail of our delivery service. Selected trade shows and weekend markets are being calendared.


In natural farming, Indigenous Micro Organism: IMO, is most important.  It multiplies bacteria fast.  That is, good bacteria :)  It balances the ecology of the bacteria needed to hasten the decomposition of organic matter in the soil.  It helps in feeding the soil to nurture back to life.  Good bacteria kills bad bacteria.  IMO is a community of friendly and good bacteria.

Doc Rey always repeats his anecdote that in school, they were taught to fight and kill the bad bacteria.  The good bacteria wasn't emphasized as having the qualities to go against the bad.  In using chemicals to kill the bad, we also kill the good :(

We wanted to rest this piece of land for some time, to rejuvenate and prepared for natural farming.  IMO was applied at will know it has recovered when you see molds in your soil.  That is a sign that your soil is healthy, good and alive!  Bugs and insects are all around.  Spiders and their webs are welcome sightings.

How to make your IMO:

1) Place 1kg of cooked rice in a container.  We use a plastic one, those rectangular food keepers with covers, the size of a bond paper.  Cover.  

2) Set the plastic container in a cool dry place in an area where there are a lot of trees.  The idea of placing it in the outdoors, it attracts the good bacteria in the soil, that we mean to give back to the soil.

3) After 3days, check on it.  It will have developed molds on top of the rice.  White to yellowish is acceptable.  If your molds are predominantly black, get rid of it and start all over again.

4) Place the rice with the molds in a plastic pail and add 1kg molasses.

5) Cover the plastic pail with manila paper and secure by tying around the paper.  

6) Set the container in a cool dry place.  

7) Harvest the dark brown, mudlike liquid on the 7th day.

This harvested IMO is sprayed everywhere...fields, nooks and crannies, animal cages.  Soak feeders and waterers in this solution after washing, then let the supplies dry under the sun.

To use: 2Tablespoons per 1lt of water.  Easier to think in terms of backpack sprayer in this case, use 1 can IMO, the size of sardine cans.

You will be so excited to see the changes.  It is almost like the soil smiling back at you.  And the white amags on the ground...they are meeting to gang up on the bad guys.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

A Naturella Farm Store

What does the name imply?  Any images brought forward?  Like it?

I think the readers of this blog will get the thought right away.  A natural farm produce and supply store.  Well, I HOPE it did get that message to the initiated!  If not, then how can I make the point to the unknowing market.

Been playing on my mind for a store brought by the spin off from Sunshine Chicken, our natural farming, safe food, our advocacy on chemical free farming.  Registered Organika a while back, but it wasn't really me.  Plus timing, and events didn't jive.  Still I knew I was going to do it.  Prepared our glass door chillers, designed the look in my mind...

Telenovelas...Cinderella, fairy godmothers, taray Cruellas, natural farming, always had the penchant for clean clear names (as a college student, I idolized THE BEER STORE name)...A Naturella Farm Store flashed! 

I know the look of my logo.  A Filipino Farmer Fairy Godmother! 

What do you think?

Saturday, October 02, 2010


Some comments in the industry is why Solraya is promoting the use of white broilers?  

Where did it say that "free ranged" chickens should and must be colored?  Did it say anywhere in the book that is should be sourced from France?

Take note that in the real sense of the term free ranged, it shouldn't have borders and no fences . Arghhhhhhhhhhhhh, give me a break from all the politicking.  So, notice how I have repositioned to "pastured chickens, naturally farmed".

We are not promoting white broilers.  What we are saying is that we refocused and problems made us open our blinds to other views.  White broilers will always be an easy supply for all.  We have companies who have Grand Parent Stocks (GPS) here.  They produce the Parent Stocks (PS), that in turn produce our broilers. 

Tests have given us the same results that we want for our Sunshine Chicken.  The taste, and healthy food on our plates.

Marketing has me hands on and face to face with my clients.  This was the niche market we had developed and have nurtured.  No one has asked me what color of chickens they were was always about "HOW IT WAS RAISED AND FED" :)

If you are into farming for commercial or to ensure good food on your table....look into using the white broilers.

Happy To Meat Me

Have you heard the story of the Poor Chickens?  Doc Rey always preempts his seminar proper with that anecdote, to give a background, stress a point and to make you understand why pastured chickens are happy.  

For pastured chickens, there is no cannibalism, no dirty nor tight cages.  Chickens enjoy the sun, sand bathing and space. They look very proud.

Happy chickens are more tasty and easily digestible :)  Maybe not because they were happy, but because they are healthy for us!

Watch out for further posts on how we can keep costs down and be able to give you safer chickens.

White Christmas

At four (4) weeks now, they will be seeing you in December :)
The recently held Poultry Show was very motivating.  People embraced the idea of "yes, the whites can be pastured".  Low cost, easy to find, safe chicken for all!

For us at Solraya, it isn't just an "idea" anymore.  It had been ran and tested several batches.  Harvested and taste tested at different intervals.  For our pastured chickens, we still go with a slow developing chicken.  Let it age and naturally will give you great tasting and healthy chickens :)

We will be happy to explain them to you during AGRILINK 2010.