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What is Paraoakan Chicken

The Paraokan (or Parawakan) is a Philippine native chicken breed and is the largest among native breeds. There is no clear history of the origin of this chicken but in this article, we are going to explain the best we can.

According to the Slow Food Foundation for Diversity, The Paraoakan chicken comes from Malaysia and was introduced to the Philippines in the 14 century by Arab missionaries and Muslim traders. It is currently farmed mainly on the island of Palawan, but it can also be found in the provinces of Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur and on the islands of Basilan and Jolo (for this reason, the breed is also known locally as Jolo).

©Zac Zarian

Appearance and size

Compared to other native poultry breeds in the Philippines, the Paraokan chicken is the largest. It has long legs, a larger body, and head than other local breeds, and an elongated neck.
Unfortunately, Paroakan chickens are farmed mainly for their use in local sports, especially cockfights, rather than as a food source. They are usually black, but can also have reddish feathers. Cocks can grow to 3-5 kg and usually, after 6 months since birth, they are already 1.2-1-3 kg. They have a much slower growth pace than commercial and industrial breeds. This slower growth means that they develop a stronger muscular structure. These chickens were considered valuable goods by the families in the Mindanao region and their meat is found in many traditional recipes of the island of Palawan.

Similarities with other Chicken Breeds

In the Visayas especially in Negros Island, people call this chicken “Jolo” because the first birds came from Jolo and not from Palawan. In fact, this chicken has many names (Jolo, Basilan, Parawakan).

Paraoakan is similar to Aseel and Shamo chicken breeds. There is also a possibility that the first Paroakan brought to the Philippines was from India. Paroakan, Aseel, and Shamo look the same and it will be hard to differentiate unless each bird’s origin is given. All birds are used in cross-breeding to produce good quality fighting cocks.

Many people who are looking for Aseel or Shamo are sometimes getting Paraoakan therefore it is really hard to get a pure breed Aseel or Shamo unless you are buying from someone who imported a pure breed Shamo or Aseel.

If you are looking to buy Paroakan, there are many farms and backyard raisers in Palawan that focus only on this specific breed. People who love to eat “native chicken tinola” prefer Paraoakan to crossbreed.

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