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perfect warrior
14 Days KEEP By: Teddy Tanchanco
I. Feeding During The KEEP
Let me reveal to you what some cockers call secrets in conditioning of
gamecocks for the pit. For starters, let us talk about
Some cockers say that the secret in the proper conditioning of gamecocks is
feeding. It is undeniable that feeding plays a very
important role in conditioning, but let us bear in mind that feeding should be
considered in relation to other factors, a trainer must
monitor while preparing his set of feathered warriors. With due respect to
other trainers, please consider that what I am about to
say here is only what I personally do.
First of all, before going into a 14 days KEEP, we must select candidates. If
you are to fight a 5-cock derby, simply multiply the
number of cocks for an entry (say, 5) by three (3) to come up with the
number of candidates you must choose (thus, 15). It is
assumed that these cocks went through a pre-conditioning process where
they are in good flesh, healthy and full breasted, but
without gut fat or sapola. It is best that they are about 200 grams higher
than their best fighting weight observed during the preconditioning. It is better to lower a cocks weight during the KEEP rather than
to increase it, which will take a lot more time, effort
and uncertainty. Remember that we will do a 14-days KEEP, not 21 or 30.
Now, what is the correct fighting weight? you may ask. The best fighting
weight is that weight where your cock fought best during
the spars conducted while he is in the pre-conditioning. In the preconditioning stage, record each cocks weight before every spar.
Grade his fight according to your preference. He might be good, very good,
excellent or neutral during these sparring sessions. In
at least five (5) sparring, you must be able to know his best fighting weight.
Consider the weight where he fought best as his best
fighting weight.
Give your candidates only bread soaked in milk as flushing feed on the day
of your selection. Deworm them the usual way, and
delouse by simply spraying on the feathers. Do not deep the cocks in water.
Now they are all cleaned up, inside and out.

To avoid disease and other infections during the KEEP, I inject Combiotic
(only 1cc. per bird) on the breast of each cock on the first
For the feeds during the KEEP, I try to maintain a 16% crude protein (C.P.)
level from day one up to the eleventh (1-11). To
achieve this, mix several ingredients as follows:
50% - whole corn
20% - red wheat
10% - whole oats or jockey oats
10% - Royal Pigeon Feed
10% - Pellets (16% C.P.)
Corn is the staple food of fowl, which supplies a lot of carbohydrates and
some proteins. I use red wheat instead of the white one
because red wheat is easier to digest, and it has a higher protein level than
the white. If you can't find Royal Pigeon Feed, you may
substitute this with 5% green peas and 5% yellow peas in the ration. These
feedstuffs supply most of the proteins in the cocks
diet. The 10% Pellets indicated above may be Holding Ration Pellets or
simply Pigeon Pellets. Just make sure that the pellets you
use contain 16% crude protein. Look at the packaging for this information.
The above proportions are measured in dry weight.
All grains are soaked in water for at least 9 hours. Right after each feeding,
soak the grains you will need for the next. Soaking
increases seed moisture and stimulates germination. Germinated grains
produce more proteins. Legumes, like green peas and
soybeans, must be heated or germinated to make their crude protein
metabolizable. Otherwise, we cannot utilize the proteins from
these grains. Mix the grains with the pellets only at feeding time. You now
have what is called your base feed.
To this base feed, add some white of hard-boiled eggs. Chop finely one (1)
white of a hard-boiled egg for every four or five cocks.
This supplies some proteins and helps retain moisture inside the cocks body
during this time. Hard-boiled egg is given to the cocks
all throughout the KEEP (day 1 to 14).
Aside from hard-boiled eggs, add bulk (fiber), and natural vitamins and
minerals to your feed by mixing finely chopped tomatoes or
cabbage or lettuce. These veggies should make up 20% of your feed mixture,
while the other 80% is from the base feed with hardboiled eggs. We use volume measurements now, instead of weights. If we
take one (1) tablespoon as 20%, then we can mix (1)
heaping tablespoons of veggies to four (4) heaping tablespoons of the base
feed to make a hundred percent (100%). This will be
the final make up of your feed from day 1 to 11.
Provide the cocks a steady supply of grits from day 1 to 9 of the KEEP. Grits
help the cocks digest the feed and keep the gizzard

well exercised. They remain in the gizzard for about a week. Thus, grits are
withheld 5 days before the fight to empty the gizzard
not only of feeds, but also grits, on fight day.
Feed the cocks on a regular basis. Always feed on the same exact time
everyday. I give my morning feed at 7 a.m. and the
afternoon feed at 4 p.m. Give each cock two (2) heaping tablespoons of the
feed mixture mentioned above. This is about 30 to 40
grams of feed per cock. During the day, the cocks should be crop empty by 2
or 3 p.m. to show that their digestive systems
functions well. It takes only six (6) to seven (7) hours for feeds to be digested
in the body of the fowl. If one becomes crop-bound
before the afternoon feed, take him out of the KEEP.
I like cocks, which are voracious eaters and fast grinders. These show that
their system is really at work. Picky cocks or those which
leave feeds in their cups must be experiencing something unpleasant. They
must be observed and treated for any disease, and sent
back to pre-conditioning. Try always to observe the cocks in KEEP before,
during and after feeding. If possible, observe them the
whole day, everyday, and even during their sleep.
With this feeding system, we expect the cocks to loose that extra 200 grams
off their weight in the beginning of the KEEP.
Therefore, daily monitoring of weights is necessary. Weigh the cocks in the
morning before feeding. A cock should lower his weight
by as much as ten (10) to twenty (20) grams per day and arrive at his best
fighting weight on the 11th day of the KEEP or on the
last three (3) days before fight day. If one loses 50 or more grams within a
span of 24 hours, the cock must be sick or incapable of
bearing stress in the KEEP. Back to the pre-conditioning he goes. Three (3)
days before the fight, we do the Carbo-Loading
II. Carbo - Loading Technique
Carbohydrates are the main source of energy for cocks in training. Like
human athletes getting ready for competition, the
gamecock must store enough energy in his body to be used during the fight
for his life. The critical days in conditioning which are
the last three (3) days before the fight, finds the trainer wanting to load up
his gamecock with as much energy as possible to give
him that power he will need. Carbo-Loading does this.
Simply put, Carbo-Loading, means the technique of increasing or loading
up of carbohydrates in the diet of gamecocks during
the last three (3) days of the Keep as a part of pointing.
The objective here is to increase the available metabolizable energy (M.E.) in
the cocks body that will be used during the actual
fight. This is achieved by increasing the caloric content of the feeds given to
the fowl. From the 16% crude protein base feed we

have given from the first to the 11th day of the Keep, we gradually increase
the amount of carbohydrates to 75% or 80% in the
last 3 days. Gradually, so as not to upset the digestive system of the cocks.
To the base feed, for every 100 grams, add 10% corn, or an equivalent of 10
grams of corn on the 12th day, 20 grams on the 13th
day, and 30 grams on the 14th, for a total of 80% corn in the ration on the
14th day. Thus, the total amount of protein decreases,
while carbohydrates increases. The usual amount of two (2) tablespoonfuls of
feed is given to the cocks daily, morning and
Why use corn? First of all, feeding corn gives your gamecock that snap
every time he hits his opponent. Just compare cocks fed
with corn to those, which are not. Gamecocks that have corn in their diet feel
more fleshy or muscular although a bit heavier, while
cocks with no corn feel loose to the touch.
Corn is my choice for carbo-loading because corn has the high amounts of
carbohydrates (metabolized energy) compared to other
feedstuff. The table below shows the amount of nutrients available from
common feed ingredients found in grains used as
conditioning feeds. We can see that oat groats (dehulled) has the highest
metabolized energy (3400 Kilo calories) followed by corn
with 3366 Kcal. However, oat groats is also high in crude fats. This will tend
to bring about sapola or gut fat in the cock.
Experience also tells me that feeding more oat groats turn the droppings
very green and take away that snap from the cocks
buckles. Thus I prefer corn, which also has high-metabolized energy, but low
in fats. This metabolized energy is stored in the body
of the fowl for at least 2 days before it is transformed into fats if not used
during this time.
On the last 3 days before the fight, soaking of the grains is usually regulated.
Moisture in the body of the cock is dictated by various
conditions, both of the cock, and his environment. Because of these, water
intake is managed during the last three (3) days of the
Feedstuff Crude Crude Metabolized Energy
Protein % Fat % M.E. (Kcal. /Kg.)
Barley 11.5 1.9 2620
Corn 08.9 3.5 3366
Green Peas 22.0 1.0 2600
Oats (whole) 11.0 4.0 2550
Oat Groats 16.0 6.0 3400
Red Rice 07.3 1.7 2670
Sunflower Seed 42.0 2.3 1760
Wheat (trigo) 13.5 1.9 2620
Data derived from: The Merck Veterinary Manual, Seventh Edition
III. Moisture and Water Management

A gamecocks body is at least 65% water. From this fact alone, we can see
that water is really an important element in the proper
conditioning of our fowl. Lets dig deeper. Why are we so concerned about
water and moisture, in the first place? To properly
condition cocks, we have what we call their peak, meaning to say, they are
On Point or in laymans term, they are in their
lowest possible weight, but still with their greatest strength or power. We can
affect this through the correct management of
moisture and water for the fowl.
Water specifically affects a gamecock in training in two ways: 1) as a supply
of moisture needed by the body for normal bodily
functions, and 2) as a temperature regulator. For digestion, water acts on the
grains and pellets as a solvent and helps in
fermentation. Feeds taken by the cocks during mealtime are stored in the
crop where it undergoes fermentation. At this point,
acids, proteins and carbohydrates are further enhanced before they are
passed on to the gizzard for further digestion. Thus,
whenever a cock gets crop-bound, we must do all we can to empty his crop
of the fermented feeds lest he will die from the poisons
these might produce. Without the right amount of water, proper digestion
and fermentation of feeds will not take place and can
endanger the life of your beloved fowl. So, keep a watchful eye on how you
feed and water your gamecocks, especially while they
are in training.
From day 1 to 11 in our conditioning program, water is always present before
the cocks right after feeding. Moisture is also assured
by soaking the grains overnight. However, on the 12th day, you as a
conditioner/trainer must have what I call a clinical eye and be
very careful are assessing the condition of each fowl. While observing your
fowl, ask yourself the following questions: How much
water does your cock consume or drink during the day? One way of doing
this is to draw a line inside his feeding/drinking pot right
on the first day of the Keep to remember the actual amount of water you put
in each morning. By nightfall, get that which remains
of the water in the pot and measure it using a graduated beaker. By the
tenth day, you can more or less predict how much water
each cock will drink in a day. On the 12th day of the Keep, watch how much
he drinks. Is the cock eating his usual amount of
feeds? How does he respond to carbo-loading?
On the 12th day, we have started adjusting the carbohydrates content of the
feeds, remember? If the cock has the right amount of
moisture in his body by this time, he is suppose to eat the same amount of
feeds he is accustomed to. How are his droppings? Are
they watery, dry, or moist?

We gauge the fowls body moisture by observing their droppings. By moist,

we mean, the droppings do not splatter when voided,
but have the right texture and form when dropped. Try stepping on it lightly
and if it sticks to your shoe, then it has the right
moisture. Also, watch your cock as he defecate or move his bowels. If he is
having a hard time passing his stool, he must be too
dry. If he is too dry, he wont cut. If he is too wet, he will be sluggish and
wont cut accurately. How is the weather? Is it cloudy
day, sunny, warm, rainy or hot?
During hot summer months, the cock will certainly drink more water to
regain lost moisture and at the same time to regulate his
body temperature. A feverish cock will drink water more frequently, than a
cock, which has the right body temperature.
Consequently, their droppings will be very watery.
The wind also makes the cocks dry. Although their temperature might be all
right, loss of water through the skin and feathers is
greatly affected by the wind or air current. You might not notice, but your
cocks may already be too dry although they would rather
stay on the roost because the wind is too cold.
During the rainy months, infections abound. These infections like CRD and
Coryza make cocks feverish. Cocks might not show the
clinical signs at first, but you will notice that they drink often not just to
regain moisture but also to regulate body temperature.
They are feverish. Get them out of the Keep.
The range of a cocks body temperature during the Keep is between 38.5o to
39.5o Celsius. This is their normal body temperature.
Use a rectal thermometer to measure your cocks temperature. Finally, how
does each cock feel to the touch? This is something no
medical or scientific means to tell you. You have to have the feel for properly
conditioned cocks. American cockers call this corky,
maybe referring to the light feeling when you hold the cock in your hands.
When held, some cocks are full-bodied and heavy, and tight muscled. Some
are thin, light and loose, while others are thin, heavy
and tight. Still others are thin, heavy and loose. We are looking for a cock,
which is full-bodied but light and a bit loose. If they feel
tight-muscled, they maybe muscle-bound. We dont want this on fight day.
Muscle-bound cocks have muscles still suffering from
fatigue. When we say loose, we mean relaxed muscles. Properly toned
muscles have that tension and looseness in them. Always
check their weight through your record book. Your cock must be in his best
fighting weight. On this 12th day, we are looking for
loose muscles because for the next two (2) days we shall try to make the
cocks tighter and dryer.
If your cocks have been properly conditioned, they will drink less water for
the rest of the Keep. In case, on this 12th day, you find

your fowls droppings watery, or too dry, you still have the 13th and 14th day
to make adjustments.
IV. Pointing and Troubleshooting
The day, Fight Day, is the most critical day when fighting your gamecock. On
this day, just hours before the actual fight, the cocks
condition must be at its peak. We achieve this through a procedure called
Pointing is the process wherein the cock is made to be in his lowest possible
weight, yet still with his greatest strength. Cocks in
this condition are said to be at their peak or On Point. A cock coming to
point must have glossy feathers, bright red face, moist
droppings, red watery eyes, alert and relaxed, and with normal body
But before pointing your cock, I think some explanation about joining a derby
is in order. Derbies are usually held in the evenings
up to the early morning hours. In Big time Derbies, submission of weights is
done a day before and the fight schedule comes out in
the afternoon. For smalltime derbies, submission of weights is in the morning
on fight day.
Morning, before submission of weights, before feeding, limbers the cocks in
folding scratch-pens and observes their droppings. Wait
til a cock passes his stool before weighing him. From each cocks weight,
subtract 30-50 grams and submit this to the cockpit as
the weights of your entries. Bad weight or weight 40 grams over your
declared weight is fined during derbies. The cock loses weight
during pointing and 30 grams is a more or less safe margin for this. For
example, if your actual weight is 2.1 kg. subtract 30 grams
from that, and declare 2.070 kg. as the weight of your entry, 2.110 kg. is
your bad weight. On the time of fight, your cock will
surely weigh less than 2.1 kg. because of pointing. Even if your cock does
not lose weight during pointing, you are still in the
allowable weight limit. Remember to calibrate your weighing scale to that of
the cockpits where you will fight.
Time of fight is also important. A cock digests his normal feed in 6 to 8 hours
and fully absorbs the nutrients in another 4 to 6
hours. So, try to know your fight schedule to program your feeding time
beforehand. If your fight is 6 p.m., count 6 to 8 hours
backwards (about 12 noon) and feed your cock his regular ration of
pointing feed. By 6 p.m., he must be empty and On Point.
When pointing, it is better to under feed than to overfeed. Feel the cocks
crop and see that it has nothing in it. If a grain or two
can be observed, feed less than his normal ration. Empty crops dont
mean that the gizzard and other digestive organs are also
empty. To be sure that no feed still exists in the cocks body, feed less.

Now comes the essential part of pointing, moisture. Once in the cockpit, rest
the cocks for at least 30 minutes before giving 3 to 5
dips of water. This will encourage bowel movement. As explained in
previously, moisture can be gauged only by observing the
cocks droppings. There are four (4) stages or sequence of changes that
occur with the cocks droppings when we conduct pointing
procedures. First is the usual moist and firm dropping, which must be seen in
the morning just before weighing the cock and after
the last feeding. Next, when the cock has emptied his gut of the fibers and
other waste materials from the feeds, you will observe
what I call cecal droppings. This is the brown sticky smelly kind of
droppings the cock pass from time to time during the Keep. But
now, cecal droppings is an indication of emptying out of the intestines. You
will also observe that some moist green droppings
with white toppings still come out but are increasingly getting smaller. When
the cock is really empty (from the crop to the large
intestines), what I call moisture droppings will appear. These look like
whitish mucus about two (2) inches in diameter. They
become smaller as pointing progresses. The cock may be said to be On Point
when the size of moisture droppings are as small as a
twenty-five (25) centavo coin and a little bit sticky.
A peculiar movement I have observed with cocks On Point is what I call the
head knocking syndrome. Coming to their peak, the
cocks start to knock their heads (something like twitching as in a person with
a tic). This must be observed while limbering prior to
the actual fight. It is difficult to describe the movement in writing, but once
youve seen this knocking movement, this is a sign that
the cock is already in his peak. Another sign is when the pupil of the eyes
start to dilate. But sometimes, this is not reliable.
These are all signs of being at their peak. Be careful not to overshoot their
peak lest your cock will be off.
The off syndrome comes right after the peak. This means that they have
already used up all the nutrients and energy available in
their body, and hunger have started taking its toll. Some cockers aver that
off syndrome is due to drug overdose, constipation or
being coop-stale. Often, a drug-overdosed cock will be listless. A constipated
one will show no interest in fighting since he is
preoccupied with his bowel movement and a coop-stale cock is sluggish and
sleepy. But primarily, I think the real cause of the off
syndrome is hunger. You might say that making the cock hungry is what we
are doing during pointing. Yes, partly correct, since
we withhold feeds, but remember that nutrients are still absorbed by the
body even after the grains and other stuff are already
digested. Once the nutrients are consumed, hunger will be coupled with lack
of energy and essential nutrients, which makes the

situation very critical and harmful. In pointing, we want the cocks to be

empty but not hungry. Thus, while limbering before the
actual fight, a cock, which is jittery, easily agitated, and crazy for food, is
off. He has his mind on food, not on the fight.
To extend the point, you may feed a few grains of cracked corn or
teaspoon of your pointing feed a few hours before limbering.
To hasten the onset of the point, feed less in your last feeding. The point
cannot be maintained once it sets in. It progresses, so
time your pointing procedure well that the actual fight falls within the 4 to 6
hours that the peak period is in.
To avoid the off syndrome, know the right amount and correct
administration of drugs you are using. Avoid constipation and
coop-staleness by limbering often and checking your room temperature in
case it is too cold. Feel the cock for any signs of fever.
This is a sure indication of being off and sick. If too much moisture is
noticed thru the droppings, give a few pellets or cracked
corn to draw out body moisture. However, a cock, which loses 70 grams or
more on fight day, must not be fought. He must be sick.
If ever he gains weight while pointing (which I think will never happen), there
is no cause for alarm if he is empty.
V. Exercises During The KEEP The Rotation Method
There are a thousand and one ways of training a gamecock. Different
trainers have different styles and different procedures. In my
years of cocking, I have looked up to local and foreign cocking greats whom I
happened to meet and have acquainted myself with
during those years. Meeting the likes of James Pope and Buddy Mann proved
very informative and helpful in my personal quest for
proper training of my gamecocks. For James Pope, sparring is the best
exercise or training for roosters; for Buddy Mann, it is a
combination of natural exercises and table workouts. From them and from
my personal experience, I share to you most of what I
know about exercises during the Keep.
Since my first sparring session, I have noticed that every time a cock fights,
he pants; he pants heavily specially during summer
months; he also pants excessively when he has too much moisture in his
body. Therefore, the main concern of a trainer during the
Keep is to develop the cocks coping mechanisms to lessen panting. Panting
is a sign that the cocks body system is stressed such
that his heartbeat increases to supply more oxygen to his organs. Respiration
is naturally agitated. Exercises further enhance the
cocks coping mechanisms.
First of all, I would like to make it clear that training a gamecock really begins
from the time he was hatched. Proper rearing and
nutrition are, for the most part, the backbone of training. One cannot do
much in a 21 or 14 day Keep, other than to keep the

cocks alert, increase their stamina and tone the muscles. Power comes with
breeding, and muscles are developed during the
rearing stage and pre-conditioning. Training should help promote flexibility,
strength, and muscle toning, contouring and
cardiovascular endurance. No amount of exertions can improve the
constitution, circulatory and respiratory capabilities of sickly
birds. So, start them while they are young and properly care for them while
they grow.
During the Keep, a trainer aims to make the cocks always alert because this
is precisely what they need during the battle. Agility,
reflex and quick thinking is an asset in fights lasting, sometimes, for just a
few seconds. You must avoid what we call Boredom
Disease Syndrome where the animals mope, become listless and
Another objective of doing exercises during the Keep is to tone the muscles
of the cocks. Toning is different from muscle
development as the latter is gained during the growing and pre-conditioning
stages, while toning is simply working on what you
already have. With toned muscles, the cocks are relaxed, not muscle-bound
and never coop-stale.
There are several views regarding training exercises for fighting cocks. Older
cockers before, subscribe to the manual or table
exercises, which mean the trainers supervision and handling to exercise the
cocks. This finds the necessity of various exercises like
the tailing, flies, flips, turnover, etc. Other advocates the natural or not
much human interference on the movements of cocks in
training. This brought about the Rotation Method and the use of fly pens, and
scratch boxes to exercise cocks. Both systems have
their own advantages and disadvantages, and I feel a combination of both is
necessary to exercise gamecocks properly.
The Rotation Method. Rotation here simply means the transfer of cocks from
the cord, to the fly pen, to the scratch box, to the
resting coops, then back to the cord or tee-pee. For this method, a trainer
must have a fly-pen measuring 12 in length, 4 wide and
12 high. If you could have pens with bigger dimensions, the better. There
must be an adjustable roost, which can be positioned 4,
6, or 8 feet above the ground. The litter floor is a mixture of horse manure,
river sand, and garden soil. The loose texture of the
ground cushions the cocks landing and also encourages them to do some
The Scratch Box. The scratch box, on the other hand, is made of wood with
the following dimensions: 3 long, 3 wide, and 3 high.
Make it high enough so that the wings are not obstructed when the cock
flaps them. The box should have wooden floors to ensure

proper extension of the legs when the rooster scratches with a full swing of
the legs extending back. Scratch materials like corn
schucks, banana leaves, or hay must be placed in the box. The box is
intended for scratching, not dusting, so dont put soil in it.
The Tee-pee. The tee-pee or cord area should be their sleeping grounds, and
where they catch the morning dew and sunbathe in
the morning. Position your tee-pees facing east or where sunlight casts its
rays in the morning.
The Coop. A special coop for resting is also needed when you do rotations.
This is a small coop measuring 2 wide, 2 long and 2
tall. The cocks are brought here to rest during the day a kind of a siesta
Transferring the cock from one pen to the other after spending some time in
it does the rotation. When transferring from one pen
to the next, always wash the cocks face and legs before placing him in the
next pen. Use a mist sprayer with Vet Rx. This opens
their lungs and improves their breathing. In the scratch box, encourage
scratching by throwing in teaspoon oat groats per bird.
For the first day, place a little scratch material and let the cock scratch for
only five (5) minutes. On the second, increase the
amount of scratch materials and increase the duration of scratching to 10
minutes. Increase the amount of the scratching materials
and the duration of the scratching up to the 7th day where the materials are
almost 6 inches deep and the duration of the exercise,
30 minutes long. Starting on the 8th day, decrease the amount of scratching
materials and the duration of the exercise in such a
way that you reach zero on the 12th day of the Keep.
There are different materials used as scratch for light and heavy exercises. I
use banana leaves for light scratching done only
during the summer months, and use corn schucks or sugar cane leaves for
heavy scratching done only during the cold months. Hay
can be classified as an in-between type of scratch material. You yourself
must decide whether your cock needs light or heavy
exercises and adjust accordingly.
Do the scratching exercise when the cock is hungry or else, you will never
get the desired results. I place my cocks in scratch boxes
as early as 4 in the morning when they start to feel their hunger coming in.
After scratching, I pick him up, wash his face and feet,
and then return him to the tee-pee for sun and dew.
By 7 a.m., I feed the cocks their conditioning ration for the day. You may find
a discussion on the conditioning feeds I prepare in
the I. Feeding During The KEEP.
At 9 a.m. take the cocks from the cord, wash their faces and feet, and place
each in their respective fly pens until noon.
At 12 noons, place them in the resting coops. This resting should not be more
than 2 hours to prevent coop-staleness.

By 2 p.m. get a pair of the rested cocks and do a salida or do a kahig and
allow them two buckles while holding on to their tails.
After the salida, place the cocks again on cord while they await feeding.
During the night, we do the table workouts."