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LEMON: Your Homegrown Champion

July 17, 2014       Gamefowl Circuit
Homegrown Champion

If local gamefowl breeders can be proud of anything it would be the local bloodline of the Negros gamefowl stags, the Lemon, with all its variations, from the Araneta Lemon 84 to the Batchoy Lemons to the Lemon Guapo, some even infused with modern fighting bloodlines to still make them a match for any opponent.  Smart and fast attacking with good cutting, the Lemon will be the Pinoy Champion as always.

Bloodline History

Mayor Juancho Aguirre claimed that in the sixties and the 70s, Negros was teeming with all the champion lemon lines. From the Lemon 84, to the blended Batchoy, to the Togo, to the Massa, and the Hinigaran Lemon.  The Lemon 84 was Paeng Araneta's own personal line of the Negros champion gamefowl.

Batchoy and Massa were the breeders who originated the Lemon lines, while Hinigaran is the place of Freddie Yulo.  Unfortunately for the Negros breeders, the science of genetics was not technically known to them, and breeding good fighters and culling weak specimens was a hit and miss experiment with them.  Losing the hold on superior gamefowl breeding did not sit well with the Negros breeders so they sponsored the Duke himself to visit Negros for a while to teach them the science of gamefowl breeding and fighting.

From their heyday as the elite of Philippine gamefowl breeding, many of the Negros winning lines deteriorated in the long run. The Massa and Togo are no longer heard of, for their lines were not maintained.

Only the Lemon 84 and the Batchoy Lemon remain, and are still competitive in the local scene.  While the Hinigaran has been bred into a different Lemon, it is now called the Lemon Guapo, a darkhorse of a smart fighter even against modern gamefowl breeds.

Lemon 84

Coming from the legendary Duke Hulsey, the progenitor of the Lemon 84 was a medium-stationed gamecock.  Rafael “Paeng” Araneta christened it the Lemon 84 because of the number in the leg band of the original rooster which was 84.  The rooster with leg band 84 was peacomb, unlike other Lemons of Hulsey that were all straight comb.  The Filipino strain was produced when Mr. Paeng Araneta mated the Hulsey 84-banded Lemon cock to two of his Lemon hens that also came from “The Duke.” The pullets were bred back to the father and he chose two lines and from there did brother and sister mating. He then chose the best pullets from the two, breeding back again to the original 84 Hulsey cock.  The Lemon 84 is the first Filipino gamecock strain that won the international derby in 1972.

Lemon Guapo

Mayor Aguirre’s Lemon stock was decimated by avtian flu and very few survivors remained, including a lemon brood cock and a baby stag affected by a weak and wobbly neck as result of the nasty plague that hit the brood.  The mayor was aghast at the loss and decided to quit breeding fowl, so he passed the surviving Hinigaran Lemon baby stag to his brother-in-law Bob Cuenca, who bred the same Hinigaran variety.

Mayor Juancho also gave the wobbly-necked Hinigaran Lemon baby stag to another cocker friend who peddled chickens.  After a year, the mayor asked his friend what happened to the wobbly-necked stag he lent out.  To his surprise, the afflicted bird was not only alive and kicking but it grew up into a very beautiful specimen of Lemon cock.  The Negrenses started calling the strain, the guapo, and tested its mettle in local pit fights.  It won four fights practically unscathed.

Mayor Juancho's interest in gamefowl got a new inspiration in the beautiful pumpkin feathered Lemon, so he decided to breed more of the Guapo.  The Lemon Guapo was mated to some Cecil hens and some Hatch hens.  The man kept breeding the best pullets back to the former wobbly-necked Guapo, and at the same time employed some brother-to-sister matings, until he was able to set the fighting line that is now known as the Lemon Guapo.

Joe Laureño and the Batchoy Lemons

Batchoy Alunan died in 1980. He was responsible for breeding the straight-combed lemon, hackled low-stationed cocks called the Batchoy Lemon. After Alunan passed on, his trusted handler Joe Laureño took some Lemon chickens to his farm as a parting gift from the Alunan family. He managed to preserve the line of the Batchoy, getting 2 broodcocks and 13 hens and restarted the Batchoy bloodlines.

The Lemon 84s actually came from the original 84 cock. The original 84 cock was lent to Batchoy Alunan for a while and Joe made sure they bred it to some of their own lemons. Since Batchoy passed away, Joe improved the bloodline with crosses and blends that made his lemons more than a match with the best of the reigning competitive bloodlines of today.  Joe recreated the Batchoy Lemon of his mentor by mating back the daughter pullets to the purer parent, and other forms of in-breeding to recreate 90 plus percent of the original as possible.  To keep from losing vigor in his stock he also resorted to the inevitable cross with new blood at some point. Then slowly culling the new offspring with non-pure Lemon blood so that the original pure stock of Lemon would remain.

Joe and his son Johnny have won the prestigious Balbina Breeders Cup twice already. Fighting in the major derbies as JVL, the Batchoy Lemons of Negros are always feared as a dark horse especially in big fights.  

Fighting Style

The Lemon is low stationed and just loves to brawl. Tough like the Hatch and hard hitting like them too are these homegrown line of fighting roosters. The Left-In Lemon were the beautiful cocks and also the smart fighters. When these two were crossed, the resulting stock were some of the winningest among local gamefowl.  Many breeders look at gamefowl that can fight on the counter, and the Lemon is that kind of fighting cock.  It waits for the opponent to rush in, then it times a clean hit at the enemy--a single stroke finishing move.  It can evade attacks by sidestepping, and like a martial artist, it lets the enemy think it has a waiting target and in the split second that the other cock makes its move, the Lemon strikes back, making for a short fight.

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