What is a 5 Stag Derby? A Complete Guide for Beginners

There are several tournaments in sabong, showing that it holds a significant place in the cultural fabric of the Philippines. Among these tournaments is what you call a “5 stag derby.” The unique cockfighting competition stood out because of its structure and competitive spirit. In this guide, you will get to learn how the tournament works, its rules, preparation methods, and more, providing beginner and seasoned derby-goers the understanding they need to conquer this arena.

What is a 5 Stag Derby?

A 5-stag derby is a specific type of cockfighting tournament in which each participant enters five stags into the competition. The gamecocks must be around a certain age, and the handler’s goal is to achieve the highest number of wins with his chosen five stags.

Like any tournament, the 5 stag derby has its own set of rules and regulations to ensure fairness and competitiveness. Key regulations include:

  • Age and Type of Gamecocks: Only cocks between 12 and 18 months are eligible to participate.

  • Match Format: Each cockfighter fights against another in a series of matches.

  • Scoring System: Points are awarded based on wins, with additional considerations for the manner of victory (e.g., quick knockouts).

Unlike other types of derbies, such as the 3-stag or 7-stag derbies, the 5-stag derby requires a balance of quantity and quality. Participants must field five well-prepared birds, making strategic planning and thorough preparation essential.

Preparing for the 5 Stag Derby

When you wish to enter a five-stag derby, you should follow three stages. These are crucial to determining your chances of winning the entire tournament.

Stage 1: Selecting the fighters

Choosing the right birds is important. This stage is crucial for you to have a significant place in the tournament. So, you must look for birds with specific traits such as agility, strength, and fighting instinct. Pedigree and past performance in sparring sessions also play a significant role.

Stage 2: Training and Conditioning

As a handler, your responsibility continues beyond just choosing the right cocks. You must also train them to build their strength, stamina, and fighting skills. Teaching them calming techniques is also vital when they step into the arena.

Stage 3: Health and Nutrition

Proper diet and healthcare are vital for the cockfighters’ performance. Give them a balanced diet of proteins, vitamins, and minerals to ensure optimal health. Regular check-ups and preventive measures protect against diseases and injuries before the derby day.

Derby Day

On the day of the derby, various rituals and superstitions are observed. These may include blessing the birds, using talismans, and following specific routines believed to bring good luck. If you have a good luck routine, this will be a perfect time to do it.

In a 5 stag derby, the cocks will be fighting in an arena or a “cockpit.” The equipment, such as spurs (locally known as gaffs), is checked and regulated to ensure fair play and is not fatal to the fighters.

There are referees who supervise each match, ensuring that all the competitors follow the rules. They oversee the fight and immediately stop it once a cock cannot continue.

Of course, with numerous calls about cockfighting being a blood sport and a form of animal cruelty, safety measures are placed in the arenas. To avoid any fatalities or injuries to handlers, you are required to wear protective gloves. The birds, on the other hand, are given immediate medical attention after each match.

Determining the Winners

In each match in the 5 stag derby, each fight determines its winners through the following:

  • Win: One cock dominates and incapacitates the other.

  • Loss: The losing bird is unable to continue the fight.

  • Draw: Rare cases where neither cockfighters can continue, resulting in a tie.

When it comes to scoring, the birds who win quickly and decisively are given bonus points along with the points they earn for each win. The overall score is tallied from all five matches to determine the participant’s standing.

The participant with the most wins (and points, in the case of ties) across their five birds is declared the winner of the 5 stag derby. Prizes can include cash, trophies, and prestige within the sabong community.

3 Reasons Why Derbies Are Popular

Cockfighting and tournaments, such as 5 stag derbies, are extremely popular not only because gambling and betting are present but also because they show community involvement along with additional perks.

1. Betting and Wagering

Betting is a significant aspect of sabong, contributing to its economic impact. Both small-scale and high-stakes wagers are common, drawing in large sums of money and numerous spectators.

2. Community Involvement

Sabong events, especially derbies, foster community spirit. They provide opportunities for social interaction, entertainment, and economic activities, such as food and merchandise stalls.

3. Prize Money and Perks

The winner of a 5 stag derby receives substantial rewards, including cash prizes and trophies. The prestige of winning also enhances the breeder’s reputation, increasing demand for their gamecocks.

Controversies and Ethical Considerations You Should Consider

While a 5 stag derby is a form of entertainment and sport, the use of birds for entertainment has raised several concerns:

  • Animal Welfare Concerns: Cockfighting is criticized by animal rights activists due to concerns about animal welfare. The ethical implications of breeding and fighting animals for sport are hotly debated.

  • Legal Status: The legal status of sabong varies. While legal and regulated in the Philippines, it is banned in many other countries. Regulations aim to ensure humane treatment of the birds and fair play.

  • Reforms and Regulations: Efforts to reform sabong focus on improving safety standards, ensuring the ethical treatment of the birds, and maintaining the sport’s cultural significance while addressing modern ethical concerns.


The 5 stag derby is a fascinating blend of tradition, competition, and community spirit. Understanding its rules, preparation methods, and cultural significance highlights how rich the heritage of sabong is.

While the sport remains controversial, its deep roots in Filipino culture cannot be ignored. For enthusiasts, the tournament is more than just a competition; it celebrates skill, strategy, and tradition.

For those interested in sabong, engaging responsibly and respecting the cultural and ethical dimensions of the sport is paramount. Whether as a spectator or participant, understanding and appreciating the nuances of the 5-stag derby can enhance your experience.

Visit us at Onlinesabongphil.com for more guides and tips!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *