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What the cluck is up with these chickens? | Nourish International

July 26, 2007 | Posted in 2007, Duke, OSU, Tanzania, UNC | By

Mambo, vipi? We are all well and now in Lushoto which is in the Sambara mountains and absolutely beautiful. So before I get into some good news that we have had about the project in Tanzania and news about Pangani I think it is necessary to bring everyone up to speed about the importance of these chickens.

SO, currently in most villages across the country families own “traditional chickens” which are free-range chickens that do not require coups and run around the village and return home at night. The problem with these chickens is that since they run around everywhere it is not uncommon for them to be stolen, eaten, or killed in other random ways. Also the eggs that they lay require fertilization from other “traditional roosters” so these eggs are not necessarily laid where families can collect them or they hatch i.e. they pose little economic utility. Therefore the core of our purpose here has been to give families “modern chickens” which is the direct translation from Swahili but they are basically the souped up chickens we are used to that lay an egg a day without fertilization. Here is where the coups come in, since these are not as street smart as the free-range chickens most families have if let out they would eat things that would harm them and probably not return home etc. So in building the coups we provide a place for the modern chickens to reside etc. Now another problem with modern chickens is that they are higher maintenance requiring expensive food and vaccinations so our solution is to make hybrid chickens in a process called “upgrading” basically we stick a modern rooster with traditional hens which pop-out hybrid babies that lay an egg per day and are also a littly tougher than pure modern chickens. The end goal being that hybrid chickens grow to lay enough eggs per day for families to more than triple their current income by selling them.

Now then for the good news, on our last day when David and I were distributing the last of the supplies to all the families along with instruction booklets that we made we found out that 1 of the 5 families already had 2 hybrid eggs only a day after we had put the rooster with the hens!!! Hopefully you all share in our excitement.

That same day the rest of the group took a trip to Pangani to the fishing village to see how best we could assist them. After having a harrowing ride there they met with the town council and much to their astonishment found that the villagers most wanted us to help them by providing them with exactly the same project we already did in Tanga! So i suppose more chickens are to come.

Will update about lushoto later but i am out of internet time. Hakuna ma tata.