Farmers who are selected to receive support to begin raising chickens on a large scale must meet certain criteria. Trailblazer works with the village chief and interested farmers first, then visits the candidates to ensure they have all the conditions needed to have a successful chicken farm.
First and foremost, the selected farmer must have:
- received chicken raising training from Trailblazer;
- a large enough property to sustain a 5mx10m sized chicken barn with trees around it that can protect the barn and adjacent property with much needed shade;
- a large enough space to construct above ground ponds in which to grow food [Azolla and fish] to feed the chickens, in addition to chicken feed bought from the market and insects on the property.
When the selection is confirmed, Trailblazer provides the funding for purchase and construction of the barn along with fencing to contain the chickens safely. Other materials provided include the plastic to line the ponds, lights to provide safety for the chickens and for the caring of chickens after dark. Once the barn, fence and ponds are complete Trailblazer funds the delivery of 500 chicks, pays for chick vaccinations, supplies an initial three months worth of chicken feed, and an incubator box that will hold 500 eggs.
Completion of the project takes about four months and is determined by:
- the successful construction of the structures needed;
- the farmer has demonstrated the ability to raise healthy chickens by practicing the raising and caring techniques learned - indicating s/he has become an independent farmer;
- the farmer can determine the retention of 100 healthy hens to produce eggs and 20 cocks for breeding another season of chicks;
- the farmer can maintain egg hatching and administer antiviral vaccinations to chicks; and
- the growth of adult chickens to a weight of at least 1.2kg are sellable in the market.
As part of the agreement between Trailblazer and the farmer, the farmer will give 100 chicks each breeding season to five more selected fellow community members who wish to become a chicken farmer, and share his/her knowledge of raising chickens. Trailblazer will collect and record data on the project for promoting future chicken farms, and will continue to monitor the project and offer consulting and marketing activities to ensure the project is successful.
This type of project creates a food source and income for the farmer, a new business of supplying chicken meat and chicks to the local market and his/her community, and secures the family's economic position without relying on NGO or government assistance.
Trailblazer is greatful for the support received from donors who see the value in these projects and help promote the success of future farmers, thereby reducing hunger and poverty for rural Cambodian famillies.