| Nov 20, 2023
Tropical Hardy Chickens Are Answer to Overfishing
Austin in chicken yard with eager grandchild
Keeping chickens bred from ancestral jungle bird stock offers an important food source when fisheries are dwindling. These special hardy birds are survivors in tropical heat and do much better than the New Zealand imported standard white poultry. Here at the Tei Tei Permaculture Farm home of the Bowden-Kerbys and Ravokas, chickens are bred to thrive in typical island conditions. Over the span of over a decade, over 50 thousand of these cross-bred chicks have been shared and >70 small incubators have been provided to local women. With hands-on training workshops, poor farmers, women and youth are empowered with knowledge to address issues like low-cost shelters for birds, using locally available supplemental food from moringa leaves and coconut byproducts, and learning how to clean houses to prevent some common chicken diseases.
Abundant Cuteness- Chicks Hatch by the Hundreds!
Nicole the Happy Chicken Hatchery Manager
During prime hatchery season, 250-300 chicks can hatch every week. A big objective is to continue improving the local chicken breeds through selective breeding. With that in mind, all of the breeding roosters were changed in April, as the one-year olds were getting too big (4-5kg), and their long and sharp spurs were beginning to hurt the hens. All hens are kept as layers for at least three years. The diversity of feather color and egg color is amazing; the eggs range from brown to tan to white, to light blue and dark green. Eggs- clearly from our chickens- are now appearing for sale in the markets. Productive and Happy Chickens are making a real impact on the communities and farmers.
Farmers from all over the area want the chicks, which are now clearly recognized as being much better than anything that is available imported from overseas, or locally hatched. While we donate chicks to coastal communities setting aside no-take areas, others come on foot, by car, even on horseback, to purchase the chicks, sold at $2. Fijian = $1 USD each, which is helping make the project more self-sustaining. About 20% of the chicks continue to be donated free of charge to workshop participants and to the poorest farmers- widows, disabled people, the elderly, etc. Materials for pens and feed are also donated to workshop graduates, selected from the poorest communities and those impacted by the recent hurricanes and floods. We continue to send small incubators out to the communities and there is a need for purchasing more.
Our solar powered hatchery is a BIG help as the power goes out so often at the farm, and for days on-end, during floods and after cyclones. We are now in November when the cyclone season begins, so our hatchery will not lose eggs or chicks from lack of heating. Cyclone Mal scraped by us just last week, with only downed banana trees and branches. We were without power for just one day, but that is long enough to kill hatching eggs. Another cyclone is forming. We are hoping to complete our new chicken house before the next storm, so that the chickens will be more secure. The posts and framing are already in!
GlobalGiving is offering a bonus for all gifts on GivingTuesday, November 28, Washington D.C. time zone. Thanks so much to YOU who make this all possible. You're part of the world village which feeds villages here in the South Pacific. Sincerely, Austin
Chicks for Wairuarua just love morniga leaves
Basket of hatchlings