Learning the Chicken Business

Almost everywhere you go in the villages around Kilimahewa, families have several chickens for their own use or to earn a few shillings.  Few villagers, however, have the wherewithal to build a sustainable business with these chickens.  First, theft is a widespread problem at night.  Second, the chicken-raising business, as Mama Grace knows first-hand from her years of experience, is not so simple.

This August, we decided to attack this situation and teach those students who want to advance from subsistence farmers into businessmen/women how to go about caring for and selling chickens.  The first batch of 400 “broiler” chicks was delivered in early August.  These chicks are nurtured for 6 to 8 weeks, after which they are sold.  [There are also layer chickens who produce eggs, but that is a more costly start-up and will be the second phase of our project next year].

Two weeks ago, the selling process began.  Here is a pictorial summary of our first batch. 

Yesterday, Mama Grace reported that only about 12 chicks remain.  Of the 400, only several died while being raised. Unfortunately, however, one batch of about 35 did not fare well after being sold because they had not been properly cleaned out. This is one of the many aspects of the chicken business that Mama Grace, along with a community member who has quite a successful business, are teaching both Aristede, Kilimahewa’s groundskeeper (and future instructor), and the students.