So many initiatives on the go…where to begin?

Baby chicks in Ilima recently received their vaccines for Newcastle on the increased vaccination schedule.  This new timetable means that between the regular flock vaccinations every three months, recently hatched chicks will receive their dosage earlier.  As the mortality among chicks is still very high, it is hoped this will help swing the favour back toward the birds.  The vaccine protocols need some minor tweaking here and there but it’s on our to-do list.  It took two days to complete the vaccinations but we were happy to lend a hand!

So many chicks, only so many hands!

Some chicks didn’t appreciate the vaccination so off to hide from the evil vaccinators!

Hiding under Mom!

While currently working on translating the training manual in use by the teacher farmers, we have made some good advances in updating material to include that will cover nutrition, housing and general information on raising chickens.  More training in nutrition has been a common request from the farmers during our interviews and is something we feel we can accommodate.  Millet grows wild in the region, termites populate the dying vegetation and even banana peels can contribute to the health of chickens without taking from the maize, which is used to feed the families.

With sustainability in mind, a micro-credit system of chickens as the commodity is being planned.  An initial injection of new birds into the program will be the starting point for a continuing pay-forward of birds to other farmers, as well as a potential payback into a fund that will assist in purchasing supplies, pre-mixed feed, etc.

We continue to receive positive feedback from the village elders and the farmers with whom we interact, as well as some wonderful ideas on how they’d like to see the project progress.  As we intend to move forward with the final goal of having the villagers themselves take full ownership of this project, having active input and interest displayed by both teachers and students is a wonderful sign.  The people here are very creative, intelligent and not only willing to learn but teach us much about caring for chickens in a village environment.