This week’s poultry mentoring was an inspiring reflection of how farmers are learning to improve poultry raising to suit their lifestyles and resources, whilst investing time and effort in getting better results.
Every farmer we visited had his or her own vision for how s/he wanted her chicken farm to develop. Ms Nan and her husband from one of the poorest households are intent on building a new and bigger pen with more ventilation, more sunlight, and more space to acquire new chickens. They already sell some of their chickens in the village and want to sell more
– in the past two months alone they sold 15-20 chickens!
They have set up a great water container, important now that the dry season is in full swing, and have been giving papaya skins and other additions to supplement the chickens’ diet.
Mr Kam, also one of the poorer participants, has an impressive set up, with newborn chicks, young adults and full grown chickens all cared for separately. This is quite unusual in the extensive mode of farming common to local chicken raising. Although he and his wife can’t read and write, their daughter helps them keep records every month to track numbers.
In the past few months most participants have sold chickens for income as well as eating them for household nutrition. They all have plans to improve the housing, feed practices and increase their income over the next few months. We’ll be continuing to provide regular support for vaccination and technical advice to help them develop self-sufficient and reliable production.
Last week, the Vets without Borders team in Laos took a trip to visit chicken farms at one of their project villages. At the six month mark in the project, it was time for all of the chickens to receive their fourth round of vaccinations for disease prevention.
The day was also an opportunity to mentor the Primary Animal Health Workers (PAHWs) through the vaccination process.
Just like many other farmers all across Laos, most farmers in the project village raise chickens for occasional home consumption, but mostly for sale at the markets, and are not in the habit of eating the eggs. Chickens generally have a free run of the neighborhood, which can pose problems for diseases and inbreeding. However, thanks to the work of our partner agency, the Faculty of Agriculture, Vets without Borders, and the PAHWs and farmers in each village, chickens are now being raised with improved practices. Poultry farmers now have the education and materials to build chicken coops and to use improved feeding practices with troughs and clean water containers. Vaccination clinics are helping prevent the chickens from getting diseases that will kill off the flock.
Now, instead of all chickens heading to the market to be sold, the healthy flock can be diversified into egg producers for new chicks and egg consumption, chicken meat consumption, and others to be sold for income. Farmers and their families are also learning how to identify how to select chickens to keep and which to sell.
With healthier chickens in the village, families have more options for household income and nutrition! A big thanks to veterinarians Margot and Lota the PAHW’s for doing such a great job in making a difference!