Thursday, 5 May 2011

Birds of a Feather

Well it's that time of year again... the time where Grandma gets in her new baby chicks! On our farm it is kind of a neat period as the chicken coop never gets any visitors other then when the chicks are there! I never use to find chickens interesting at all but as you grow up you get to see that there is value in everything. I like the chickens because they are something for my Grandma to look after whole-heartedly. With age comes new limits to what you are able to do, in the past my Grandma was completely hands on help on the family farm! She would help tag calves, milk cow, feed grain, chase the runaways, and help with any other chores that "needed doing". Her age has caught up to her in recent years and although she still likes to be part of most activities health has been a contributing factor on not being able to do everything. The chicken therefore are perfect for her! They are for the most part low maintence but still need to be checked on daily. She doesn't need help with anything concerning them so I think it gives her back her independence.. she also loves cooking and strongly believes that baking isn't the same without a farm egg! She has quite a few chickens (26) so she even started her own little egg selling business where all the neighbours are active participants! It's fun to see her enjoy them so much and makes me think chickens are a valuable asset to our farm!

Chickens aren't only valuable to us however and are making a difference all over the world!... yes you heard me correctly, they are making a difference! Heifer International is an organization that helps third world countries by allowing people to donate a variety of different animals to a community! When I was reading through the success storie at their official site ( one in particular caught my eye, and yes it involved chickens! Here it is:

It was a day to remember for the Orphan and disabled Children who are normally referred to as Most Vulnerable Children (MVC) of Zinga village, Bagamoyo district in Pwani region, Tanzania when pupils of International School of Tanganyika (IST) donated chickens and dairy goats through Heifer International's Read to Feed program. The event took place on February 9, 2011, at the village, located in southeastern of Tanzania. 'Read to Feed' simply means children raise money through reading books. The money raised is used to buy gifts of livestock for poor families in the rural areas. Through the Read to Feed program, the pupils of IST have been raising funds to support the MVC projects in Dar es Salaam and Coast regions.
During the handing over ceremony of livestock to orphans and disabled children of Zinga village, the chairperson of the MVC group thanked the IST for their valuable support. "We truly value your support and we are confident that these livestock will assist us in fighting hunger and poverty and enable our children attend school," said the lady Chairperson, Mwanamkuu Said.
The IST donation to Zinga village beneficiaries included 15 cockerels, 75 chickens and 12 dairy goats all valued at over Tshs. 2,000,000/= (US$1,800), including their transportation. 15 families were assisted with chickens (each family receiving 5 pullets and 1 cockerel) and 10 families were given dairy goats together with 2 bucks.
Prior to the receiving of the livestock, the beneficiaries acquired 5 day training on animal husbandry, which included training on feeding, disease control, pasture growing and construction of proper animal sheds.
Heifer International Tanzania's objective for this particular project is to enable MVC most of whom live on an income of less than US$1 a day to realize some extra income through sale of eggs, chicken, live goats and surplus milk to enable them to buy basic households and school requirements.
Over the last 6 years the IST has been in the forefront helping poor families in Pwani and Dar es Salaam regions through 'Read to Feed'. Over this period a total of Tshs 27,500,000 equivalent to about US $21,000 has been raised helping over 90 families with orphans and disabled children. So far 6 villages (Vianzi, Hoyoyo, Mwanambaya, Kerege, Mpijimagohe and Zinga) have been reached. Families keep dairy goats and local chicken after obtaining basic animal husbandry knowledge.

I encourage you to go check out Heifer International's site to see just how big of an impact agriculture can have on the lives of others! Another cool NGO centered around agriculture is Putting Farmers First (


  1. This article is awesome Jenalee! Thanks for sharing!!! It definitely made me think, who would have thought chickens could do so much. Awesome blog :)

  2. Thanks Erin! I was so much fun learning about these creatures!