Arusha Project


A Garden and Chicken Update
August 16, 2007, 6:43 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

A month after starting our chicken project, we’re getting about five eggs a day from 12 chickens and we expect that only to increase. It’s not really egg laying season according to our chef. Still, the eggs that the chickens are laying are pretty special. Our egg yolks are bright orange in contrast to the white yolks that the local chickens usually lay. Unlike the chickens that only get the local feed, Jen feeds our chickens the local chicken feed plus food scraps from our kitchen to give them extra nutrition. I guess this just shows how minimal the local feed is here in terms of nutritional value. We also let our chickens run free in our yard during the day, unlike some people that keep them cooped up, so they can scavenge for food as well. We were just noticing the other day, our chickens are quite fat, it’s a really good thing. The eggs that we are getting are used solely to give out during home visits with our partner organizations. There are three volunteers that are in such placements, and they usually visit homes of individuals in poverty and affected/infected with AIDS and for these people, getting some healthy nutrition from eggs with orange yolks is very rare and really beneficial.

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We’re hoping to expand the chicken project too. Our first rooster died from chicken disease early on and we recently bought a second so that we can start having chicks. It takes a little bit for the chickens to get comfortable and start having fertile eggs, so until then Jen bought a few fertile eggs for the two especially broody chickens to sit on. She moved the two chickens into a private room and set them up with nests and eggs, but one didn’t stay very long. This momma had previously set up a nest in the roots of the banana trees outside of our kitchen and was sitting on her unfertile eggs and stealing more eggs from other chickens to add to her collection. After getting her batch of fertile eggs, she started moving them across the yard back to her first nest area. We’re still wondering how she’s able to pick up the eggs and carry them that far, but we know she’s a determined and protective momma, so we let her stay amongst her banana trees. Hopefully we’ll start having chicks in the next week or two.

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In terms of the garden, we have three large beds planted with onions, collards and cabbage, and we recently planted to more beds with potatoes that haven’t sprouted yet. The collards may be ready for harvest within the month but everything else should take a bit longer. By the end of this month, we plan to plant nearly five more beds with local produce that will eventually go straight to our community partners and individual members.

– Kaia

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