Nourou-Dhine Salouka | February 15, 2016
Roukiétou Ouédraogo started raising local birds five years ago. Nearly a hundred birds now call her family farm home. Roosters, chickens, guinea fowl, and turkeys peck at the scattered feeders in her coop. She says, “I had more, but I sold dozens of chickens during the holiday season.”
She earned about 270,000 CFA francs [$450 US] from her holiday sales, almost as much as the retirement pension she receives every three months.
Mrs. Ouédraogo’s success is the talk of the town in Loumbila, a village 20 kilometres northeast of the capital, Ouagadougou. But she did not always raise poultry. She turned to keeping birds only after she retired from teaching.
Mrs. Ouédraogo has always been passionate about farming. She says her father, who was a great poultry farmer, instilled this passion in her. When she was young, she helped her father by feeding the guinea fowl.
She has adopted a simple and effective technique for raising chickens: she makes sure the birds are comfortable. She insists, “We must ensure their cleanliness and feed the chickens properly.” The former teacher learned this approach from her father.
Mrs. Ouédraogo keeps her chicks in cages for a month after hatching to increase their chances of survival. She also vaccinates them against those poultry diseases which are common in the dry season.
On the advice of her husband, a retired researcher, she crossed local chicken breeds with a French breed known as the “Blue of Holland.” Moussa Ouédraogo is Mrs. Ouédraogo’s husband. He explains, “The crossing produces larger hens, while keeping the popular taste locals love.”
Just like she did with her students, Mrs. Ouédraogo gives her chickens lots of love and attention. She starts caring for them in the morning by sweeping their coop. Then she washes and fills the troughs with water. Finally, she cleans the feeders and fills them with poultry food made with millet and dried fish. This mixture increases the growth rate of her birds. After five months, they are ready to be sold.
In addition to tasting wonderful, Mrs. Ouédraogo’s birds are affordable. She sells roosters at 2,500 CFA francs [$4.20 US]. Roosters cost 3,500 at the market.
Daouda Maïga is one of Mrs. Ouédraogo’s loyal customers. He says, “I regularly buy poultry from Mrs. Ouédraogo because it is good quality and costs less.”
Mrs. Ouédraogo wants to expand her poultry business and make it even more productive. She is fully satisfied with her new life. Her former life as a teacher is just a distant memory, and she says she doesn’t miss it. She concludes, “I was happy as a teacher, but that’s over! Today, I am a satisfied farmer.”