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Ethiopia: Farmer’s attention to feeding and caring for chickens increases family income

It’s early in the morning and Asfo Wass wakes up with much energy, eager to care for his chickens. He sweeps the chicken house and adds adequate water and feed. He has been raising chickens for almost two years and is happy with the income he earns, which supports his family of six.

In order to keep his chickens healthy, Mr. Wass pays careful attention to how and what he feeds them. He explains: “Every morning before I send the children to school, I make sure that the chickens are well-fed and have enough water to drink. I feed them with a mix of maize and rice three times a day.”

Mr. Wass purchases 50 kilos of maize and the same amount of rice for one month, then takes the mixture to the mill to prepare it for feeding his chickens. He adds, “My wife helps me in feeding and in letting the chickens out of the shed because they also require sunlight to grow healthy.”

Mr. Wass has four children and lives in Yali town in the Semen Bench Woreda of the Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples Region, or SNNPR, in Ethiopia. He says he wants to expand his poultry business to increase his earnings from chickens. And the best way to do that is to provide his chickens with good feed and take care of their health.

Mr. Wass believes he now has the skills and knowledge needed to increase his income from poultry farming so that his family enjoys a better life.

He explains: “During the last two years, I have learned skills on how to get the most out of raising healthy and marketable chickens. I have been taking part in trainings provided by veterinarians in our area and I am still participating in these trainings regularly in order to learn how to raise the chicks.” Mr. Wass received his training at Bonga Poultry Farm in the Kaffa Zone of southern Ethiopia.

Mr. Wass currently raises 20 chickens. He recently spent 300 Ethiopian Birr ($7.83 US) to receive 20 more chicks in the coming weeks.

He explains, “I have enough space for raising chickens in my farm. I am planning to prepare an additional shed for the 20 chicks I will be receiving soon.” Adequately preparing the farm to receive new chicks is an important part of preventing chicken diseases.

Abiy Alemayehu is the agricultural expert in Hawassa city, in SNNPR. He says they are training farmers in rearing poultry, in cooperation with an NGO called Ethio-Chicken. Once farmers are engaged in raising the chicks, the trainers follow up to make sure that production is successful.

Mr. Wass says that one of the most valuable lessons he learned from the trainings is how to protect poultry from diseases.

He explains: “There are seasons when the chicks are vulnerable to diseases and that is when the training comes in handy. I have learned that it is vital for the chicks to get three rounds of vaccines.”

He says it’s important to follow up with veterinary staff to ensure that affected chickens receive the required medication. He adds: “I hope that I will be a role model to my fellow farmers. I will be informing them about what I have learned so that they too can benefit from this knowledge.”

Mr. Wass says he has tasted the fruits of success in raising chickens and has faith that he can expand the number of chickens in his farm to make more profits.

He adds, “Last year, I earned over 50,000 Ethiopian Birr ($1,330 US) by just applying the training I received on how to raise poultry. I was able to raise and sell chickens four times.”

Poultry farming is becoming his main source of income and he thinks he will be able to support his family through poultry. He says, “I am determined to send my children to good schools using income from poultry.”

This resource is undertaken with the financial support of IFC as part of the Scaling Poultry Radio Program in Ethiopia.