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Poultry Farming 101

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This is Rich. I landed in Zambia’s capital city of Lusaka on Friday night after a delay in Washington DC. After a quick night of sleep, I spent all of Saturday with Charles Mumba and Sandie Kandolo (Executive Director and Chair of the Board for Spark’s partner Hope Ministries). We visited 3 chicken farms and a company called Hybrid that supplies small chicks to poultry farmers, who then raise and sell them back to Hybrid at a profit. It was quite an education.
My favorite part was meeting Mr. Tembo, a poultry farmer of great knowledge. He told us all about feeders and drinkers. He showed us the chicken “runs” or the actual buildings that house the chickens—as many as 8,000 at a time. It is very important that the chickens stay warm for the first few weeks so they have small charcoal pits that are placed in the buildings to keep the temperature up. They vaccinate the chickens through the water and provide vitamins. I’m pretty sure these chickens would qualify as free range. They check each day for chickens that haven’t made it, and at the end of a cycle, they are given a mortality rate. A mortality rate of 4-10% is acceptable when you are raising this many chickens. Mr. Tembo’s last crop had a mortality rate of only 2%! Like I said, he is one wise poultry farmer. Of course, these are what are called broiler chickens, so in the end the mortality rate is actually 100%. (Sorry to any vegetarians out there.) Evidently lay chickens (the ones you raise to lay eggs) are very temperamental and much harder to raise successfully.
Sunday I traveled by car to Ndola (about 5 hours) and got to spend one night with my Zambian family the Mulandos. It was great to see Mama Lilian and her cooking is as good as ever. Uncle Jay’s battery charging business was also doing quite well considering all of his customers who wanted their batteries charged so they could watch the World Cup games.
Monday Tasha and Nancy arrived and today (Tuesday) was our first full day at the Hope Ministries campus (as I’m calling it). It is quite unbelievable the progress and people that greeted us. But I’ll save that for another post. Thanks for following us and for your support of Spark Ventures. I’ll leave you some pictures of the farms and the children whose lives you are helping to transform!
 Mr. Tembo (2nd from left) giving poultry farm lessons to Ba Roy, Ba Sandie and Ba Charles.
Drinkers (orange) and feeders (silver) alongside a 7,000 capacity chicken run.
Sandie Kandolo (Hope Board Chair), Rich, Charles Mumba and Roy Kaonga (Hope Vice Chair) at Mr. Tembo’s poultry farm.
Some of the children at Hope Community School.
A new friend.
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