Quick facts: They tip the scales at an average of 3.5kg; almost every household has one on peyi day (social grantsâ payment day); and they were bred in Tshezi Village by Mamâ Maduma and Mongezi – They are the chickensÂ of the Tshezi chicken farming enterprise.
After months of construction, training,Â endless preparatory planning and dissapointment, the farmers finally produced mature chickens for the market –Â and the good news is thatÂ all the 71 chickens were sold out. It wasn’t all smooth-sailing though for the farmers as they came face-to-face with some pitfalls. In the second week of the chicks’ lives, heavy rains pounded the village, flooding the brood and resulting in the death of 17 chicks.Â However the farmers showed resilience andÂ moved on despite the heavy losses.
The broiler chickens are raised from one day old to a maturity age of eight weeks. Breeding chickens for sale is hard work that requires careful planning, good management techniques, dedication and commitment.
One has to wake up in the middle of the night to check that the temperature in the chicksâ house is optimal. It is also the farmer’s responsibilityÂ to clean the chicken houseÂ and replace the dirty material on theÂ floor of the chicken houses after every five days.
The work doesn’t end there as, on maturity, the chickens have to be loaded into heavyÂ crates and taken to the pay points as eraly morning as possible.
The business of selling chickens is a lucrative one in the rural areas. With almost all rural households being recipients of one form of grant or another, buying a live chicken is a must forÂ households onÂ social grants’ pay day. The Tshezi chicken farmers thus made their first foray into the competitive chicken business and came outÂ with their tails up. Although they did not manage to sell all the 71 chickens on the day, they made their presence felt and they managed to make sales of about 20 chickens (at R85 each).
With the mature chickens eating more than 10kg of feed per day, keeping them for a day longer than scheduled erodes into enterprise profits. To counter this potentially business-killing problem, the chicken farmers went on an aggressive marketing venture and managed to sell the remaining fifty chickens in a week.
Future prospects for the chicken farming venture are positive and, with the commitment shown by Mamâ Maduma, Mongezi and Tata Mbangasini , the enterprise is well positioned to grow and make a difference in the entrepreneurs’ livelihoods.