This year, Bridges began a new chicken farm project in the community of Hormiguero, Siuna. Three families (18 people) from Hormiguero are currently participating in the pilot program. At the beginning of the project, the three families received training and workshops on broiler chicken management including fattening chickens and properly caring for them to ensure they can continue the project after the first phase is complete. They also participated in an exchange with families from a different community of Siuna, San Pablo, who shared their experiences, successes, and failures working with broiler chickens. Broiler chickens are typically white and are bred specifically for optimal health and size to produce a quality product for the consumer, although they do still lay eggs.
During the month of May, the Hormiguero families, in partnership with BTC, built chicken coops, and bought chicken feed. This week, the families will receive their first 50 chicks. They will raise the chicks for 8 weeks, the time it takes to fully raise and fatten a broiler chicken. At that point, families can bring chicken meat to local markets in the community or the city of Siuna to sell. In total, each family will receive 200 chicks, 50 at a time. Armed with the knowledge they gained in the training, the families will then take over and use the money they have already earned to continue the business and buy chicks in the future.
In conjunction with the vegetable gardens, Bridges aims to improve the diet and nutrition of the participating families by increasing their access to protein, as meat is expensive. Families will also have a source of extra income through the sale of poultry and be able to self-sustain their new business. Bridges is financing half of this project, and the other half is a loan that the families will pay back to the community fund.