What a journey farming in Mozambique has been!!
We where faced with ups and many downs but true to farming spirit, we just keep going… innovating, adapting.
One thing that I immediately knew it that we will need fresh eggs on the farm. In my experience, you would buy 24 eggs on the market in summer and only 4 – 6 was borderline usable… I just couldn’t face another egg!!
My 2 toddler’s socialization is also very important to me and I started to think of excuses to drive the 2-hour dirt road to town weekly… believe me it is some what of the Dakar rally navigating these roads! I wanted to do something on the farm for us… something that will give us quality food to eat, have a little income to pay for fuel to town, horse-riding lesson and a milkshake. In Vilanculos we have the 2 most remarkable people, Pat and Mandy Retzlaff that run the Mozambique horse Safari. They love their horses so much and give weekly riding lessons. But more on that in a later blog! Read all about their wonderful operation. Mozambique horse safari
I brainstormed with some people around a bushveld fires, there where farmers have their heart to heart and thinking huddles. To my disappointment most wasn’t too positive about a chicken operation in our area. Feed supply was a problem, market was a problem. For every solution someone had a problem!!!! Hard headed as I can be I just couldn’t believe it. Yes, sure there is a couple of problems, but if it was easy everyone would do it!
I am married to a cattle farmer who KNOW about feed, so that wasn’t my focus in the beginning…
I knew if I went to my husband he would help me, but with the development of the farm putting a lot of pressure on him, I felt I had to first proof that an enterprise like chickens would work here. I felt like I had no budget to work with until I could proof something.
How do you get chickens on a very limited budget?
I found out that each vehicle can enter border control with 10 chickens and as soon as we had to cross with two vehicles I took advantage of the opportunity.
First, I imported 20 of my old farm chickens that was still at Ribbokkloof. http://www,ribbokkloof.co.za My husband is the one with passion for chicken breeding (he has a passion for all genetics in fact) but I always loved them in my yard…
It didn’t take long to see that chicken flourished on Toro Ranch! Soon we had about 18 hens with 10 chicks each!! They grew like mushrooms on natural feed and best of all, little to NO scorpions was left on the yard and the mozzies was also far less than before!!
I absolutely love the free roaming chickens all over the bush camp but soon the stray dogs also started to love them. We had a makeshift chicken coup that did the trick!
So, after a while my point was proven and I ordered my first layers. What excitement!!
Koekoek vr Sussex
Soon I wanted to import some more chickens from South Africa, but the RSA was hit with bird flue and I managed to buy an incubator and some fertilized Potch Koekoek and Light Sussex eggs… Eugene spent hours doing research on what breed will be the best adapted to our region. Both these breeds are dual purpose and the Koekoek isn’t fussy about food.
Trail and error followed with the incubator but finally we managed to get the humidity just right, but we found that my good old yard hens were the best incubator ever and started to give them eggs to hatch for us as well…
Soon M’eggs was born. I braved the Vilanculos market and soon supplied a couple of housewives’ and one or two brave lodge owners with a locally produced, free range, fresh product!
I was so very proud, it was such a big achievement in my eyes!
We loved going to the chicken coop as often as we can. The interaction between the kids and the hens had me in awe. There was a couple of funny moments when the kids would try and catch a small chick and the hen would retaliate, but soon everyone learned to respect the other. Isn’t farm life wonderful?
Let me know what types of breeds work for you?