Training Poultry Husbandry & Animal Feed
Netsanet Beyero Hirbaye stayed at the Aeres International Training Centre for nine months to study Poultry Husbandry and Animal Feed. One of her goals: to implement Dutch poultry skills and knowledge in her home country, Ethiopia.
The answer to our first question (“How do you like it here?”) starts with a big smile. “It was great! I really learned a lot from the training sessions at school and thanks to everything I saw at the farms and companies we visited in the Netherlands. But in the nine months that I stayed here I also learned a lot, simply from living here with all those people from various backgrounds.
Poultry in Ethiopia
“In Ethiopia there are roughly two ways in which we keep poultry,” Netsanet explains. “There are commercial farms, where the animals live in a protected environment. Most commercial farms have between 2000 and 5000 chickens. Many local farmers keep their chickens in a free ranging situation, usually they own around 200 animals, but in a totally different situation than in the commercial farms. Outside, the chickens lose a lot of energy due to being free range. There is loss of animals because of predators and diseases. The meat from free range chickens also is very different from that of commercially held chickens.”
Back Home Improvement Plan
The Back Home Improvement Plan (BHIP) is an assignment in which students create an improvement plan for their situation back home. They write a proposal on how they are going to handle observed problems (challenges) at a local pig or poultry farm. Before the students go home, they present their BHIPs and the best one wins an award. The participants are expected to implement the results or identified improvements at ‘their’ farms upon their return.
Netsanet’s BHIP on poultry management was voted the best BHIP. She wrote: “In Hawassa, an Ethiopian city, there is a layer parent stock farm (15,000 layers) which is owned partly by the government. Partly it is private property. They produce rearers which are distributed to other poultry farms when they are 16 weeks old. At the poultry farm in Hawassa, one of the analysed problems was that too much feed was wasted.
I learned that the reason for this was the fact that there are not enough feeding places. The animals had to fight for their food. Furthermore, the chickens were only fed twice a day. They were hungry when the feed came, which was an extra motivation to fight. If you create more feeding places and feed the chickens more regularly during the day, there is less competition and less feed is wasted.