We’ve been chicken shopping.
No. Not for wings or breasts or the whole birds that we often get at roadside roasters here in the Philippines. Not for chicks, pictured above.
We’re looking for RTL hens — Ready To Lay (eggs).
These egg-laying birds will fill the henhouse that local members of the indigenous Ati tribe have rebuilt with our financing in the hills near our temporary home in Malay, Aklan on Panay Island.
Today we met with a chicken farm and feed representative named Robert. Robert was recommended to us by U.S.-based missionaries that have worked with the Ati here over the years. They reported that the birds Robert provided at the previous henhouse (destroyed by typhoon) were healthy and productive and indeed RTL.
Robert was kind enough to agree to meet me and Ellen and my mom, Diane, at our apartment at the Hangout Beach Resort this morning. During the 45-minute get together, Robert explained the details of the RTL hens that he is selling and supporting.
- The birds are Lohmann breed
- When delivered, they would be 22 weeks old
- Delivery could take 3 to 4 weeks
- The price of each hen is 535 Philippine pesos ($10.70)
- Medium-sized eggs should be produced immediately, graduating to large and extra-large size over the following few months
- Robert will visit personally and consult via text message as needed to help implement best practices and assure best results (eggs)
After discussing the terms and answering our questions, Robert also volunteered to visit the henhouse – which is still being finished – immediately. It was he who suggested he might offer guidance that would be helpful at this stage of the construction process.
Indeed, when we went to the chicken house site, it was reassuring to see Robert easily conversing with both the Ati chieftain, Ernesto, and his brother, Nilo, who will manage the chicken/egg operation. As I eavesdropped, I could hear discussion related to coop size, food, water, lighting, and the septic tank.
Robert’s expertise and willingness to engage are definite pluses – as is the real RTL status of the birds he offers. Still, his price is higher than other alternatives. And his ongoing assistance is only offered if the Ati managers agree to use his company’s chicken feed (Pilmico) exclusively.
Chicken shopping: Option #2
Another possible provider of chickens for our henhouse project is Jun. Our landlady suggested speaking to him. We obtained the basic information from Jun in a phone call.
- Hens are the DeKalb breed
- Bird age at delivery will be 16 weeks old
- Several delivery dates are available throughout all of July
- The price of each bird is 410 Pesos ($8.20)
- Initial eggs will be too small to sell; medium-sized eggs can be expected after a month, graduating to large in following months
- Jun has his own henhouse and will be available for assistance. (He did not ask about the Ati henhouse specifics at this time)
Decisions, decisions, and additional options…
In both cases, the birds would be transported to Panay from other islands. (Provided inter-island transit is not affected by COVID-19.) Both come with limited time ‘health guarantees’. Robert mentioned free calcium and another supplement. Jun suggested a similarly priced, favored, feed brand – but no specific manufacturer agreement is required.
Obviously, Jun’s birds will require at least a month of feeding (about 6¢ per day per bird) before any saleable egg size can be expected.
We are weighing these proposals, and may still seek more. In fact, Ellen did discuss RTL hen procurement with another agricultural feed supplier in nearby Caticlan. The price of those birds was quoted at 490 Pesos ($9.80). We still need to get the complete details on breed and age, but that delivery would not be until early August.
Bottom line, we are moving to find RTL hens even as the chicken house is yet to be finished. And while the birds may vary in price and true ‘laying readiness’ – the total outlay to get saleable eggs appears quite similar.
In coming days we will continue to investigate and evaluate the options – and with the Ati, make a supplier decision. For now, our chicken shopping and education continues.
As always, be thankful and generous, happy trails & more beer.
Life is NOW!
Thanks for reading, “Chicken shopping for Ati henhouse on mainland Malay.”
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