We have eggs. Lots of eggs.
But you’ll have to take my word for it. Because my pocket camera got wet and stopped working before I took a good close-up photo of the trays of eggs produced in our hen house over the last two days.
It’s now rained nearly four days straight. But the chickens are dry, happy, and adjusting well.
In fact, in total, I’ve counted over 150 perfect, medium to large-sized, freshly produced eggs. And the eggs were still coming when I left the hen house early this evening.
Ati eggs for sale!
Of course, it’s not exactly ‘our’ hen house. It belongs to the indigenous Ati people.
They live here in the hills near us in Malay, Aklan on Panay Island in the Philippines – where we have paused our travels and are waiting out the coronavirus crisis.
But we, with the support of dozens of overseas donors, financed the construction of the hen house – and this week, stocked it with 140 chickens.
Actually, in the photo at the top, you can see the eggs in trays to the right of the people. Those are the Ati who will do the daily, hands-on work of caring for the birds. In the picture they are getting instruction from Robert, the chicken farm (seller) representative.
We paid a little more for these hens partly to get extra personalized attention from Robert. He’s already visited the hilltop hen house three times and been at our apartment twice.
The other reason we decided to pay about 25% more than absolutely necessary, was to get 22-week-old, “ready to lay” hens. And as I already said, they are laying!
The cheaper birds were younger – 15 weeks – we would have had to feed them and wait about two months to start getting sellable eggs. Factoring in the feed cost, the overall price would have been about exactly the same. So why wait?
Viewed that way, Robert’s attention is really free. He’s available anytime via cell phone or message. He will continue to visit and teach best practices and trouble shoot if needed. And he is well versed in all the latest science and techniques to maximize egg production.
That gives us, and the Ati, important peace of mind and a reliable resource going forward. After all, we don’t expect to be here long term. And while Uncle Nilo, the Ati elder who will be the hen house manager, has good knowledge and experience with egg operations, he’s more of an ‘old school’ guy.
So it was great to see him, and the other Ati, again engrossed in conversation and learning the latest with Robert – all in the Malay / Tagalog language.
Fine-tuning work on Ati chicken coop
In fact, today, before my camera problem, we were still ‘fine tuning’ the hen house based on Robert’s input. Despite the frequent downpours, we made adjustments to the chicken drinking water system: adding a filter, protecting from sun, improving flushing and wash-out ability, and bolstering rainwater collection.
Robert has also provided a liquid enzyme water additive for better hen digestive health; and ground limestone which will be a scheduled supplement to the chicken feed and assure egg shell strength.
The other modification suggested by Robert will be the addition of light. Hens produce best with 16 hours of light each day. Obviously, nature provides only 12. We do have wiring installed in the hen house, but the electric company has not yet scheduled service connections for the hilltop Ati village. Thus, we will ad a solar panel and light to temporarily provide extra hours of illumination.
So the work and education continue – even as there are now Ati eggs for sale. When we walked down from the hen house this evening, Gilda, the Ati ‘auditor’, carried several trays of the fresh eggs which will go to the first paying customers.
Miracles happen when we work together
Finally, before the camera trouble, I was collecting more personalized ‘thank you’ photos for our financial contributors. They will be privately emailed soon.
If you are a donor who does NOT get our extra updates, be advised, we need your email to forward a pic like the one above.
Naturally, once my camera dries out and starts working again, we’ll be sharing lots of fresh egg photos right here in the blog.
As always, be thankful & generous, happy trails & more beer.
Life is NOW!
Thanks for reading, “Ati eggs for sale!”
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