Sarajevo (Bosnia) Chicken Project

June 2005

We have been receiving reports of the seriousness of the situation some of our brethren in Bosnia are in. The country remains divided into three, Serb, Croat and Bosnian, with three presidents, and the factions held apart by UN forces still in place despite active conflict having ceased. Wages are often not paid, and corruption is endemic. One brother lives in great poverty in a house once owned by Serbs. The Serbs fled leaving the house empty. Our brother's family home was destroyed, and therefore he's now living in the deserted house. He works in the mine, in terrible conditions, and even then is often not paid his wages due to corruption. The suggestion has been made that we support the brethren in starting a chicken breeding project. They would get, say, 100 chicks and feed them according to a well tried programme for 55 days and then re-sell them. This suggestion has been carefully looked into. Needs for fencing and electric light and re-selling have been considered. Two British brethren recently visited Sarajevo and held a study weekend, enthusiastically attended by all the brethren baptized in Bosnia. Our brethren's conclusion was that the chicken project is viable and worth doing. In addition, the detailed plans for the project were submitted to two brethren in Australia, one a vet, the other a businessman. After a lot of discussion with the brethren in Bosnia the Australian brethren, too,  conclude the project is viable and has been well thought out.

A Bosnian Brother with the chickens he is raising

July 2005 We have been most encouraged by your support of the appeal for our needy brethren in Bosnia and their plan to raise chickens. Duncan and Cindy having spent some time down there with the project, we are now going to report to you in some detail about everything. We feel this is a really worthwhile project - giving brethren a fishing rod rather than a fish - a path to self-support, and it may be feasible to run this project elsewhere.

So, thanks to the initiative of brethren in Australia, a document was produced explaining in detail how to raise chickens, from buying them as day-old chicks, through an intensive program of feeding, until they can be sold or slaughtered at 45 days. It was explained how hygiene was essential, how to feed them, the requirements for warmth and lighting and other conditions. Our thanks go out to brethren Joel Pickering and Peter Finnan for their massive assistance.

We're proud of our brethren for conscientiously following all the guidelines. Br. Mustafa constructed a shed as stipulated, insulating the wood with cardboard and then plastic sheeting. He then ran some power cables to it, and installed the electric bulbs, only a few cm. above the heads of the chicks. The bulbs are on 24 hours, providing both light and heat to the chicks.

We had to buy 'grader' feed for the chicks, which they eat for the first 20 days, and then a more advanced feed for the final 25 days. With the feed; and the home made feeding drums. Under this regime, the chicks grow at an amazing rate. Mustafa and Zehra [his wife] made some feeding drums, but they still have to re-fill them every two hours. So Zehra is going down to the chickens every two hours, and cleaning out the place twice a day. This is a major thing for her to do, being pregnant, and as the chicks are located 5-10 minutes walk up the mountain from their home. They are simply so appreciative. They have very little to give by way of appreciation, and so they gave us a cup which had been in their family for generations and had been passed on to them. It was really very touching, to see how much they valued the effort made. The very fact they are making such round-the-clock effort with the chicks indicates, too, how much it all means to them and how seriously they are taking it all.

PROGRESS REPORT At the present moment, the chicks have been growing for 15 days, and are now weighing around 100 grams. Only 3 chicks of 100 have died, which is apparently a very good ratio. Every two hours Zehra or Mustafa check for sick or dead chicks, to get them out before they contaminate the others- chicks are very prone to disease. Of course they are eagerly looking forward to day 45 when they can sell the chickens.

August 2005: We are delighted to report that the chickens have now grown, with very few deaths, have been killed and sold. Our brethren are feeling their way at every stage of the project, and it was a bigger job than they realized to convert 2 kilogram chickens into meat ready for sale. They had to be killed, have their feathers plucked and unsaleable parts removed, then washed and sold. The final killing of the chickens was a rather messy business - the brethren described it in appropriate Bosnian terms as 'the genocide of the chickens'. However the job was done and now all the chickens have been sold, some in bulk, others in ones and twos to local people.

Latest news is that the brethren are ploughing the money back into buying more day-old chicks, to repeat the project one more time this year before the snow comes and it will be too cold.  There are other groups of brethren & sisters in other countries who could run such a project now it's been pioneered. Any donations to enable this can be sent to Carelinks, FAO Brother John Thatcher, PO Box 152, Menai Central NSW 2234 AUSTRALIA

Selling the chickens

Summary from various Carelink Reports

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