Chickens: A ‘Very Noble Gift’

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By Maureen Siele, ChildFund Kenya
Posted on 11/30/2016
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Stella with her family's chickens...

Magdalene is the mother of six children in Emali, Kenya, and her family received chickens from ChildFund’s Real Gifts Catalog. Stella, her 8-year-old daughter, helps her collects the hens’ eggs and sweep out the coop after school. We asked Magdalene about what the chickens have meant to her family.

What do your chickens do for your family?
I received five hybrid chickens from ChildFund. Through an exchange program, I swapped eggs laid by one of my chickens with hybrid eggs laid by a chicken bred at Stella’s school. The eggs hatched and produced more hybrid chickens. Now I have 30 chickens.

What was life like before you received the chickens? How was it more difficult?
Before we received the chickens, we hardly ever ate eggs or chicken. We had three local chickens, which did not produce enough eggs compared to the ones we have now. Their eggs were also small in size, and many of the chicks died. These hybrid chickens, in contrast, lay very big eggs and are resistant to diseases. They are also big and have a lot of meat. Whenever I slaughter them, I have enough to feed the whole family.

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And their nutritious eggs.

What do the chickens provide for your family? Why are they important to you?
They provide eggs, about 10 per day. My children like eating them, mostly boiled. This way, they grow healthy and strong. The chickens also provide meat. They are important to me because they are a source of income. I sell about 10 eggs every day at 10 shillings each. I use the money to buy other household items like milk and sugar.

How many times a day does your family eat? What do you normally eat?
We eat three times a day. Mostly we drink porridge, eat ugali (a dish made of maize flour cooked in boiling water), rice and vegetables.

How do you earn an income for your family?
I am a farmer. I grow maize and bananas and raise chickens, and my husband is a wiring electrician.

What do you plan to do once the chickens grow bigger?
I want the chickens to lay more eggs, so that they can brood and hatch more chicks. Once the chicks grow big, I will sell the cockerels and keep the hens so they can continue producing more eggs for sale.

What would you like to tell the people who gave you the chickens?
Thank you so much. This is a very noble gift that has changed our lives.

What are your hopes or dreams for Stella’s future?
I want her to grow up disciplined, healthy and strong. I want her to be a respectable lady. She says she wants to be a teacher, and I support her.

You can purchase chickens for a family in ChildFund’s Real Gifts Catalog.