It is so exciting to finally be at this point. When we topped the $30,000 mark last month we got the green light to move forward with this project. It seems like we've waited so long for this moment and it is finally here. This month has been really busy. Tarekegn, Kota Ganate's onsite manager, traveled to Addis Ababa and we've spent a lot of time together planning for the ground breaking that should take place in just a few weeks. We have been pricing and purchasing equipment, negotiating with building contractors, and doing lots of planning. Tarekegn and his assistant brought three of their staff to a local agriculture research station to receive training about hatchery operations.
This has all been great, but my favorite part is the tinkering. Of course, some equipment must be purchased, but in order to reduce costs and increase sustainability we have decided to make a few critical pieces ourselves using primarily locally available materials. The first of these are the incubators, hatchers, and brooders.
The first creation is a brooder. These are used to keep young chicks warm until their feathers come in. The first picture is in actual use. The second picture shows the working parts, which are a simple heater coil and temperature control. Everything was bought locally except for the temp. controller, which I brought from the US. The temp. controller more than doubled the cost. The next model will be all local and cost less than $20.
This is the beginning of the incubator. I contracted a local cabinet maker to build the housing. I just received it on Monday. Laid out in front are the heater, ventilation fans, and water pan. These are all installed now and testing is underway. Temperature and humidity controls are working like a charm. We are still working out how to get the ventilation and air circulation just right. Then we'll install the egg trays and do a real test.
In just a few days I'll be heading to Chencha to help break ground for the hatchery building. I'll also be bringing 300 chicks with me for a broiler grow-out trial. This trial will give is an opportunity to give our staff extra practical experience, to collect growth and economic data for the area, and to start training some local farmers.
There is so much going on here it's hard to list it all. Suffice it to say that with God's help and yours this project is moving on along in a big way. I am so excited to see what the next few months will bring.