Feathers were flying everywhere, small fluffy feathers that had shed from the many chickens on Singa Pathika’s property.
The smell of chicken manure mixed with the squawking birds was the perfect mixture of chaos for the small farm. In Orissa, India many small-scale farmers have to do other jobs in order to supplement their otherwise meager income from the crops. Mr. Pathika’s choice was to become a chicken farmer.
During peak seasons Mr. Pathika could earn a significant income from selling the chickens, but only if they lived long enough to sell. “When one chicken gets sick, soon they all do and die one by one.” explains Mr. Pathika.
Losing a flock of chickens is worse than just losing the income you would get from selling them. Chickens are an investment of money, time, and resources. By the time an entire flock of chickens has died from illness you have lost everything you put into raising them and the potential to profit.
“There is a veterinarian but he only comes when he wants and often charges more to heal the illness than the price of the chicken!” says Mr. Pathika, clearly upset over the corruption of the business. “calling the vet is immensely risky but to support my family I had to do something.”
So he did.
Tearfund’s local partner was hosting a livestock and poultry management training nearby and so Mr. Pathika signed up without hesitation. The training covered disease management, including which medications could help.
Confident and equipped with his new knowledge Mr. Pathika arrived home to find that two of his chickens had caught a disease called “Ranikhet”. Usually fatal if left untreated, Mr. Pathika got to work to heal the chickens. He purchased the correct medicine and a few days later they were healed!
“I didn’t think he would actually be able to heal the chickens,” starts Mrs. Pathika, “illness was usually fatal! But he knew exactly what he needed to heal them!”
Since the training Mr. Pathika proudly refers to himself as a “livestock doctor”, and has a healthy flock of chickens to prove it!