Beryl Gorbman, Yucatan Yenta
Beginning this winter, several of us are hoping to start an effort in Yucatecan villages constructing chicken coops. Our goal is to build ecologically sustainable and productive chicken coops in selected Yucatan villages, one at a time. For our first coop, we are looking at the town of San Antonio Tehuitz.
San Antonio is small. No one in town raises chickens, or for that matter, pigs or other livestock. Many of the residents work at domestic and labor jobs in Merida. There is a surprisingly high crime rate.
The local store is small and sells a lot of junk food. The store doesn’t carry meat.
When I asked the female head of household of the San Antonio site whether there were other coops in the village, she said no, that eggs are brought in from Merida and sold at the small store for 1.5 pesos each. These eggs are probably at least two weeks old.
Not only are there no chicken coops in this village, there are no pigs, cows, or other local protein sources. Our participant said, “All we grow here is drunk men.”
Our approach is through personal contacts in the villages. Once we establish that there are no other chicken coops there, we make sure the family we hope to work with is as enthusiastic about the project as we are. Fortunately, raising chickens is pretty straightforward and the coop owners can be up and running fairly quickly. We have to provide security as best we can for the chickens as there are many predators in the villages. Chickens can eat scraps of human food and it will be good if they can also get some feed and vitamins.
Three chickens can produce a dozen eggs per day. Aside from providing essential nutrition for the family with the coop, excess eggs can be sold or bartered to neighbors for about one peso apiece.
We can buy chickens and material for the coops at the Merida central market. A friend from Seattle who owns a bustling coop in Wallingford is coming down in December to help get this venture off the ground. If anyone wants to volunteer to work, or volunteer to get materials for us to use, please let me know. Thanks.
Please comment with your suggestions.