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Cool chicken coops protect poultry

Update: May, 25/2007 - 00:00

Cool chicken coops protect poultry

(26-05-2007)

DONG NAI — Bird flu has destroyed countless livelihoods across the globe but for farmers in Dong Nai Province, Viet Nam, there may be a ‘cool’ solution to the problem -temperature controlled chicken coops.

The idea has already attracted many fans, including the owner of one of the biggest chicken farms in Dong Nai. "If all industrial chicken raising farms set up indoor coops with cooling machines, farmers can keep their chickens safe from bird flu and make consumers feel more secure", the farmer says.

What is special about the model is that it is enclosed, separating the birds from the outside world. Temperature is regulated by an automatic system that adjusts according to the weather.

It’s a winner for farmer Long who has already begun to use the system on his own birds. "The chickens can hardly get diseases from wild birds when they are raised in indoor coops," he says.

And in addition to protecting poultry from the outside world, the coop also protects surrounding land from the birds by containing the mess and smell typical of normal chicken farms. This is a bonus for local residents.

But these gains aren’t cheap. Installing a cooling system for 1,000 chickens can cost between VND500 million (US$31,250) to VND 1 billion (US$62,500). Ngoc had to put down VND7 billion (US$437,500) to raise 120,000 chickens whilst Long invested VND5 billion (US$625,000) to build coops for 90,000 chickens.

This is a serious jump in cost when compared to the VND200 million (US$12,500) it would cost to house 10,000 chickens in an outdoor pen.

But for farmers in Dong Nai Province, the short term price is outweighed by the long term benefits. Outdoor pens have a duration of only three years, whilst indoor coops with cooling machines can be used for ten.

Ultimately, investment in the model depends on how willing farmers are to risk their money. "People who do not have a daredevil spirit will not make the investment. However, if we look at both methods from a long term perspective, raising chickens in indoor cooled coops costs much less than raising in outdoor coops, and we can expect higher economic efficiency from this model", says Long. — VNS

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