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Thread: Pollitos, Chanchitos, and Life Moves On

  1. #1

    Default Pollitos, Chanchitos, and Life Moves On

    So,, the pig and chicken business looks viable. It's amazing the turns life takes here.

    So, I sold my first lot of chickens,, only got 28 cords /pound. I was offered 38 in Condega but I have to deliver. The buyer took 28 pounds and came back a half hour later and took the remaining ten. I only have one that I promised my new Spanish teacher.

    These were about 4 pounds dressed. I have 40 more little ones,, and fifty chicks in the box. I saved three gallinas out of the lot,, and am taking delivery of three more and a rooster tomorrow.

    The plan is to incubate my own chicks. I did it once before,, successfully. Out of the 48 chick capacity of the incubator I lost 5. With out own eggs I suspect that I will get close to 100%.

    The math is a little tricky. Supposedly,, the eggs can be kept for 7-10 days in a cool, dark place (but not refrigerated) before they are "set". The hen accumulates her eggs for a few days and then sets on them,, hopefully, until they hatch. Not all hens are consistently reliable,, and you lose the lot. At that point you can feed them to the pigs,, but they aren't good for much else.

    The hatching process starts when the eggs are raised to the body temp of the hen. The hen can leave the eggs,, but not for long

    Hence the value of an incubator. With six hens I should be able to accumulate enough to charge the incubator with 45 eggs within the time frame.

    Twenty-one days later I have "pollitos". The incubator has to be buffered with an inverter and battery,, as the power drops from time to time and if the temp falls,, the eggs will fail to hatch. However, it takes little power. Both humidity and temp are controlled, humidity with fans, and the eggs are automatically moved back and forth. This is critical too, and emulates the hen rolling the eggs around a bit. This is the unit I have. I would buy a couple more if I could:

    https://www.walmart.com/ip/48-Digita...ontro/45914523



    The chicks cost me 23 cords,, so a significant part of the cost. Much of this is a learning experience for me. I bought "inicio" or chick starter for the new chicks. The chicks scorn it,, preferring my finely ground corn. However, the other larger chicks and the hens love it! So, I bought a quintal. Whatever works!

    The point here is to provide what they want to eat so they grow and fatten up as quickly as possible. The layer needs,,, will be a bit different,, but there is a special "layer" chow. All the feed I've found is from Cargill of Nicaragua. Cargill owns the Purina brand. Tip Top is also a Cargill brand,, which might give some pause the next time they buy chicken in Nicaragua.

    Feed (for just about all the animals) runs generally C$760 a quintal, or $23, so less than in the US. Corn is only C$350 the quintal at the moment ,, or $11 for 100 pounds. Most campo people won't buy feed,, or even feed their corn,, and have scrawny chickens that are as tough as boot leather, with non-existent breasts.

    My pigs are getting a combination of corn,, concentrado,,and semolina,, mixed with a liter of milk. They get chicken scraps,, which they love almost as much as the milk. I will eventually start looking for a source of whey,, which is in abundance because most of the campo milk is turned into cheese for longer keeping.

    Pigs are getting fat fast,, I'm having less luck fattening the chickens,, I think mainly due to the unusually cold winter we had.

    I'm supposed to pick up a sow on Wednesday. That is going to be interesting.

    The trick to profitability is your own chicks or piglets,, your own corn,, and doing your own butchering. Only then can you expect to make a serious buck.

    A tidbit of Nicaraguan lore: You need a permit from the Policia National to butcher pigs, even your own


    Anyway,, some pics:
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
    House SOB Little Corn Tom's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pollitos, Chanchitos, and Life Moves On

    Those chickens look more like guinea hens?
    Life's different here ... It's a whole 'nother pace.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Pollitos, Chanchitos, and Life Moves On

    You got it easy with NP. In Esteli to chop down a nasty tree you need permisos from NP, inafor, marena, alcadia, and the neighbor. I love the pretenses that these country is "saving the environment"

    "Support mental health or I'll break your head"


  4. #4
    Viejo del Foro Daddy-YO's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pollitos, Chanchitos, and Life Moves On

    Quote Originally Posted by KeyWestPirate View Post
    The trick to profitability is your own chicks or piglets,, your own corn,, and doing your own butchering.
    Profitability?

    Your goal? A rich, elderly gentleman like yourself? I thought you were in it for fun, adventure and a taste of youth.

    Why not do Cool Top one better: offer working, eco-vacations at the farm in the "wilds of Nicaragua" to sedentary bureaucrats of North America? Advertise on the internet. Promise to work them skinny. Immerse them in smells the likes of which they'll long remember. In the evenings they could learn Spanish from attractive, sympathetic teachers.
    I never met a Semite I didn't like.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Pollitos, Chanchitos, and Life Moves On

    How does one go about getting a permit to butcher a pig? I assume there's a fee involved.
    Soy el chele mono.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Pollitos, Chanchitos, and Life Moves On

    Quote Originally Posted by Daddy-YO View Post
    Profitability?

    Your goal? A rich, elderly gentleman like yourself? I thought you were in it for fun, adventure and a taste of youth.

    Why not do Cool Top one better: offer working, eco-vacations at the farm in the "wilds of Nicaragua" to sedentary bureaucrats of North America? Advertise on the internet. Promise to work them skinny. Immerse them in smells the likes of which they'll long remember. In the evenings they could learn Spanish from attractive, sympathetic teachers.
    I resent that elderly part. You are only as young as you think you are, and in Nicaragua you have more license to act your (mental) age. In my case,, I'm going through puberty a second time.

    My original plan for the place was a quality Spanish school,, intense, resources that generally don't exist here,, such as movies in English with Spanish subtitles, then Spanish with English subtitles. There is a lot you can do to enhance the learning environment.

    This coupled with the isolation of the farm,, the beautiful environment, the farm grown food. Horseback riding, cycling or hiking in the afternoon,

    This may still happen,, and hopefully in my lifetime. It's just, everything takes so long here.

    Getting good teachers here wil be impossible. Hijos del Maiz (where I got the idea) use "maestros campesinos". If you are lucky, you get someone outstanding,, like I did. The majority have no idea whatsoever of teaching,, and their Spanish is not very good.

    This is another thing many don't relalize. The Spanish of many here is very poor, and the majority are what can only be described as semi-literate.

    I happen to have an excellent teacher at the moment,, but she is the exception that proves the rule. Most do not have any understanding of grammar, can't spell, and their use of the language is questionable.

    For a newbie,, probably no bid deal,, but as you advance,, you need someone who knows what he or she is doing. Tough to find this person here.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Pollitos, Chanchitos, and Life Moves On

    Quote Originally Posted by drlemcor View Post
    How does one go about getting a permit to butcher a pig? I assume there's a fee involved.

    Don't know,, I'm not there yet.
    I'll let you know. I assume just show up at the local PN office with some PriceSmart donuts.
    That gets you instant attention.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Pollitos, Chanchitos, and Life Moves On

    I'm just glad to see no more of your chickens are getting stolen, making a profit is like icing on the cake.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Pollitos, Chanchitos, and Life Moves On

    Quote Originally Posted by Little Corn Tom View Post
    Those chickens look more like guinea hens?

    The hens in the photo are called "patio chickens" and cost three cords more per chick than the "meat chickens". The meat chickens supposedly are ready for slaughter at 45 days,, but that is a pretty small chicken.

    The patio chickens supposedly have a better taste than the meat chickens. Who knows? There is so much strange stuff going on here,, prices are all over the world,, the Nicaraguan penchant for buying cheap --always-- doesn't help much. You are wasting your breath talking quality.

    The patio chickens take longer to come to size,, but are more able to handle the weight and can be grown bigger. The meat chickens don't have the body structure to get too big,, and that's true of the meat chickens in the US. Beyond four pounds their legs break.

    Most chicken in the campo goes into caldo. These are the ones you see crossing the streets. The chicken is still chewy, but boiling it is one way to disguise its toughness. It's still chewy. Few know any other way to prepare it. Ovens are rare,, most campo people have a stove only.

    Oven roasting a chicken was a revelation for Krisnia,, would never have occurred to her. We did six that way for Sebastian's birthday,, came out great. Krisnia injected marinade into the breasts with a syringe we use for the horses. Made for a really tender and moist breast. I think that we rinsed most of the horse tranquilizer out of the syringe.

    She does make one hell of a caldo though. And if the chicken is tender, that is a bonus. I don't think that there is any "Nicaraguan cuisine" in the sense of Mexican,, or Italian. But,, I move at the moment in a pretty down to earth crowd. Beans, rice,, tortillas, and chicken for special occasions. Pork at Easter, Christmas and New Year

    A really big vendor to the trade here is Tip Top. Tip Top is owned by Cargill, so they have an in on the feed. Cargill owns the Purina brand too. They have it covered,, from fish chow to people chow, and everything in between

    Tip Top sells on contract to the trade for 25 cords/ pound for the whole chicken. So the price of 28 I got wasn't that bad. Like any business,, your inputs are as, or more,, important than your selling price,, and more in your control. If you are paying 23 cords for chicks and grossing 140, an obvious place to start is that 23 cords you are paying for the chicks. I'd like to get a better price, and will eventually, but at the moment my buyer picks up, and that is really helpful.

    I know I can do better in Estelí and Condega on price,, but some sort of distribution would have to be set up,, and here that is problematic. Refrigeration is always an issue. I cool all my chickens down after slaughter,, then freeze them immediately.

    It's an intense learning experience.

    Little things: Now I need nests for the layers. I almost started to construct what would have been simple boxes with openings, but took some time to investigate. It turns out that nests are a science and art. You want a dimension adequate for the chicken to enter and turn, but no more. Not even stand up comfortably. You don't want her to be able to spend time in the nest other than dropping the egg. She needs to roost elsewhere. This keeps the nest clean,, the eggs cleaner,, and keeps her from eating her own eggs. 12 x 12, x 9 inches tall is in vogue at the moment. The opening is even smaller, just enough for her to get into. Her instinct is to hide her egg from predators,, and the nest has to meet that instinctive need.

    If you get a broody hen,,who wants to hatch a mess of eggs,, then SHE needs more space. The meat chickens are not going to have those instincts.

    I'm going to save some hens from this batch of meat chickens coming up,, and try for a hybrid. I doubt that I will do better than what is available.

    It's surprisingly complicated,, but only if you want to make some money.

  10. #10
    Viejo del Foro Daddy-YO's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pollitos, Chanchitos, and Life Moves On

    Quote Originally Posted by KeyWestPirate View Post
    I resent that elderly part. You are only as young as you think you are, and in Nicaragua you have more license to act your (mental) age. In my case,, I'm going through puberty a second time.
    Apologies.

    Please inform the Social Security Administration of your change in status.
    I never met a Semite I didn't like.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Pollitos, Chanchitos, and Life Moves On

    It costs 150 cords to chop down a nasty tree. The travel and lines to stand in are, of course, priceless.

    The thing with chickens is you have to motivate them. Beating them with a belt like you do fruit trees won't work. When ours stopped laying we declared them 3 of them Soup and all of a sudden the rest started laying like crazy.

    "Support mental health or I'll break your head"


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