THE arrival of 20 000 day-old chicks at a smallholding on the Swakop River bank on Saturday signified the start of what is believed to be the largest chicken farm at the coast.
Naukluft Poultry has a state-of-the-art facility which will ensure that every five weeks, live chickens will be sold to the local market. The facility has a large chicken coop controlled by an advanced computer system. The programme automatically times the growth stage of the batch of chicks from a day old to five weeks, and so regulates their needs when it comes to climate and nutrition. The system regulates carbon dioxide levels, temperature, humidity and light, while the feeding line is also automated. Scales are also placed inside the coop to collect data on the size of the birds.
According to Ellis the initial aim of the project is to provide live chickens to local small and medium enterprises, who in turn can then either sell them as meat "or whatever they want to do with the chicken."
Ellis and brother-in-law Job Eisenga's future plans include a small abattoir to begin providing the local market with fresh, free-range chicken from the coast.
"This will be healthy chicken. Free range, of course, no hormones," he guaranteed.