During times of economic hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a nonprofit organization is promoting food security with egg-laying chicks that the community can raise in their backyards.
On Friday, Guåhan Sustainable Culture provided day-old baby chicks to 12 owners, most of whom will be raising these chicks for egg production for the first time.
In March, the 12 individuals took part in a backyard egg production workshop hosted in partnership with Bob Barber, Mark Acosta and Jessica Nangauta from the University of Guam College of Natural and Applied Sciences.
During the workshop, they learned how to raise healthy chickens for their eggs, how to make movable chicken pens to help control weeds, and utilize the manure to provide fertilization to regenerate soil for their gardens.
"This was just one of the many projects GSC has put together to help promote food security in the community," said Michelle Crisostomo, Guåhan Sustainable Culture president. "Additionally, raising chickens at home gives people a better understanding and appreciation of their food and its origins."
Aside from the egg production workshop, GSC has partnered with other organizations hosting educational workshops where people can learn how to grow and harvest food from home.
Crisostomo said the organization is looking at doing another egg production workshop in the future, but most activities have been put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Although the workshops have been postponed, the organization are still taking orders for those interested in owning egg-laying chicks.
Those interested can place an order by contacting Guåhan Sustainable Culture co-founders Crisostomo, at 687-6921, or Marlyn Overiano, at 687-6713.
Each chick costs about $10.
"During times of economic hardship, such as the one we are facing now, it's even more important for our people to be self-sufficient and self-reliant, and less dependent on outside economic support," Crisostomo said.
Not like the local chickens
Unlike the local chickens and roosters residents may find outside, this special breed of chicken lays medium- to large-sized eggs.
"We're looking at trying to get more of these specialty breeds and have them available locally," Crisostomo said.
Currently the organization orders the breed from off island, as the local farmer who used to sell the specialty breed is no longer doing so.
According to Crisostomo, the chickens do well in Guam's climate and are perfect for laying eggs, laying about one egg every 28 hours.
A good number of chicks to start with could be anywhere from 12 to 20 to have at least a dozen eggs a day, she added.
Last year, she said, she had bought and raised the chicks for egg production and hasn't had to purchase eggs from the store for over a year now, offering some to her neighbors and family members.