Increasing chicken production

We have developed these useful ideas for increasing production of our local poultry. We would like to share them with others.

  • Have about 20 free-range hens laying eggs, with one or two cockerels.
  • Every day, collect and store their eggs in a cool, dark place.
  • Once the hens have laid enough eggs they will want to start sitting. Allow each one to sit on just one egg marked with an ‘X’ in pen.
  • When all the hens are ready to sit, place them somewhere where other hens cannot disturb them and where they cannot go outside. Provide plenty of food, fresh water and soft bedding (grass, wood shavings, old clothing).
  • Dispose of each egg marked with an ‘X’ and replace with 10–15 fresh eggs (depending on the size of the hen).
  • After 21 days all the eggs should hatch out. Now you can leave the chicks with the mother hen and provide additional food for them. Alternatively you can remove the chicks from the hens and raise them in a safe house, keeping them warm and providing chick feed. This means that the hens will quickly start to lay again, but you will have to give special care to the chicks.

I would be very happy to hear from farmers about how they use these ideas.

Emmanuel Mabba, PO Box 343, Funyula, Busia, Kenya

Making hats

I am presently looking for ways to use waste materials like empty drink cans, paper cartons, rags and cloth pieces from tailors which litter our environment. I am particularly interested in knowing about hat-making manuals or books which I can use to teach young school-leavers how to make attractive hats at low cost.

Amuche Ngwu c/o Dr EK Ngwu, Department of Home Science and Nutrition, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Enugu State, Nigeria

Oil education

I come from Timberi, a small village in southern Chad. In 2000 the government recognised southern Chad as an oil-rich region and signed many agreements with different organisations and oil companies to exploit the ‘black gold’. The majority of people in Chad are not literate and cannot demand their rights, so the organisation Epozop (People together in the oil-rich area) was created. It works to claim fair compensation for our people because the oil pipeline passes through many villages, fields and clumps of trees, which are necessary for their survival. There are also risks to the environment, so Epozop is informing the people of the dangers and advantages linked to oil.

Peurtoloum Mbaidoum, Timberi, S/c Mmme Geneviéve Pillet, ATNV, BP 35, Moundou, Chad


I read about the use of papaya in pest control in Footsteps 54. This reminded me of other uses. Papaya leaves can be used instead of soap to remove stains from clothing. The milky juice or latex can be used in tanning hides. The chemical papain, which can be extracted commercially from the latex, has many uses.

However, I am worried about what might be the short-term or long-term hazards from using papaya.

Akaa Ijir, PO Box 491, Makurdi 970001, Benue State, Nigeria


EDITOR’S NOTE The ripe papaya fruit is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals and can be safely enjoyed once the skin is removed. There are no health concerns about its use. The chemical papain, found in the leaves, seeds and particularly in the juice or latex collected from the bark or from unripe fruit, has many uses, both commercially and medicinally. However, it must be used with care as fresh, concentrated latex can irritate the skin. Always wash hands carefully after extracting or using it. Only use medicinally in the quantities recommended in Footsteps 48. In larger quantities it could cause skin problems, diarrhoea and severe stomach upsets. Treat with the same care as with any medicinal compounds.

Reflections on noise

Noise is one type of pollution which affects our quality of life, though we are not always aware of it. Sound is measured in decibels. Sounds above 85 decibels are considered dangerous to our ears. Here are some examples of sounds and their volume:

  • Countryside 20 decibels
  • Conversation 60 decibels
  • Moving traffic 75 to 100 decibels
  • Industry 90 decibels
  • Motorbike 93 decibels
  • Pain threshold 120 decibels

The difference between noise and sound is a very personal one. Sounds that people find annoying become noises, regardless of volume. The siren of an ambulance could be defined as a noise by some people, but not by those waiting for emergency attention, for whom it is a welcome sound.

Noise creates tension, anxiety and discomfort. It may harm the ear, disrupt sleep, stimulate the nervous system, affect memory, cause accidents and can affect our ability to think clearly.

Noise spreads. Laws are not used to tackle noise in the city because nobody is officially responsible for managing it. To bring in protective measures, we first have to start with an awareness campaign to encourage people to reduce noise, moderate their behaviour and understand that the street belongs to everyone.

Adapted from an article by Jorge Alberto Mastroizzi. Sent in by Adrian Gustavo Lapponi, Argentina

Marketing moringa

Moringa is a ‘miracle tree’ that has been promoted in Uganda over the last five years. The response of the population that is struggling to move out of poverty has been overwhelming. Today, hundreds of farmers have more than two acres of moringa, but little hope to gain much from it. Can readers of Footsteps suggest any possible markets for the tree products? If there is any organisation, company or government that has experience in handling and marketing moringa, their advice will be gratefully received.

Humphry Muhangi, Literacy and Adult Basic Education (LABE), PO Box 16176, Kampala, Uganda E-mail: labe@africaonline.co.ug

Moringa leaves

Thank you for all the information over the years in Footsteps which we have received from the first issue and used as a library resource. 

We found moringa trees grew extremely well in the very dry, sandy soil of Nebbi District, Uganda. We encouraged people to grow them and use the leaves as a green vegetable. However, one day we found we had a lot of extra leaves remaining after cooking with a group. We showed people how quickly the leaves dried and how easily they could be powdered, using the information from Footsteps 46. Now it has become so popular that powdered moringa leaves are being sold in the markets in West Nile! 

Anne O’Connell can be contacted in the UK at: 

10 The Paddocks
Wales LD8 2NJ