ECHO evaluates and shares how each of the animals on the farm can be useful to small scale farmers around the world. One easy way to think about their uses is with the Five M’s: Milk, Money, Muscle, Meat, and Manure.
Justine is a turken and lives in the monsoon area of the farm. She likes to lay eggs alongside her friends in the coop.
Turkens or naked neck chickens are a breed of chicken that have featherless necks and overall have about half the feathers of other chickens. They are well suited to hot climates as they place more energy into producing eggs and meat rather than producing feathers.
Turkens can be used for meat, but that isn’t their primary purpose on the farm. They are a steady source of eggs, manure, and muscle in the form of weeding and tilling.
She looks and acts just like her fellow ducks so she can be hard to distinguish. Beatrice doesn’t enjoy being held and will run to avoid people, swimming with her flock to the other end of the lake.
Ducks, like turkens, lay eggs that can be eaten or sold by small-scale farmers.
Ducks can also be used for meat but this isn’t their main use on the farm. Instead, they help sustain the life of the pond by providing manure that feeds the algae and aquatic plants the tilapia eat. When they aren’t roaming free at the pond, they are kept in an enclosure above the water where their valuable manure is washed into the pond below.
Helping farmers to create these sustainable systems is an important aspect of ECHO’s training and equipping mission. Our ducks give the interns and other trainees experience in creating and maintaining these beneficial systems.
MEET THE TILAPIA!
Tilapia serve as a vital part ECHO’s pond demonstration. The fish can be harvested throughout the year providing small-scale farming families with essential nutrition.
The fish share a pond with the ducks. Duck manure naturally fertilizes the tilapia’s main source of food: a small plant called phytoplankton. This system provides a home to ducks, plants, beneficial microbes and the tilapia!
Tilapia can handle temperatures ranging from 55 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit, making them versatile for international applications of harvest and hydroponic gardening. They also require less oxygen than other species of fish — allowing them to better function in these systems.
She is one of the two moms in ECHO’s herd of Nigerian dwarf goats and is due to give birth any day now! If you hear a goat snorting happily while she munches on forage, it is most likely our Cookie.
All five goats at ECHO have names and distinct personalities. Besides Cookie there is Rosy, Curry, Cabo and Fez. The youngest member, Curry, was born in early 2021.
The goats are free to graze on the grasses and weeds in three enclosed pastures at ECHO. The intern in charge of the goats supplements their diets with a small amount of grain and lots of freshly chopped forage.
Goats provide constant and direct fertilization to the earth as they help manage the grass and weeds. Thanks to the high quality of their milk and the protein from their meat, they are useful for small-scale farmers to keep or sell as a source of income.
Whether fish, bovid, or fowl, the wonderful
animals at ECHO are helping ECHO to train and
equip families all around the world. You can
help too! To share animal husbandry techniques
with missionaries or development workers that
you know around the world, visit http://www.
echocommunity.org and search “small animal