So, what if you live in the middle-of-nowhere in Gobi desert and you feel like eating an egg? Yes; you just start your own chicken farm!
One of the herders in our project got this brilliant idea. Even though he is moving his ger 10 to 15 times a year to a different place, he started a small chicken farm. He bought some chickens 700 kilometres from his place, he buys the concentrates 400 km further, but the chicken shed is home-made. Every day the laying hens run freely around in the Gobi desert, between the sheep, goats, horses and dogs. They find their own feed between the rocks, stones and sand parts and sometimes get some extra concentrates to lure them into their chicken shed at night. Every now and then, when there are about 100 eggs on trays in his ger, the herder steps in his Russian jeep and drives to the soum centre of Tugrug to sell his eggs. Within 15 minutes all eggs have been sold and with a filled wallet he returns to his ger.
As business is going well and he is getting a little older, he thought about going to the soum centre to live there, near his target group. But unfortunately the local dogs were more happy with that than he was, as they started to chase the hens and killed some of them. So he picked up his ger and lives some kilometres out of the soum centre again with his laying hens. His own dogs are accustomed to the hens, so he doesn’t need to fear for them…
The chicken shed is a small ger (with a diameter of about 3 metres), constructed of wooden frame and felt cover. The bottom of the shed is just the desert soil and the hens lay their eggs under a ‘del’ (traditional dress of the Mongolians). The shed is located next to the sheep and goat dormitory, so the warmth of those will keep the chickens a little warm as well. Even in winter, the herder never experienced problems with his chickens from the cold temperatures.