Small farmer Tamikia Skeete is still trying to pick up the pieces after losing $22,000 in a poultry investment five months ago.
The self-employed mother of five said that while managing the affairs of her household was still difficult, she was trying to save money “bit by bit” to finish the construction of a chicken coop in her yard.
“Right now, we are trying to pick back up and
move forward with what we have. Things are slowly picking up and I am keeping my faith that things would be better.
I am trying, I am always trying different stuff to make an income. I also braid hair on the side and I got into growing crops such as chives to make an extra dollar. I am also enrolled in a number of classes to help grow my other business,”
Last October, Skeete, who was renting pens in Christ Church, had a high mortality rate on the farm, losing 1,200 of the 1,900 broilers she was raising at the time.
In an interview with Barbados TODAY in January, she said she had poured “all her eggs in that basket” and since the loss, life had been challenging.
Skeete said she took what was left of her savings to construct a small pen which houses 250 birds. However, she has been predominantly dependent on her other business – J&T’s Health Foods which offers seasonings and vanilla bean food products – to support her family.
On Thursday, she told Barbados TODAY that members of the poultry industry were assisting her after hearing her plight and provided small batches of birds to help keep her head above water.
Noting that she would have to expand her chicken pen to house 1,200 birds in order to get her operations back to a satisfactory level, Skeete said she would appreciate any kind of assistance from the public. She said she needed building materials such as wood, blocks and mesh.
The small farmer thanked all parties involved in helping her effort to get back on her feet.
In a report dated December 6, 2022, veterinarian Derek Griffith said the post-mortem examination of Skeete’s dead birds “revealed thickened and/or eroded gizzard lining in all birds” which “may be associated with the intake of irritant substances like mould toxins”.
“In my opinion, the high mortality in this flock is likely due to mould toxins in the feed. This is often accompanied by poor absorption of nutrients from the feed, poor growth, increased mortality, nervous signs and immunosuppression,” Griffith had said.
Asked about the discussions with Pinnacle Feeds on the matter, Skeete said she was given an offer she was not
pleased with and was waiting for the company to get back to her. (SZB)