Poultry Intern In-Waiting
This story is one in a series from Frances Chisholm highlighting stories of lives impacted by World Poultry Foundation programs and workshops both in the U.S. and abroad. We encourage you to learn more about Ms. Chisholm and our poultry projects in South Africa.
“I can do anything, as long as it’s poultry.” That’s what Rachel Makwala told the WISE Foundation in her interview for a World Poultry Foundation-funded internship on an American poultry farm. “Hatchery, layers, send me anywhere.”
Rachel has plenty of reason to be so confident. She earned a B.Tech. in Agricultural Animal Production in South Africa and trained as a supervisor at a large layer farm where she managed staff in ten houses holding 14,000 birds each. The young South African is well versed in blood sampling, weighing, vaccinating and in implementing biosecurity measures.
Caught in South Africa’s COVID-19 lockdown just before securing an interview for a visa to train in the US, Rachel is spending her time advising and assisting a small-scale poultry farmer in her village with his 4,600 birds in two houses. The farmer buys day-old-chicks and sells them to the community at six weeks old. Rachel quickly assessed that overcrowding was the main cause of the farm’s inordinately high mortality rate. “He knows the basics,” she says of the farmer, “but he calls me with his questions.” Rachel is advising the farmer on breeds, medication and incubators as he thinks about expanding production and venturing into layers.
Rachel hails from farming stock. All three siblings attended an agricultural high school; her older sister went on to study Agricultural Economics at university and her brother studied IT, but “he’s always experimenting with planting different crops at home.”
Looking to the future, Rachel dreams of helping small-scale poultry farmers improve their operations when she returns from overseas.
It sounds like a budding ladies’ poultry team in Arizona. Power to you, gals!
The South African interns participate on a J-1 visa exchange visitor program sponsored by the WISE Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization based in Dyersburg, Tennessee.
Ms. Frances Chisholm
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