Raising chickens in the tropics comes with unique challenges, but Dr. Fred Hanley and the Jamaica Broilers Group appear to have it mastered.
Chickens are raised in open air barns, with access to the outdoors. Temperatures rarely drop below 80 degrees, even at night. Shade clothes shield the chickens from the tropical sun. Modern chickens are descendants of jungle fowl, and a chicken is more likely to roam outside when they have some protection from aerial predators. To keep the chickens feeling safe and happy in their outdoor pens, the Jamaican Broilers Group farmers provide the chickens with jungle undergrowth, lush green grass and banana trees.
Inside the barns, chickens are given enrichments to keep them entertained. Those enrichments are made of local materials, such as branches and palm fronds. The flocks are smaller, and the chickens have plenty of room to roam inside the houses. The birds have straw bales to play on inside the barns, as well as wooden perches outside; all to allow the chickens to express their natural instincts.
These chickens may not get to spend time on Jamaica’s beautiful beaches, but they’ve definitely got it “made in the shade!”