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Mahmudiyah Hatchery Receives Dutch Egg Shipment

By Army Pvt. Christopher McKenna
Special to American Forces Press Service

FORWARD OPERATING BASE MAHMUDIYAH, Iraq, April 22, 2008 – Eight months of preparation and planning paid off yesterday when the Mahmudiyah chicken hatchery received the first of three shipments of eggs for incubation.

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A worker in the Mahmudiyah, Iraq, chicken hatchery sets eggs into trays to begin the incubation process, April 21, 2008. U.S. Army photo by Pvt. Christopher McKenna

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

The first batch contained 35,000 eggs shipped to Iraq from Holland.

“The purpose in bringing in eggs from Holland is that they have a faster growing rate and they’re healthier than chickens from within this area,” said Army Maj. Alaric Robinson, Company A, 411th Civil Affairs Battalion.

“Thirty-five thousand chickens are expected to hatch from batch one, with 30,000 apiece from the next two,” said Army Capt. Benjamin Neusse, a civil military operations officer with 101st Airborne Division’s 3rd Battalion, 320th Field Artillery, 3rd Brigade Combat Team.

A total of 95,000 chickens of Dutch descent are expected to be hatched, with an anticipated survival rate of 90 percent.

“The government of Iraq is supporting the redevelopment of the poultry industry by supporting the Mahmudiyah Qada poultry association,” said Army Capt. Paul Hester, the agriculture business specialist with the 3rd Brigade Combat Team embedded provincial reconstruction team. “The association is using the eggs to reopen poultry farms.”

At this point, funding is provided by the Commander’s Emergency Relief Program. However, the Iraqi government is working on a program to fund the program using its own monies.

“We are working with the [government of Iraq] to get a boost in fuel allocations and assistance in bringing in the basic requirements to provide a chicken feed mill,” Hester said.

The incubators within the hatchery were already there, so no additional funding or assistance was needed to source the hatching of the eggs.

The entire project is expected to last three to four months, when all potential chickens will have hatched, Neusse said.

(Army Pvt. Christopher McKenna is assigned to 101st Airborne Division’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team.)

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Click photo for screen-resolution imageAn Iraqi worker in the Mahmudiyah, Iraq, chicken hatchery sets eggs into trays April 21, 2008, to begin the incubation process. U.S. Army photo by Pvt. Christopher McKenna  
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