In the middle of summer, mountains in Wenqi Village, Zhouni County, Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Gansu Province is full of greenery and fresh air. More than 700 native chickens roam freely in the forest, some pecking at ripe sea-buckthorn fruit and some foraging for insects on the leaves. The “Breeding Under the Forest” initiative in the area has created a new model for getting rich.
“Our local chickens ‘walk’ in the mountain forest every day, eating sea-buckthorn leaves and fruit. They regularly feed on corn, bran, and other grains, and they are ecologically green.” Zhang Zhongfeng, a village cadre for the poverty alleviation team, said. Zhang pointed to the native chickens roaming the mountains and said that after another month, these native chickens would help farmers increase their incomes by 500 to 2,000 yuan (about 70 to 282 US dollars).
Sea-buckthorn fruit is a precious medicinal plant that contains a variety of amino acids, vitamins and trace elements. “There is a large area of wild sea-buckthorn forest behind the mountain in Wenqi Village,so we decided to raise chickens here. Eating insects, tender grass, sea-buckthorn leavesand fruit has a medicinal effect on the meat and egg quality of the chickens, and it makes them taste more delicious,” Zhang said. He said that the Gansu Provincial Market Supervision Bureau initially raised 200,000 yuan (28,252 US dollars) to help build chicken coops for Wenqi Village, buy chicken breeds, and organize members of the village support team to go to other counties to learn about scientific breeding methods.