Lessons from a Thai Layer Farm
By Ronald G. Mangubat
In Changmai, Thailand, success in the layer business is anchored on being part of an empowered cooperative.
Our recent visit to a layer farm in Changmai, Thailand only confirmed what we heard that in this country, farmers are disciplined, business minded and organized. They also get more support from the government and from their fellow farmers as well.
One sweltering morning, we (a group of agrijournalist from Asia, UK and Australia) visited a layer farm in Changmai owned by K. Supatra Lounnetngern, a former professor in an agricultural college. Together with his whole family, the former academician abandoned the world of textbooks and decided to practice what he has been teaching for years. With his family’s support, Lounnetngern focused all his energies on the layer business. With a 4-6 million baht investment loaned from a bank, the new entrepreneur, through the help of agricultural consultants, built a closed-system type of layer farm, complete with huge ventilation machines and other modern poultry paraphernalia that would be conducive for the birds to lay their eggs on time.
Having had several cases of bird flu in the past, the Thais are very strict when it comes to poultry house sanitation. The day we visited the farm, we were required to wear sanitizes overalls, boots, masks, gloves, etc. before we were allowed to enter the layer house. They laid down their rules clearly: no talking, no pictures-just five minutes of observation. The birds should not be disturbed because the moment they get stressed, they might not lay eggs.