back to article Bill Gates cooks up poultry recipe for Africans' paltry existence

Not satisfied with trying to stamp out malaria, recycling poo water into something people can drink and subjecting world + dog to software over the years, now Bill Gates wants to solve hunger in sub-Saharan Africa. “Help me give away 100,000 chickens,” Gates said on Twitter, “If I were living in extreme poverty, I’d want to …

  1. Tom 7 Silver badge

    And they would have to sell the chickens to buy the food to feed them.

    They dont live on fresh air!

    1. MyffyW Silver badge

      Re: And they would have to sell the chickens to buy the food to feed them.

      I think the idea is the chickens feed on the abundant grain that has trickled down from the gold-braided imbecile who probably runs the country.

      Rumours that KFC will move in if the chickens multiply too quickly are unsubstantiated.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Chickens eat bugs

        They don't need feed unless you are trying to fatten them up quickly, or flood with hormones so they can lay eggs constantly to feed western demand.

        1. Triggerfish

          Re: Chickens eat bugs

          Erm yes I agree with the above poster. I have lived in plenty of places they do not feed the chickens=. Chickens are like garbage cans they will eat anything they can, including mice and frogs.once place I used to live they basically just spent all day routing around, minus the odd amorous raid from wild bantams they didn't do to bad, when the evening came they used to all go to a tree and work their way up to roost in the branches. They were pretty tough birds all in all.

          The usueful thing for poor people keeping them is the eggs, handy source of protein, I suspect one of the reasons there's a lot of asian dishes that use eggs is because of this, you'll almost always get a rice dish with a fried egg on top.

          1. BitterExScientist

            Re: Chickens eat bugs

            A real proper chicken (not a Western factory one) will also destroy a large vegetable garden given about 10 minutes and well before you can chase it out. Quite comical to watch as long as it's not your garden. Also after eating one you realize that most things don't actually taste like chicken.

    2. Frumious Bandersnatch

      Re: And they would have to sell the chickens to buy the food to feed them.

      This also reminds me of one of the contributory factors in the great potato famines in Ireland. Smallholders lived off a subsistence diet of spuds while cash crops like grain were by and large exported.

      Granted, in this case, the cash crop (chickens) are owned by the small farmers themselves rather than the landlords, but if your subsistence farming isn't going so well, those chickens are going to start looking mighty tasty. I won't be so churlish to point out the supply/demand side of things if suddenly everyone is selling chickens... (ok, I mentioned it)

      It's a noble gesture at least, but I think you need to need to tackle both aspects (getting better/more reliable yields from subsistence farming and cash crops) at once.

      Plus, how much research has gone into the particular breed of chicken being given out? I would hope that there's a pretty diverse selection (good, wide genetic pool) with particularly hardy breeds suited to the local conditions.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: And they would have to sell the chickens to buy the food to feed them.

      Chickens manage to find food in the most unlikely places, which is why they are so popular amongst the poor

  2. flszen

    $5 per chicken?

    Surely that price will remain constant with the proposed supply glut.

    1. PleebSmasher

      Re: $5 per chicken?

      Let them eat eggs.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: $5 per chicken?

      $5 sounds a bit expensive to me for that economy. Go into any UK supermarket and you can buy a chilled or frozen ready to cook bird for less than that.

      Yeah, I know, factory farming etc, but still....

    3. Schlimnitz

      Re: $5 per chicken?

      Paging Tim Worstall and his cluebat...

  3. Chris G

    Thinking it through

    I have kept a few chickens in a previous life, they are subject to a fair number of diseases that will kill them in 24-48 hours and will spread like wildfire through a flock and everything with teeth and an appetite wants to catch and eat them, especially the chicks, rats will take a chick if they can, the chicks are so stupid they can drown themselves if the water you give them is more than 1/8" deep, so they are not that easy to keep.

    But the cruncher is $5 a throw! Where in poverty stricken Sub-Saharan Africa are the people who are willing to pay five bucks for a chicken that killed and dressed in a supermarket costs about €3?

    I know he's thinking about the buyer getting a layer to provide eggs for 1-3 years before it declines as an egg producer but a quick Google tells me that the average income in Eastern and Southern Africa is UP to $400 a year! $5 That's the equivalent of a 30 grand a yearworker coughing up $375 as a proportional part of their wage.

    If he is going to give away chickens, set up an education service and possibly finance someone like

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Thinking it through

      Factory farmed chickens cost $3 in an Aldi in Europe or America with a transport infrasturcture - they are a lot more expensive in Africa.

      The big advantage of chickens is that it is harder for European/American farmers to dump capacity in Africa and depress prices. It's not much fun trying to scrape a bit of wheat from your back garden African strip of dirt and have a bulker arrive with 100,000T of subsidised Kansas/Canadian wheat.

      1. Chris G

        Re: Thinking it through

        Bill could have a read of this;

        1. raving angry loony

          Re: Thinking it through

          How could he read it? It's not in a proprietary Microsoft format.

      2. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: Thinking it through

        Its not hard to dump overproduction - it costs 30p to ship a phone from China to the UK. I cant imagine it costs much more to get a load of frozen chickens over to Africa.

        And it might be hard to scrape a bit of wheat from your back garden but you are going to have to scrape 3.5 times more to get an egg and 7 times more to get a bit of meat than you are just eating the grain.

      3. dew3

        Re: Thinking it through

        "Its not hard to dump overproduction - it costs 30p to ship a phone from China to the UK. I cant imagine it costs much more to get a load of frozen chickens over to Africa."

        It is hard to think of an appropriate response without disparaging your imagination. A frozen chicken will take up 4-8x the space of a phone in a box. That means it will start by costing several times more - volume is everything in distance shipping of dry goods. But even more important (and also apparently missed) - a frozen chicken is frozen. You cannot use a cheap, standard shipping container; a freezer container costs 3-4x more than one used for cell phones (factor that capital cost into the price), and because it is expensive you will want it back or will have to sell it at a loss at the endpoint (more cost), although you will might try to ship something the other way if you can (what frozen exports are there from Africa?). A freezer container will have less internal space - insulation and compressors take valuable cargo space, so yet higher cost/unit shipped. And you need power almost the whole way - you cannot just stack that container with the cell phone containers on the ship, and you cannot leave it for a day sitting unplugged in a stack on the dock - so shipper will add on a big premium to keep it powered.

        So with just a little imagination I can easily believe £2+ per chicken for shipping.

        1. d3vy

          Re: Thinking it through

          Now, now, to be fair the didn't say the chicken should still be frozen or edible when it arrives, simply that you ship a frozen chicken.

        2. Stork Silver badge

          Re: Thinking it through

          Yep, reefers are a different ballgame.

          BTW, I have a past in container shipping IT, and one of the few rules the system did not support was "do not send aluminium containers to (West) Africa". The problem was to get them back, not only were they too easy to open unauthorised, but the scrap value is too high. I can just imagine the goodies in a reefer.

        3. silver darling

          Re: Thinking it through

          no, there's mass import of brasil and euro chicken in WA, legally and illegally. In WA urbania western chicken is cheaper than quality local meat.

      4. silver darling

        Re: Thinking it through

        "harder for European/American farmers to dump capacity in Africa and depress prices" not really. both europe and brasil dump second rate factory chicken onto west african markets. WA countries that have tried to ban or tax imported chicken have had usual problems of contravening trade 'agreements' or smuggling via 3rd countries. in WA urbania it's usually cheaper than local chicken which being mostly organic tastes much better.

        chicken in WA is regarded as a luxury food and chicken consumption is increasing rapidly. one way for west africans to raise chickens is to buy days old chicks from market. these sell for a lot less than $5 (about $1 last time i asked) and supplying chicks is a burgeoning business for entreprenuers.. the chickens are usually eaten by the people that raise them and not sold. chicks are euro-yank strains grown from imported eggs,. and in WA are generally only good for dry season , ie half the year, raising. in the wet season they die pretty easy. solutions are to interbreed local african breeds (tougher) with faster growing euro-yank strains , there's good research going on in e.g. israel and cameroon to develop hardy fast growing breeds. there's also interesting research on using black soldier fly for feed.

        maybe mr m$ could help by investing in breed research or supplying loans to mid-range entrepenuers. Egg hatching machines cost from $3 (5 egg hatcher from china) to $2000 (lot of eggs, south african) and up. when i researched this for business i estimated a $2500 set up would give me an income of c. $150 a month in the dry season, not bad but there are less risky businesses opps.

        broiler bill seems a bit late to the table here, and , though it may be the article, not that clued up ..

    2. Triggerfish

      Re: Thinking it through @Chris G

      Is that all chicken breeds though? A lot of the ones I have seen being kept semi wild, where closer to the original Jungle fowl / Bantam type wild bird, they gave me the impression they were pretty tough, considering the jungles they originally lived in were populated by lots of predators.

      I've seen some fighting birds breed from the same lot and they were definetly a bit nails for a chicken. Quite tough meat though, comapred with what we get in the UK.

      1. Chris G

        Re: Thinking it through @Chris G

        Asian Jungle Fowl are pretty tough, a bit stringy and they lay small eggs but would probably do the job.

        Still need to care for them though and all chickens do better with a coop at night and a regular nezt box so you can find the eggs they lay rather than lea e them for a snake to find.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Thinking it through

      If Billy had actually spent some time living in a typical rural location where incomes are low and the work is hard and the people are many, he would have noticed that many of the people eyeing the chickens and deliberating on their culinary qualities are not necessarily their owners. Security costs a lot, and there are no police to investigate multiple cases of multiple henocide. Even chicken wire (netting) needs plenty cash, and it needs to be buried on on side to stop the rats and dogs... and the snakes... they come and eat your eggs and chicks. So the netting has to be the expensive sort with small holes. The edge in the ground rusts in a a short time and is impossible to mend... and anyway free-range chickens... even in a law abiding community with no rats, dogs or feral carnivores... will happily lay their eggs in any shady spot they can find... and you won't.

      He would have also noticed the dire shortage of cooking fuel... have you ever tried to take a 3 year old garbage heap tart and "cook until tender". It takes a lot of wood. Great recipe for soil erosion.

      Then there is the small matter of conversion efficiency. Humans can also eat the grains that go into the chickens, and many struggle to grow enough of that for their own consumption. But the conversion loss of food value after passing it through a chicken just compounds the problem.

      Of course if Bill is looking to empower a business class to dominate the cereals market by driving up prices which they can recoup by feeding it to chickens to sell to the developing professional and entrepreneurial classes, where they exist, then he is likely to solve the development problem quickly. The demographics will soon show a surge in the percentage of the population in work and with their own business... the population will also be smaller, the rest will likely have starved to death.

  4. theastrodragon

    Presumably if you leave the chicken plugged in overnight it gets automatically upgraded to a Windows 10 chicken?

    1. 404

      Use GWX Control Pecker or Clucking10 to prevent that from happening...

    2. MrDamage Silver badge

      100000 chickens

      Randomly pecking at keyboards have a 50/50 chance of coming up with and OS that will be more stable and accepted than Win10

  5. Nevermind

    Hang on

    Where's the DevOps angle in this?

    1. NoneSuch Silver badge

      Re: Hang on

      "Where's the DevOps angle in this?"

      It's as fantastical as 100% uptime, so...

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    as always

    The key to getting families out of poverty in the 3rd world is make sure the women with children are the direct recipient of aid (or their children get it while in school). The world would be such a better place if males came out of the womb aged 35 or so (though probably some confirmation bias in the West as the real dumb shit evil psychopath males are generally dead or in jail by 35). That said take one look at the vast majority of ISIS or Boko haram fighters and even supporters and the same tends to holds true.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: as always

      Sounds to me like someone needs to make better boyfriend choices

    2. MyffyW Silver badge

      Re: as always

      Not sure I'd base my boyfriend choices on age > 35 years.

      In his mid-thirties Hitler had only raised a ruckus in a beer hall whilst Stalin was still sharpening his knives and had yet to cross Trotsky off his Christmas-card list.


      It's true that giving aid to mothers often leads to it being spent on the children, but if the goods bought are a Dora the Explorer comic I personally think there's nothing wrong with keeping a little back for a cheeky bottle of Rioja.

  7. P0l0nium

    What they really need is ...

    More Guns!!! Without guns how will they defend their chickens from marauding neighbours and feral dogs??

    The real "need" in the 3rd World is "Rule of Law" and some leaders who can answer the question "Why are you in charge ?" without answering:

    a) Because I have a large private army.

    b) Because I know what's best for you.

    c) God put me here.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What they really need is ...

      Wonder what Trump's answer would be. Probably b and a if he doesn't get his way. Will agree with rule of law comment but that requires putting the nation state before your tribe and well the people fully capable of doing that have a title, developed country.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What they really need is ...

        Wonder what Trump's answer would be

        He could offer his hair as a nest, I guess. Come to think of it, from the way it looks he may already be doing that.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: What they really need is ...

          Silly of course that is a wig. Orangutangs are usually orange with a receding hairline.

          1. MrDamage Silver badge

            Re: What they really need is ...

            Careful now. You wouldn't want the Librarian taking offence by suggesting he is related to Trump.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: What they really need is ...

              Careful now. You wouldn't want the Librarian taking offence by suggesting he is related to Trump.

              It's offensive to orangutangs as well...

            2. LesB

              Re: What they really need is ...


    2. John Bailey

      Re: What they really need is ...

      d) My wig told me to be.

  8. Cynic_999

    Teching self-help

    There's an old saying which I've forgotten, but I think it goes something like:

    "Give a man some fire and it will warm him for a day. Set a man on fire, and it will warm him for the rest of his life"

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Teching self-help

      Teach a man to fish and he will talk about nothing but fishing for hours, give a man a fish and at least they will shut up while they are eating it!

      1. Darryl

        Re: Teching self-help

        Give a man a fish and you'll feed him for a day, but give him a case of dynamite and soon the village will be showered with mud and seaweed and unidentifiable chunks of fish.

        1. swampdog

          Re: Teching self-help

          Teach a man to phish and he can raid BG's bank account.

          1. Chris G

            Re: Teching self-help

            Teach a man to fish and you can sell him rods, gadgets, lures, silly hats, jackets and god knows what else for the rest of his life.

      2. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: Teching self-help

        Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will wear a silly hat.

        And wipe out whatever fish are nearby.

        1. hplasm

          Re: Teching self-help

          Maxim 21. Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Take his fish away and tell him he's lucky just to be alive, and he'll figure out how to catch another one for you to take tomorrow.


          Thanks, Howard!

    2. Richard 126

      Re: Teching self-help

      “Give a man a fire and he's warm for a day, but set fire to him and he's warm for the rest of his life.”


      by Terry Pratchett

      1. The Nazz

        Re: Teching self-help

        Prior art, non fiction too

        John Kongos - Tokoloshe Man (must be on you-tube, i'm too lazy* to look)

        * at the mo.

    3. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Teching self-help

      Teach a man how to fish and he'll spend all day in a boat drinking beer.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    An apparently better suggestion than the goats that were pushed as "self-help charity Christmas gifts" a few years ago. Those that didn't get eaten immediately were left to reduce the already sparse local vegetation to nothing.

    1. P0l0nium


      Goats are only popular in Arab countries ... for some reason.

      1. swampdog
        IT Angle

        Goats are only popular in Arab countries ... for some reason.

        That's because they like to hide in trees whereas elsewhere that particular niche is already filled by their fluffy bouncing counterparts.

      2. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: Goats...

        They're getting more popular here as curry goat amazes people. Its superb meat - better than lamb IMHO and my lamb (well hogget) is some of the best you'll never eat. But it needs fencing in otherwise it will eat anything - there is a good chicken and egg argument over goats and the sahara desert: where goats have been successfully managed the sahara greens!

        But like chickens goats are cheap to produce which makes them 'lower status' and very low profit. Carp is a fine eating fish (you can pass it off as sea bass!) and very easy to produce but having been regarded as lower class fodder (or possibly papist) its not so 'marketable'. You have to remember that in Victorian times they brought in rules to prevent people feeding their house staff salmon more than three times a week as its was dirt cheap and it was regarded as inhumane to make them eat it too much!

  10. Mage

    Better than the other guys

    More sensible than Google's or Facebook's plans to exploit Africans.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Automatic Updates.

    Just for once, leaving updates enabled would be a bonus - a turkey is much better than a chicken, right?

    1. Adam 1

      Re: Automatic Updates.

      Wait shouldn't there be a duck between the turkey and the chicken?

      1. Invidious Aardvark

        Re: Automatic Updates.

        "Turkeys on the left of me,

        Chickens on the right

        Here I am, duck in the middle with you"

    2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      Re: Automatic Updates.

      @ Pete65

      a turkey is much better than a chicken, right?

      so that would be 100,000 copies of Windows 10 to sub-Saharan Africa?

  12. Daedalus

    Been tried

    The Peace Corps tried downloading complete chicken-egg-chicken cycle programs into parts of the AOS (African Operating System). Unfortunately this was part of the "Youth shall save the world" era and they put willing local youngsters in charge, not realizing that the opinions of young people are just so much chicken guano in the AOS. Result: chickens eaten, no eggs produced, hen houses used to house humans.

    This example popularized by Freeman Dyson, or maybe Esther Dyson.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Been tried

      >African Operating System

      Shaped kind of like a human skull for a reason.

  13. Youngdog

    Yeah Bill, the thing is...

    ...any normal, healthy, functioning society would establish a supply chain to provide poultry sale for rearing. These are badly run countries in the modern world and for all your brains, money, power and influence chucking a few chickens around isn't going to fix anything.

    1. Triggerfish

      Re: Yeah Bill, the thing is...

      Well, supply chain, road infrastructure, stuff like that are also going to be needed before you even bother with your chicken factory. Africas fucking big, I mean it go look at a map projection that actual shows by continent size. They don't have good roads.

      However if you could say produce say a small semi autonomous unit, that manages its own supply chain by being occasionally self replicating, provides additional protein in a handy protected package, is relatively low maintenance and self sustaining and doesn't require an electrical infrastructure, the waste is reusable, and hunts down some bugs you probably don't want around, you'd be on to a winner.

      You could call it something like.... ..chicken?

  14. Swarthy Silver badge

    Better idea

    Guinea fowl - They are less hard on the vegetation and they eat a lot of insects.

    There are some downsides: The eggs are smaller (but tasty), the meat is a bit tougher (the guineas will chase insects getting a heck of a workout) and the noise is horrendous.

    But that gives a protein source, helps reduce poverty, and continues the fight against malaria.

    1. fortran

      Re: Better idea

      Having looked a little into permaculture, I would have lumped Guinea Fowl in with chickens. And turkeys, geese, ducks, .... I had read they are noisy. I think having more than one kind of fowl is better than just a single kind.

      While many chickens eat grain, chickens are also carnivores, and will eat insects and worms. That is how they evolved.

      Yes, disease can be a problem. But it is a problem for other animals as well.

      One good thing about chickens (and probably other fowl), is that they are quite efficient at turning food into meat (or eggs).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Better idea

        One good thing about chickens (and probably other fowl), is that they are quite efficient at turning food into shit, lots and lots of shit. FTFY

        1. Swarthy Silver badge

          Re: Better idea (Lots of shit)

          And if you put that load of chicken (fowl) shit into a vegetable garden, that's even more food. - And you can feed the leaves/rinds/scraps to the fowl, and get more meat, eggs, and shit fertilizer for more gardening. I think that's what's called a virtuous cycle.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Better idea

        Yes, disease can be a problem. But it is a problem for other animals as well.

        As you mention disease, how about the link between humans living in extended and close proximity to poultry and flu outbreaks? admittedly, avian flu normally requires pigs to be present as intermediary hosts before humans get infected with nastier variants, but ISTR the last couple of outbreaks were direct chicken->human, so probably not the sort of scheme you want to set up in countries with existing major health problems, and the lack of infrastructure to deal with potential future ones.

        Advocating 'wider chicken ownership' in areas where there is 'widespread poverty' seems to be going against current 'accepted wisdom' regarding Flu pandemic prevention.

      3. Triggerfish

        Re: Better idea

        Yes they are noisy, I used to have some that were owned by the local bar and used to perch on my hammock on my balcony and crow away in the morning. However you will not believe how much tastier it seems to make the bugger when you eat it.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I guess if I were living in extreme poverty

    I'd want a Windows Phone. And possibly a Surface with Starter Edition?

  16. Anonymous Coward

    Sounds good

    Until the local juju-man ritually sacrifices them to boost his chances with the laydees!

  17. Anonymous Coward

    Lessons learned?

    "640K chickens is the most any villager needs"

  18. sjsmoto

    What an idiot.

  19. Tom 7 Silver badge

    What these people really need

    is for us to stop their leaders propping up our economy by buying up London mansions and weapons.

  20. A Ghost

    Your chickens have not yet come home to roost

    Dearest Bill.

    But one day, I sincerely hope they do.

    And I hope you are still alive to see it.

    Now that, is something I would pay good money for!

    Just wtf would humanity do without you?

    I'm so dense, I can't even understand what you are supposed to be doing when it is explained to me in great detail and at great length. But, but, but...

    Call me a cynic, but I really don't think you have humanity's interests at heart. I don't think you have anyone's interests at heart, apart from your own, and yours.

    The job you are pretending to do, shouldn't be done by people like you anyhow. It should be done by governments and elected organisations. You seem to be a self-serving bandwagon jumper. Worse.

    Sorry Bill, if it's anything to do with you, I will be running as fast as I can at a 180 degree angle to where you are coming from. You've got form.

    1. Triggerfish

      Re: Your chickens have not yet come home to roost

      Like an art critic who has never held a pencil. Well done.

  21. Anonymous Coward

    So the natural result of all this chicken-raising is...

    That chicken prices drop and prices for chicken feed and care go up. Plus you have to build and guard an enclosure for these very vulnerable birds. So there goes your economics.

    However, thanks for the advice Bill. I'll try to remember that when the productivity hit from continuous Windows 10 nagware and upgrades has reduced me to extreme poverty :)

  22. Palpy

    Not EXACTLY an unheard of --

    -- idea. Heifer International will provide a poor family with a clutch of chicks for $20. Samaritan's Purse has been providing chicks for 'micro-enterprise' in poor countries. Bill's not being an ass about this. Other charities have been doing it for years.

    Chickens are pretty common livestock in poor countries. It's easy for me as a first-world semi-domesticated wage earner to find fault -- what about mites? What about weasels and mongooses, and of course leopards and renegade Masai? What about the inevitable political turmoil, not to mention the threat of asteroid impacts? But in point of fact, rural Africans probably already know much, much more than anyone else about keeping poultry alive in their particular environs.

    Chickens eat crickets and grasshoppers and other bugs. They glean millet from chaff. They eat melon rinds and mango skins. Crusty leftover porridge.

    Give the peeps chickens. It can't hurt.

  23. hplasm

    "...Crusty leftover porridge."

    When your Mother told you to not to waste your crusty porridge because of starving Africans, she didn't mean send it to them...

  24. Chemical Bob

    Logic fubar, Mister Gates

    Maybe its not "those who have chickens are better off" but "those who are better off have chickens"....

  25. Mike Echo


    The Bill and Melinda Gates foundation has done, and continues to do, some good work in the world. We all might make jokes, but credit where credit is due.

    1. Stork Silver badge

      Re: Altruism

      I agree. BG is no saint, but I have to respect that he tries to put his intelligence and a lot of his money into improving the lives of poor people rather than something pointless (if fun) like winning yachting trophies.

      Of course not everything will be a good idea - the way to avoid doing mistakes is to avoid doing anything.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    “If I were living in extreme poverty, I’d want to raise chickens,”

    I'd want to raise billions. But baby steps, eh, Bill?

  27. rogerk

    Just a thought.

    Back in the day dad raised them, my job was to feed them.

    Eggs to tasted good.

    Today? Factory at .49 us for a dozen eggs. not worth it.

  28. scrubber
    Paris Hilton

    correlation != causation

    Gates said he'd met “many poor people” in Africa and discovered, “just about anyone who’s living in extreme poverty is better off if they have money”.


  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    [Expletive deleted]!

    I distinctly remember my uncle coming back from a church committee meeting, flopping into the armchair and sighing: "There will always be a reason to change nothing".

    That's what all you naysayers remind me of.

    Unless any of you are experts in African poverty development, or have actually done anything more substantial that write snarky comments on the internet, I'll stick with Bill and what he's trying to do.

    He seems to be thinking a lot, talking to people who know more than he does, trying lots of stuff to see what works, and throwing substantial quantities of his money at problems as intelligently as he possibly can.

    Carp about Microsoft as much as you like, but leave this stuff alone.

    1. Triggerfish

      Re: [Expletive deleted]!

      The amount of people here who are being snarky because they think chickens come from factories, or need highly specialised care, (they come from Jungle Fowl, they are reasonably tough), is rather gobsmacking. Or that there's infrastructure, etc I mean I can get reasoned objections but some of the uninformed yet seemingly arch comments on here....

      1. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: [Expletive deleted]!

        I have a dozen or two poultry of various forms.

        Gates is clucking in the wrong forest.

  30. Supa

    "has spent his post-CEO years trying to right the wrongs against humanity exacted in his previous life."

    That line was just gold.

  31. hatti

    I wonder

    A possible strategy might involve a meeting with Colonel Sanders

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    'poultry magnanimity'

    I see what you did there!!

  33. Wolfclaw

    Hey Bill, feel free to sell chickens, so long as you stay away from Windows !

  34. G R Goslin

    Rule of law

    It's all very well to comment when you live in a (semi) lawful society. Unfortunately in much of Africa, the Rule of Law is "What is mine is mine, and what is yours is mine, if I want it". It's not very likely that the lady's five hens would last long enough to bear live eggs, before ending up as someone else's supper.. My daughter, in this country raised hens. Five as I recall. The local dogs got two and the local foxes got the rest. Luckily, she didn't have the sort of neighbours that would know what to do with a chicken that was not shrink wrapped.

    1. Triggerfish

      Re: Rule of law

      It's quite easy to solve the problem of dogs eating chickens, you shoot the dogs. After a while you end up with dogs that don't chase chickens. Sounds harsh yes but thats how I have seen it work.

  35. W. Anderson

    Gates to let someone smarter on these issues handle his philanthropy

    There are so many aspects of this story which begs further questions. Like where are the African farmers going to get money for chicken feed? If cor, then Gates should provide corn crops to each farmer. And if crops are provided, where are the farmers going to get water for irrigating corn or any other crop.

    Will these chicken retain levels of health under stewartship of saif farmers, in order to sell at good price or to eat?

    I sometime think Bill Gates should go back to technology and give authority of his philanthropy to his wife or someone else.

  36. BitterExScientist

    First world problems: Lack of chickens

    When traveling I always found that seeing chickens everywhere (and I do mean everywhere) was a good proxy that a country was not quite 'westernized'. The developing world has long ago figured out the value of chickens as an inexpensive source of protein.

    Bill Gates must have some pretty good handlers for him not to notice during all of his trips. Real, non-factory chickens are fast and nearly impossible to catch or chase away. All I can imagine his plan doing is ruining the genetic stock of the local breeds into sickly flavorless creatures that can barely keep themselves alive creating a greater burden on the community. If people can't raise chickens in these areas it's a sign of something much worse going on that should be addressed instead.

  37. Tom 7 Silver badge

    $81 billion.

    That was the money the US spent on corn subsidies last year.

    Do you think African chickens can compete with that?

    I keep around a dozen or two chickens and ducks on an around 1/2 and acre. There is not a single bug or edible plant left on that ground. I could let them run free but I would have none.

    Imagine BG gives you 3 Point Of Lay hens and a cockerel - any less hens and the cockerel will shag them to death. If they are dual purpose birds with broody hens and you dont eat the eggs (one every two days say) after two weeks you will have 21 eggs and a broody hen will sit on them. After another 21 days you will have 20 chicks half male/half female. So after 22 weeks since getting the birds (20 weeks to laying ish) you will have 13 laying birds and 11 cockerels. After another 22 weeks you could have hundreds of birds. Its so easy you have to wonder why it hasnt just happened. BG is about to find out.

  38. Baldy50

    Waste of money

    Hundreds of billions of dollars have been given to African governments over the past fifty years and nothing much has changed in Africa and I'd say in some areas worsened.

    Aid is either ransomed, misappropriated by the military or other guerilla outfit, the poor are made to pay for the aid or just don't get it.

    I admit some good work in Africa has been done but I suspect only allowed by bribes possibly and so that the money keeps coming, not much bang for your buck really when you consider the amount of money involved over the years.

    Rhodesia used to be the bread basket of Africa and look at it now a total train wreck, well done Mugabe!

    If they used all the money given to them to grow food and the infrastructure needed they'd be no starved kids to put on posters any more.

    If they were forced to use the aid in the way it was intended, monitored and refused more if not compliant maybe things will change. Not holding my breath!

    The elite live in luxury and the rest starve, I don't give to African charities and won't for the foreseeable future .

    The median executive pay level across the top 100 charities in the UK was £165,000 a year in 2015 and some over £600,000, not what donations are intended for.

    Most of these charities should be shut down they're a con, the government and charities with good reputations for getting the task done should only be allowed to give aid to Africa, made to audit the money trail and prove where the money went, what actual improvements were made, list executives pay and detail how much money was used on running costs.

    Please down vote all you want, won't reply or defend my views on this topic in any way.

  39. mark 58

    Survival rate will be less than 15% !!

    As a keeper of Chickens in America I know the perils of counting your eggs before they are made into McNuggets. Pretty much every mammal alive loves a chicken dinner and without a fence and properly secured roost the chickens will be killed before they can be sold. So a chicken won't help anyone, but add a shed and some, lets say, chicken wire and you might be on to something.

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