Original Shop At No. 67, Pagoda Street.
Rearing Chicken & Ducks In Backlane Using Food Remnants (Not Actual)
Going Green/Environmentally Friendly Years Before It Was In Vogue
When my family was staying in our original shophouse at No. 67, Pagoda Street, we lived upstairs and had our shop, Chop Wah On on the ground floor. There were two air-wells in the shophouse. One was at the mid-section and the other was at the rear end. Behind our shophouse was a back lane which connected us to a row of shophouse which fronted Temple Street. The back lane was a sort of “community space”. Each shophouse accessed the back lane through a back door.
At that time many of the shophouses had multiple uses. The upper floor was for residential while the shopfront was for retailing and the rear of the ground floor was often used for processing and storage.
We used to buy baby chicks and duckling from the hatcheries at Lavender Street to rear in cages kept at the air-wells. In the day time, the chickens and ducks were released out to the back lane for them to “free range”, seek ground worms and other edibles. In the evening they were kept back in the cages. Here’s how the chickens and ducks got their daily feeds.
In the neighbourhood was a fish-meat processor. He scrapped the fish meat from yellow-tail fish to sell at his stall in Trengganu Street and to supply to fish-ball noodle stalls. He discarded the fish innards and fish bones into a container which he left outside .
A few shops away, a vegetable seller will process his stocks obtained from his supplier and discarded the slightly damaged vegetables.
Everyday before going to school in the afternoon, I collected the discarded fish innards, fish bones and vegetables. These were chopped into small pieces mixed with whatever left-over rice and fed to the chickens and ducks. The mixture contained fresh proteins (from the fish innards), calcium (from the fish bones), fibre and vitamin C etc (from the vegetables) and carbohydrates (from the left over rice).
With plenty of exercise and sunshine in the back lane and with the nutritious feed, the chickens and ducks grew up very fast. By around December and Chinese New Year, they were slaughtered for the family dinner table.
A few months after Chinese New Year, it was time to get a fresh batch of chicks and ducklings. This cycle went on for a number of years.
The food waste which would otherwise be sent to the dumping ground or the incinerators, were used as food and nutrients for the chickens and ducks. In having our own chickens and ducks we did not need to buy them from the wet market poultry stall, which would need to be supplied from some farms in the rural parts of Singapore or Malaysia, thereby reducing carbon foot-print.
There are also a number of indirect ways we unknowingly in the green movement and adopted environmentally friend practices , years before it was in vogue.