From the Archives

Remembering the Time We Flew 100,000 Chicks to Egypt in the 1950s

A photograph of the author, Jason Woods.

By Jason Woods

June 21, 2019

Remembering the Time We Flew 100,000 Chicks to Egypt in the 1950s

In This Article

  • Starting in 1944, Heifer sent animals from the U.S. to farmers all over the world.
  • In the 1950s, 100,000 chicks were flown to farmers in Cairo, Egypt.
  • Egyptian farmers used the chicks to improve their income and nutrition.

This year, Heifer International is celebrating its 75th anniversary. As a part of the celebration, we’re sharing some important moments in our organization’s history.

A number of Heifer chicks from the first shipment to Egypt and Miss Pat Donat, Royal Dutch Airlines flight attendant.

From Heifer's founding in 1944 and for several decades after, farmers from the United States donated their own livestock, which the organization then shipped via sea or air to other farming families around the world. 

In the 1950s, 100,000 chicks were sent to Egyptian farmers from New York. For this initiative, Heifer Project partnered with the Christian Rural Overseas Program (CROP) of Church World Service and the U.S. State Department’s Point 4 Program.

The first shipment consisted of 30,000 day-old chicks. The chicks left from Idlewild International Airport, now known as John F. Kennedy International Airport, aboard a Royal Dutch Airlines plane.

Upon arrival, the chicks were set up in the brooders inside an old royal palace on the outskirts of Cairo, formerly used by King Farouk I, for several weeks until they were old enough to be distributed to small farms.

As we learned from and improved our working methods, we began sourcing and breeding animals in the countries where we work. As we celebrate 75 years of working to end hunger and poverty, historical images of the work that has led us to become the organization we are now inspire us to make even more progress while staying true to our roots. These photos from our archives, and others from Bolivia, Ecuador and South Korea, demonstrate the hard work of our farming families and Heifer’s commitment to ending hunger and poverty over the decades.

Thousands of Egyptian farmers received chicks from Heifer in the 50s.
In the following years, large livestock animals were also donated to Egypt.
Heifer International continued work with farmers in Egypt through the 1980s.