Comparative Benefits of using Chicken Tractors in Banana Plantations in American Samoa

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2018: $19,231.00
Projected End Date: 06/30/2020
Grant Recipient: Sagaia Lefee
Region: Western
State: American Samoa
Principal Investigator:
Sagaia Lefee
Sagaia Lefee

Information Products

Chicken Tractor Brochure / Facebook (Article/Newsletter/Blog)


  • Agronomic: taro
  • Fruits: bananas, papaya
  • Animals: poultry
  • Animal Products: eggs


  • Animal Production: feed rations
  • Crop Production: cropping systems
  • Education and Training: demonstration, youth education
  • Pest Management: biological control, sanitation, weeder geese/poultry
  • Production Systems: integrated crop and livestock systems
  • Soil Management: chicken tractors

    Proposal summary:

    The focus of this project “Comparative Benefits of using Chicken Tractors in Banana
    Plantations of American Samoa” will be to build on current literature demonstrating
    the environmental and economic value of chickens in sustainable agriculture.
    There is considerable research evidence that chicken tractors contribute to the
    economic viability of small-scale vegetable garden operations. Previous WSARE
    Funded projects illustrate the benefits to pest control, soil improvement and economic
    benefit through reduced input costs and increase returns from egg production.
    However, no work seems to have been done on small banana production units. In
    fact, anecdotal information is mixed on whether or not bananas are or are not lethal to
    chickens. Current on-line social media posts are mixed but seem to indicate that
    bananas are not a problem in chicken diets and research from the Philippines indicates
    benefits from feeding bananas to broiler chickens.
    Through this project I will demonstrate the use of chicken tractors in my banana
    plantation and compare the results to a banana plot owned by my brother but not
    using chickens. Daily and weekly measurements will be taken and analyzed by my
    technical advisor and will include: size and quality measures of the banana bunches,
    egg production and feed costs for chickens, and pest observations. Considering the
    density of banana plantations, 4 small chicken tractors will be built for the banana
    plots rather than 1 or 2 larger ones. Each will be 4 feet wide by 6 feet long to hold 6
    chickens each. The project will take place over 18 months. Outreach and
    demonstrations will be organized by the advisor and will include her school classes,
    other farmers and agents of the local Department of Agriculture and the Land Grant

    Project objectives from proposal:

    1. To demonstrate the use and benefits of chickens in ‘chicken tractors’ within
    the banana plots
    2. To explore the benefits in the form of reduced disease incidence; reduced
    fertilizer use; improved weed and insect control in the banana plots and the
    added value of the eggs produced
    3. To compare those benefits to neighboring untreated plantations under the
    same general local circumstances.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.