The care with which Mr. John Aguon raises his chickens is truly admirable. At his house in Dededo, Mr. Aguon has over one hundred chickens, both roosters and hens, from breeds such as common brown egg layers to specialty breeds. He built their cages, their coops, and even a quarantine shed to house new additions from off-island.
But for Mr. Aguon, his chickens are more than just farm livestock. His birds have had a constant presence in his life.
Mr. Aguon remembers growing up learning how to grow food and raise livestock on his family’s farm in Umatac. His childhood goal was to own an imported rooster, which he has certainly fulfilled. While in the Air Force, he learned how to raise chickens at a farm in Northern California and even kept them while living in military housing on base. After retirement from the Armed Services, he brought what he learned to the island, raising, nurturing, breeding, and incubating chickens on Guam.
Now seventy-two years old, Mr. Aguon said his animals keep his mind healthy and his body young. They are a source of comfort, happiness, and purpose. As a veteran of the Vietnam War, Mr. Aguon told us that caring for his chickens and animals helps him cope with the lasting effects of his experiences in the military. He shared with us, “A lot of these veterans, they need to do something to keep their mind going and this is what keeps my mind going.”
His chickens have also brought him strength and youth. Mr. Aguon mentioned to us, “A lot of people ask me, ‘Man John, I don’t know how you can do it!’” To them, he replies, “I’m 72, and I’m still moving around. People ask me, ‘Man you’re still bush cutting half-acre, one acre.’ I say ‘Hey I enjoy that, you know’. Something to keep my body going.”
Ultimately, the satisfying feeling of accomplishment of what he has done to support chicken farming on Guam makes it all worthwhile. With a lifetime of experience and a commitment to helping the island’s community, Mr. Aguon is eager to share his knowledge with anyone who wants to get started on raising chickens. All he asks is commitment and a willingness to learn.
Watch him share his story.