The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Food and Fisheries had given out about 2,400 of free chicks and ducklings among some locals on Friday in an effort to promote healthier lifestyles.

It distributed 1000 of domestic baby chickens among Tongatapu residents, 600 for Vava’u and 400 Ha’apai.

The Ministry had also handed out 180 of domestic ducklings in Tongatapu, 50 in Vavaʻu and ʻEua and 100 among the Ha’apai residents.

Sione Mapapalangi of the Ministry told Tonga Broadcasting Commission people could feed the poultry for six to eight weeks before they can be cooked for food.

It is understood the Ministry had given out thousands of ducklings and chicks before.

Locals can register their names with MAFF to join the programme which was funded by the Tonga Health Promotion Foundation.

Tonga has one of the most at-risk populations in the world for non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes and obesity, according to the Tonga Health report Path to Good Health

In 2007 it set up the Tonga Health Promotion Foundation to tackle the issue.