My name is Wally, and this is my about me page.
I started Backyard Chicken Chatter (email@example.com) to help others learn about raising chickens from my 50 years of experience.
Let me share a story of how I was introduced to raising chickens when I was 12.
This is my Story!
I went to several small schools from the first to fifth grades. First and second grades were a one-room school with all grades taught by one teacher. Third through fifth grade were larger classes for each grade but still in smaller schools.
New Big School
Sixth grade was totally different when I moved to the new large school with classrooms for each grade from kindergarten to twelfth grade, all in the same building. This was my first experience with a separate place to eat my bagged lunch.
The cafeteria was a big thing for me. I could buy a hot lunch for 25¢ and an extra helping of the main dish for 10¢ more. Milk was 2¢ and chocolate milk was a penny more.
I didn’t have any money because I didn’t get an allowance like other kids. This made me more envious rather than jealous.
When I built up the courage to ask my dad for an allowance for my work on the farm. He promptly said no way, can’t afford it. This is where the discussion ended.
I did a few chores before school and when I got home. I had to feed and water the animals, split wood for the stove, and do anything else that my father wanted to be done.
One day soon after school, my dad motioned for me to follow him. He took me across the creek in the back of the house. I thought, “Now, What did I do.” I’m going to get whipped for something that I had no idea what I may have done.
There stood an old abandoned chicken coupe nestled in the grass and brush. He opened the door and said to me, “This is your allowance.” I peeked inside the door, and there stood 100 White Leghorn chickens.
I’m Now An Entrepreneur
He said they were old hens that a neighbor sold him for 10¢ each or $10.00. He said they still lay eggs but not as many as a younger chicken.
He bought a 100lb bag of laying mash at the local feed store for $3.25. This would last about 2 weeks.
We had our own corn and wheat, which was a plus. He said this was not a present but a loan. You owe me $13.25. He also loaned me 50 egg cartons to pack the eggs in. My entrepreneurship had begun.
Next, he said to put a sign out by the road for farm fresh eggs. I asked him how much I should charge a dozen. He said 35¢ a dozen or three dozen for $1.00 would get the business going. I was now an entrepreneur and didn’t know it.
Excited and Scared
However, I was excited and scared at the same time. The old hens lay about 40 to 50 eggs daily or about 25 dozen a week. I had kept track on a paper chart to keep track of production.
I would vary the times I fed and watered them, trying to find out when I would get the most eggs.
He also told me they would lay eggs for nearly 6 months before going into a molt or resting period.
I soon paid my dad back and could have my own money to buy lunches and reinvest back into my egg business. This was a win-win for my Dad and I. I furnished eggs for our household as well as what I could sell.
Investing in My Business
I now needed to replenish my flock or buy some more old hens. My Dad said to look into the Montgomery Ward Catalog for day-old baby chicks.
It was now January and pretty cold. I asked if I should wait for spring and warmer temps. He said we already had a baby chicken brooder and could set it up in the kitchen. It would hold 100 baby chicks.
Here they would remain until they were 4 to 6 weeks old. Meanwhile, I built and insulated 20′ x 20′ brooder house in the back of one of my dad’s machinery storage buildings. I now had a place to move them to from the kitchen brooder.
The pullets would start laying eggs at 21 weeks old. The cockerels I would fatten and sell them to a local meat market for $1 each dress.
More Eggs Than Customers
As time went on, my flock expanded to about 400 chickens. I had steady weekly customers that would stop by the house and pick up their eggs.
Now I had more eggs than customers, I decided to deliver to our closest city, with a population of about 5,000 people.
I rode my bike about 2 or 3 miles and knocked on doors asking if anyone was interested in having eggs delivered every Saturday for 50¢ a dozen.
The response was overwhelming. I had a wooden box on the front and a wooden box on the back. This would safely carry 20 dozen eggs.
I drew a white chicken on the back of the box and called my business ‘Wally’s Kackle Berries”. Some Saturdays, I had to make more than one trip to fill all the orders.
I would plant tomatoes, cantaloupes, cucumbers, and sweet corn in the summer months. I added saddlebags to my bike to carry the fresh vegetables.
I built a self-serve roadside garden stand and left a box for money. In those days, honesty was not an issue. I would open the stand at noon and close it at 7pm. It worked out very well, unattended.
I would go with Mom and Dad and deliver the eggs while they were shopping. The store was within walking distance of the local A & P store.
My mom and dad shopped in town every Saturday. This city was about 7 miles away, so I couldn’t ride my bike there. I offered to, but Dad said it would be too dangerous. So then I had to come up with another plan.
I bartered for my own school clothes. I made a deal with the clothing store owner to buy 3 shirts, 3 pairs of pants, 3 pairs of socks, and a pair of shoes.
He made me a charge tab for these costs. I would deliver him eggs and vegetables weekly throughout the year until my debt was paid off.
Then the following year, I did the same again. I always had new clothes for school and my old school clothes for working on the farm.
Next, I also bartered for a new bigger bike the same way from the local Western Auto store, and he also became a customer.
I graduated from high school and had a large flock of chickens producing more eggs than I could deliver with my bike or sell at the house.
At 16, I got my driver’s license and, at 18, bought my first car. I expanded my delivery routes to restaurants and residential.
I had a commercial route and 2 residential routes. This continued until I received a draft notice during the Vietnam conflict. I had to sell out and go to work for Uncle Sam.
Just think this all began because I asked my Dad for a weekly allowance to buy a 25¢ lunch. Soon I was buying lunch every day.