Meet the teenager hatching a chicken empire in his backyard
He said, “He really only expected to sell a few dozen eggs.”
When Fletcher McCulloch came up with the idea of selling his family’s chicken eggs, it seemed like an easy way to make a quick buck.
As the two dozen eggs sold faster than his family could believe, the beginnings of a plan began to hatch in young Fletcher’s mind.
About two years later, the 12-year-old Turners Beach teenager was busy building his chicken empire with just over 500 chickens, nine sheep, 23 ducks and four calves.
He now runs the chicken business Fletcher’s Poultry, selling young layers to families so they can have a steady stream of eggs in their own backyards.
“I like to get outside and spend a lot of time with animals,” he said. “It’s really fun to just come out and feed them and give them water.
“I just enjoy seeing all the animals happy, scratching and pecking.
“When I bought a batch of 50 Chooks just to see how it would do, I realized they were going to sell.
“I really only expected to sell a few dozen eggs… but I worked pretty hard.”
With his father’s help, his backyard has been converted into a home for currently around 200 chickens, all under 18 weeks old.
His other pike and larger animals reside on a piece of land kindly loaned to him by a family friend, paying only for maintenance of the fences.
The young entrepreneur has also developed an expert network, with staff at his local Nutrien Ag Solutions always happy to offer a smile and advice, and his chicken supplier near Mount Roland essentially on speed dial.
Damien McCulloch, Fletcher’s father, said it’s incredible to see how his son’s confidence has grown since he started this venture, how he’s built his skills at conversing with new people and scoured YouTube for videos on how to upgrade his chicken coops and knowledge to expand.
He said one of his favorite things to do, especially now that Fletcher’s shop covers all of its own feeding and maintenance costs, is seeing the reaction of store associates when it was his son who pulled out the card to pay for the equipment.
“I used to smuggle in more of my money,” said Mr. McCulloch, “but now he can pay for anything.”
Underneath, said Fletcher, an occasional dastardly fish and chips for him and his dad – which is pretty cheap rent if you ask Mr McCulloch.
He said it certainly sounds like a lot of chickens, but at the end of the day, whether it’s 300 chickens or six, the work isn’t that different. And most of the time it runs smoothly.
Although there was that one time the Chooks got out.
“Once the door kind of opened up and 200 chooks went everywhere,” Fletcher said.
It was a tangle of feathers sloshing down the driveway and all over the back yard.
“That day we jumped every fence and asked if they had chickens in their yard.”
Fortunately, said Mr McCulloch, that has not happened since.