I agree with Joel Salatin that a family-friendly farm is one where the kids are involved with everything. Sure, it takes longer to do chores with a 2 year-old in tow, but it is worth it. Farm kids should be allowed and encouraged to develop their own farm enterprise as soon as possible. If this does not happen, then the farm will always be dad’s farm or mom’s farm, and they might not ever engage. Well the fact is we need them to engage. The average age of the American farmer is 60 years old, so we desperately need more young people in farming.
Anyway, I try to involve our three children in everything on the farm. When it comes to chores, they are not always eager to help out. Big shock, right? So I have realized, chores are chores and no kid likes chores. For the last year or so, I have tried to throw out ideas of different things they can do here like raising ducks or chickens, you know, something simple that a kid can handle. Well one day our oldest, Emma Grace (age 12) told me she would like to raise some laying hens and sell them when they are old enough. Bingo! This farmer was happy! We did some quick math, and I explained after the cost of the birds ($75) and some feed, she could probably make about $100 with this venture.
So we quickly got to work. The first thing was to decide on what breed of layer to order. We went online to the hatchery’s website and looked at breeds. She asked some good questions, and after looking around the site, she decided to purchase 25 Rhode Island Reds. Great choice! To get her started, I agreed to supply the first bag of feed, but after that, she’s got to pay for it.
The chicks are now about eight weeks old, and they are doing great. This week, she is selling them for $8 each. I explained that the older they get, the more she has to charge for them. So far, it’s been a great experience. I can’t wait until she makes her first sale. One hundred dollars is a lot of money, especially when you are twelve!