From hen house to Chook Manor
How one couple turned their hobby into a thriving business.
Their poultry addiction began small. The Boyle family started with seven chicks, gifted to them by a neighbour, which freeranged in a paddock near their house. Five of their ‘barnyard special’ chicks turned out to be roosters and were given away.
When the two remaining pullets got out of their paddock and destroyed the family’s ready-to-harvest, prized vegetable garden, it was time to get serious.
“These girls have to go,” said Cheryl. The replacements were less flighty, Brown Shavers and super star egg layers.
The new girls also got a fancy home. Cheryl and Greg designed and built their dream coop based on the best ones they had seen.
Then their flock began to grow. It got close to 100 layers, just so they could keep up with the demand for their tasty, free range eggs at the local farmers’ market.
Greg and Cheryl went full chicken. They started breeding 20 different varieties of heritage poultry, incubating and hatching approximately 1200 chicks per season.
They also discovered their egg clients were keen to get into chickens themselves, especially when they saw the colour range of heritage breeds in Greg and Cheryl’s flock. Could they get a set-up like that too?
The Boyles’ first idea was to sell a fully kitted-out coop, complete with hens, feed and accessories. After listing their newlybuilt coop on Trade Me, they sold three in three days. Their customers were delighted and the range of coop designs expanded.
What started as a small backyard hobby in 2008 is now their full-time business. Chook Manor is NZ’S leading poultry supplies specialist store, employing two full-time staff and seasonal workers on the Boyles’ Little River property.
In 2016, Wendy Majoor joined Chook Manor with a second outlet in Pukekohe, south of Auckland.
As the business grew, so did the demand for poultry and good quality poultry-keeping products.
“We have trade stands at many poultry shows throughout New Zealand and listened to our customers’ needs,” says Greg.
But NZ still lacked a good range of quality
products at realistic and affordable prices so Greg headed to the UK to source incubators and accessories.
That step turned Chook Manor into a“one stop chook shop ™ “for everyone who loves poultry.
Today, the largest part of the business is their specialist feeds, accessories and healthcare products. The Boyles’ have always tried to use a natural approach with their own personal flock and that is reflected in the Chook Manor stock range. It includes Stockmans Friend AHE, and the popular Agrivite vitamins and mineral tonics.
There is the Smite red mite control range of products for keeping poultry houses clean and mite-free, one of their favourites.
Chook Manor sells a vast range of accessories, including the Feed-o-matic auto feeders and Drink-o-matic auto drinkers. Other popular products are Wendy Majoor portable poultry fences, roll-away nesting boxes and automated coop door openers.
Helping their customers with successful hatching is also important. Chook Manor stocks egg incubation equipment from Brinsea, a UK company that leads the world in incubation technology.
Its incubators are used by most of NZ’S wildlife and bird rescue centres, zoos, kiwi and conservation organisations. It is also a well-known brand among top poultry breeders and backyard hobbyists throughout the world.
The Boyles’ don’t have a big flock anymore, but still hand-raise Brown Shaver chicks for sale. Greg and Wendy have a vast knowledge and experience with egg incubation and the products they supply which they are happy to share with their customers.
For everything chicken, try Chook Manor in Auckland and Christchurch, or online: www.chookmanor.co.nz
That step turned Chook Manor into a one stop chook shop ™
WHO: Greg & Cheryl Boyle WHERE: Little River, Banks Peninsula LAND: 2 acres WHAT: Chook Manor WEB: www.chookmanor.co.nz
Cottage Chicken Coop.