From hen house to Chook Manor

How one cou­ple turned their hobby into a thriv­ing busi­ness.

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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.chook­

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.chook­

Cot­tage Chicken Coop.

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