Dress­ing chooks in biki­nis made me rich!

that's life (Australia) - - Contents - As told to Beth Young

Out of nowhere, I had the best idea! ‘I want to sell eggs,’ I told my mum, Belinda.

‘Mate, we don’t even have chick­ens!’ she said.

But that was eas­ily fixed. Liv­ing on a 200-acre cat­tle farm in Mount Lar­com, Qld, with Mum and my dad, Lau­rie, we had plenty of room for some chooks.

Luck­ily, a lady liv­ing down the road had some hens for sale. So, I bought three

chooks and a rooster out of my pocket money, and Dad knocked up some chicken coops.

I was only eight, but I knew a good in­vest­ment when I saw one!

Then, I hatched an even more ex­cit­ing plan.

If I had an in­cu­ba­tor I could breed chicks and sell them...

Pick­ing one up for cheap, my busi­ness,

Max’s Chick­ens, was born. I needed a slo­gan too, so I de­cided on Eg­gSel­lent to the MAX!

The in­cu­ba­tor took over the laun­dry and, like a par­ent, I was al­ways wor­ry­ing about my eggs.

‘Turn the dryer off!’

I’d tell Mum, when I heard it spin­ning.

The hu­mid­ity would be bad for the ba­bies!

Two months later, busi­ness was boom­ing and I sold 60 chicks for $12 each at the lo­cal poul­try show.

Soon, I was hatch­ing 30 chicks and sell­ing 10 fully grown chooks each week.

I had to get a big­ger in­cu­ba­tor with enough room to keep 120 eggs warm

And some peo­ple were even driv­ing up to eight hours to get their hands on one of my beau­ties!

See, I didn’t just have run-of-the-mill birds. I bred Pol­ish chooks that have amaz­ing afro-style hair, pretty speck­led Wyan­dottes, and fluffy white Silkies.

Then, last Oc­to­ber, when I was 10, Mum was di­ag­nosed with breast can­cer.

She helped me out run­ning my Face­book page but now, I wanted to look af­ter her.

So, in be­tween school and car­ing for my chooks, I did as many chores as I could around the house.

‘Here’s a cuppa, Mum,’

I’d say.

‘An­other one?’ she’d smile. I did make her lots!

Mum had a dou­ble mas­tec­tomy and had to have chemo. Then, her beau­ti­ful blonde curly hair started to fall out in clumps.

As Dad shaved the rest off for her, we all had a gig­gle at Mum’s new ’do. I still thought she looked beau­ti­ful.

This win­ter, her hair had just started to grow back, but she’d of­ten keep her head warm with a beanie.

‘We should make bean­ies for the chooks!’ I said. ‘We could call them chea­nies!’

Mum burst out laugh­ing, but she had my back.

She didn’t know how to knit, so I called my grandma Rose­mary.

‘Are you hav­ing a joke?’ she asked.

‘Nope!’ I laughed.

She was very happy to help, but needed to mea­sure up a chook to make a pat­tern.

Out of my 100 chick­ens, I have three ex­tra spe­cial ones, Favourite Girl, Roger and Princess.

I chose Princess to be my model, and she was per­fectly be­haved as Grandma got out her tape mea­sure.

The cheanie was awe­some, so Mum took a pic­ture of it and posted it to my Face­book page as a joke.

Wak­ing up the next morn­ing, we had heaps of or­ders for more, and they just kept com­ing in!

So, I re­cruited my great- aunt Lor­raine and Dad’s mum – my nanna Ann – who I paid in kisses and cud­dles!

As soon as they’d knit a cheanie, a cus­tomer would snap it up for $5. In a week, the Face­book post had been viewed 500,000 times and I’d sold hun­dreds!

One per­son even wanted a cus­tom-made cheanie for their cock­a­too that’d plucked out all its feath­ers.

Seiz­ing the mo­ment, I had Nanna and Aunty Lor­raine start knit­ting chicken jumpers – or chumpers – too, which I sold for $15 a pop.

Turns out, peo­ple loved dress­ing up their chick­ens!

As the weather be­gan to heat up, it was time for sum­mer fash­ion.

‘I think you’ve used up all your kisses and cud­dles with Nanna,’ Mum said. ‘You’re go­ing to have to think of some­thing you can do.’

So, I asked Mum for a sew­ing ma­chine and started tak­ing lessons.

‘Is it okay if I use this?’ I asked, grab­bing a tea towel.

Cut­ting two lit­tle tri­an­gles out of it, I used safety pins to put my prac­tice-run to­gether.

‘I’m think­ing about mak­ing this,’ I told Mum, ex­cit­edly. ‘What is it?’ she asked.

‘It’s a bikini for a chicken – a chick­ini!’ I laughed.

Now, I’m a bit of a whiz on the sew­ing ma­chine and I’ve sold heaps for $15.

For the

Mel­bourne Cup this year I also made fancy feath­ered hats for the girls.

‘Chick­i­na­tors!’ I said proudly to Mum.

My mum’s do­ing way bet­ter now, but I wanted to help other fam­i­lies.

‘I know how hard it can be,’ I told my par­ents.

So, I’ve de­cided to do­nate $1 from ev­ery chook cloth­ing sale to Breast Can­cer Aus­tralia.

Now I’m sav­ing to buy a house down the road from Mum and Dad. And while I’m mak­ing pretty good pocket money, I’m not re­veal­ing how much – a busi­ness­man never tells his se­crets!

I might be a spring chicken, but I’m plan­ning to fly all the way to the top!

Princess wear­ing the ‘chick­ini’ My mum Belinda, me and my dad Lau­rie‘We should make bean­ies for the chooks’

My sew­ing teacherShirley and me

A chick­e­na­tor for the Mel­bourne Cup Max is one cool kid­preneur Max Cos­grove, 11, Mount Lar­com, QldPeo­ple loved dress­ing up their chick­ensMe with Princess, who’s modellinga chick­ini and bon­net en­sem­ble

Princess in a cheanie and chumper

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