2013. Don’t count your chickens

Maree was trying to instil into nine-year old Vincent a sense of the value of money. He must learn to work and save and spend. Since they lived on a small life-style block Maree came up with an idea based on their living conditions: if Vincent fed and looked after their poultry she would buy the eggs off him. It was quite simple: Maree and Vincent’s father would continue to buy the feed for the poultry, but the rest was over to Vincent. She would pay him thirty cents an egg. There were only three hens, but with careful saving money over a reasonably short space of time things could build up into a handy little nest egg.

Three eggs a day! Not quite a dollar a day! Almost seven dollars a week! Roughly 27 dollars a month!

For two months Vincent acted as a faithful chicken farmer.

“Have you spent anything of your savings yet?” asked proud Maree.

“Nothing yet,” said Vincent. But he had learnt and done a few things. He had gone to a local poultry farm and they had given him an old rooster.

“Is that crowing I hear coming from the hen house?” asked Maree.

“When there’s no rooster,” said Vincent knowledgeably, “sometimes a hen will start crowing like a rooster.”

After several weeks Vincent started going to the grocery store and buying a carton of eggs. He would sell his mother three eggs a day. In the meantime his three broody hens were sitting on a dozen eggs each!

When his money ran out, Vincent announced that his hens were moulting and not producing eggs, so Maree began to buy eggs from the shop.

Within a few months there were more than thirty hens and roosters scampering around the life-style block.

“What’s all this chicken food I’m having to buy?” asked Vincent’s father.

Within a few weeks more Vincent was able to sell his mother a dozen eggs a day. Not that she needed that many eggs, but she passed some to her sister and some to her mother. Now and again Vincent would get a bonus – five dollars for a freshly killed and plucked rooster.

“Well,” said Vincent’s father to Maree, “I think your little money education plan worked. From now on he can buy his own chicken feed.”

By the age of eleven, Vincent was selling fresh eggs to fifteen different households.

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