Got eggs? Girl’s summer hobby turns into a way to help neighbors

Published 9:35 am Thursday, March 31, 2022

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By Mike Barnhardt

Enterprise Record

ADVANCE – One year, Riley Barnes adopted a family for Christmas.

She paid the cost with sunflowers.

Another year, she helped out a local man suffering from cancer. Another time, she made a donation to Just Hope.

She paid the cost with eggs.

Yet another year, the Ellis Middle School sixth grader provided some sunshine to residents at Bermuda Commons Nursing & Rehab Center.

She paid the cost with zinnias.

And to think it all started with a bored child looking for something to keep her busy and make some money during a summer break from school.

“I wanted a summer project in 2018. I wanted to sell eggs,” she said.

Well, it worked.

Last year she sold 6,899 eggs. In 2020, she sold 11,702 eggs.

Her parents – Stephen and Tracy Barnes – got her started, buying the first 12 chickens and house. The rest of the costs, they told her, would have to come from profits from selling eggs.

“Almost all of the money I got from eggs went to their feed, water, scratch … whatever they needed,” Riley said. “It’s a lot of work. I have to feed each lot and give them water, collect the eggs. I have to check on them every day.”

She has about 78 laying hens now, some housed in pens she made with scraps from around the farm, and has a rooster and is going to try to incubate her own eggs.

Predators have been few. A skunk (She learned they can sneak through small openings.) made it into a lot and killed several birds once. She’s seen snakes, but has been able to keep them away from the eggs.

Riley enjoys taking care of the chickens. She enjoys helping others with some of the money she makes. And she enjoys making money, although most of what she keeps goes into savings.

“It’s taught her the responsibility of money,” her mother said. “It makes her think, ‘Do I really need to spend my money on that’? But she does the work.”

Riley is a straight A student who also plays travel volleyball and is on the track team at Ellis.

She sells the brown eggs (Most of her hens are Red Sexlinks) for $2 a dozen, $3 for 18 and $5 for a flat of 30. Her mother handles the orders at 336-909-0128.

The name of the farm is R&L Farm. It stands for Riley and Logan, her 2-year-old brother who is learning the business from his big sister.

The farm slogan?

“My pet poops your breakfast.”