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Joshua Garrett (9) has cracked egg market and is now eyeing up future with show chickens

Joshua Garrett and his mum Emma with some of his prizewinning birds
Joshua Garrett and his mum Emma with some of his prizewinning birds

By Chris McCullough

Meet the enterprising nine-year-old Northern Ireland boy who is running his own poultry business.

Even though he is still at primary school, Joshua Garrett from outside Carryduff is proving to be a canny entrepreneur.

Not only does Joshua keep hens for laying eggs which he sells, he also breeds his own hybrid hens destined for the agricultural showing circuit.

Joshua has big plans to work with poultry in the future and perhaps even become a farm vet.

"I have been helping my grandfather Wilfred lift eggs on his small hobby farm since I was six," said Joshua. "Now I am very interested in all parts of poultry farming.

"We keep around 200 birds in the summer time and have 40 or so now in the colder winter period, but some of them are here not just to lay eggs."

Joshua has a range of breeds in the shed including Bluebell, Maran and Sussex and also sells show birds to customers hoping to take home some silverware for themselves.

"I won the best reserve bird at Saintfield Show this year," said Joshua.

"And I got a cup for that. Next year I want to attend more shows including Balmoral Show to see if I can win some more cups.

"It really is interesting for me to pick one of our own birds and take it to a show for others to admire and hopefully come home a winner."

The eggs come in various sizes and Joshua uses his own manual grading system to pack the eggs into trays for sale to passing customers.

He has even given his business an appropriate name.

"We call our enterprise 'Cooped Up' and I think that is a very suitable name for everything we do here," he added.

"We sell a dozen large eggs for £3 and then different prices for other sizes.

"When the eggs are gathered I grade them by hand just using my eyes to see what size they are.

"It's nice to see people stopping to buy the eggs and taking them home to enjoy."

Joshua's mum and dad, Emma and Richard, are proud of his interest in the poultry and are encouraging him along the way with his hobby.

Mum Emma said: "Joshua started off working alongside his grandfather and really picked up the interest from there.

"At first they were only selling eggs, but then Joshua encouraged his grandad to sell birds as well. They even can supply chicken coops if anyone wants one as they get them made by another man to order.

"We have another younger son called Myles who is six, but he has no interest in the hens. He is happy for Joshua to work away with them.

"Joshua even has plans to set up and write his own blog about his experiences as a young poultry hobby farmer."

However, being an astute businessman, Joshua realises there are costs associated with his enterprise which hinder his profit margins.

"The chicken feed that we have to buy is quite expensive," he said. "But we have to buy it to keep them growing and laying. That's the reality of any business, in that there are costs too."

Joshua is adamant, though, that some day he will have saved enough money to buy a quad bike.

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