- Associated Press - Thursday, May 8, 2014

GILLETTE, Wyo. (AP) - Megan Huber started raising chickens because it is the way of life that she and her husband wanted to have.

She never imagined that it would take her to a house 12 miles out of town so they had enough space for 50 birds.

“I grew up on a ranch and my husband on a farm,” she said. “People who are in agriculture are never in it for the money. We do it because it’s a way of life for us.”

Five years ago, she imagined farm-fresh eggs at breakfast and teaching her kids about where food comes from. But she never imagined that she would have dozens of chickens roaming around her yard, playing with her three children and then selling those eggs at the farmers market to help earn money to pay for college for her kids.

The Hubers started with 12 chickens that they bought from Iowa. They came in the mail in a cardboard box that her husband and she picked up on Father’s Day in the wee hours of the morning.

They loved it and later got 12 more. At the rate the chickens were laying eggs (typically one a day per chicken), they couldn’t keep up, so a friend suggested that they sell them at the farmers market.

They took their 10 extra cartons of eggs to the market and for the past two years, they have sold out in under an hour.

“We were shocked at the demand of the farmers market,” she said. “I think the whole country is going for farm-fresh produce, not just vegetables and eggs but even meat.”

The Hubers would save every egg from the chickens all summer long so others could enjoy the farm-fresh eggs. They never kept any for themselves.

“How sad is that? You raise chickens to eat your own eggs and have to buy a carton to bake with,” she said.

To keep up with the demand this year, they bought 50 more chickens - 10 of which died in transit from Iowa during one of Wyoming’s snowstorms. They have several age groups to keep the supply going since chickens only lay eggs for three years. She also has several breeds, which lay different colors of eggs.

She hopes that her children will have the same lessons instilled in them that she had growing up on her family’s ranch.

“When you teach a child how to care for an animal, you are teaching love, compassion and nurturing,” she said. “When you care for an animal, you put all your love into it.

“It’s an everyday, rain-or-shine job and I think that level of care shows in the end product. We give to our chickens, but they also give back to us, with eggs and someday meat. But really, they are giving us a great experience with our children.”

The love that both the chickens and the children have for one another is evident.

Story Continues →