Newsoms teen selling turkeys, guineas

Published 9:55 am Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Colby Rountree gathers up some of his birds, including a turkey he calls Tommy outside of his Newsoms residence. DALE LIESCH/TIDEWATER NEWS

NEWSOMS—Colby Rountree doesn’t have a typical after-school job.

During his spare time and in the summer, the Newsoms teenager runs a chicken farm, which he started four or five years ago when a friend gave him a Bantam chicken.

“I liked them and I bought full-sized chickens with birthday money,” Colby said.

He started Cacklin’ Hens Farms with 10 chickens before acquiring 20 more. Colby had a total of 30 chickens six months in.

The business got off the ground when friends Harold and Carolyn Drake, owners of Drake’s Shopping Mart in Newsoms, let him sell fresh, free-range eggs at the store.

“I wanted to sell their eggs and hatch some,” Colby said.

He used the money to buy an incubator and started selling chickens, which brought in “a whole lot more money.”

“A lot of people came to me to buy chickens,” Colby said. “There’s a good market around here.”

When the 16-year-old was making more money selling chickens rather than eggs, he bought a second incubator and invested in another breed of chicken, turkeys and guineas.

That’s when he said he got serious about the business.

“They were selling like hotcakes,” Colby said. “There was never a time somebody wasn’t calling.”

He sold more than 150 turkeys and 200 guineas last summer.

A Southampton High School junior, Colby is a straight-A student and plans to have an associate’s degree in general studies through online classes at Paul D. Camp Community College before he graduates high school.

He is president of Future Farmers of America at SHS and a member of the Key Club.

In addition, he is the scorekeeper for the Lady Indians volleyball team and a member of the Newsoms and Franklin fire departments.

Colby said he doesn’t expect to keep Cacklin’ Hens Farms going while he’s in college. He wants to either pursue a law degree or become a paramedic.