LONG BEACH — People hunting for fresh eggs on the Long Beach Peninsula might consider becoming customers of 7-year-old Peyton Haskin and his 73-year-old business partner, Rick Haug.
The two sell eggs out of a small box on the edge of Haug’s property. Haug made a large upfront investment in the business, but sees his grandson’s enjoyment as a healthy return.
And getting up in the morning to care for the animals is good for him as well.
“When you have these animals, it forces you to do something,” Haug said.
For Haskin, the eggs getting scrambled is a reward in itself.
Every morning, Haskin and Haug go down to the chicken coop together. At this point, Haskin knows better than to poke his head into a cubby with a hen still inside.
Hens have flown right into his face before, Haug said.
Instead, Haskin used some gentle incentive, sweeping at the bird with his cowboy hat.
“Please get out chicken,” he said. “Or you’ll get the hat.”
Clad in red boots and a red flannel shirt, Haskin looked sharp in the early morning sun.
After he gathered his eggs, Haug hurried him along, reminding him they’d have to get the eggs cleaned and boxed before Haskin headed to school.
The 104 Red Star hens lay an egg a day on average. Any egg more than 2.55 ounces is considered jumbo. The rest are large eggs. A dozen jumbo eggs is $5 and a dozen large is $4.
Red Stars are a hybrid breed that Haug discovered years ago. They are a little more expensive than hens he bought in the past, but they are worth it, Haug said.
“If you buy birds from a company and your birds don’t get sick, that means a lot,” Haug said.
The two weigh each egg and Haskin boxes them. The money from the egg sales will go into a fund for Haskin. Either for his college or for something else in the future, Haug said. Haug doesn’t want to shove his grandkids any one way.
Labor of love
But the work isn’t really about the money for either of them. Haskin’s mom, Katie Metzger, said her son loves animals. And Haug loves Haskin, she said.
“He’s a grandpa’s boy, through and through,” Metzger said. “Him and Peyton are as close as they come.”
Metzger wants to get Haskin signed up for 4-H once he’s 8 years old. Metzger grew up in Kansas where she and her siblings were involved with 4-H and Future Farmers of America from a young age. And Haug sees those programs as an invaluable part of a child’s education. The ability to stand up in front of peers and present something is an important life skill, Haug said.
In addition to the 104 Red Star hens and the quails, the property is home to cows, mules, horses, pigs, ducks and four kittens. The quail eggs are for sale, $7 for a dozen and $12 for two dozen.
People interested in buying eggs should look for a yellow sign with the words “Got Eggs?” at 156th Street and Sandridge Road.
If the hens are molting, Haug will put out a sign to let people know.
“They’re not laying eggs, and I can’t make any.”