In Millie McCarthey’s case it was the egg!
Name: Millie McCarthy
Favourite food? Cheese pizza
Favourite colour? Yellow
Other hobbies: Art. I enjoy drawing houses, flowers and people.
Favourite animal? A bear! They are so cute.
What makes you happy? Being with my family, friends and pets makes me happy.
Millie’s Hens is a local business that delivers free range eggs, laid with love. Behind this new venture, is 10-year-old Millie McCarthy who looks after her 50 beloved chickens who have lived on the family allotment for three years.
Millie’s ‘eggciting’ journey began when her dad, James, took her to Clitheroe Auction when she was seven years old. After falling in love with the chicks, she begged her dad to bid on them…. Millie’s mum, Shona, eggsplained where it all began.
“Unfortunately, they lost the bid, somebody topped their offer and Millie came away absolutely heartbroken,” says Shona. “That night I said to James, ‘why don’t we let her hatch the eggs and do it herself from scratch?’ James got an incubator and eggs and took a shot at hatching them. Millie totally fell in love with it.
“We’re quite an outgoing family and we’re always doing things outside, either walking, or out on our allotment. The kids just love being outdoors. We had a really good space and we thought about what we could do for the kids in terms of being outdoors and enjoying it.”
Millie lives with her younger brother and sister, Conor and Emmy, in Read, Lancashire.
Their dining room table currently resembles an egg factory, stacked high full of eggs due to the ever-increasing orders. Soon, the 50 chickens Millie already looks after, will become 70, as the family plan to buy 20 more!
“As Millie got more chickens, we were giving away the eggs to close family and friends. They thought the eggs were delicious, and suggested that Millie should sell them. News of Millie’s venture spread to her friends at her school, Simonstone St Peter’s Primary School, they were flying out with parents ordering them!”
“We’ve got chickens, ducks and two dogs. Dug and Scout, Scout is on my knee right now!” giggles Millie. “My favourite part about having my pets is taking care of the chickens and hatching the eggs. We give them food, and whenever it’s a bit muddy we get the shovel, and we dig all the fresh bits of ground with all the worms in for the chickens.
“I’ve named a few of the chickens,” Millie proudly announces. “Jack, Ginger, Peep and Pingoo because she looks like a penguin. I hatched Pingoo myself and she is now two years old and very cheeky. Millie’s favourite chicken is Peep, the first ever egg Millie had hatched. “My funniest memory is when my dad picked up one of the chickens, and it pooed all down him!” she laughs.
When Millie isn’t looking after her chickens, she’s busy working out her orders for the busy weekend ahead. “On Thursdays, we start packing up for Friday deliveries, and Fridays, we box up for Saturday,” says Shona. “Millie is so involved, we have an order sheet and excel spreadsheets, she works it all out. I do the deliveries on Friday because she’s at school but on Saturday mornings that’s when she’s out and about doing her thing.”
It’s clear Millie loves her chickens, but what is her favourite eggy dish? My dad’s egg on toast is his speciality,” grins Millie, “it’s the best! We even had a double yorker!” Millie shouts.
One day Millie’s family would like to purchase a little bit of land so they can grow their chicken venture further. Shona says, “The possibilities are endless. If we can get a few more businesses using our eggs, then we can build on the deliveries more and more.”
And by the sounds of this eggcellent entrepreneur, that’s no yolk!