Fauquier seven year old Connor Siebold has had a love of animals since he could toddle. For two years, he has asked for laying hens for his birthday but his mother Tammy Merry was sure he would get bored of them. She was concerned that they would become her job instead, one she wasn’t keen to take on in addition to her other responsibilities.
“Yeah I was against it but he’s done a great job. Thought he would get bored after a day or so,” the mother of four said. Merry says Connor loves earning money, “He will sit at the end of the driveway in the baking sun and selling worms and lemonade in the summer. He made $16.00 one day even though nobody really lives around here.”
They got in ten laying hens from a neighbour and Connor takes care of them every day after school. She might have known he wouldn’t give up on them based on how he was with experience with Memphis their Palomino mare. The family got her from Hayburner Haven, a rescue that bought her from slaughter three years ago. She had had a rough start in life, and the horse really wanted nothing to do with him. At four years old, Connor stood in her paddock for hours every day willing her to come closer to him and eventually she did. Now he rides Memphis and the mare has become so attached to him that she once stood between the child and a bear when one came close to the property.
Connor nuzzles Memphis, who they have nicknamed Lumpy because of her love of food before leading the way down the path to his chicken coop, which his mother says he keeps cleaner than she does. Inside the bright wooden building are ten hens and one rooster called Box (for the bock-bock sound he makes.) Their coop is full of fresh hay, the waterers are full and clean, and they have a dish with fresh chicken feed. Connor wants to grow his flock to 30 birds and is hoping to hatch some eggs this spring. During the interview, he was encouraging one of his hens to sit.
“At first he didn’t want to sell any of the eggs,” his mom chuckles. He wanted to have a big collection of eggs just to have them but he finally caved and sold a dozen to his grandmother. Then he agreed to start selling eggs to his parents. Now he has a few regular customers and has just enough supply to meet the demand.
“I like the money, and I like the chickens,” Connor answers when asked why he wanted to start his own egg business.
Connor has a Golden Retriever named Grover, who is also seven and a pot-belly razorback pig named Peanut, who he tries to ride across the farmyard. That’s because he’s practicing for rodeo this summer. Siebold is joining the Little Britches Rodeo circuit and will spend weekends this summer roping and calf riding.
“He’s a pretty good little roper,” Merry chuckled as she tousled Connor’s hair.