Egg-selling business teaches teen responsibility

Photos by Dave Weatherwax/The Herald
Dustin Luebbehusen of Ferdinand, 14, held onto one of the 45 birds in his chicken coop before gathering up the day’s eggs Friday. Dustin has been growing a small businesses of raising the chickens and selling the eggs to family and friends over the past two years. He said he and his family eat a good portion of the eggs as well and when asked how he likes them, he replied, “In cakes. Otherwise scrambled.”

Herald Staff Writer

FERDINAND — Dustin Luebbehusen has no credentials or formal business training. At 14, he has yet to graduate from junior high.

But he already has a profitable sales venture that is raking in cash faster than anyone expected.

Two years ago, he and his father, Bill, built a small chicken coop near their home that holds about a dozen hens. Each day, Dustin collects and sells the eggs to a smattering of relatives.

His parents figured the experience would teach their son responsibility. And if he were lucky, he might earn some spending money.

Soon, word spread. Before long, his clientele expanded to neighbors and friends. Sales were brisk.

Around the time the business celebrated its first birthday, Dustin realized there was only one way to satisfy the feverish demand.

“He said, ”˜Mom, I’m going to have to increase my business,’” Theresa Luebbehusen said.

Bill and Dustin built a larger chicken coop, which they dubbed the “egg palace.” Dustin now owns 42 hens and three roosters.

“I just like the experience,” he said, “and having the fun of raising animals.”

A rooster poked its head out of Dustin Luebbehusen’s chicken coop Friday. Dustin has three roosters and 42 hens.

He and his father have an arrangement: Bill supplies the water as long as his son pays for the chicken feed. Dustin keeps the profits.

Dustin Luebbehusen of Ferdinand, 14, collected the eggs his hens had laid Friday.

In two years, he will be old enough to drive. He knows owning a car will be expensive, so he is setting aside most of his money for insurance and gas “because I know that price is going to go up,” he said. He also has begun saving for college.

Dustin, an eighth-grader at Forest Park Junior-Senior High School, sells eggs for $2 a dozen, but only to people he knows. If the business were to grow beyond that, his parents fear it would become unwieldy.

The business has been a family bonding experience. Bill did not know much about chickens until his son decided to raise them, so Dustin turned to his maternal grandfather, Jim Fleck, a farmer who lives near Jasper, whenever a poultry-related question arose.

His other grandfather, Ernie Luebbehusen of Ferdinand, also gave him advice. And his sisters, Aubrey, 8, and Adalyn, 5, lend a hand when he needs help tending to his chickens.

“I wasn’t too keen about it at first,” Bill said, “but he took the initiative and did all the research and did a lot of work to get it going.”

“For me, it’s not about the money,” Bill added. “It’s about him learning responsibility.”

Contact Tony Raap.

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