Say hello to Chicken Boy

Love of farmyard fowl inspires Port second-grader to start his own egg business

CARSON WILKENS, 7, holds Jeffina, his favorite among the 30 chickens that he’s raising. The second-grader at Lincoln Elementary School in Port Washington has started an egg business. Each box of eggs contains a note stating, “Thank you. Love Carson.” Photo by Sam Arendt
Dan Benson
Ozaukee Press staff

Carson Wilkens, like a lot of 7-year-old boys, enjoys playing sports such as baseball, football and basketball. He loves to wrestle, whether with his brother Taylor, 12, or on a mat each winter at Port Washington High School. 

And he can often be found watching videos on YouTube or playing Minecraft. 

But unlike many other kids his age, Carson owns about 30 chickens and has a burgeoning egg business. 

It’s not just a business for the second-grader, who attends Lincoln Elementary School in Port. It’s a labor of love that began when his father Mike and his business partner Brian Zettler gave Carson, Taylor and their friend Harrison Ebbers, 12, the responsibility for watering, feeding and caring for 14 chickens and four roosters on Zettler’s hobby farm in the Town of Scott, west of Silver Creek. 

It didn’t take long, however, before it was obvious whose heart was most in it. 

“Carson kind of took it over,” Mike said. 

The flock almost doubled this summer when Carson accompanied his dad, a carpenter, to a job for a local farmer who had about 800 free-range chickens on his farm. 

“He started following the farmer around, talking about chickens,” Mike said. “And then he just ups and asks him if he’d want to sell some of them.” 

Negotiations between Carson and the farmer took about two days to conclude, they finally settled on $100 for 10 chickens. 

Carson paid with money he had saved working for his dad and Zettler, bundling firewood and doing other chores. 

The farmer threw in a sickly chick to make it 11. 

In the course of negotiations, the farmer dubbed Carson “Chicken Boy.” 

“Every time I go out there (to the man’s farm), he always asks, ‘Where’s Chicken Boy?” Mike said. 

After a couple more additions, the flock now numbers around 30. 

Carson has given names to most of the hens and roosters — Marty, Ricardo, Goldilocks, Amazon, Gloria, Roxanne, Bones and Fireball, to name a few. 

He is the chicken yard sheriff, correcting misbehaving and overly amorous roosters and bickering sisters, often carrying one of the hens in his arms, talking to them and stroking their soft feathers. 

His favorite is Jeffina, one of the 10 he bought, a gray-and-white striped Barred Rock variety. 

“She’s the most unique one. She was the only Barred Rock in the box” of chicks he bought, Carson said, holding her contentedly in his arms. 

“They lay a lot of eggs.” 

The new chickens recently began to lay, and Carson is in the process of building a customer base, selling eggs for $3 a dozen. 

Each box of a dozen eggs includes a handwritten note: “Thank you, love Carson,” an idea his mother Katie Benson suggested. 

“But he ran with it,” she said. 

Next, he’s working on a logo and wants to come up with a name for his egg operation. 

Top candidates currently are Carson’s Cluckers and Carson’s Nesting Box. 

His immediate goal is to make back the $100 he spent. Otherwise, he says he just wants to save the money. He’s keeping his eye on the bottom line and controlling costs. 

After helping Zettler make 15 gallons of apple cider recently, they fed the 50 pounds of leavings to the chickens. 

“That was awesome,” Carson said. “That saved me a lot of money.” 

Raising chickens has taught him some of life’s tougher lessons, as well. 

Shortly after he bought the chickens, a respiratory illness swept through the flock, requiring they be treated with antibiotics. One hen, Barbara, died. 

Another hen, Mom, almost died, but after Carson and Zettler fed her antibiotics through a syringe every day for over a week, she recovered. 

And a rooster, Bubbles, had to be put down after it broke its leg. 

Asked why he likes chickens, Carson shrugged and asked, “Because they lay eggs that I can eat?” as if saying, “What’s not to like?” 

Carson is popular around the farmstead. Zettler’s donkeys Emmett and Lucille and his horse Nelson always walk up to greet him when he arrives, as do the chickens. 

“When they see him walking up, they all come running,” Zettler said. “You’d get trampled.” 

Carson Wilkens is the grandson of reporter Dan Benson. 



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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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