Mr. Moneymaker. Mrs. Jackpot. King. Queen. No, these aren’t part of a casino game — they’re all chicken names, given by a seven-year-old boy who worked to raise $2,500 within a month to start his own farm.
“I always liked them whenever I was a baby,” seven-year-old Trevor LeBeuf said. “I like their colors. This one has yellow feet. This is the only one that’s different because it’s a different breed.”
He’s holding King, a small English Gray rooster, in his arms. LeBeuf decided a couple of months ago he wanted to get his very own chickens to raise but he wanted to work hard to earn them himself, his mom, Megan Smith, said.
“One night, he came t o us and told us he wants to sell his hats to raise money to buy his roosters. He said, ‘Mom, dad, I know y’all can buy them for me but I want to buy them on my own,” Smith said.
So with the help of his parents and his grandma, LeBeuf started selling his hats on eBay and putting out social media posts asking people to help him raise enough money for two chickens, a coop and feed. Within three days, they had dozens of orders from across Texas then across the United States and then all the way from Thailand, Smith said.
“It’s been pretty awesome for him to have is own vision,” Smith said. “He does it on his own and feeds them, takes care of them, he waters them and works with them.”
The flat-brimmed sport caps, sold in varying colors and patterns, are embroidered by LeBeuf’s grandma, who owns an embroidery store where his mom also works. Hand-stitched into each cap is a white rooster with the letters TL and, underneath, the words “American Made”.
LeBeuf is wearing one of those hats as he puts King back in the wire cage coop, crouches down and slowly corners another chicken. As the chicken gets trapped in the corner, he swiftly swoops in, scooping up the hen in his arms, tucking her feet in and holding her close to his chest so she doesn’t feel afraid.
“I felt happy because they’re pretty chickens,” LeBeuf said on when he finally had the money to buy his chickens.
Mr. Moneymaker and Mrs. Jackpot were the first ones he got, given to him for free by an old man who declined to be named in this story. The old man also agreed to mentor LeBeuf and teach him how to care for the chickens and, later on, breed them.
“I felt happy,” LeBeuf said. “He said I’m his little partner.”
Even as Chicken Farmer, a nickname given to LeBeuf by his family, raised enough money for his chickens, orders kept pouring in for his hats. With the extra money raised, he’s on a road trip with his parents this week to Mississippi to buy another chicken so he can start breeding them.
Already, his chickens have hatched a few eggs, one of which survived — chickens sometimes eat their own eggs, he said — and will be incubated in an incubator LeBeuf received last week. LeBeuf said he hopes he’ll have 2,000 chickens one day and will keep selling hats to continue raising money to buy more chickens.
People can see LeBeuf’s progress on his Facebook page, Rockin’ TL Gamefowl. For anyone wanting to buy a hat, Megan Smith asks people call her at 979-417-9147.