Crotchety neighbor shuts down little girls’ egg-selling enterprise

Brown crate of brown chicken eggs
Photo: NurPhoto / Contributor (Getty Images)

When I was about 8, I got pretty good at weaving friendship bracelets. I concocted a scheme to sell the bracelets until I could afford my very own horse, which I intended to board in a neighbor’s backyard. I ended up with maybe $10 in profit, but my family members were pretty supportive. And while there’s nothing cuter than an enterprising little kid, there’s also nothing worse than a bureaucracy-obsessed community member—as evidenced by a recent debacle in Bulverde, Texas.

Advertisement

It all started back in February, when this year’s devastating winter storm hit Bulverde. In the storm’s aftermath, 10-year-old Indiana Johnson and her 8-year-old sister, Phoenix, supplied their neighbors with eggs from their brood of 28 laying hens. And when the community got back on its feet, the girls’ father, Brian Johnson, decided it was time to channel the egg operation into a life lesson on responsible saving.

“I told the girls, hey, you know we have some extra eggs. I’ll tell you what, I’ll open your bank accounts, I’ll get you checks and debit cards. We’ll build you an account and you can sell the extra eggs to the neighbors,” Johnson told a local CBS station.

The girls gathered their eggs and sold them to neighbors for an average weekly profit of $69—until someone complained, and the girls received an official letter from the city ordering them to cease operations.

The local news station received the following statement from city officials: “City staff are bound to investigate complaints of ordinance violations which are presented to us, and to seek compliance with the laws as they are written.” The City of Bulverde’s statement also states: “The selling of chicken eggs or any other animal products produced on the property, from a residentially zoned lot is a violation of city ordinance, regardless of the age of the person conducting the sales.”

No word on who reported the girls’ egg project, or why. For now, the Johnsons are taking a step back from their egg enterprise. “I’m afraid that the city will take further action against me and I don’t want to hurt my kids,” says Johnson. Meanwhile, if anyone catches wind of the complainant’s identity, send ‘em my way. I just want to talk.

Staff writer @ The Takeout, joke writer elsewhere. Wrangling dogs and pork shoulder in Chicago.

DISCUSSION

brickhardmeat
Brick HardMeat

Not clear from the details, but if my neighbors had no hens, or 3 or 4 hens, and then upscaled to 28 hens.... I could see some folks not being thrilled about that. That’s a lot of chicken shit.

Sounds like the girls may have already had the hens. But still - transitioning from a hobbyist situation to essentially a commercial enterprise could also invite headaches to the neighborhood - more traffic, construction on larger or unsightly housing/amenities for the chickens, etc.

If I was their neighbor I’d probably be fine with it all, probably even delighted to be so fortunate as to have easy access to fresh eggs. But I can imagine details or a situation where someone could reasonably be less than thrilled.