Grace Price, reporter
Katelynn Singleton, editor
Blue Hen Eggs is a student-led organization that plans to expand and become more financially prosperous in the near future.
Blue Hen Eggs has been a part of Berry’s Student Enterprises for 10 years. The company owns 175 Rhode Island Red and New Hampshire Red hens. The Blue Hen Eggs staff sells their eggs in accordance with USDA standards, thoroughly screening them before sending them to customers. With their plans for expansion, the employees at Blue Hen Eggs hope to grow their hen population and have multiple streams of revenue.
Currently, Blue Hen Eggs operates through a system of three work shifts. In the morning, workers provide food and water for the hens. The afternoon shift includes cleaning the coops and nesting boxes and gathering the eggs. In the evening, students close the nesting boxes and enclose hens in the coop to keep them safe from predators throughout the night.
Once students collect all the eggs, they go through a screening process to ensure they are up to code. Trained employees wash and candle the eggs, while checking for any cracks, internal impurities or double yolks. After packaging the eggs, employees send them to the Shipyard, Doug’s Deli or Berry faculty members.
As Blue Hen Eggs expands, the company hopes to hire more student workers. According to Student Enterprises and Entrepreneurship Development (SEED) Director Kevin Renshler, Blue Hen Eggs allows for a type of student growth and development that would not happen with other on-campus jobs.
“Raising chickens takes a lot of perseverance and accountability,” Renshler said. “Expectations are extremely high.”
Senior Faith Van Rengen, a co-general manager at the chicken coop, elaborated on the growth opportunities Blue Hen Eggs provides. She said that students should work at Blue Hen Eggs because most colleges do not have chickens that provide students with hands-on work experience.
“Chickens are misunderstood, and they are just as important as puppies and kittens,” Van Rengen said. “It’s a unique experience.”
Additionally, sophomore Co-General Manager Katy Harvey said that Blue Hen Eggs is a great work option for students who want a second job but still want a manageable schedule. Harvey said that Blue Hen Eggs is one of the more “laid-back” animal units because the hours are more flexible.
“It’s a really good opportunity if you don’t want to work too many hours,” Harvey said. “It’s less intensive, smaller and you get experience selling eggs.”
Renshler’s goal is for Blue Hen Eggs to own 300 hens. This would allow them to make more deals with restaurants in the Rome area, like Doug’s Deli.
In addition to eggs, Renshler has made plans for Blue Hen Eggs to sell compost. He explained that they would sell the compost in 5 and 25-pound bags to members of the Rome community. Renshler’s goal is for Blue Hen Eggs to have multiple high-level revenue streams that allow for optimal growth. Currently, they are not making a profit from selling only eggs. This makes selling compost a viable way to stay in the black at Blue Hen Eggs.
Through the efforts of Renshler, Van Rengen, Harvey and the rest of the Blue Hen Eggs team, the company will continue to be a vital and thriving part of Berry’s agricultural enterprises.