MECHANIC FALLS — At 6 years old, Luke Coolidge is looking to follow in his family’s footsteps. His great-great-grandfather, William Coolidge, began as a chicken farmer in the 1930s on Pigeon Hill. Today, Luke is carrying on the tradition with his own chicken and duck farming business.

Farmer Luke’s business card

Luke even has his own business card, on which he calls himself “Farmer Luke.”

The youngster’s grandmother, Verna Coolidge, became his mentor as he watched her work on her farm. He got hooked on the idea of starting his own farm at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, when he visited a Tractor Supply Co. store and saw baby chicks.

His mother’s backyard soon became his small farm.

“My mimi started showing me all the stuff and I said, ‘Hey, I want to try it,’” Luke said. “I wanted to try it, and not only chickens. Why don’t I get goats, ducks and chickens?”

Luke and his grandmother check each other’s eggs every day. Luke said he thought he had 11 chickens and 13 ducks — although the family has lost count — and three goats.

Luke’s mother, Katie Daigle, said Luke is a visual learner.

“He’s 6 1/2,” Daigle said, “and will be 7 this year. He’s very smart for his age. He likes to see things done and he likes to do them himself, but in usually a safe manner. He likes to see how the farming is done, but he wants some stuff here at our house so he can continue doing it.

“He has done really well, getting it all done. He helped us put the fencing up for the winter and get the trailer ready and what not.”

Luke Coolidge, 6, helps his mother, Katie Daigle, close the chicken coop Tuesday at their home in Mechanic Falls. The coop is a former trailer. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Luke goes out every day with either his mother or father to feed the chickens and ducks and collect eggs they have laid. The family turned an old trailer into a pen where the chickens and ducks can go in and out. The pen is fenced in to deter predators.

Luke said the difference between a chicken egg and a duck egg is the latter has more protein and can be big as a hand.

Right now, the harvest is low because fowl tend to lay fewer eggs in the cold weather.

“(On Monday), we got nine eggs,” Luke said. “We will probably get nine eggs (a day) until spring and summer hits.”

After collecting the eggs, Luke sells them at Shuga Shak in Mechanic Falls, which is owned by Jeff and Verna Coolidge, his grandparents.

Coolidge said he is interested in the entire farming process and has slaughtered roosters and chickens.

“He was with my parents and he was very interested in how they did it,” Daigle said. “He has (slaughtered) two of his roosters and he knows how to do it.”

After the slaughter, Luke knows how to cook a meal.

Slowly and surely, Luke is learning the business side of running a farm, according to his mom.

“For example, chicken eggs and duck eggs, he knows fairly well what they going for, and has sold his chicken eggs or some of his duck eggs to people,” Katie Daigle said. “He takes that money, whether he puts it aside to save it for something he personally wants to buy or (on Monday) we went to the store to get grain for the chickens and goats. He paid for the grain with his money that he earned from selling these eggs.”

What makes a 6-year-old boy so interested in chicken and duck farming? It goes back to family.

Luke Coolidge, left, holds Goosey Loosey the duck while his sister, Elliot, holds Harriet the chicken as they collect eggs Tuesday at their home in Mechanic Falls. Luke,, 6, raises chickens and ducks, selling their eggs through his business, “Farmer Luke.” Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

“I want to learn about animals,” Luke said. “My dad (Ben Rowe) has cows and chickens, all different types of animals. I want to do that, too, at my house.”

Luke said he watches YouTube videos of farmers from all over the world to learn about farming techniques.

As for his mother, she is happy Luke is doing something he loves, and she said she is not going to stop him.

“He loves to be outside and do things,” Katie Daigle said. “I can see him carrying on, always having some sort of farm animals. We talked about what he wants: Emus. He wants alpacas. He wants a cow.

“He’s supposed to be raising two or three pigs this summer for people. He has these plans in his head that he wants to do. If it keeps him out of trouble, I am all for it.”


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.