WHAT started as a hobby around four years ago has burgeoned into a full blown business for a Leeton farming family.
The Bells - husband and wife Andrew and Jenna, and children Lachlan, Caitlin and Evelyn - have been growing their Paddock Fresh Pty Ltd business from the ground up since about 2016.
The free range egg enterprise began as a somewhat hobby.
"It's a funny story actually," Mrs Bell said.
"My son back in about 2016 he was looking for something to do to make a bit of pocket money.
"He asked if he could breed chickens. We had been up to Queensland to visit family and they had chickens and he just fell in love with them."
So, the decision was made to help Lachlan breed chickens and around six to 12 months later, there was 70 chickens in the family's backyard.
"I thought 'this is kind of getting out of control a little bit, we were just inundated with eggs, so it kind of flowed on from there," Mrs Bell said.
The opportunity then arose to purchase significant infrastructure from a chicken farm in Hay, including sheds and feeders.
At the moment, Paddock Fresh has the capacity to house 3000 chickens.
"We have that many at the moment, but only 1500 are laying as we are waiting for the little ones to start laying," Mrs Bell said.
The Bell family live on an irrigation property and were usually growing cotton.
This year they didn't put a cotton crop in as a result of low water allocations, with only some barley being sown.
"At the moment, for our cash flow, it's really the egg side of things that's getting us through," Mrs Bell said.
"We certainly never would have thought that would be the case when it really just started out as something for Lachlan to do.
"He turns 10 in July. We've got two girls as well, so it's been a fabulous process for all three of them.
"They've been able to see how an idea can grow.
"They see a chicken hatching right through to laying eggs and the process which now follows that."
The chickens and the eggs are guarded from predators by trusty canine companions, the Maremmas breed of dogs.
Mrs Bell said the goal was to keep spreading the word about the enterprise.
"We're already had so much support from the community and we are really grateful for that," she said.
Paddock Fresh eggs are available at the Golden Apple Superstore, Martyns Butchery in Parkview, several locations in Griffith, as well as now branching out thanks to contacts in Wagga and Narrandera.
Several cafes in Leeton are also using the eggs as part of their menus.