Texan man quits work to shoot videos of his backyard farm and now has over 37 million views on YouTube
What started as an impulse-buying chicken as a college student for Ben Christie, 24, of Austin, Texas, has now grown into a thriving non-profit business with millions of fans.
The social media star, who goes by Uncle Ben, shoots 20 to 30 minute videos about an average day at his backyard farm.
He feeds his wild Rheas Kevin and Karen (who just welcomed their first son), plays with a kangaroo named Da Baby (named after the hip-hop artist) and does odd jobs with his dog Poggers.
He also eats raw ostrich eggs, sticks his hand in an anthill, and goes to public parks at night to rescue ducks from ponds.
Ben admits that he does not come from an agricultural or animal rehabilitation background and that the idea of getting started The Urban Rescue Ranch came from a joke with his roommate at Baylor University, who had a puppy that “would just poop in his closet every day.”
Ben said, “I told him ‘Dude,’ I could get a whole farm of animals and they’d poop less than this puppy.”
He ‘knew nothing about farm animals’, but naively thought ‘how hard can this be?’ Ben went on to buy six chicks and two ducklings, which is where his love of rescue really began.
The chicks grew up and started laying eggs that Ben sold at his college as they walked around the campus library with a little duck.
He said, “People knew me as ‘the chicken man’ for a while.”
Ben Christie, 24, of Austin, Texas, has become a social media sensation thanks to videos from his urban ranch
Going by the name Uncle Ben, he quit his job in sales to focus full time on making videos about his small ranch ranch.
Ben’s vlogs show him eating a raw ostrich egg, shielding himself from the wild rheas and sticking his hand in an anthill
Then people came to him with animals that needed help.
While Ben was passionate about animal rehabilitation and farming, it wasn’t until the social media success the ranch achieved at the start of the pandemic that he took the “leap of water” to turn it into a full-time job. to make.
After graduating from university, he started working in sales at software company Oracle. After Covid, Ben worked from home while making videos and TikToks about the ranch.
He said, “I made my calls and meetings while bottle-feeding little deer. After a while I realized that I am really passionate about the animal thing. Even my boss at Oracle would say things like “when are you going to quit and start working at the ranch full time.”
He said: “When Covid started, TikTok really took off and we started getting a lot of viewers. Then we started making videos on YouTube and then we started doing things like Cameo.’
To raise money, Ben also sold Ayam Cemani chicken eggs. These chickens, completely black in color, including their bones and internal organs, go for $100 each.
Ben said, ‘If you get 180 eggs that hatch half way, you’ll make some decent money.
“I realized I was essentially stealing from my business and not working as hard as I should. I looked at the animal scene and thought ‘what would happen if I put my life into that’.’ The day after Ben quit his job, a video of him mentioned “How to survive a rhea attack?‘ ‘blown up’. It now has 5.6 million views.
Ben, who admits to having no farming background, has more than 2.9 million followers and 78.7 million likes on TikTok
After graduating from university, he started working in sales at software company Oracle. After Covid, Ben started working from home while making videos and TikToks about the ranch
Aside from YouTube ad revenue, the ranch also monetizes Cameo, Patreon, merchandising, and donations
“Every other video started to do well then,” he said. “And that’s why these videos have been one of the biggest blessings for us, because on TikTok you can get 14 or 15 million views on something, but you don’t make any money from that. With YouTube we were able to show people more.’
Aside from YouTube ad revenue, the ranch also monetizes Cameo, Patreon, merchandising, and donations.
Now Ben is working “harder than ever” and The Urban Rescue Ranch has plans to move to a three-acre estate in Waco, Texas.
All renovations, totaling about $30,000, cost the ranch. This means that although it has made money, most of it is going into expansion.
Ben said, “Given the debt for the new land in Waco and the renovations, fencing and waterlines, we need to fill a $150,000 gap to be completely debt-free and 100 percent.
‘That’s why we sell merch and regularly upload to YouTube. We are currently awaiting non-profit status and refurbishing the new ranch. It was a crazy ride and I’m very grateful for it.’