Rent the Chicken

It's a starter kit, of sorts, for aspiring urban farmers. 

Raising backyard chickens has become something of a trend. But the fact that hundreds of chickens are getting dumped at animal shelters suggests aspiring farmers may not quite have what it takes.

Phil and Jenn Tompkins from Freeport, Pennsylvania, think they’ve got a solution. Their new business "Rent the Chicken" offers all the rewards of backyard chickens for much less responsibility. The Tompkins raise chickens on their homestead until they're ready to lay eggs.

That's when the renting process kicks in. For $350, you get two egg-laying hens, a portable chicken coop, enough chicken food for the length of your rental, food and water dishes, and an instruction manual on how to keep your chickens happy. The renting period is from May to November, and the service currently operates in several counties in Western Pennsylvania.

So what’s the return policy?

If the chickens die because of natural causes or from getting eaten by predators, Rent the Chicken will replace the chickens free of charge.

If you decide to give up before the rental period is over or realize that local laws actually prohibit backyard chickens, Rent the Chicken will gladly take the chickens back -- but no refunds.

If a chicken dies because of neglect or you decide to cook a chicken dinner, the rental will be terminated. According to Phil Tompkins, that situation has not come up yet. “Happy chickens make great eggs," he says in a phone interview. 

Indeed, if you fall in love with your chickens...Rent the Chicken will be happy to sell you not only the chickens but the coop as well. 

All images courtesy of Rent the Chicken.

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