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.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Design

    A History of the American Public Library

    A visual exploration of how a critical piece of social infrastructure came to be.

  2. Equity

    Berlin Builds an Arsenal of Ideas to Stage a Housing Revolution

    The proposals might seem radical—from banning huge corporate landlords to freezing rents for five years—but polls show the public is ready for something dramatic.

  3. A photo of a design maquette for the Obama Presidential Center planned for Jackson Park and designed by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects with Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates.
    Design

    Why the Case Against the Obama Presidential Center Is So Important

    A judge has ruled that a lawsuit brought by Chicago preservationists can proceed, dealing a blow to Barack Obama's plans to build his library in Jackson Park.

  4. Maps

    Mapping the Growing Gap Between Job Seekers and Employers

    Mapping job openings with available employees in major U.S. cities reveals a striking spatial mismatch, according to a new Urban Institute report.

  5. Multicolored maps of Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Tampa, denoting neighborhood fragmentation
    Equity

    Urban Neighborhoods, Once Distinct by Race and Class, Are Blurring

    Yet in cities, affluent white neighborhoods and high-poverty black ones are outliers, resisting the fragmentation shown with other types of neighborhoods.