This Commonwealth company taps the growing poultry leasing market.
"When I answer the phone and I say, 'Rent The Chicken, this is Jenn,' they giggle and say, 'I would like to rent the chicken.' And then they giggle some more," Tompkins said.
But poultry leasing has turned out to be a serious investment as more people want fresh eggs from humanely raised hens, without the responsibilities of ownership. In two years, Pennsylvania-based Rent The Chicken has expanded to three other states, plus Toronto.
The growth is not an aberration. Coop rentals are booming nationwide as residents in cities, suburbs and the countryside flock to the anti-factory, locally sourced food movement. Some families also rent fowl as an educational experience for their children.
"As a society, we don't really like commitment," Tompkins said while visiting an affiliate in Mount Holly, New Jersey. "We don't want a contract on our cellphones; we don't want long-term commitment with our cable company. With chickens, they can live to seven or 10 years, and people are a bit scared of that."
Rentals remove that risk. Prices depend on the company, location and lease duration but start around $150 month. Most basic packages include two hens, a coop, feed and phone availability to answer questions. Birds can be returned early if things don't work out — and are available for adoption if things go well.
Associated Press via The New York Times
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