News / Economy

Business Helps Suburbanites Try Out Chicken Ownership

Business Helps Suburbanites Try Out Chicken Ownershipi
X
November 04, 2013 11:08 PM
As the interest in organic and locally-produced food has increased, raising chickens in the backyard has been gaining popularity among American city dwellers. But poultry farming is not right for everyone. A young entrepreneur outside Washington helps customers find out if it's a good fit for them before they invest in chicken ownership. As VOA's June Soh tells us, the business seems to be poised for a bright future.
June Soh
As the interest in organic and locally-produced food has increased, raising chickens in the backyard has been gaining popularity among American city dwellers. But poultry farming is not right for everyone. A young entrepreneur outside Washington helps customers find out if it's a good fit for them before they invest in chicken ownership. The business seems to be poised for a bright future.

Collecting eggs is a daily pleasure for the Hurst family.

The family started to raise chickens in their suburban Maryland backyard three weeks ago.

“We have been wanting to try having backyard chickens for a couple of years now.  And really just didn’t have the time to build my own coop and look out where to buy chickens.  And then we stumbled upon Rent a Coop," said Naomi Hurst.

Rent a Coop is a chicken rental business Tyler Phillips started 18 months ago with a partner.

"It comes with a mobile coop on wheels, two egg laying hens, feed, bedding, water bowl, feeding bowl, and our 24-hour chicken hotline," he said. "You can call with any questions. The price is 185 [dollars] for four weeks."

After the four weeks, customers can extend the rental, return it or purchase the whole set-up.

“We average about 12 to 15 chicken coop rentals per month.  And since last year we’ve sold about 75 chicken coops with hens, so we’ve sold about 200 hens," said said Phillips.

Phillips designs and builds the coops, and makes them eco-friendly.

“We always try to have as many recycled materials as possible. And I want the coops to be safe for kids, number one.  I want the chickens to be comfortable and they have access to the grass while being inside the coop.  I want it to be easily movable, light weight," he said.

Phillips says his chicken and coop rental business came from his love of animals, growing up on his parents’ farm in the Washington suburbs.  

The Hursts hope their backyard farm teaches their daughter compassion and responsibility, and awareness of where food comes from.

“I don’t think we’ve ever thanked where food comes from.  But whenever we pick up the eggs we always say, 'thank you, ladies.'  That’s really something that it is hard to teach other than having an animal in your backyard that delivers food to you.  So it’s been a great learning opportunity for my daughter too," said Naomi Hurst.

Eating fresh, organic eggs every day is another benefit, Hurst says, and the chickens have become family pets.

"Their names are, what are their names? Hillary, Lady Katy and Henrietta," she said. "We have had a lot of fun with them.  The chickens have been very easy. “We are going to keep these ladies absolutely." .

Cities have different regulations for backyard livestock; some require large yards, or neighbors' agreement, others limit the number of chickens or prohibit them altogether. Phillips expects that to change as interest in small poultry flocks grows.

"I see cities around the D.C. area changing laws almost monthly and different cities will change the law to being pro-chicken. That is happening all around the United States," he said.

Phillips believes that there will be chicken rental businesses in most U.S. cities within five years.

You May Like

Video British Fighters on Frontline of Islamic State Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7492
JPY
USD
102.27
GBP
USD
0.5960
CAD
USD
1.0950
INR
USD
61.300

Rates may not be current.