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

China May Be Biggest Winner From Ukraine Crisis

Missile sales, oil and gas shipments are among many areas that may drive Beijing and Moscow closer together in coming years More

Obama Faces Chaotic World, Limits of Power

Current foreign policy issues bring into focus challenges for US policymakers who are mindful of Americans' waning appetite for overseas military engagements More

SADC Meeting Lesotho Officials to Resolve Stalemate

Official says regional bloc has been engaged with leaders in Lesotho to resolve political disagreement that led to coup attempt More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7537
JPY
USD
103.79
GBP
USD
0.6032
CAD
USD
1.0957
INR
USD
60.522

Rates may not be current.