World

Want eggs? Rent a chicken

Two entrepreneurs have come up with a solution to soaring US egg prices: Rental chickens.

RentTheChicken.com is the brainchild of Jenn and Phil Tompkins, of Freeport, Pennsylvania.

For about US$400 (S$545), depending on location, the service provides two laying hens for the four to six warm months of the year, plus a chicken coop and a guidebook.

The hens typically produce eight to 14 eggs a week, and at the end of the rental period customers can either buy the chickens or return them.

Interest has been spurred by an 85 per cent surge in egg prices last month after an outbreak of bird flu led to millions of laying hens being culled nationally, the Department of Labor's data shows.

Since starting their home-based business a couple of years ago, the couple have rented chickens, either directly or through affiliates, to about 200 customers in 12 US states, as well as Ontario and Prince Edward Island in Canada.

FOOD

More than just a cost-beater, they see their business as a way to change how people think about food.

"It changes the mindset of people when they know where (their) food comes from," Mrs Jenn Tompkins, 38, told Reuters.

Mrs Hope Stambaugh, 37, and her husband, Paul, 40, rented four hens this year for US$600.

"I love the idea of knowing where my food comes from," she said.

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