US couple shows how to beat a pricey egg

July 22, 2015 08:56
About US$400 gets you two laying hens for four months, plus a chicken coop and a guidebook. Photo:

Question: How do you beat a pricey egg?

Answer: Rent a chicken. is the brainchild of Jenn and Phil Tompkins of Pennsylvania who thought of a cost-beater amid soaring egg prices across the US.

But more than that, they see their business as a way to change how people think about food, according to Reuters.

"It changes the mindset of people when they know where food comes from," said Jenn Tompkins, 38.

Since starting their home-based business in 2013, they have rented chickens to about 200 customers in 12 US states as well as Ontario and Prince Edward Island in Canada.

Interest has been spurred by an 85 percent surge in egg prices last month after an outbreak of bird flu led to the culling of millions of laying hens nationally, according to US Labor Department data.

For about US$400, 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.

At the end of the rental period, customers have the option to buy the chickens or return them.

Hope Stambaugh, 37, and her husband Paul, 40, rented four hens this year for US$600, which they are raising along with their four young children.

"I love the idea of knowing where my food comes from," Hope Stambaugh said. "How special for my kids to see that food does not necessarily come from the store."

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