British Columbia

Chicken rental business expanding into Okanagan

After success in Kamloops, Rent The Chicken is expanding into the Okanagan.

Co-founder says rental chickens "a super-great way to dive right into a yard-to-table concept"

If you thought the idea of a business that rents out backyard chickens is 'birdbrained', well, you've got egg on your face.

Rent the Chicken, a Kamloops business that loans out chickens and their coops to would-be backyard farmers, says it has seen so much success in that city that it's getting ready to expand.

"It has been absolutely wonderful," co-founder Phillip Tompkins told Radio West host Audrey McKinnon. "People are super excited to get their chickens … there really is a lot of excitement there."

In Kamloops, local residents rent a package including two or four laying hens, a few large bags of feed, food and water dishes, a portable chicken coop and a set of instructions. They must agree to a six-month commitment.

The two-hen starter package runs at $425 plus tax, while the deluxe four-hen package is $600 plus tax.

Tompkins's wife, co-founder of Rent The Chicken, Jenn Tompkins, said an expansion into the Okanagan makes sense because "people there are looking for food sources closer to their table."

"Many have never had chickens before, and this is a super-great way to dive right into a yard-to-table concept, but without the long-term commitment," she said. "This is comparable to having a couple of tomatoes on the porch."

Bylaws over backyard chickens vary considerably around B.C.

In Kelowna, you can have up to four urban hens on lots larger than a half acre; but in Vernon, you can have up to 10 hens on the same size lot.

Prince George, however, recently voted 'no' on a proposal to allow any backyard chickens.

Tompkins says she thinks regulating chickens in urban areas is a good idea, and believes the birds aren't noisy and produce little waste.

Rent The Chicken hopes to be operating in the Okanagan later this spring.

With files from Radio West and Jenifer Norwell

To hear the full story, click the audio labelled: Chicken rentals not feather-brained: business expanding into Okanagan


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