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With Rent a Coop, chickens are the new ant farm

Saturday - 6/21/2014, 2:04am  ET

The Rent a Coop setup comes with everything needed to start the process. (WTOP/Kristi King)
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How to get free range organic eggs in your backyard


WASHINGTON -- Move over ant farms and sea monkeys -- people who want to closely observe nature at home now can rent a mini chicken farm.

"You get a mobile chicken coop with two hens," says Tyler Phillips, co-owner of Rent a Coop.

"It comes with everything you need for four weeks: the organic feed, bedding, instructions and 24-hour chicken hotline, which is my cell phone number," he says.

Two chickens lay about 12 eggs a week.

"They're free range organic eggs that are the freshest you've ever had. The big difference is the yokes are orange instead of yellow like store bought eggs," says Phillips.

The birds are easy to maintain. So, for children "it's a great introductory step to teach them to care for another living being," Phillips says.

  • Feed them every two to three days

  • Clean bedding and change the water once a week

  • Some gardeners use soiled pine chip shavings as compost

The coops are designed to hold between two and four chickens.


  • $160 for two chickens and supplies for a month

  • $125 for each month after the first month

  • $20 each for optional third and fourth chickens

  • $615 minus half of rental fee to own birds and coop

The birds are friendly and don't mind being held or carried. When allowed out of their coops they won't roam more than 50 feet away from that food and water source.

"So even if you don't have a fenced back yard they'll still be close," says Phillips.

Rent a Coops are 78-inches long and 38-inches high and wide. The elevated "house" enclosure has a roof that lifts for easy access to eggs and cleaning. The coops are also on wheels which allows the mesh-bottomed front enclosure to move. This lets grass-munching chickens to act as slow motion lawn mowers.

There are restrictions on raising chickens in some counties, so it's important to check local laws. Some areas don't allow roosters. But, Phillips says, that's no big loss.

"They're mean and noisy and the hens don't need them to lay eggs."

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