Ever want to own a chicken but don't know where to start? Or don't have the time to build a coop? Perhaps you live in a city and don't know whether owning a hen to lay fresh eggs every day is allowed?
A new Chelsea-based company believes it can provide the answers to these chicken questions and more. My Urban Hen plans to rent hens to urbanites in a turnkey fashion so they can enjoy their own fresh eggs.
"We always have friends who live in the city who say they always wanted to own chickens but couldn't," says Erin Zempel, co-owner of My Urban Hen
. "It was too much work or they didn't know where to start."
My Urban Hen wants to help people satisfy that urge with minimal labor. The company plans to rent chickens to people chickens for a summer season, providing the chickens, coop, feed, and other intangibles so the customer can harvest fresh eggs each day. Zempel and her family will make the coops and provide the rest of the materials from their farm near Chelsea.
"We will bring everything you will need," Zempel says. "You will not need to go to the store at all."
Having your own chickens has become more popular with the rise of the slow-food and urban agriculture movements. More and more people have demanded the right to have a small coop to raise chickens and other small, low-impact farm animals. So much so that dense cities like Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti have amended their regulations to allow for it.
My Urban Hen will allow customers to rent two egg-laying hens for a $400 annual fee and four hens for a $500 fee. The customers not only get to keep the hens but the coop and a spring/summer/fall's worth of feed during the warm months from April to November. The hens get to return to the Zempel farm during the cold months. The customers also have the option of adopting the chickens and buying the coop.
An average, healthy hen lays an egg each day, so My Urban Hen's offerings could provide enough eggs for everyone from a single person to a small family. There are also other options, like providing the hens with organic or GMO-free feed for an extra charge. The company plans to offer the chickens in local cities that allow for chickens, like Ann Arbor, Chelsea and Ypsilanti.
Source: Erin Zempel, co-owner of My Urban Hen
Writer: Jon Zemke
Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.