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"Rent-A-Chick" Boosts Egg Business Profit
Laurie Lynch sells "farm fresh" eggs year around on her small farm near Kutztown, Penn. When a friend asked her for a baby chick to give her son on Easter, Lynch came up with an idea that added about $800 of income to her small enterprise. She calls it Rent-A-Chick. "It's not a huge amount of money, but it's a nice way to start off the season," she says.
  Lynch has to buy a new supply of chicks every spring anyway so now she gets them from a hatchery right around Easter time and rents them out for two weeks to customers who want the experience of having a baby chick but don't want to end up with a full-grown chicken.
  "Instead of us taking care of these chicks for the first two weeks of their lives, other people do," she says.
  In her second year of renting chicks, Lynch charges $30 for a pair of baby chicks. ("They like the company," she says). They come with a box, water dish, and enough food and bedding for two weeks.
  A feature story in the local paper took care of advertising. The original article came out on Good Friday. "Saturday morning, I had to run out and buy more chicks," she says.
  Some were concerned about the chicks dying. "If it dies, you just have a nice little ceremony and bury it in the back yard," she recalls telling them.
  Renters were also happy to know that afterward, their chicks would live out their lives on a farm and lay eggs.
  When people bring the chicks back, she gives them a coupon for a dozen free eggs from their chick. "It gets them back to our farm another time," she says, which might result in a long-term customer.
  Last spring, Lynch supplied 60 chicks to 30 families. When returned, they became part of a flock of layer hens.
  Before starting this business, she checked with the state department of agriculture. She recommends doing the same for anyone interested renting out chicks.
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Laurie Lynch, Fleur-de-Lys Farm Market, 440 Hottenstein Road, Kutztown, Penn. 19530 (ph 610 683-6418; email: plmr@enter.net).

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2004 - Volume #28, Issue #5