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How Mail-Order Chickens Became a Multimillion-Dollar Venture

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This story appears in the March 2013 issue of Start Up.

Selling pet chickens by mail may sound like a business scheme that isn't fully incubated, but for married couple Derek Sasaki and Traci Torres of Monroe, Conn., it has turned into a multimillion-dollar venture, My Pet Chicken (MPC). And why not? Chickens make antic companions--less needy than dogs, less judgmental than cats--and you'll always have eggs for breakfast.

Over the last few years, the idea of chickens as pets, especially as suburban and urban ones, has exploded nationwide right alongside Sasaki and Torres' website, MyPetChicken.com. It's a clearinghouse of chicken-care information and an extensive e-commerce site devoted to chicken feed, henhouses and chicks for sale in lots as small as three hatchlings. MPC works with a hatchery that offers its customers chicks that can lay a myriad of egg varieties, from spotted to green-tinted, delivering them via Express or Priority mail. (Fun fact: The U.S. Postal Service has been shipping live baby chicks for 95 years.)

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