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In Cornwall, a Hotel for Chickens

David Roberts's Chicken Hotel serves chickens—but not in the way you're thinking.

In a small country corner of Cornwall, England, David Roberts has silenced his clucking critics with the successful opening of The Chicken Hotel. A math teacher and chicken hobbyist, Roberts has proved himself a clever entrepreneur in providing a service few were aware they needed: A temporary home for their chickens. The Chicken Hotel was completely booked over the Christmas holiday and Roberts anticipates busy times ahead.

Roberts, a former cabinet maker, designed and built the coops himself. He's also an environmental advocate who believes that producing your own eggs is "better for the environment and better for the animals and people." He's confident that providing accommodations for the birds 'til their owners come home to roost will encourage others to keep chickens of their own.

"With more people looking to escape the rat race and move out in the country with a little bit of land, keeping chickens is becoming more and more popular," he explains. "But what do you do if you go away on holiday? Who looks after the chickens?"

Who, indeed? At the Chicken Hotel, Roberts will not only give your feathered friends the Ritz Carlton treatment, he'll even come and pick them up from their homes. Each coop in the Chicken Hotel accommodates up to eight chickens, and while there's no minibar or cable TV but a locally sourced "open-air buffet" is included for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Guests are, naturally, allowed to be free range during the day before being collected to roost at night. The rates are a tremendously reasonable two pounds per night. A satisfied customer reports that not only were her chickens well cared for, she was even given the eggs her ladies had laid while she was away.

There's clearly a business opportunity here in such urban chicken centers as Austin, Brooklyn, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

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