The Sydney Morning Herald’s “Good Living” supplement today has an article about [HerdShare](http://www.herdshare.com) and [Rentachook](http://www.rentachook.com), titled [City folk find a milky way](http://www.smh.com.au/news/entertainment/good-living/city-folk-find-a-milky-way/2008/12/02/1227979978585.html).
**HerdShare** runs out of Byron Bay, and facilitates a scheme designed to get around Australian regulations that prohibit the sale of raw (unpasteurised) milk. Instead of buying your milk at retail, you instead buy a share in a cow and pay a farmer for agistment and milking services. The farmer then provides you with the raw milk your cow produces. Since you own the cow, it bypasses current milk sale laws.
This approach to legally obtaining raw milk has been growing in popularity in the US in the last few years, and it’s good to see it being applied here. The whole idea of raw milk being “unhealthy” is a bit controversial, but at least now those that want it have a viable legal option.
Herdshare itself is a web service that allows people to find local farmers near them that are willing to sell shares in cows. Farmers can set up and manage their own herd share agreements through the site, without having to advertise and manage everything themselves.
**Rentachook** operates out of West Ryde, and does exactly what it says – rents chooks to people. For $100 plus a $260 returnable deposit, you get a coop and two point-of-lay hens. If, after 6 weeks, you decide you don’t want chooks, you can return them.
I love this idea. It’s a low-risk (and relatively low-cost) way for people to try out backyard chookkeeping. Hopefully it will get more people keeping chickens in the suburbs!