ISSUE 89  |  Back in Business

5 Favorites: Rent-a-Chicken for Commitment Phobes

September 13, 2013 3:00 PM

BY Michelle Slatalla

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If the backyard chicken trend appears to have peaked in your neighborhood, it’s probably because poultry ownership, like marriage, is a scary commitment. Why not live together first? Enter chicken rental.

Here are five companies that rent chickens (and chicken support equipment). Does one of them supply your neighborhood?
Above: Photograph via OWI.

1. Coop and Caboodle in Birmingham, AL. For $395, you can rent two hens for six months, with 50 pounds of feed included.

2. Rent-a-Chicken in Traverse City, MI. A summer chicken rental (from May to November) includes two hens, a “summer cottage style coop,” and feed; $250.

3. Rent-a-Chook in Sydney, Australia. A chicken starter package with a six-week trial period is $430, AU; for that you get a coop, two hens, a feeder, a waterer, food, and straw. If you decide against keeping the chickens and equipment, upon return you get a refund of $330 AU.

4. Land’s Sake in Weston, MA. A two-week rental includes two Light Brahma hens, a coop, organic feed, bedding, water and food trays, and chicken care instructions.

5. Rent a Coop in Maryland. A four-week rental includes two hens, a coop, 50 pounds of organic chicken feed, food and water bowls, and pine shavings (bedding). An optional additional hen (limit two) is $15 per month.

Above: One of about 40 resident chickens at Slide Ranch in Muir Beach, CA. Photograph by Katie Newburn.

There’s a lot to be said for cutting out the middlemen that stand between you and that fried egg you’re about to put in your mouth. And there’s a lot to be said for backyard chickens: they eat bugs, and they lay as many as 250 fresh eggs a year per chicken. As for all that scritch-scratching they do in the grass? Consider that free lawn aeration.

Above: Three chickens—that’s Sassy, Felicity, and Jumper to you—live at a wilderness lodge in Eastern Oregon. Photograph by Erin Boyle.

At Rent-a-Chicken in Michigan, “customers become so attached to their hens over the season, we tag their chickens so they can have the same ones each year,” owner Leslie Suitor recently told the New York Post.

Above: Photograph by Katie Newburn.

Renting chickens before committing to keeping them permanently “Sounds like a good idea. Sounds like dating,” Jim Cohen, director of Urban Studies and Planning at the University of Maryland recently told NPR.

Above: Photograph by Katie Newburn.

Where are your new little friends going to live? See 5 Favorites: Backyard Chicken Coops for Small Flocks.