Uncertain About Buying? Why Not Rent A Chicken First
Who would rent a chicken? Apparently quite a number of people. It is having chickens without the commitment. For Jann Symons and her husband Jim Perry it started out as a just an ad on Craig's List that made them chuckle. Then the more they thought about it, the more it made sense as a great business opportunity. They took a chance and now their in-box is full and the phone is ringing off the hook.
Only a handful of people are renting out chickens across the country and business is booming. The basic concept is for urban and suburban dwellers to pay to have a small coop, two chickens, and all the feed delivered to and set up in their yard for a limited period of time. Basically, you are able to rent the chickens for the summer and give them back over the winter. And all of the fresh eggs the chickens lay are yours to keep.
"Rent-A-Chicken" is trademarked by a woman in Michigan, who placed the advertisement looking to license her brand in Colorado. At first Symons and Perry thought there was no way this could possibly work, but they finally decided to take the leap into the chicken rental business.
Symons and Perry started out with just five coops and ten hens, and doubts that they would even be able to rent all of those. To their surprise they sold out in short order and had to invest in more. At last report they had 30 more coops to deliver out of their 5-acre farm in Brighton, Colorado. In addition there is also a wait list of people still wanting chickens for this summer, not to mention a number of people who have put down deposits to make sure they are set up to receive chickens next year.
According to Symons, chickens are ideal for raising in an urban environment and are easy to care for. Before getting out your checkbook you need to check out the chicken laws in your area. Many cities have bans against owning chickens while others allow the raising of hens but not roosters. No problem there. Hens can lay eggs without roosters.
Renting chickens can be a great way to dabble in urban farming only during the warmer months of the year. It can also be a way to find out if raising chickens is for you before you buy. After all, raising chickens requires more work than just planting a few peas and onions.
You can't get an egg fresher than right out of the nest box. When it comes to commercial egg production they have 120 days (4 months) to get the egg to you.
If you are interested in renting chickens where you are, or interested in opening a franchise, go to Rent-A-Chicken.net.
Laurie Kay Olson
Animal News Blogger