As backyard chickening gains popularity, some people are met with the reality that they have perhaps bitten off more than they can chew. As this realization is made, people get out of chickening even faster than they got in, discarding their chickens at animal shelters or rescues to free themselves of what they found to be a surprising burden. This is very unfortunate for the uprooted chickens, not only to be forced to leave the home to which they are accustomed but also to leave their social unit. Resulting grief and depression can be detrimental to those chickens, possibly even resulting in death.
A potential solution to this has popped up in the form of rental chickens. This \'try it before you buy it\' program enables first-time chickeners to get a grasp on having chickens without making a long-term commitment or winding up in a situation where they want out of chickening quick, fast, and in a hurry. By renting, people can dip their toes in the water before taking the big plunge.
Chicken rental may sound bizarre, but does seem beneficial for the chickens that are part of the program. They have long-term caregivers who will not dump them so they will never be at risk of winding up in the wrong hands. These chickens are rented out seasonally and brought back home when the rental period ends. While they are away, their housing and feed is provided by their owners so renters will have everything on hand that is needed to care for them. Since laying season tends to fall around May-November, that is the timeframe during which these chickens are rented. In essence, these chickens go away to work for the summer and return home to take the winters off. That is, unless the renters fall in love with them and cannot let them go; in this case, rental chickens can be purchased.
The concept of chicken rental from a human perspective is an interesting one. The trial idea is great and sets people up for knowing what the reality of chicken ownership is like...well, sort of. If someone brings you a couple of hens, a ready-made coop, and food, you might not learn from that as much as you could, should, or need to if you are going to continue chickening long-term. You are deprived of the patience and commitment involved in raising a laying hen of your own. However, that is exactly what some people want, and the rental hens are already in their egg-laying prime so you immediately have eggs rather than having to wait for chickens to mature. Folks also may not learn about or take pride in building their own coop when one simply shows up. Being that food is provided, people may not exercise the freedom to learn and experiment with what feeds are best for their tastes and those of their chickens. Instead you just read the manual, follow the instructions, rinse, lather, repeat.
There is nothing wrong with chicken rental if that is the avenue you wish to pursue. It is very likely to be quite ideal for certain individuals. However, if having fresh yard eggs is your true goal, why go to althis expense when you can buy them for much less? Rather than worry yourself about bonding with chickens or having them to clean up after, you can certainly buy yard eggs from a local farmer for about $5.00 per dozen. If the chicken rental laying season is from May-November, that is a duration of 28 weeks. A pair of rental hens are said to lay 8-14 eggs per week, so for argument\'s sake, let\'s call it a dozen. 28 weeks worth of eggs at $5.00 per dozen amounts to $140.00 in eggs. If you rent chickens, the fee is $350.00. Sure, that includes a coop and chicken feed, but if you were to factor those items in, you would probably come in at a considerably lower price if you do it yourself.
Chicken rental has its benefits, especially for those who wish to do it for the experience. Trying it before you buy it could save a lot of money and heartache on the behalf of those who realize they are simply not cut out to have chickens. The bottom line is that if you think you are going to chicken out on raising chickens, renting could be just the thing to give you all the answers you need to determine if you have what it takes to make a long term chicken commitment.