Once upon a time, you thought about raising chickens. You thought about having fresh eggs and adorable little chicks following you around. Then you think about the reality of owning chickens. The kids aren’t going to feed the chickens. How much do chickens eat? Do you need a rooster to get eggs? Actually, what do you know about chickens at all? You must have been crazy to think about it. If you could just rent chickens for a little bit and see if you like it, that might help right?
I mean what if you absolutely hate chickens?? I’m not sure that’s possible, but just in case. Maybe you should try renting chickens, the coop, everything.
Why rent chickens?
Now you can find out if you like/love/hate chickens without the commitment of owning a flock and a coop and all the supplies. Better than not owning the equipment, is not owning the animals. If you hate it, you just send them back! Better yet, kids won’t clean the coop? Threaten to send them back.
I ran across an article about renting chickens and looked into it. Currently you can rent chickens in a few select areas. As the desire to grow and know your food continues to increase, I expect to see more places offer this type of service.
Where to rent chickens
Currently, the price for 2 hens and all supplies (coop, food, chicken waterer, chicken feeder) is around $400(based on Phoenix) for a basic setup from rent the chicken. The rental period is typically April/May – October/November. There is an upgraded option for $650 that features double the hens and food plus a moveable coop. The chicken rental period can also vary based on location.
The similar chicken setup from rent a coop in Germantown, Maryland is $480 for 12 weeks with 2 additional hens for $20. Good news is they have a super short chicken rental period of 4 weeks for only $240. This is a great option to rent chickens short term if you are really unsure or. Unfortunately, I’m guessing it is only available for locals.
Rent a chicken offers chickens for rent with a full set up in many areas around the U.S. Their site doesn’t list any information about pricing. They do mention that they include a coop, 2-3 hens, food, water, feeder, delivery, setup and instructions. I’ve reached out to them to see if we can get more information. If you have used them, feel free to add information in the comments below.
Hatch the Eggs
Both suppliers also offer a rent chickens to hatch option. Hatch rental from rent the chicken is currently $175 for 7 eggs and the hatching equipment and brooder supplies over 5 weeks. The chick hatching program from rent a coop is 4 weeks for $220. They also provide 7 eggs and the hatching equipment and brooder. The rent a coop also provides 2 newborn chicks so you get the fluffies right away, plus you get to watch more hatch.
If you are lucky and live in a place like South Carolina, you may also be able to find small local farms that have a chicken rental program. Legare farms offers 2 chickens for $25 for 2 weeks with food and a box. Bring them back and get a voucher for a dozen eggs when they start laying.
So if you love the fluffies, but not the hens, you can hatch and have just the fluffy bits. You send the hatched chickens back and they go on to become part of the rental flocks. This option is a bit pricey, but if you have a classroom that wants to hatch and then be done, might be a good option!
Pros and Cons of Renting Chickens
Let’s start with the good. There is very little commitment, you can send back the chickens and supplies at any time. There is very effort to start with your flock as they are delivered and set up for you. They provide some training as well to keep your flock healthy. Best of all, you have a support system if you have questions. You may be able to get a replacement bird should one of yours get sick or attacked. Should you decide you are a crazy chicken lady/man, you can keep them for an additional fee. Also, if you have extra chickens, you can potentially rent some of your chickens out through the companies.
There are a few downsides to renting chicken. Most noticeable is the price. Don’t get me wrong. A coop, 4 chickens, feed, waterer, feeder, bedding for 12 weeks is going to run you more than $400-500. If you decide to keep them past the rental period, you’ll shell out additional money. Rent a coop offers 1/2 the rental fee towards the purchase. You won’t be paying way more that you would if you bought everything yourself, so this isn’t a deal breaker by any means. This price varies and may not include additional delivery charges if you live outside the rental area. These rentals are not available in all areas.
Want more info about renting chickens?
Here are some news articles and other thoughts on renting chickens:
CNBC – includes a video
Usa Today – talks about Idaho Hens which offers 2 hens for 30 weeks at $400(does charge to replace hens)
Washington Post – covers a few of the chicken renting options