Chicken Renting Could Be Your New Pandemic Project

click to enlarge Rent The Chicken has expanded its bird-leasing business into St. Louis. - COURTESY RENT THE CHICKEN
Rent The Chicken has expanded its bird-leasing business into St. Louis.

Why go to the store to pick up eggs when you could have chickens hatch them in your own backyard?

Rent The Chicken will let you rent as many as four egg-laying hens next year from April to October or May to November. The service cuts out the farm and makes "yard-to-table" eggs an option for prices starting at $720.

The chicken rental company was founded in 2013 by Phil and Jenn Thompkins of Freeport, Pennsylvania. Since then, the service has expanded to more than 35 major markets. MoneyWise lists them as one of the weirdest things you can rent.

Similar services have cropped up around the world in recent years, including St. Louis-based Easy Chicken, as interest in growing food has increased. Rules on keeping chickens vary by municipality, and an ordinance in the city of St. Louis allows for as many as eight birds on a parcel. Rent The Chicken is betting the pandemic will entice new customers who are looking for projects to keep them busy while also letting them control their food supply.

The company's 2021 standard renting package gets you two egg-laying hens, one standard chicken coop, a food and water dish, 100 pounds of chicken feed and a quick guide to take care of your leased birds. Two hens produce as many as fourteen eggs a week, Rent The Chicken says.

As long as you have a yard at least 10 by 15 feet, you are eligible to house your own hens. The coops are also portable to keep one spot from being pecked too much and decreasing odors.

Worried about hens making too much noise? They are actually very quiet, the company claims. "Your neighbor's dogs are louder than a hen," Rent The Chicken says in a news release.

In the past seven years, the company has expanded across the United States and Canada. The closest operators, "Homestead Andrew and Julie," serve the St. Louis area with a small homestead based in Wichita, Kansas. Free delivery is offered in St. Louis and surrounding areas.

"Homestead Andrew and Julie are egg-cited to have the opportunity to bring their enjoyment of chickens by teaming up with Rent The Chickens," Rent The Chicken's website says.

If you like having your own chickens so much that you want to keep them, Rent The Chicken lets you adopt chickens and buy equipment.

In the case that your rented chicken dies, they will provide a replacement bird free of charge so long as the death was not due to neglect.
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