Chicken rental programs allow you to “try before you buy chickens.” But how do you rent chickens? Is it a good idea?
Raising backyard chickens can be very many things; fun, rewarding, and therapeutic. For beginners, it can be nerve-wracking.
For the past few years, the number of people interested in raising chickens in their backyard has grown immensely.
If you are a beginner, you may be wondering where to start. Raising backyard chickens comes with a lot of responsibilities.
You will need to provide food, good shelter, and medical care. Besides, you must ensure your flock is safe and protected from predators.
If you are considering renting chickens, you have come to the right place. We will discuss everything you need to know about renting chickens.
We will also discuss a few things you need to know when raising chickens in your backyard. Keep reading to learn more.
Why Chicken Rental?
Why would you rent chickens instead of just owning them?
Most people today do not understand skills like poultry management, which seemed simple a few generations ago.
This is mainly because of our increasingly urbanized lifestyle. Keeping chickens by renting is a start to recapturing poultry management skills.
While we all have the best intentions, acquiring and raising chickens does not always go as planned.
Sometimes, people have to move to new homes and cannot bring chickens. At other times, raising chickens may become difficult due to predators and the additional costs involved.
Other people may also learn later that keeping backyard chickens is not for them. Renting helps to keep many chickens out of shelters.
Renting a few chickens may be a viable option for short-term enjoyment. If the experience turns out to be positive, you can even become a chicken owner.
Most chicken rental companies usually offer a full-service package.
They typically offer support services for the chicken keepers and provide for the chickens’ physical needs, such as food and feeders.
These companies will answer all your poultry-related questions and help you raise the birds.
Chicken rentals usually last for five to six months. They are shorter in cooler climates and longer in warmer climates.
They can start any time in southern regions, while in northern regions, they are usually delivered in April or May.
You can either rent eggs for hatching or rent mature hens.
For hen rentals, the package may include two to five hens aged between six months and two years, a waterer, a feeder, feed, bedding material, a movable coop, and an instructional booklet.
Friendly and non-aggressive chicken breeds are used for rental services. Some popular breeds are Golden Comets, Black Australorps, Silkies, Barred Plymouth Rocks, and Buff Orpingtons.
Breeds with shorter combs do better in northern climates, while those with longer combs do better in hot climates.
Less-flight chicken breeds and those that lay more than five eggs per week are usually preferred.
If you fall in love with your chickens, you can purchase them after the rental period.
Before renting chickens, it is advisable to check with your local village, city, or town. Some have rules about backyard chicken keeping.
Some towns will only allow hens but not roosters. Others may restrict the number of hens you can keep in your backyard.
Things You Should Know Before Getting Started With Backyard Chickens
Raising backyard chickens can be challenging if you do not plan everything well. It comes with a lot of responsibilities. However, if you plan everything well, there is nothing much to worry about.
Here are a few things you need to know before getting started with backyard chickens.
The first thing you need to do before getting chickens is to research your local laws and ordinances to be sure that raising chickens is allowed in your neighborhood or city.
Some towns only allow residents to raise hens but prohibit roosters. There may also be a limit on the chickens you can raise at once.
If raising chickens is allowed, you will also need to find out if you need to have them in a coop or if you need a permit to keep them. Also, if you plan to sell eggs in the future, check out the laws.
Chickens Do Not Lay Eggs Year Round
It is important to understand that chickens do not lay eggs throughout the year. Spring and summer are the main laying seasons for backyard chickens.
During winter, your chickens may lay few eggs or even none.
Decide On The Number Of Birds You Want to Raise
Chickens are social creatures that will need your attention. They will also need a lot of care. Therefore, you can plan on keeping four to seven chickens.
If you decide you get many chickens for a start, it might be challenging to handle and take care of them.
Before bringing your chickens home, knowing how much space you will need is crucial. Your coop must be large enough to fit at least four square feet of floor space for every bird.
You will also need plenty of space to accommodate their feeders, waterers, and nesting boxes.
Outside the chicken coop, you will need to provide enough space for a well-fenced run. This will give your birds plenty of time to roam freely and protect them from predators, such as hawks and coyotes.
Overcrowding can lead to diseases and other unwanted habits like cannibalism.
You Do Not Need a Rooster
You do not need a rooster for your hens to lay eggs. Healthy and happy hens will lay hens with or without a rooster.
The only difference is that the eggs will not be fertile, so they will not hatch into chicks.
Therefore, you will only need a rooster to raise chicks. A rooster will help to protect the rest of the flock from predator attacks. However, laws in some areas do not have roosters.
If you want to raise hens for eggs to eat, the absence of a rooster should not be a problem.
Consider the Breed You Want to Raise
There are many chicken breeds in the poultry world. Every breed has its unique traits. While some breeds are suitable for either meat or egg production, others are good for both.
Therefore, you should look for a breed that will be best for you.
Some breeds may also need high maintenance. Some of the best low-maintenance chicken breeds for beginners are Australorps, Plymouth Rocks, and Rhode Island Reds.
You should do research to learn about their laying habits, personalities, and different needs.
One of the challenges that come with raising backyard chickens is predators. The common chicken predators include hawks, coyotes, bears, raccoons, foxes, pets, dogs, and cats.
Therefore, you must plan and design your coop to keep off predators. You will also need to keep your chickens safe from your pets.
Hens Will Not Lay Eggs Forever
Even the best egg-laying chicken breeds will not lay eggs forever. Most chicken breeds tend to lay more eggs in their lives first two or three years.
After that, egg production will drop by about 15% to 20% yearly until it stops completely. If egg production is your goal, you must introduce new chicks into your flock.
Raising backyard chickens is not a walk in the park. It requires a lot of commitment. Your backyard chickens will require water, food, and care every time.
They will also require kitchen scraps and traps from time to time.
In addition, your birds will require a clean coop and time to roam in a safe yard. Besides, they will need periodic health checks for common health problems, such as worms, ticks, lice, and fleas.
Chickens are fun, interesting, soothing, educational, and beneficial birds. They are mostly kept for eggs and meat production. If you were planning to rent chickens, you now know where to start.
Renting is a way of ensuring chickens do not stay in the shelter. It is also better to try chicken keeping before finally deciding to be a backyard chicken owner.