Have you ever thought about getting a backyard chicken coop? Yeah, me too. Nevertheless, I don't have one because when it comes to chickens I'm commitment phobic. There are many, varied reasons why I haven't committed to feathered friends. However, recently a friend told me that I could rent a chicken coop. If, like me, you're intrigued by this low-commitment option then read on.
How do I rent a chicken coop?
These companies will deliver everything--chickens, coop, feed, instructions--that you need to start a backyard chicken coop. Some even promise that you'll get fresh eggs within two days.
Why would I want to keep backyard chickens?
Here are my top 3 reasons (there are, of course, many more reasons):
1. Fresh, local, organic eggs that are chock full of vital nutrients. And, of course, they taste so much better than store bought eggs.
2. Chicken poop. The manure that your flock produces is gold for your garden. Place it in your flower or vegetable garden as a natural, nutrient rich soil amendment.
3. Learn something new. Get out of your comfort zone and try something new. In the process you'll learn about chickens. Maybe you'll learn that you love them, or maybe that you hate them. But either way you'll know more than when you started.
Why would I want to rent (versus buy) a chicken coop?
If you start your own chicken coop from scratch then you are making a long term commitment to backyard chickens. By renting the coop you are only committing to approximately 12 weeks of backyard chickens. If, after the rental period, you like having chickens then you can establish your own permanent coop. But (and this is the part I love) if keeping chickens isn't for you then you send the coop back. Done. No long term commitment.
Sadly, many well intentioned people start a backyard chicken coop each spring but later abandon their chickens. Renting a coop is a more humane option for those of us who are on the fence about backyard chickens.
Is it expensive?
Generally speaking, a 12-week rental will cost about $400. Some companies offer a la carte pricing and others offer a package, but the total will be around $400.
Do I need a big backyard? What about city dwellers?
The chicken coop rental companies are designed with urban farmers in mind. You need enough space for the coop (approx. 50 square feet), and then you decide how much roaming space you'll offer your flock.
How big will the flock of chickens be?
With the rent a chicken coop package offered by most companies you'll get two (or maybe as many as four) hens.
Can I rent a coop in my state?
Not all companies rent coops in every state. Check their web sites to see if they rent in your area. Some companies rent in both the U.S. and Canada.
Be sure to check your local zoning to learn if backyard chickens are allowed. Your coop will not come with a rooster which is usually the biggest obstacle to local zoning compliance.
Oh, and I don't have a flocking clue about chickens.
The rental company will provide you with ample information about raising backyard chickens. Additionally, their web sites all have helpful facts.
photo of chicken via Shutterstock