If you’re on the fence about whether to add a couple of chickens to your backyard, there’s a new service called Rent-a-Chicken (rentachickensacramento.com). For $75 a month, you receive everything you need to become an instant urban chicken keeper: laying hens from Flyway Farm in Davis, a hand-built chicken coop and chicken feed, all delivered to your home. “Some people have said that they were too chicken to do this by themselves,” says Linda Easton, Rent-a-Chicken’s marketing director. “We love helping people take that first step toward urban farming.”
Rent-a-Chicken primarily rents out Rhode Island Reds, which are friendly and consistently lay five to seven eggs a week. The coop, built by Flyway Farm’s Shayne Zurilgen, is portable, so the chickens can be moved around the yard to eat bugs and fertilize soil. At the end of the three-month rental period, you can adopt the chickens and buy the coop. If you choose not to, Rent-a-Chicken will pick up the hens and bring them back to the farm.
Rent-a-Chicken rents out hens year-round. “Chickens actually do really well in the cold as long as they stay dry,” says Easton. “Our climate is mild enough that our chickens usually continue to lay eggs through the winter.”