RentTheChicken.com lets you practice raising backyard chickens

Well, this is pretty clever. If you're enticed by the idea of having fresh eggs straight from the backyard, but are not sure if you're ready to commit, RentTheChicken.com lets you rent some chickens!

Here's how they pitch their service:

Thought of Raising Backyard Chickens? Every Spring, thousands of chickens are sold at local farm supply stores. Often these chickens die before they are ready to start laying eggs (16-30 weeks). Children quickly realize that chickens are not as fun as the Xbox and parents find out that chickens can not be house broken! The costs quickly start becoming more and more, then chickens are "sent to the farm". Other people think about chickens but think they don't have the space, worry about regulations, or just don't know what they need. Do you build or buy a coop? Do you buy peeps? How do you raise an egg laying hen if you buy a peep? Did someone tell you about a heat lamp? It can all be overwhelming and we take the guess work out of all of the questions by offering a portable coop, the food & supplies, and the egg laying hens!

RentTheChicken.com is based in Pennsylvania and only rents during warmer months, May until November. But it says on their site you can start in September, if you're interested in giving it a try.

What I love about this idea is that it lowers the threshold to entry for people that are intrigued by the idea of having chickens, but maybe aren't as comfortable just starting from scratch and making mistakes. You're raising living animals, after all, so it is understandable that a lot of people would be hesitant to jump right in.

Also, I've noted the promising trend of the sharing economy, which favors access over ownership. Like tool libraries or car sharing services, you don't necessarily need to own something if what you're really after is simply access to that thing.

So if you want fresh eggs, does it matter if they are your chickens or if you're renting them? Either way, the eggs are yours to enjoy. By renting, you aren't going to need to care for the chickens over the winter or worry about what to do if one is sick. There's certainly value in knowing those skills and being ready for any situation, but this model of renting allows the provides an option for people that would prefer an easier way to get started.

What do you think of this idea? Do you raise your own chickens? Let us know!
I have no doubt we'll be seeing similar services popping up across the country soon, if they haven't already.

Tags: Agriculture | Fall | Farmers Markets | Farming | Food Security | Product Service Systems