A Business Every Community Needs: Rentachook


What new businesses will spring up now that we’re all planting vegetable gardens and raising backyard chickens?  We’ve already seen garden services that will plant, maintain, and harvest your vegetable garden for you–so how about a backyard chicken service?

Rentachook is based in Sydney, Australia, but the idea is so good that I hope it spreads to the US. They will sell you a ready-made chicken coop and chickens, but they will also let you RENT some hens for six weeks to see how you like it.  If it doesn’t work out for you, just send the whole thing back. They’ll even send them over to a school for a little educational time with the kids.

Another useful service any city-chicken company should offer:  a home for aged or unwanted hens.  Sometimes, for whatever reason, people just can’t keep their chickens. Maybe they move and the new place doesn’t have a chicken-friendly backyard.  Maybe their flock has dwindled to one elderly hen who is constantly tormented by the family dog.  For whatever reason, sometimes people have to part with a hen.  And taking it to the animal shelter’s no good–who’s going to adopt an old hen? 

But sending it off to a bucolic, free-range, happy little farm where it can scratch in the dirt with other hens?  Awesome.  I once knew a guy who offered this service:  if you bought a chicken from him, you forever had the option of bringing it back and turning it loose in his own flock.  Chickens can live a long time–ten years or more–and having this option takes the pressure off.

Any chicken coaches, backyard chicken suppliers, or other poultry-friendly businesses springing up out there in response to the interest in backyard hens?  Post a comment and let us know about it.


  1. Truly an idea whose time has come, judging from the dozen or so backyard chicken raising titles in the bookstore of the toniest suburb in my city. Do we have a secret handshake yet?

  2. What a great idea! I’d like to keep chickens, I think, but of course it’s a big commitment if you’re not really sure. Having a rental setup for a few weeks would be a great way to find out.

  3. This is weird/wonderful news. Dear friend Paula in rural-ishy Connecticut happily reported last week that a neighbor lets her chicken free-range around the yard and then calls them to the coop for dinner and they all come running.

    Since bunnies have been hawk bait where we live, this makes me nervous. Please someone – convince me with benefits!

  4. I’ve also been tempted by chickens, if I could ever convince my husband (and neighbors – a requirement in my town) to go along with it. Like others, I’m not so sure about the commitment, though, so the rental sounds great.

    But one other thing that would hold me back is my love of travel. I take several weekend trips a year and some longer as well. I’m guessing my neighbors who come over to feed the cats every few days might not be as inclined to want to do whatever it is that chickens require. So, a petsitting service focused on chickens would be great (especially if they’d also handle feeding cats and letting dogs out as long as they’re going to be there anyway).

  5. Renting a few chickens with all the accoutrements sounds like a great idea. Not only are chickens fun,not to mention cheerful and productive, you’ll find that being able to give away fresh laid eggs will make you very popular in your neighborhood. That is only one of the benefits of chicken ownerhood that renting will reveal.

  6. The old hen home sounds fab. But this rent a chicken scheme sounds like it doesn’t have the flock’s well being in mind. Taking on and caring for live creatures is a very serious commitment. I shudder to think of what life is like as a “rental chicken” where the folks might be half hearted or plain ignorant about what they are taking on. “Gee I dont feel like feeding the chickens tonight, after all they’re not my chickens I am going to return them anyway.” hmmmmm… If they spend a bunch of money on the set up it might ward off those “impulse” chicken buyers who should never be put in charge of a live creature anyway. Go chickens!

  7. Having owned chickens many times over the years (I do love the silly things) I think this sounds like a splendid idea. The only problem I can see is if the chickens were mistreated in the coming and going, but if you keep chickens for a few weeks, you will come to love them.~~Dee

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