By Jacob Zinn, Black Press
Rental chickens could be finding their way into West Shore backyards as soon as winter storms blow over.
Rent the Chicken, a service that offers chickens on a temporary basis, is taking off across North America and has spread to the Greater Victoria area.
Kate Fraser of Bees Please Farms in Saanich is the local affiliate, the first in the Capital Region, with her services extending across the West Shore. She said the service was created for people who want their own farm fresh eggs without the commitment of full-time chicken ownership. Fraser joined the Rent the Chicken program after doing a similar program with bees, which rents beehives to people who want to increase pollination, boost the bee population and make their own honey.
“The two really go hand in hand. We’ve had a couple orders where people are getting bees and chickens. It’s usually the people that care about the same things, like local food; sustainable and organic practices,” Fraser said.
Rent the Chicken offers three six-month rental packages. The chickens are available from May to October and the packages come with delivery, setup and pickup of contents, two to four egg-laying hens, a chicken coop, food and water dishes, 40 to 80 kilograms of feed, a care guide and a copy of Lisa Steele’s Fresh Eggs Daily.
In preparation for May, Fraser is building the coops to order, adding that Rent the Chicken has a support line if renters have questions about what to do with their chickens.
“I take the deposit, build everything, I give them a call closer to April and schedule a delivery date,” she said, adding that she’ll answer any questions that they have.
Such concepts as eating local and organic are taking off because people want to know where their food comes from, Fraser said.
“When you can see where it comes from, there’s no guesswork. You know what the chickens ate – it’s just really simple. It’s getting back to simple ways of eating.”
In addition to fresh eggs, the chickens come with other benefits such as fertilization, pest control and lawn maintenance.
“My husband said, ‘There’s no way they could control the lawn,’” Fraser said. “But it’s true, they kind of nibble across the top and keep it a consistent height, and we have not had a single dandelion in the back.”
While the service is brand new to the area, Fraser has already received a lot of positive feedback about the initiative. “Some people even just write to me and say, ‘Good on you for doing this, this is wonderful.’”
For more information or to schedule a rental from Fraser, visit rentthechicken.com.