While many people have coped with the varying emotions of the pandemic by fostering a kitten or puppy, others turned towards a less thought-of animal: Chickens. That's right, the popularity of chicken and hen rentals has become more prominent in the last year, and people are getting more than just fresh eggs.
Surprisingly, many different organizations offer this kind of service for people who have an adequate amount of outdoor space. Most of them have the capabilities to "Provide two to four egg-laying hens for anywhere from four weeks to six months," according to National Geographic.
Not only do the animals come with a collection of bedding and food, but with educational materials for the foster parent as well! Several businesses have reported that the demand for this unique opportunity has spiked nationwide. In fact, CT Rent a Hen reported having rented out all of the 180 hens as of April 2021.
In another area of the United States, Phil Tompkins, owner of Rent The Chicken, said, "We maxed out." Of the 26 locations Tompkins' oversees, he has noticed a drastic increase in renting trends. In 2020, he reported numbers increasing by a whopping 30%, from about 50 rentals to 72 throughout the year.
"It was really hard to find chickens," co-owner Diana Phillips of RentACoop said, hinting that breeders had been out of stock for some time. Phillips reported that her company's rental trends had more than doubled in the past year. Surprisingly, the number of renters-turned-owners jumped higher as well!
Approximately 10% of renters kept their winged friends and raised the baby chicks themselves. "Up until now, that has really never happened before," Phillips divulged. The relatively small 8 to 12-pound animals can not only supply a home space with fresh eggs and a free alarm clock but can also bring cuddles and love to the home.
"Chickens are one of the most underestimated animals," said animal neuroscientist Lori Marino. While more people welcome the adorably feathered egg-laying animals into their homes and yards, it seems that self-sustainability will continue to be a trend more people dedicate effort to in the year to come. Fresh eggs, anyone?