Homesteaders Jenn and Phil launched Rent the Chicken, and it's taking North America by eggs-plosive storm.
Rent the Chicken even recently entertained supporters with a Mother's Day commercial advocating an egg-cellent gift for mom.
The business has expanded to nearly 50 participating regions throughout the U.S. and Canada where you can, literally, rent a pair of hens for your own egg-laying adventures. All chicken-related supplies are provided.
Entrepreneurial duo Jenn and Phil cannot believe how much their small business has taken off.
The homesteaders, as they aptly refer to themselves, offered up an exclusive Wide Open Pets interview on how it all began, and what might be in store for a Rent the Chicken future.
Of all the farm animals out there, what drew you most to chickens?
Chickens are unique. They don't require a lot of space like goats, sheep, pigs or cows. They produce breakfast every morning for you and have such wonderful personalities.
Apart from being the center of your small but successful business endeavor, how do chickens influence your daily life?
We love to watch "Chicken TV" especially during the summer. It's not uncommon to find us with a chair and some sweet tea enjoying our own personal flock.
Do you have a memorable or funny chicken story to share?
One of our customers wanted chickens to help her son who had autism. His community had outlawed backyard hens. However, the mother received a waiver from the municipality. When Homestead Jenn delivered the coop, the child did not express any emotions. Homestead Jenn noticed that one of the hens had gone into the coop and started singing the "Egg Song" (the song a chicken will usually sing just before laying an egg).
After the chicken came out Homestead Jenn suggested to the child to check for eggs. He opened up the nesting box door, had a huge smile on his face and the mother said, "That is exactly why I wanted this!" She was so excited that her son was expressing the correct emotions for what he was experiencing.
How many chickens do you currently care for as part of the chicken rental process?
We have more than 45 farmers and homesteaders throughout the United States and Canada. We probably have somewhere between 3,000 and 6,000 birds throughout North America depending on the time of year either rented out, ready to rent out, or are being grown out for next year.
How did the idea for Rent the Chicken come about?
Homestead Phil was laying in bed one night. Knowing that Homestead Jenn's contract job was going to come to an end, we wanted to find something she could do that wasn't the typical job. Homestead Phil googled "Crazy Business Ideas" and behold he found on one of the sba.gov's websites the top 7 crazy business ideas. Renting chickens was one of them.
Rent The Chicken was hatched!
Rent the Chicken may seem like it's staffed by the hundreds, but either of you Homesteaders is likely to pick up the phone when someone calls. How do you manage such a viral business on a small scale? Do you foresee Rent the Chicken expanding in the near or distant future?
When you call Rent The Chicken today either Homestead Jenn or Homestead Phil will answer. We typically answer Monday through Saturday from 9am Eastern time until 9pm Eastern time. We do take Sundays off, however, we watch our voice messages for any chicken emergencies and we will return those calls.
Our phone system is pretty advanced in that it will not only ring the phones in our home but it will also ring our cell phones. We have an app that lets us send and receive text messages with our customers using our main Rent The Chicken line. We can even Facetime or Skype if it is really urgent!
We realize that in the future we may need to bring on additional staff. With the system that we have in place that will not be a problem. We are dedicated to what we do, so if for some reason you do get a voice message when calling our line we both might already be on the line with a customer.
Taking care of our customers is a priority for us, after all what good is a chicken rental company if you don't answer the phone. We have had a few customers in the past tell us that the competition didn't answer the phone on the first call so they called us instead and we answered. That is how important it is for us, as well as our affiliate partners.
You work with families who rent chickens throughout the U.S. and Canada. How can a family get involved with the backend of the Rent the Chicken process?
If you think you've got what it takes to be part of the Rent The Chicken family give us a call at 724-305-0782.
We are always hatching new locations, but be aware, if you live within 50 miles of any of our locations in the United States, or 80 kilometers in Canada, we may not be able to bring you on as an affiliate. Each of our affiliates have dedicated territories, however, some of our affiliates are so busy we might be willing to accept a second affiliate in the region just to keep up!
What inspired you to start the hatch rental program?
Who doesn't love baby chicks! Every spring thousands and thousands of baby chicks are sold at farm stores. Fifty percent of all chickens hatched are roosters. People buy these chicks and after 2 - 8 weeks they often die because the people that purchase them do not know how to take care of them. Others end up in animal shelters.
Our program is a 5-week program. You spend the first 3 weeks incubating the eggs with a very fancy incubator that we provide. You can also candle the eggs with a candler that we provide. This allows you to see the baby chick moving and growing inside of the egg!
Once they hatch you move your baby chicks into the cage we provide. You enjoy the baby chicks for the first two weeks of their lives and then we bring them back to the farm or you can adopt them! We provide the right feed, food dish, and water dish for the experience and the baby chicks end up as part of our Rent The Chicken flock of chickens for future delivery or adoption!
Anything else you'd like to add?
We may look big, but the reality is we are just families helping other families to bring one food source closer to your table one rental at a time. We have loved helping all of our customers and their families over the years!
If anyone loves a good chicken pun as much as we do, it is Homesteaders Jenn and Phil.
The couple clearly are dedicated and passionate to their small but crazy business idea. But with chickens vying against cats to take over the Internet, we're not really that surprised with the success of a such a wacky dream. And we're so glad this dream has been made a reality!
Are you next in line to rent a chicken? Share you thoughts in the comments below!
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