With the upward trend in local food movements, more and more people are growing and raising food right from the comfort of their own backyards. But this hyper-local trend is reaching beyond growing fruits and vegetables. With the help of one local business, Our Backyard Chicken LLC, you can join in the trend by renting your very own chicken coop, including the chickens!
Our Backyard Chicken is run by Julie and Tim Johnson. Growing up on a hobby farm, Tim had always been fond of raising chickens and suggested to Julie they begin keeping their own backyard chickens. “I loved that it was a step in the direction of keeping our food local, as well as an educational experience that our family could enjoy together,” says Julie.
Soon after, Julie discovered how much she loved having chickens and wanted to share her experience with others in the area. “Last spring, we were discussing how much we enjoyed our hens and how more people should keep chickens. The idea sprouted from there.”
The couple developed the idea of creating all-inclusive rentals so households could keep their own chickens in an easy and convenient way. This was the start of Our Backyard Chicken.
Tim builds the coops while Julie manages the business side of the operation. “Tim spent a lot of time last year on our coop design,” Julie explains. “We wanted to make sure our coops were portable, solid, well-build, and user-friendly; of course, we needed to keep our hens comfortable, safe and happy by giving them room to move and access to fresh grass and bugs, as well.”
The hens come from a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farm and produce “the healthiest, tastiest, and most beautiful brown eggs.”
Julie and Tim’s efforts have made it easy to begin raising your own chickens in your backyard. No prior knowledge is requiring to care for a couple laying hens. Their all-inclusive rentals include a portable coop, 2 laying hens, a 50 pound bag of feed, bedding, and a feeder and waterer, as well as a start-up session with delivery and pick up. Once the rentals are delivered, Tim and Julie have a start-up session for their renters to “educate them how to care for their hens, coop, and eggs.”
Julie explains, “Chickens are very easy to please and do not require a lot of attention. They need their eggs picked and access to fresh water and feed every day. That’s about it…no walks or baths necessary!”
Why would someone want to rent a chicken coop? “The clear benefit in renting is not having the commitment of ownership,” says Julie. “Renting is also very convenient for the action-packed lives people lead today.”
“We have found many people are interested in keeping chickens but are unsure if they are prepared for or want the full time commitment in keeping chickens year round,” she continues, “Renting is a great way to determine if keeping chickens works for you.”
Another great benefit to having a backyard chicken coop is “enjoying your fresh, local eggs that are much tastier and healthier than commercial,” Julie says. “Our packages come with two hens, which will lay about a dozen
eggs per week.”
Families with kids will also love a backyard chicken coop. Kids “learn where food comes from, share in the responsibility of caring for the chickens and their new favorite chore will definitely be collecting eggs,” notes Julie.
Our Backyard Chicken offers both seasonal or monthly rental options. Seasonal rentals drop off in May-July and are picked up in the beginning of November. Monthly rentals can start any time during the season. “At the end of any rental period, people have the opportunity to purchase their hens,” says Julie. “Sometimes these ladies become members of the families they stay with…they can be pretty charming!”
Julie and Tim love hearing feedback and seeing the positive results of their business through customers and the community. “We love seeing families get involved with caring for their hens and grow attached to them. We had renters from last year eager to start this new season with the same chickens they had last year because they missed them over the winter! People are surprised at how funny and full of personality chickens are,” says Julie.