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‘Rent-a-Chicken’: Montague farm goes ‘fowl,’ offers urban farming revolution

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Happy Acres Farm seemingly has more animals than Noah’s Ark, but it’s their chickens that are getting the most attention, as many are rented out annually.

By Brent Ashcroft
May 5, 2021


Leslie Bond Strychar owns Happy Acres Farm in Montague, Mich., where she raises everything from cows, pigs, horses, rabbits, chickens, peacocks and an angry turkey named Tom.

“I would love to send Tom away on a summer vacation,” joked Leslie. “I don’t think I’d miss him one bit.”

While Tom continues to sort through a turkey’s version of anger management issues, it’s Leslie’s chickens that are becoming the most popular.

“We do something called ‘Rent-a-Chicken,’” said Leslie. “When I heard about it, I thought it was equal parts genius and ridiculous, but I knew I wanted in.”

Rent-a-Chicken is a form of “poultry adoption,” where those interested literally take two to four laying hens home for six months to see if they can handle all of the responsibilities involved in caring for them. At the end of the rental period, the renter returns them back to the homestead.

“It’s a way to test drive them to see if they’re a good fit for your family,” added Leslie.

For $350 (half of which is a non-refundable down payment), it becomes pretty much a turn-key operation. Once you sign all the paperwork, Leslie will bring two hens, a chicken coop, food and any additional necessary equipment to your house.

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