Seasonal chickens have made it to homes across Middle Tennessee courtesy of RayLee and Bubba Holladay, who offer egg-laying hens for a six-month rental.
A concept known as “yard to table” drives the philosophy behind Rent the Chicken, a business established in Pennsylvania in 2013. Phillip and Jenn Tompkins started service and now partner with more than 45 farms in the United States, including the Holladays’ farm in Lascassas.
The service allows customers to choose between the standard rental of two hens or deluxe rental of four hens, which will provide farm-fresh eggs regularly. Coops, feed, bedding, food and water dishes, guidebooks and support are provided.
“I keep around 60 [chickens] at my house,” said area Rent the Chicken servicer RayLee Holladay. “Right now, we have 39 babies getting ready for next season. It’s been amazing. It really just touches your heart when you see people love chickens and learn about chickens and where their food comes from.”
The Holladays started with Rent the Chicken three years ago. The first year was spent building from scratch, making coops and gathering supplies. Now they’re able to deliver chickens, coops and all within 50 miles of their farm. They deliver beyond 50 miles for an extra fee.
“We raise them from babies, so they’re ridiculously friendly. They’re kind of like your dog or your cat. They’ll follow you around everywhere,” Holladay said.
Rent the Chicken coops are made to protect chickens from predators and provide easy access for humans.
“There’s an egg door on the side here, and in the back, there’s an access door just in case you don’t want to crawl in there to fix the food and water dishes if they fall over,” Holladay said.
If a chicken gets sick or dies, Rent the Chicken will replace the animal at no charge, unless neglect was involved.
“There’s wire all the way around [the coop], so the fox cannot get in, or the raccoon or the opossum, cannot get in there and get to the chickens. But, say, if you let them out and then go in the house and grab you a glass of tea, you’re not supervising them and they die, you have to pay a chicken fee of $25. If you just come out one day and the poor little thing is dead, we’ll replace it. Things happen. They’re wild animals,” Holladay said.
Only one chicken death has happened in her time with Rent the Chicken, so, she said, it is not all that common.
After the six-month chicken season is over and customers have enjoyed farm-fresh eggs, the hens are available for adoption.
“You can adopt just the chickens, or you can have the whole entire package, coop and all. At the end of the six months, or any time in between, if you chicken out, we’ll pick them up with no questions asked,” Holladay said.
For more information, call Rent the Chicken at 724-305-0782 or visit rentthechicken.com.
By Sinclaire Sparkman