Do backyard hens require a lot of maintenance?

Chickens are surprisingly low-maintenance compared to other household pets. Daily "chicken chores" should take no longer than 10 minutes to complete. The hens will require that their food and water be replenished at least once a day, usually best tended to in the morning. It's recommended their coop bedding be changed at least every other week, or when it becomes smelly. And don't forget to put that manure and soiled bedding into your compost! 

Are hens noisy?

Female chickens are relatively quiet; however, they can become vocal, usually in the form of steady clucking, around the time they are about to lay an egg. If they're nervous about potential predators they can also become more vocal, usually as a warning sign to others around them. It's the male roosters' crow that gives chickens the reputation for being noisy, which is why most residential areas don't allow roosters.  

What breed of chicken do you rent?

We provide our customers with Golden Comet hens. We love this particular breed as they have a pleasant and peaceful temperament. Golden Comets are a cross between a Rhode Island Red and White Leghorn which give them their red and white feathers. They are friendly with people, curious, and they are also prolific layers, producing large red-brown eggs.  

Will the hens act aggressively toward me, my children, or my pets? 

Chickens are generally passive and rarely show aggression towards humans or other animals. They can become "broody" with their eggs on occasion when they're interested in their egg developing into a chick. When this happens, they may puff up or growl, but it's usually all "cluck" and no "peck."

Do I need to worry about my dog or cat getting along with the hens?

Cat-hen interactions are usually benign. Our experience is that cats and chickens can coexist peacefully in most situations and they'll usually just ignore each other. Depending on the dog breed, some dogs can be trained to get along with chickens. However, for some pups the hunting instinct can't be trained out of the breed, therefore we recommend keeping them separated from the hens.  

What if I need to go out of town for the weekend or go on vacation? How long can the hens be left on their own?

The hens can be left home alone for three or four days. This will just require a little planning ahead to make sure they have enough food and water to last the duration, and assure they are secure in their coop from predators. Beyond four days, you'll want to ask a friend or family member to drop in on the hens to give them more food and water.   

How much space will the coop take up in my backyard; will it fit through my gate? What are the coop dimensions?

Our coops are designed to fit through most standard-sized yard gates. It's a good idea, however, to take measurements ahead of time to assure the width of each threshold the coop must pass has at least 38.5 - inches of clearance. Our coop dimensions are:

Length: 73.5 inches (6 feet 1.5 inches)

Width: 38.0 inches (3 feet 2 inches)

Height: 38.0 inches (3 feet 2 inches)

Will the hens lay eggs without a rooster?

Yes, the hens will lay eggs without a rooster. 

How often will the hens lay eggs?

Hens reproductive systems are in synch with the seasons and the amount of light  they receive during the day. Therefore, they lay more eggs during the spring and summer when the days are longer and fewer eggs during the fall and winter when the days are shorter. During the warmer months you can expect each hen to lay one egg per day. In the fall and winter the hens may drop to a just a few eggs per week.

Have the hens been vaccinated?

To keep our flock safe from disease the hens receive Coccidiosis and Marek's vaccinations at birth. 

How do I find out if backyard hens are allowed where I live?

A quick Google search of your local city or town ordinances can usually answer that question. If your residence is governed by an HOA or shared community, you'll also want to assure keeping hens is allowed.   

What if I want to extend my rental period?

Based on availability, that shouldn't be a problem. Just let us know at least two weeks before the end of your rental period and we'd be happy to extend it for another term.

What if we want to purchase the coop and hens?

Well, we'd have to consult the hens first and if they agree, we'd be happy to let you permanently adopt them :) In all seriousness, just let us know at least two weeks before the end of your rental period so we can make accommodations. See our Terms of Service for additional details regarding purchase of our rental packages.

Can I let the hens out of their coop and free-range around my yard? Will they fly away?

We encourage our hosts to allow the chickens to free-range around the yard. We ask that any dogs are carefully monitored and that a responsible adult be present to supervise the chickens when they are outside their coop and that they are safely contained within the yard. We keep their wings clipped - which is painless and safe to the hens - to discourage them from flying into the neighbors yard. 

What happens if there is an accident, or if a predator attacks one of the hens?

In the unfortunate event of an injury or death of a hen, we ask that the customer contact Rent Backyard Hens immediately by phone. We will attend to the hen and provide medical care. We ask that the hen not be taken to a veterinarian or pet clinic. A service fee may be applied for the loss or injury of a hen.   

Can I partner with a friend or with family to share a rental?

Absolutely! If you'd like to share the rental experience with a friend or family member just let us know. We'd be happy to transfer and deliver the coop and hens between households. A standard rental transfer fee of $25 would apply. 

Have more questions? Call us direct at (707) 340-3149. You can also contact us through our contact page and we'll be happy to answer them for you. -RBH