In the middle of our lives, most of us have at one time or one other rented a automotive, or an condominium, or perhaps a pair of skis.
However a hen?
Eric Strother of Sebastopol desires to vary that.
Strother, who by day works as an archaeologist, launched Lease Yard Hens in January, as a approach to introduce others to his fondness for the fowl life.
“I’m a geek relating to chickens,” he mentioned. “I like the entire ambiance of them. They’re simply humorous. I’d like to share them with individuals who don’t have that have.”
However going hog wild with chickens is a dedication — of time, of cash, of care — so Strother adopted a mannequin that’s thriving in different elements of the nation: hen leases.
Strother mentioned he heard a bit on NPR about hen rental companies popping up on the East Coast.
“Individuals have been actually digging it,” he mentioned. “I Googled to see if anyone was doing something out right here on the West Coast and I didn’t see something.”
Strother mentioned he did “somewhat market analysis” and bought to constructing some transportable coops.
He’s now bought 15 Golden Comet hens that he’s raised from infancy and now rents out two at a time.
Prospects can lease a handcrafted transportable coop that appears midway like a barn, midway like a tractor; two egg-laying hens; a watering gadget and sufficient feed and bedding to final the rental interval.
Strother rents in 9 Bay Space counties for durations between one and three months.
In Sonoma County, hens (not roosters) are allowed in most areas, barring Rohnert Park, he mentioned.
And he’s prepared to assist prospects ensure they dwell in a spot the place having yard chickens is OK. He additionally helps them navigate what guidelines are in place for what number of and the place they are often housed.
Issues like householders affiliation covenants can have an effect on who can maintain yard chickens.
He additionally gently suggests checking in with neighbors to take their temperature on the concept.
That mentioned, chickens are credited by some as being a neighborhood bond. They appear to simply draw child love and dialog at a time when many individuals might use a shot of each.
For those who love the hen life, Strother encourages prospects to graduate into elevating chicks of their very own and crafting a extra everlasting coop.
And for these for whom the connection isn’t all they dreamed of? That’s OK, too. They will merely return the hens and coop — no hurt, no fowl.
“Some folks need that have,” Strother mentioned. “Some folks need the expertise of the companionship of pet hens, some folks need to strive it out to see if they need their very own chickens.”
And a few folks, on this age of hovering grocery costs, are fascinated by a few contemporary eggs every morning.
“After getting had eggs from your personal hen, it’s actually laborious to return to retailer purchased,” Strother mentioned. “They style totally different, they’re more healthy.”
However potential renters must also take into account issues like predators, yard upkeep and even one thing like avian flu, which is inflicting havoc on chickens in some locations.
However on the entire, maintaining yard chickens is gaining reputation.
Hen possession took off through the pandemic, based on AARPP, which chronicled the pattern.
The pandemic triggered many to rethink the place they lived and the way they lived. Extra folks have been at residence, extra folks have been cooking and baking and extra folks sought companionship throughout isolation from different features of “regular” life.
Chickens verify all of the bins, Strother mentioned.
“They make nice pets,” he mentioned. “They’ve humorous little personalities, they bear in mind you. They’re hilarious.”
Plus, have you ever ever seen a hen run? It’s a temper lifter for certain.
However like some pets, they want somewhat minding. Seems chickens take the idea of free vary fairly critically.
“They’re opportunists,” Strother mentioned. “Tomatoes, strawberries, they’ll go after blueberries. If you would like an space pristine, maintain the chickens away from them.”
Glenn Ouye lives in Bennett Valley and has by no means owned chickens. He was curious, so he went for it by way of Strother’s Lease Yard Hens.
However he additionally had what he referred to as “ulterior motives”: weeds.
Seems Ouye had a patch he couldn’t appear to tame, so he thought hens may do the trick.
“They liked the weeds. It was nice,” Ouye mentioned.
However Ouye got here to be totally entertained by his new little backyard workhorses.
“They’re very curious,” he mentioned. “They arrive operating as much as you. We’d sit exterior and discuss to them.”
“They need to be the place you might be,” he mentioned. “If you’re exterior in a chair, they need to be type of proper round you. It’s type of cool, actually.”
Ouye’s two chihuahuas bought together with them nicely sufficient. One didn’t give them the time of day and the opposite was afraid of them. The dynamic made for advantageous yard mates.
Strother mentioned chickens do nicely with domesticated pets, however he recommended being watchful over the connection.
Ouye’s solely dig on his new associates was their private hygiene at instances.
“They poop the place they eat. They poop wherever they need,” he mentioned.
However it was straightforward sufficient to comb up, he mentioned.
Strother’s hens have had their wings clipped, so that they gained’t take flight right into a neighbor’s yard. However they’re able to pop up onto furnishings or low mendacity fences and posts.
Largely they eat, wander round and hang around.
Strother provides prospects his cellphone quantity, in case they run into points with the hens. It hasn’t occurred.
As a substitute, he will get texts with footage and movies of the hens doing wacky issues.
“They’re hilarious,” he mentioned
Ouye agrees. When he returned his two hens to Lease Yard Hens after the rental interval ended, he didn’t instantly take into account going out and shopping for his personal.
However he could. He’s nonetheless serious about it. Which is strictly what Strother supposed.
“It’s enjoyable,” Ouye mentioned. “It’s a very good expertise and you aren’t dedicated without end.”
You possibly can attain Workers Columnist Kerry Benefield at 707-526-8671 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @benefield.