KAMLOOPS — The city’s new urban hen bylaw has taken effect, so the question many city residents will be asking is “where and how can i get my hands on a chicken?”
Well, it turns out you have a couple of options: would you rather own the chickens, or are you okay with renting them?
If you’re not familiar with raising laying hens, the rental route might be the best way to see if poultry husbandry is something you’re good at.
“It’s a great program for someone who just wants to try it out,” said Marie McGivern, local owner of RentTheChicken.com “[Chicken renters] don’t have to worry about chicks that aren’t going to lay for … up to six months.”
The benefit of rental is simplicity - for a set price, you’ll get a pre-built coop which meets the standards set out in the city’s by-law, some hens, feed, as well as the option to return the birds if you find out you’re not cut out for the chicken life. McGivern believes if you give the chickens a chance, you’ll be hooked.
“If you were to rent two hens and you fell in love with them, or your kids fell in love with them… you can say ‘We want these two back’ we can band them, with a bracelet on their legs. Or, if people choose, they can adopt them.”
if you find out you love raising hens, you’ll want to visit Mary Ellen Dalgliesh at Purity Feeds.
“It’s going to cost you about $15 [for] a baby chick,” Dalgliesh said. “Four birds, you’re [spending] $60 right there, plus your feeds, and the different things you’ll need to set up, you’re probably looking at $150 to $200.”
Both women agree there are plenty of benefits to raising your own hens.
“It teaches compassion, and commitment, and I think that being connected to where their food comes from and knowing … eggs don’t just come from a carton, they come from a chicken. You have to feed that chicken, and take care of it, and be kind to it,” McGivern said.
Dalgliesh says the quality of the eggs is an important factor. “You hear all these stories of the age of the eggs when you’re getting them… A big thing is what are we putting into our birds, and what are we getting out the other end?”
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