Friday, March 15, 2019

"No Judgement Chicken Mentors"

This morning, as I was chatting with a renter who was signing up to reserve her Rent The Chicken Rental, she said "My farming friends keep saying to me 'Just get chickens' but I'm not ready for that! I need a 'no judgement' ..." As she was pausing to find the words I blurted out "We'll be your 'No Judgement Chicken Mentors'!" We laughed and she said that would be a great topic for a blog post. So here it is... "No Judgement Chicken Mentors"

I may or may not have had some judgement while in the midst of our TEN days at the Farm to Table section of the Pittsburgh Home & Garden Show recently. The "what if I eat the chicken?" comments weren't funny on day 1. They were internal sighing and eye-ball rolling by day 10! haha Nonetheless, we tried to be as fresh and as relaxed on day 10 as we were on day 1. We still said "If it's not a good fit, you can (pause) 'chicken-out'!" on day 10 :) Winters in Pennsylvania are a valid concern for chicken keeping. Instead of asking "What do you do with the chickens in the winter?" or "How do the chickens do in the winter?", many asked "What do you do in the winter?". I started answering honestly with "I watch a lot of Netflix." I would pause and then say "Thank you for asking.. How about you?" bwahahahahaha By then I had already made some jokes and said "chicken-out". All fun! The best was when a good looking guy with his very tall and attractive lady friend came over with their burly guy friend. Hook. Line. Sinker. He said "What do you do in the winter?" Keep in mind, this was day TEN of 10 and about an hour before the show was due to close. I said "Oh.. I watch a lot of Netflix. That's pretty personal to ask especially in front of your lady friend? What about you?" LOL He turned about 10 shades of red and his lady friend busted her little gut while the burly friend about fell over laughing! He said "I like you!". It was HILARIOUS.

There are thousands of ways to raise baby chicks and to have backyard hens. Not everyone (chicken keepers and non-chicken keepers alike) understand our business model and our coop choices. Our coops are portable which allows the chickens to feel like they are free ranging when the coop is moved but they are still very protected by the coop. A portable coop also means there won't be a build up of droppings or a dead spot in no time flat unlike a stationary coop. Our coops are a good size for the number of chickens that we provide with our rentals. If we made our coops larger, they would either not be moved as much or at all. Then we'd be back to square one with the dead spot and build up of droppings PLUS there would be more desire for free range time as the chickens would have zero access to grass. Speaking of free range time, we ask for all of our renters to ONLY free range WITH supervision. A responsible person should be outside and near the chickens when the chickens are roaming outside of the coop. But why? One word - Hawks. Overhead predators. Everything wants chicken for dinner when all you want is breakfast! Plus, if the chickens are always put in after supervised free range time, there is ZERO chance that they will be forgotten about and not locked in when the sun goes down. Spoiler: The rest of "everything wanting chicken for dinner" comes out when the sun goes down. It's ironic that the same people who are concerned that our coops are too small and ask if they are safe in the coop, are the same people who think the chickens need to be free ranging. Guess who free ranging is not so good for?

Another spoiler:

Remember, there are thousands of ways to have backyard hens! We know what works for our rentals, renters, and our rental hens. We encourage our renters to follow our recommendations and remind them they will receive 5-6 months of education during the rental. From there, they can make a super educated decisions on their long-term chicken-keeping goals. :)

For both Rent The Chicken and Hatch The Chicken, we ask for our renters to follow our recommendations. Are our recommendations the difference between life and death of the chicks & chickens? Sometimes it is! Other times it's ease of use. Other times it's predator control. Sometimes it's about egg production. We all do our best to be a "No Judgement Chicken Mentor" but you'll need to trust that we know what works for our rentals - Rent The Chicken and Hatch The Chicken. We want for our chickens and chicks to be safe and for each of our renters to have a great experience!

Never had backyard hens before? No problem! We will do our best to answer your questions with the same patience and sincerity as we answered in 2013-2014 when we first started answering rental questions. Heads up: If you ask what I do in the winter.. I will likely say "I watch a lot of Netflix." :)

Friday, March 8, 2019

Spreading the Rent The Chicken Love!

We are blessed!

We've been at the Farm to Table Convention at the Pittsburgh Home & Garden Show since last Friday! So many great people want to learn about what we do with Rent The Chicken and Hatch The Chicken! I have so much to say but we have to get back to the show! We'll be there through Sunday AND we are hosting chicken races!

We were also on a few news segments recently here in Western Pennsylvania:

This was at our booth LIVE on Pittsburgh Today Live:

This one is when they hosted us for a chicken race and a short interview on Pittsburgh Today Live:

Click here for the Everybody Gardens segment with various vendors at the Show:

What's happening this weekend?

There will be more of this at the Farm To Table section of the Pittsburgh Home & Garden Show:

Our oldest niece Gabi is in Nashville with Homestead RayLee and crew at the Southern Women's Show in Nashville:

Homestead Bill & Debbie are at the Dayton Home & Outdoor Living Show in Dayton, Ohio:

Homestead Monica and Randy are at the Indiana Patio & Garden Show in Indianapolis:

Homestead Chris & Kay are at the SE Pennsylvania Home Show in Morgantown, PA this weekend as well!

Homestead Phil with our niece Mykala will be at the What's On Your Plate? Expo in Beaver County, too!

Friday, February 22, 2019

Being more efficient... Is that even possible?

A few weeks back, I wrote about our 2019 Rent The Chicken Owners Conference. Homestead Phil led sessions talking about 2018 in review, troubleshooting rental inquiries, details of a Hatch The Chicken delivery, and "The Long Game". I organized all of the fun ice breakers... you saw that coming, right? :) I led sessions on the steps on behind the scenes in Rent The Chicken to prepare for deliveries, preparing for the media & press releases, and maximizing profitability. Well... Homestead Kate (Rent The Chicken's Top Performer 2016, 2017, and 2018) who serves the Greater Toronto Area brought it home at the conference leading two sessions. The one was titled "Making The Most of Your Time When You Have None".


I'm sure I had this glazed over look when she started talking about this topic (not bundled up tho - it was an inside conference!):

I needed to make the most of time and I felt like I had none!
I applied some principles along with Homestead Phil and we are checking things off of our lists like crazy! AND... my brain doesn't feel clogged with tasks! I'm old school and use a composition notebook. Homestead Phil uses OneNote on his computer.

I'm sure this is in some incredible book somewhere but this is what we are up to:
  • 1. At the beginning of each week, we set a timer for 20 minutes and write down EVERY task that needs to be done as far out as 2 months. (How daunting, right?!?) I barely got through what I needed to do in the next two weeks my first time!
  • 2. Organize it by category if you want. (Sometimes I do.. sometimes I don't!)
  • 3. Mark each one with A B C or D. A for do right away. B for do it soon. C for not urgent but sometime. D for probably someone else should do it. I actually label mine with A B and Phil. haha
  • 4. When the next week rolls around, I rewrite my list and then add to it!
It's so incredible how good it feels when I scratch something off of my list that is completed! My brain also feels incredible because it can hold information rather than a million to-do items. I can put some thought into what to make for dinner or I can really think about who The Bee is on The Masked Singer. She is well on her way to being the last one unmasked if you ask me! Unfortunately, I think my big guess that I posted about the other week is incorrect. Tina Turner does not have the number of awards that The Bee said she has on last week's episode. I can also focus on who will live on the next Game of Thrones episode. No spoilers please! We're only on Season 5! I'm not sure I really enjoy watching it. It's pretty graphic. I play a lot of Sudoku on my phone when we watch it. There's a lot of characters to remember. So many of them are older men with beards. It's so hard to tell them apart!

Speaking of... (see how loose my brain is!) Homestead Phil's beard is so intense that I refer to him as "Phil and his beard". Usually he shaves sometime in February when the weather starts to break some but definitely by early March. He made a deal with the Youth Pastor of our church that neither of them would shave until the first day of Spring for a fundraiser. Phil has been helping to lead the Royal Rangers group at our church. It's kinda like Boy Scouts with badges and adventure but also with scripture memorization and a spiritual aspect. So Phil is raising money for the Royal Rangers to go to Camporama in 2020. The Youth Pastor is raising money for Youth Convention. Neither are shaving their whiskers until March 20th! Another month! Here's a photo of the two of us this last weekend. I can't wait to see his face again!