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Susan Griffiths of Rose Township feeds her Barred Plymouth Rock chickens Monday, July 2. She’s participating in Rent-The-Chicken, and will rent out some of her animals to families who want to experience what it’s like to raise chickens. 

Rose Twp. — Have you ever wondered what it’s like to keep backyard chickens?

With Rent-the-Chicken, a nationwide program, you can experience what it’s like to keep these animals without the long-term commitment.

Susan and Steve Griffiths of Rose Township participate in the program that allows people to keep a few chickens for a summer to see if they like the experience. They keep around 100 chickens, roosters and half a dozen Nigerian Dwarf goats on their homestead property.

“We believe this is the perfect program to start with chickens,” Susan said.

They provide everything — the chickens, the coop, food, and more. However, they’re waiting to rent the chickens out until they have enough that can lay bigger eggs.

“I do have many interested parties, I just don’t have birds that are old enough to do it yet,” she said.

It all started when the Griffiths learned about the Barred Plymouth Rock chicken, a breed with white and brown coloring. Susan obtained her first chickens from a farm in North Carolina.  

“I have a passion for preserving this particular bloodline of the Barred Plymouth Rock,” she said. “I like to educate people on this.”

Many people spend thousands on equipment and buying the animals, and then realize they don’t want to actually keep chickens.

“There’s a chicken for everyone. That’s what I love about this program. It’s hard to do research and then get facts and the truth,” she said, “If it’s spontaneous and you don’t know what you’re doing, you don’t realize you’re going to be spending hundreds if not thousands of dollars just on taking care of the chicks.”

Recently, Griffiths has seen a push for backyard chickens and a heavier agriculture push in communities. She said the chickens are very relaxing to watch. The couple will often sit on their porch and watch the animals as they put themselves to bed.  

“I’m just hoping that I can be of help to educate everybody in this area. We don’t have to fight over this,” she said.

She mentioned the two cases in Fenton Township in which residents have been cited for unlawfully keeping chickens, and how there needs to be more understanding on the side of residents and elected officials.

Even though her birds aren’t quite old enough to be rented yet, she will rent the chickens out if someone is “really interested. The price will be adjusted. I’m willing to work with the renters and start teaching them.”

The smallest package comes with two birds, a coop, food, and a “how to” book starting at $450. Participants can always call the Griffiths with questions while they rent the chickens. Interested parties can go to rentthechicken.com. The chicken owners differ depending on the renter’s location.

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