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Some parents think that buying a baby chick for their children during Easter time is a fun idea. Unfortunately, many of these chickens are abandoned shortly after the holidays once the reality of caring for them sets in.
According to local news affiliate WTOP, Rocklands Farm Winery and Market in Poolesville has solved this dilemma by introducing a baby chick rental program. Greg Glenn, co-founder and CEO of the farm, gets several phone calls every spring from parents who quickly realize that buying baby chicks was a bad idea.
“We do get a lot of phone calls a week or two after Easter saying, ‘Hey, we got some chicks for Easter and they’re chickens now — what do we do?'” said Glenn.
Glenn’s farm cannot accept the baby chicks because they could potentially introduce outside diseases to his current flock. Therefore, he decided to come up with a “rent-a-chick” program in which parents can give their children a fluffy surprise on Easter without getting stuck with a new pet.
“You essentially get a box with two chicks. You get all the food and bedding you need for a week,” Glenn explained. He added that the chicks also come with instructions on how to care for them, and renters are welcome to call the farm if they have any questions.
Employment of farmers is projected to decline about 2% in the next decade, but creative programs like this one could help to reinvigorate the agriculture industry. The farm has been offering chick rental for four consecutive years, and it’s been one of their most successful ideas to date.
In addition to playing with the chicks, Glenn said that kids also love to the decorate the box that they come in. Additionally, parents love the program because it teaches their children how to be responsible, even if it’s just for a few days.
As local Nebraska news affiliate KMTV reported, a similar chick rental program has become quite popular at Barreras Family Farm in Omaha, NE. Mariel Barreras, owner of the farm, also gives a dozen free eggs to each family when they return their baby chicks.
As for Glenn and his farm, he makes it very clear to parents and their children that the chicks they rent will end up on a plate.
“It’s a meat chicken, and it’s central to our mission at the farm, teaching people where their food comes from,” Glenn explained. “We want to inform our community where their food comes from and instill a deep reverence for where that food comes from.”
The chick rental program typically coincides with Easter, but that was not the case this year. Families can register for the program until the end of April, and chicks will be rented out from May 7 to May 14.