Frequently Asked Questions

Rental Hens for Easy and Convenient Urban Farming

The Urban Chicks

How is your service more easy and convenient than setting up my own coop?

To keep hens during the winter in Alberta you need a substantial insulated and heated coop, which generally has to end up being a permanent structure in your yard. The type of lightweight coop we provide is not suitable for hens in our cold winters and they would not survive even with a heat lamp. Most hens also quit laying during the winter due to reduced daylight, so you usually don't get eggs unless you keep their coop lit up during the days. All that electricity gets very expensive. You also have the expense of providing food during the months they aren't laying. The Urban Chicks provides everything you need to keep hens during the rental period, so you don't have the hassle of sourcing it all yourself, and we care for the hens over the winters in our large heated coop.


Do chickens smell bad?

No, the hens themselves don’t smell at all, but like any other pet, their droppings do have an unpleasant odour. Keeping the coop clean stops any smells from becoming noticeable.


Do chickens make much noise? 

No, the hens are very quiet. You sometimes go a whole day and hear hardly anything. They typically make a low clucking noise to call the other hens when they find food.  They may squawk when they lay an egg. Typically, it's the roosters that are loud and noisy.


Should I wash the eggs?

No, the eggs have a natural protective coating and they will keep longer if you leave them and wash them just before you use them. Wipe off any dirt etc. and that should be good.


How do I know if the eggs are good or bad without cracking them open?

Do the water test. Put the egg in a container of water; if it sinks, it should be good.  If it floats, its probably bad and should be discarded.  Unwashed eggs will last up to two weeks stored at room temperature and even longer in the fridge. If you decide refrigerate them, they must stay refrigerated until you use them.


Will the hens be okay if I go away for a few days?

Yes, going away for a long weekend is fine if the water dispenser is full and you put out enough food for 3 days. Anything longer than that and you should have someone come by to check on them, to water and feed them, and collect the eggs.


Can I own a cat or dog and still have hens? 

We do!  Cats are not much threat to an adult hen.  If your dog is okay around the hens everything should be fine, and you can choose to let them have access to your entire yard.  If the dog is a threat to the hens, they will have to stay in the coop.  You may have to monitor your dog for a few days to see how they are reacting to the hens.  A large dog could rip their way through the coop.


Will the hens attract mice?

If you keep the extra food in a sealed container, mice should not be a problem.  The little bit of food in their dishes should not attract mice


Am I allowed chickens in my backyard?

Every town/city has different bylaws, so please check your local regulations to determine if they are allowed in your area. We will provide rental packages in all of the areas we serve, but we are not responsible for any fines or penalties incurred due to the backyard chicken rental provided by The Urban Chicks. Your local bylaws may determine the coop package you'll need depending on the mandated indoor and outdoor space for each hen.


Will the hens eat my plants or wreck my garden?

The hens will eat vegetables in the garden and the foliage off a few types of decorative plants. You can prevent this by leaving them in their coop or, if you'd like to let them roam your yard, you can put chicken wire around your garden or the plants that you'd like to keep them from eating.


What if my hen is not laying eggs?

The hens may take up to two weeks to settle in to their new homes and lay consistently. They may lay only every other day or a few times a week in the first few weeks they are getting settled. Sometimes hens go "broody", which means they would like to hatch their eggs and this causes them to stop laying. If your hens stops laying for 3 consecutive days (after the first two weeks of getting settled) we will come pick her up and give you a new laying hen. We take the hen home and let her hatch some eggs to get her laying again.