The 14-Day Chicken Challenge

Did you know you can rent chickens near Philadelphia? You can. And I'm doing it. Wanna help me name them?

Dear Readers:

Will you please help me name my rental chickens?

I’ve wanted chickens for the past few years. But there were always issues: we lived downtown, or my kid was too young. When we moved to a greener neighborhood, I worried about the fox problem. This year, the solution seemed clear: rental chickens. I’ll pick up two baby chicks this weekend, and they’ll bunk with my family for the next two weeks. We’re calling it our 14-Day Chicken Challenge. [SIGNUP]

Philly is fortunate to have several nearby rent-a-chick locations. We’ll probably pick up our Easter chicks at Fleur-de-Lys Farm in Kutztown (along with some fresh eggs) and linger to pet the farm’s friendly llamas. If we don’t make the trek to Kutztown, we’ll rendezvous in Glenside with farmer Jesse Howe of Everich Farms, who usually works the Glenside Farmer’s Market on spring and summer weekends. Either way, the chicks will come in a roomy box filled with soft wood shavings, which will be their home in our home. They’ll also need a heat lamp, a waterer, and food, all included in our $40 or $50 fee. Farmer Howe’s chicks can hang out with us for another two weeks for an additional $30; the Fleur-de-Lys chicks must go back to the farm after a fortnight.

I’ll be blogging about our chicks’ homestay for the duration. Our first step, however: names. We’re still undecided. Suggestions so far:

– Cluck Norris

– Lady Bird Johnson

– Buffalo

– Phil A.

– Barbie Q.

What do you think? Vote for your faves or put your suggestions in the comments below. To egg you on a bit, there’s a prize: Suggest the winning pair of rental chicken names and you’ll receive a free copy of Regretsy: Where DIY Meets WTF, the new book based on the wildly popular website about execrable crafts. My all-time favorite Regretsy “craft,” the chicken poncho, is featured on the book’s cover. I solemnly swear not to dress my chicks during the chicken challenge; they’ll stay as nature made them.

Interested in your own rental chickens? Check out:

Fleur de Lys Farm in Kutztown, PA ($40 for two weeks; when you visit the farm for pickup and drop-off, save time to shop at the market and pet the llamas onsite)

Everich Farms in Lansdale, PA: pickup in Glenside   ($50 for two weeks, $80 for four weeks; includes “Chick School” education program for kids to learn how to hold chickens properly)

Sparta Mountain Farm in Jefferson Twp, NJ   ($30 for two weeks; receive a dozen free-range eggs when you return your chicks)

Happy Farm in Kintersville, PA ($30 for two weeks)