MaxBarry.com
too cool for school

Max Barry wrote the novels Syrup, Jennifer Government, Company, Machine Man, and Lexicon. He also created the game NationStates and once found a sock full of pennies.

Blog

Mon 24
Mar
2008

I have chickens

Max Finlay cheeses up for camera, Patsy and Flo watchI am renting some chickens. They’re out there right now, scratching in the grass outside my study window. You might not have known you can rent chickens—I didn’t, until Jen came home one day with shining eyes and said, “Let’s rent some chickens!” But you can. In fact, there is hot competition in the chicken rental industry, with BookAChook.com.au, RentAChook.com.au, and CityChicks.com.au competing in my local area alone.

I wasn’t so sure about renting chickens, but Jen said, “If it doesn’t work out, we’ll just send them back.” That was when I realized how ingenious the scheme is. You can’t say no to rental chickens. It’s a risk-free investment. And so one night a nice lady drove to our house with a chicken coop, a bag of feed, some hay, and Patsy and Flo.

We didn’t name the chickens. They came with little cards with their names and pictures on them, like baseball stars. They’re basically celebrity chickens, on tour. I could tell they were VICs because Deb, the BookAChook lady, didn’t really want to hand them over. As she went through the list of rules (do not feed meat to chickens, do not feed eggs to chickens unless they have been well-disguised, on hot days chickens enjoy settling in with a chilled ice bottle), I could sense her judging me, evaluating whether I was chicken-worthy.

We’ve had them a few weeks now, and I have to say, I’m impressed. They are very low-maintenance: you let them out of their coop in the morning, you lock them up again when they wander back in at night, but except for chilling the odd ice bottle, that’s pretty much all you have to do. They don’t make much noise, although they have begun giving quiet, hopeful squawks every time I come out the door, just in case I have a plate of strawberries. That’s quite nice, to arouse a hopeful feeling in another creature, even if it’s just because of strawberries. I think it was definitely time I got a pet. And on current form, I can recommend you try the chicken.

Comments

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Mats (#1057)

Location: Turku, Finland, Europe, Earth
Quote: ""The optimist thinks this is the best of all possible worlds, and the pessimist knows it." James Branch Cabell via Robert Oppenheimer"
Posted: 4012 days ago

First =)
Chickens, eh...
You're not going to become a full-time farmer now are you?
Moving out to some place in the country with dial-up and renting chickens...
Keep writing!

Tim (#3461)

Location: San Diego
Quote: "Get back to work."
Posted: 4012 days ago

Stop playing with your food.

shabooty (#637)

Location: D.C./V.A/M.D.
Quote: "I will shake your foundation. I will shake the f**cking rafters. Nobody'll be the same -Danny Bonaduce ....& go visit my blog @: http://www.shabooty.com"
Posted: 4012 days ago

i'd personally want the $4,300 a night, high-priced chicken-head.
:]

Machine Man subscriber Adam (#24)

Location: Morristown, Indiana
Quote: "Why do I blog? Simple, because Max Barry blogs."
Posted: 4012 days ago

I would rent some chickens, but I'm a little unsure. I'm actually frightened. Afraid. Scared ...chicken?

-adam speicher

Linnea1928 (#2654)

Location: Rosemount, MN
Posted: 4012 days ago

The only chickens I've met have been really mean. How are they around Fin?
They don't really seem the ideal pet. What does one do with rented chickens? Do they play fetch? Sit on your lap? Can you pet them?
Dude, if you think chickens are great, wait till you get a dog. I love dogs, they are pretty awesome, although I'd think they are a little more work than chickens.

Machine Man subscriber SRD (#2889)

Location: Ogden, Utah
Posted: 4012 days ago

I had some KFC last night that didn't sit well with me. I'm going to use this post as an excuse to not eat there anymore.

Greg Karber (#1568)

Location: gregkarber.com
Posted: 4012 days ago

From reading this post, I've concluded that, inevitably, thirty years from now, this is what Max Barry's bibliography will look like:

Syrup (as Maxx Barry)
Jennifer Government
Company
Cluck
Rooster Party (as Maximum Barry)
Fowl is Fair (as Maximum Barry, Jr.)
Fairest Fowl
In Case You Can't Tell, I've Got a Thing About Birds: A Memoir of the Craft, of Chicken Raising (as Eggs Johnson)

I'm glad we were here to witness the event horizon.

Jonathan (#3166)

Posted: 4012 days ago

Seems like a bit of a racket, chicken rentals. They get you to pay them to raise their chickens, then they sell the chickens to be food. Win-win, as they say.

Simon (#3192)

Location: Melbourne
Quote: "I'd rather be arrogant than wrong"
Posted: 4012 days ago

Can belive how expensive it is, you could buy chooks for less than the rental price.

Machine Man subscriber Katie Ellert (#207)

Location: Calgary AB Canada
Quote: "Where's Lola? WHERE'S LOLA?!?!"
Posted: 4012 days ago

I would like to say HOLY CRAP IS THAT FINLAY!?

I remember when you were posting about how excited and happy you were when you first brought her home, and now she looks all grown up.
Oh man.



Also, chickens sound like awsome pets. A few years back we had ducks. Five of them actually. They were little baby duckys, and they would swim in the bathtub, and when they grew up to be too big to live in the spare room, they left to go live on a farm....

Machine Man subscriber Stygian Emperor (#2947)

Location: the Stygian Empire
Quote: "Flesh is a design flaw."
Posted: 4011 days ago

Chicken rental. I'm not sure if I'm ready to accept this concept. I can understand movies and housing, but chickens?

Screw them, I'm gonna go see if I can rent some mongeese.

Jennifer M. Dambeck (#3061)

Location: NJ, USA
Quote: "Rock on"
Posted: 4011 days ago

But if you're renting them, you can't eat them? I've pondered getting fowl now that I live in the country, but for eating when they become too much of a bother. I'll insist my kids give them names from the following approved list:

Fricassee
Parmesan
Barbecue
Roaster
Broiler
Fryer Cluck
Lunch
Dinner

Do yours lay? Do you at least get breakfast?

We're about 2 months and two weeks away from local strawberries, I'm very jealous!

Mark Tran (#3249)

Location: Canada
Quote: "If you lived here, You'd be home."
Posted: 4011 days ago

Hmm.. I prefer ducks. I just have a thing for ducks.

Ally (#3317)

Location: Chico, CA
Quote: "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics."
Posted: 4010 days ago

I used to have some neighbors who owned about six chickens. I always liked to play with them and help collect eggs, but it's amazing how stupid they can be. However, I think they're great. If I ever get my own house, I'd like to own some.

Except when I lived in the ghetto of a farming town and there were wild chickens in my alley that roamed in flocks and would crow at 5 a.m. to wake me up.

Shola (#3468)

Location: Gypsy by Nature.
Quote: "We are all God's middle children."
Posted: 4010 days ago

I always had a thing about chickens. They are conspiring all the time in my opinion. Always looking down.It's not that they are looking for worms or chicken feed, it's the fact they are hiding their guilty faces. And when you walk past them to collect eggs or just walking past, they just glare at you. With hate, you can feel it.

"Chicken run" uncovered a truth of the chicken underworld.

Hobbie (#1359)

Location: Cornwall, England
Quote: "There was a little man in his hair!"
Posted: 4009 days ago

Unless chickens start laying Cadbury Creme Eggs you can keep them. The only eggs that would bring me joy every morning are fondant-filled.

Machine Man subscriber Lowly Worm (#3028)

Location: Loves Park, IL
Quote: "Insert witty quote here."
Posted: 4008 days ago

I think the renting of chickens is brilliant! And from the look of it so does Fin!

Michael (#1299)

Location: Northern California
Quote: "Chugachugachoochoo"
Posted: 4005 days ago

I feel like chicken tonight....

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