Ten-year-old Elise Biniak has loved animals as long as she can remember. So when her Clermont parents hit their pet limit with birds, dogs and fish, Elise had a better idea: She would rent them. And she set her sights on baby chickens.
Chickies, as she affectionately calls them, are such fun when they are just a few days old—before they start producing their own weight in poop every few days. “When they are babies, you feed them, keep them warm, play with them and cuddle them,” Elisa says. “They’ll even bond to you and start following you around.” But after a week, Elise would return the chicks to the Clermont feed store where she rented them.
This went on for years, with her friends and their parents often asking how they could get in on the gig. In June 2015 Elise and her dad, Gary, started Rent-A-Chicky.
At the Mount Dora farmers’ market on Sundays or from her home in Clermont, Elise loans out two chicks for a $25 fee that includes food, bedding and the Chick-A-Tat she and her father engineered. Not only does the clever habitat keep the chicks safe and easily transported, it also keeps them warm, thanks to the heat lamp that is built into the cover.
“We think people like to do this because it’s fun and easy. Parents don’t want the responsibility of raising a chicken,” Elise says. “People have told me they have really loved it, and the experience creates lots of great memories.” About 20 families so far have participated in Elise’s weekly “fun and done” program, which moves to weekends for fall. The money she’s earned is going toward a new sewing machine, something she plans to use to create little chicky clothing. She also has plans to expand by building a pen to raise her own chickens so she won’t have to rent them from a local farm.
Her dad is thrilled with the business acumen she’s picking up. “I help her out, of course, but she had all the ideas and I just helped her make them a reality,” says Gary. “She didn’t just throw it in my lap, she’s put in all the work and effort … this was her idea.” “It’s fun seeing the smiles on people’s faces,” Elise says. “People love the experience.” For more information, visit rentachicky.com.