Rent-A-Chick Business Booms For Hampshire Farm

Rob Hart
May 21, 2020 - 5:05 pm
Baby Chick

picture provided to WBBM Newsradio

(WBBM NEWSRADIO) — Springtime is typically the time when teachers get baby chicks for their students to raise for several weeks.

But with school buildings closed due to COVID, one Illinois farmer is doing what she can to bring the farm to families across the Chicago area.

Carol Burnidge runs the Pioneer Farm in Hampshire. She rents out baby chicks for families to raise for two weeks before returning them to the farm. The chicks are female, and Burnidge said they eventually have a long life laying eggs.

The farm sells pumpkins, fresh eggs, and allows kids to play with the baby animals. The petting zoo is off-limits for now, but she said demand for baby chicks is four times a typical spring.

She put the word out on social media that raising baby chicks is a fun distraction for two weeks. Parents answered the call.  

She said she went from renting out 25 chicks on a weekend to 100. Visitors drive to Hampshire from all over the Chicago area.

Taking care of the chicks a chance to for little kids to learn about responsibility.

"I try to emphasize that and look right into the faces of the little kids who are bringing the chicks home," Burnidge said.

She has rented all of the available chicks for this weekend, and her baby chick season ends next weekend.  

She hopes the families that rented baby chicks out of necessity this year turn it into a tradition next year.