The Hippo


Mar 19, 2018








Courtesy photo.

Chicken rental market

In some locations across the country, you can also rent just the chicken and for longer than just an afternoon party.
Currently, Rent-A-Chicken, a national company based in Michigan that helps farms get into the business of renting chickens, does not have a New Hampshire farm it is working with. But at Rent-a-Chicken affiliated farms in Vermont and Massachusetts, people rent chickens from farmers so they can have fresh eggs in their kitchen through the warm seasons, according to Rent-A-Chicken owner Leslie Suitor.
They return them during the winter when the birds become harder to manage. 
“We were the first in the U.S. to start renting chickens to people — it’s kind of a crazy idea,” Suitor said. 
Rent-A-Chicken farms provide customers with the chickens, along with a coop for them to lay their eggs in and other accessories, like feeders. There are currently no established Rent-A-Chicken chicken rental farms in New Hampshire, but Suitor said she is looking for farmers who want to start a chicken rental business here. She said she is working with farms in Massachusetts and Vermont, but since it’s hard for them to deliver chicken rentals across state borders, the market in New Hampshire is open. Visit or call 231-463-6670.

Chicken For Rent
Play farmer for a day with a petting zoo, PLUS 11 other surprising things for rent


For rent: Goats
Why you might want to rent them: If you have a plot of land that has been overgrown with shrubs, vines or poison ivy, one of the best ways to deal with that is by renting a few grazing goats. Ayn Whytemare of Found Well Farm in Pembroke said goats love to eat leafy plants. They’ll graze those down to about four to six inches.
“Where the goats really do well is … an area where you can’t get mechanical equipment into. So hilly areas, rocky areas,” Whytemare said.
They also do well in places with a lot of poison ivy or in conservation land where the use of herbicides is restricted or not good for the land. Goats don’t generally like grass or woody plants.
Rental details: Whytemare will set up an electric fence with two young male goats to graze freely. One week costs $100. Her farm is based in Pembroke and is only able to provide the service within a 20-mile radius of the farm. She has two teams of two goats that she borrows from a dairy in Danbury and trains a new batch of goats each year. After setting up the fence, she will give the landowner a tutorial on the use of the fence and return once during the week to adjust the fence area. The fence comes with a shelter and landowners need to give the goats a gallon of water each day. The service is available roughly from mid-May to September.
Another farm that offers this service in the state is Carriage Shack Farm in Londonderry. Their so-called “Poison Ivy Patrol” consists of seven goats and four sheep. The grazers can clear out a 10-foot by 100-foot area covered in plants like bittersweet vine in a single day, according to Quinton Schacht. But results may vary because of things like inclement weather or the size of the land. It costs $295 per day and Quinton sets up the electric fence and stays with the goats for the whole day. They operate within an hour to an hour and a half drive from the farm.
Where to find them: Carriage Shack Farm’s Poison Ivy Patrol, based in Londonderry, 716-0629,
Found Well Farm, 228-1421 or 568-5679,
Gap Mountain Goats, operating within a 30-minute drive radius of Marlborough, 439-0083, 
— Ryan Lessard 
For rent: Petting farms
Why you might want to rent them: Instead of traveling to a farm, bring the animals to you by renting your own petting farm for birthdays and group events. Renters get the opportunity to touch live farm animals while trained handlers teach participants about them.
Rental details: Carriage Shack Farm in Londonderry has been offering traveling petting farms for 30 years, according to owner Brenda Schacht. The mini petting farm travels to you and comes with two goats, two ducks, a pair of fancy chickens, one bunny and chickens or their chicks. The farm costs $225 per hour to rent and the animals are kept within an 8 by 8 foot pen where children and adults can interact with them. 
Each type of animal is kept in its own separate pen, and the goat roams the area with the handler. Schacht said that holding the animals can be too stressful for them, so the interactions are kept to petting.
Still, “It’s totally hands-on and we make sure they pet everything,” said Schacht.
The Schacht family knows the animals well because they helped raised each one, Schacht said.  And one of the family members accompanies the animals and teaches guests all about them.
Their petting farm can be brought to most locations within an hour and a half drive of their Londonderry location. 
A larger petting farm is also available for corporate events or bigger groups. The larger, deluxe petting farm comes in a 16-by-24-foot pen housing chickens, sheep, a potbelly pig, goats, rabbits, a miniature horse, ducks and guinea hens. The deluxe petting farm is $545 per hour and $195 per additional hour.
A pony ride can be added to either size petting farm for an additional $150. 
Whispering Brook Farm in Hudson has a traveling petting farm that can be rented for one hour at a time. For $300 an hour their farm comes with alpacas, sheep, goats, ducks and chickens that are displayed in a show and tell format where kids can pet the animals.
“It’s much more interactive because we do a show-and-tell where you get to see the animals one at time,” said Kim Frenette of Whispering Brook Farms.
The petting farm also comes with a pony ride for kids and the birthday child gets to sit on a llama for a photograph. Their larger farm option costs $150 per hour with a four-hour minimum and comes with country-style wooden fencing, which houses geese, ducks, chickens, a goat, a llama and a pig. 
McDonny’s Petting Farm in Derry has a traveling petting farm that is also designed to allow safe interactions between children and animals, which include bantam chickens, assorted ducks, mini lop and rex bunnies, and a friendly goat. There is a pen for each type of animal and two people at a time can enter the pens and interact with them. The petting farm ranges from $280 to $330 an hour depending on the distance the farm has to travel from their Derry location. 
Where to find them: Carriage Shack Farm, based in Londonderry, 716-0629,
Whispering Brook Farm, based in Hudson, 889-7919,
McDonny’s Petting Farm based in Derry, 437-5172,
— Ethan Hogan 
For rent: Comedians
Why you might want to rent them: Rob Steen of Headliners Comedy Club, who also owns Rent A Comic, says renting a stand-up comedian or improv comic artist for a birthday party, bachelor party or corporate outing is a great way to get everyone together and personalize the occasion.
You can call Rent-A-Comic and choose from more than 300 stand-up and improv comics, comedic hypnotists and dueling pianists that service all of New England and even down to parts of New York and New Jersey. Steen said prices depend on the comedian’s routine and popularity.
“We can easily help someone rent two or three comedians like on the back porch for a house party or a cookout or something, replacing something like a DJ that may be there,” Steen said. “The thing about hiring a comedian is that you get them in front of a group of people and now everyone’s involved and listening. It keeps everyone together.”
To get the most of the comedian-renting experience regardless of the type of event you are hosting, Steen said he always asks potential new clients their age demographic, ideal budget and date. Some comedians are more skilled at certain events than others; for example, comedians that can personalize the material to cater to the occasion you are renting them for are often in a higher demand and may charge a little more for that skill set.
But the comedians you rent don’t have to be about just stand-up or improv comedy. Steen said some of the more unique kinds of comic acts will include hypnotists and dueling piano players.
“Dueling pianos is when you have two piano players side by side … and the audience is pitted from one side to the other to try to up the ante and add different things to the songs,” Steen said. “It’s really interactive and upbeat.”
Steen said thousands of comedians are booked per year, with the busiest times being in the summer, for weddings and cookouts, and in December, for Christmas parties and other holiday-themed events.
Rental details: Steen said the costs can range from $500 to $2,500 per event, depending on the type and the act involved. Multiple rentals for ongoing events are also an option.
Where to find them: Rent A Comic, 800-923-0879,
— Matt Ingersoll 
For rent: Instruments
Why you might want to rent them: Students in primary and secondary schools who want to practice an instrument in a music class or join band will find the option of renting instruments extremely helpful, according to John Poole, the sales manager at the Manchester Music Mill. It can also come in handy for adult folks who want to learn an instrument but don’t want to pay the full cost in case they don’t stick with it. Some companies like MFI Productions in Hooksett will also rent out band instruments or sound equipment to travelling musicians who have shows in the state. 
“Whether they’re a solo artist or a band … we can help them with that,” said Mark Allen with MFI Productions.
Rental details: Manchester Music Mill will sell you any band instruments and buy back the instruments minus a flat rental fee depending on which of three tiers the instrument falls under. Tier 1 instruments (like violins and flutes) range in price from $199 to $249, Tier 2 (like an alto saxophone) ranges between $249 to $599 and Tier 3 (including cellos) is between about $400 and $800. The rental fees are $99, $169 and $200 assuming the instruments were rented over a nine-month school year. The company also rents out used guitars. The renter pays 5 percent of the cost of the guitar daily or 15 percent weekly. 
Allen said customers should call MFI Productions to ask about pricing.
Other companies do it differently. Rosita Lee Music Center in Hudson only rents instruments to their own music students. And O’Leary’s Music Center in Derry offers a rent to own program. Similar to Manchester Music Mill, they divide the instruments into three tiers and offer monthly installments of $23, $39 and $65 respectively. Strings and Things in Concord also have a rent to own plan. Over the course of two to three years, the renters build up the equity to own the instrument. But if they return it, which they can at any time, they wipe their equity away.
Where to find them: Manchester Music Mill, 329 Elm St., Manchester, 623-8022,
MFI Productions, 114 Londonderry Turnpike, Hooksett, 232-4096,
Rosita Lee Music Center, 136 Lowell Road, Hudson, 882-8940,
O’Leary Music Center, 60 West Broadway, Derry, 505-4577, 
Strings & Things, 113 S. Main St., Concord, 228-1971,
EarCraft Music, 432 Central Ave., Dover, 749-3138,
— Ryan Lessard 
For rent: Mechanical bulls, inflatable rides and party supplies
Why you might want to rent them: According to Bob Soucy at Special Events of New England in Auburn, renting party supplies can be useful for things like weddings, big backyard barbecues or school graduations. Other companies like Party Vision in Nashua specialize in school or corporate events like homecomings, company outings or fairs and old home days for towns, according to owner Jim Fichera.
Rental details: The cost to rent supplies can vary greatly since there is a wide range of items available to rent. Soucy at Special Events of New England said they rent anything from chairs and tables with linens to coffee machines to big outdoor tents.
“You pay for what you need,” Soucy said.
Generally, the things they rent out are for one-off events that last a day or a weekend and the pricing is based on that single event. Soucy said they are flexible and won’t charge extra if someone needs to pick up the items the day before or drop them off the day after. Delivery and installation services are also available. 
For example, chairs range in price from $1 each to $8 each. You can get 10 basic chairs for $10 or thousands for a big event like a graduation. Fancier chairs are for more formal events like weddings, should renters want the option. Soucy said the cost for renting the supplies for a full-blown backyard wedding can be as much as $15,000.
Fichera at Party Vision said they can rent things like mechanical bulls, photo booths, inflatable rides and other outdoor amusements to private renters. They charge a four-hour base price and a certain rate for each additional hour, depending on the supplies and the type of event. It’s usually about $1,000 to $1,200 to rent a photo booth, and about $1,250 to $1,350 to rent a mechanical bull, according to Fichera. Staff attendants come with the equipment. The total price of an event can range from $750 to $40,000 depending on what is needed.
Event planners can also book talent through Party Vision, such as magicians, hypnotists, fortune tellers, caricature artists, face paint artists, roving jugglers, stilt walkers and more.
Fichera said it’s usually best to make orders about 30 days in advance. Soucy agrees it’s always better to book early.
Where to find them: Special Events of New England, 320 Rockingham Road, Unit 2, Auburn, 800-924-8389 or 624-8389,
Party Vision, 20a Northwest Boulevard, Nashua, 800-290-9525 or 882-8805,
Christian Party Rental, 18 Clinton Drive, Hollis, 888-RENTENT (736-8368) or 882-1234,
Village Idiotz Party Rentals, P.O. Box 4097, Manchester, 557-7145,
Jump Around Inflatable Rentals, based in the Manchester area, 361-2281,,
Bounce House NH, 379 Amherst St., Nashua, 877-557-7371,,
EZ Bounce, based in the Concord area, 892-1659,
J & K Bounce House Rentals, 33 Old Loudon Road, Concord, 892-2300, find them on Facebook
Fun Bounce Moonwalk Rentals, based in the Derry area, 216-JUMP (5867), 
— Ryan Lessard 
For rent: 
“Dummy” wedding cakes
Why you might want to rent them: If you’re planning a wedding and looking to save every buck you can while still going all out, renting a makeshift “dummy” wedding cake as a centerpiece to your big day, especially for outdoor weddings or small weddings with less than 100 people, could be an option.
Jane Singleton of Singleton’s Kitchen & Bakery in Pelham said the cost of a dummy wedding cake could save you $100 or more while still having a decorative showpiece during the wedding reception. Singleton’s specializes in custom wedding cakes and edible party favors and takes special orders online and by phone.
“It’s basically a Styrofoam cake dummy that you rent that is made in the same style that a wedding cake would be made in as far as decorating,” Singleton said.
Singleton said this practice is especially good for outdoor weddings and for smaller weddings in which the bride and groom may only host a handful of guests but still want to have the look of a three- or four-layer cake. She added that these weddings will often have a real sheet cake hidden away, so that participants can have their cake and eat it too.
You can also rent a cupcake tower stand, which is designed to hold dozens of cupcakes stacked on top of each other to represent the look of a real cake.
“Those have become really popular for weddings … because it gives the guest not just one small piece of cake, but a variety of different cakes to choose from,” Singleton said.
Rental details: The cost varies depending on how the cake is designed and what is added, but Singleton said dummy wedding cakes are typically around $100 cheaper than what a regular wedding cake would cost.
Where to find them: Singleton’s Kitchen & Bakery, Pelham, 635-2638, — Matt Ingersoll 
For rent: Cameras, 
videography equipment 
and studio space
Why you might want to rent them: If you have a wedding or an extended vacation coming up and want to capture every moment on photo and film, but don’t necessarily want to spend hundreds or potentially thousands to buy equipment, renting a camera — or a special lens if you already have one — might be the way to go.
“The real reason why someone would rent photo or video equipment is that they just don’t use it enough by owning it,” said Bud Thorpe, owner of The Studio of Photographic Arts in Manchester, a 6,000-square-foot studio that he rents out.
According to Thorpe, the SOPHA is the only photographic equipment rental place in the Granite State. It acts as a member-based cooperative, but you don’t have to be a member to rent cameras, camera lenses, lighting equipment and even studio time.
“Our renters can either be experienced photographers or just people who aren’t sure how the equipment works and are looking to experiment with it,” he said. “We definitely have a lot of aspiring professionals and advanced hobbyists and enthusiasts, but anyone can rent from us.”
The available equipment includes many current-generation Nikon and Canon DSLR cameras, Sony point-and-shoot cameras, tripods and tripod heads, monopods, video cameras, video and audio production gear and more. The equipment is rented on a first-come, first-served basis, and studio members receive discounts. Thorpe said he recommends calling ahead or requesting a rental online before you come down to pick it up.
“While walk-ins can sometimes be accommodated, we do encourage people to reserve the gear they need especially during the busy season,” he said. “This is actually the peak season for rentals now, not only with the fall foliage, but with vacations and weddings happening this time of year too.”
Thorpe said customers are asked how long they need the equipment for and are quoted a rate and asked to sign a rental agreement.
Rental details: Prices for rentals vary depending on whether you are renting cameras, lenses, tripods or other equipment, but typically range from $20 to $100 for members or $25 to $125 for non-members per rental period. One rental period at the SOPHA is for two nights. One week is considered two rental periods and the cost is doubled. Studio space can be rented for a two-hour minimum for $75 per hour.
Where to find them: 15 Merrill St., Manchester, 782-8403,
— Matt Ingersoll 
For rent: Reptile educators
Why you might want to rent them: Reptile shows are educational as kids learn about snakes, lizards, turtles and more, and the fact that they can get up close and personal with the reptiles helps kids overcome any fears they might have. Plus, it’s just cool to rent them for birthday parties, school events and other kid-oriented activities.
“Honestly, kids will talk about the shows I do for years afterward about how cool it was,” said Alana Hess of Zoo Creatures Pet Store in Plaistow, who also hosts Zoo Parties with Alana. “The thing I would probably stress the most is that it’s just as educational as it is fun.”
Hess can bring usually up to 15 snakes, lizards, and sometimes tarantulas, chameleons, gila monsters and more to any event you are hosting within a 25-mile radius. But rent space for parties at Zoo Creatures Pet Store is also available for $250 per two hours.
“For the most part, it’s a pretty standard roster of reptiles … that are generally used to being exposed to large groups of people,” she said. “But I can always make accommodations, like if I know ahead of time that the kids want to see a lot of chameleons or something, then I’ll bring more.”
Michelle DeBye of Michelle’s Menagerie, who for nearly 30 years has done educational animal shows, said one of her 13 programs involves eight different kinds of reptiles. There are bearded dragons, geckos, an Egyptian lizard called a uromastyx, a tortoise and a snake, among others.
“I realized that eight animals turned out to be the perfect number,” DeBye said. “I’ll take out each animal one at a time, talk about interesting facts about it, and take questions at the end.”
Rental details: The cost can range from $160 to $250 for shows depending on the type and business. Shows are typically an hour.
Where to find them: Michelle’s Menagerie (Londonderry, 537-0123,; Wildlife Encounters Ecology Center & Farm School, 270 Beauty Hill Road, Barrington, 923-1168,; Zoo Parties with Alana, 149 Plaistow Road, Plaistow, 382-3338,
— Matt Ingersoll 
For rent: Bikes
Why you might want to rent them: In June, Bike Manchester partnered with the mobile app Zagster to launch a new bike share program, which currently includes six bike share stations located throughout Manchester where people can pay to unlock and borrow a bike on an hourly basis. 
Derek Shooster, associate planner with the Southern New Hampshire Planning Commission, which partners with Bike Manchester, says bike shares are a great option for people looking to get around in a city such as Manchester. People may rent a bike because they don’t have access to other transportation, or they may rent a bike because it’s a convenient way to get to their destination. 
“If you work in the Millyard but want to go to Elm Street, it’s just far away enough that it would be more difficult to drive there, find parking, pay for parking, drive back and look for parking again,” Shooster said. “The bikes give people flexibility to make that short trip easily and enjoyably.”
Necessary transportation isn’t the only reason people rent the bikes; people also rent simply because they enjoy riding but don’t own a bike of their own. 
“In the summer months especially, it’s nice for someone who is looking to take a recreational, leisurely ride on the rail trail, just to get some fresh air,” Shooster said. 
Rental details: The bikes in Manchester’s bike share program are durable cruisers with seven gears, adjustable seats, fenders and chain guard, automatic front and rear lights, Bluetooth-enabled electronic ring locks and a carry basket in front. 
To rent a bike, you must first download the Zagster app. Then, at a bike share station, choose a bike and type its unique code into the app, which will give you a code to unlock the bike from the station. 
The rate is $2 per hour, maxed out at $16, and is billed through the app. There is a $30 overtime charge, however, for keeping the bike longer than 24 hours. There are also monthly and yearly memberships that allow riders unlimited trips under one hour. When you’re done with the bike, simply return it to any Manchester bike share station and lock it to one of the ports. 
Where to find them: Learn more about the Bike Manchester bike share program at or There is also a Zagster-affiliated bike share program in Portsmouth; visit for more information. 
— Angie Sykeny 
For rent: Garden plots 
Why you might want to rent them: There are more than 80 community gardens in the state where you can rent a small plot of land to grow your own food, flowers and plants. 
Robert Spoerl, land agent for the New Hampshire Division of Forests and Lands, who also oversees Birch Street Community Gardens in Concord, said the biggest reason people rent space at a community garden is that they don’t have access to a garden of their own. 
“Most people I’ve talked to live in a place with no backyard or not a lot of open space,” he said. “In Concord and Manchester especially, many people live in apartments or condos where they can’t do their own gardening.”
For new gardeners, a community garden can be a way to learn by watching and talking with other gardeners. 
“We encourage people to talk to the people next to them and ask questions and get input from the more experienced gardeners,” Spoerl said.
Rental details: Different community gardens are run differently. Some only have plots in one size while others have various-sized plots to choose from. Birch Street Community Gardens in Concord, for example, has 25x50, 50x50 and 50x100 plots. Most gardens allow people to grow vegetables, flowers and plants, so long as they are not perennials and can be easily controlled without intruding on adjacent plots. Generally, growing for commercial use is forbidden. Applications for community garden plots are typically accepted in the spring, with the growing season starting in late spring or early summer and continuing through late summer or early fall. Prices vary depending on the garden; Birch Street’s prices are $20 for the smallest plot, $30 for the medium plot and $40 for the largest. 
Where to find them: Birch Street Community Gardens (located on Birch Street just off Clinton Street, Concord, 271-2214, For the full list of community gardens in the state, visit 
— Angie Sykeny 
For rent: Art 
Why you might want to rent it: You don’t have to dish out lots of money or make a big committment to display original, local artwork in your home or workspace. The New Hampshire Art Association has a variety of art created by its 275 member artists and craftspeople available to rent, from paintings and photography to sculpture and three-dimensional pieces.
There are a number of reasons you may choose to rent rather than buy art. You could rent art as decor for a special event, or you could rent art for a workspace that you will only inhabit temporarily. NHAA assistant gallery manager Kelsey Price said the most common renters are those who are interested in buying a piece of art but aren’t ready to commit. 
“They like to test it out first and gauge how it’s going to look in their home to see if they want it to be part of their permanent collection,” Price said. 
Rental details: NHAA’s rental selection rotates from month to month and may include art from the association’s current or recent shows or other art created by the artists featured in those shows. 
“People can come into our gallery and take a look at the shows going on and see if there’s a certain artist or a specific style that they like or that fits what they’re looking for,” Price said. 
How long a person rents the art depends on their needs. Price said she’s seen people rent for anywhere from three days to three months.  
There are no set prices for renting art as they are set on a case-by-case basis determined by the artist, the style and size of the art and the duration of the rental. Interested renters must submit a request to the NHAA stating their intentions for the rental. 
“Once we get that request, we’ll work on tailoring [the rental] to fit their specific needs,” Price said. “We’re happy to work with anyone in varying degrees to get their request met.” 
Where to get it: New Hampshire Art Association (136 State St., Portsmouth, 431-4230, 
— Angie Sykeny 
For rent: Beach gear 
Why you might want to rent it: You don’t have to own or bring your own beach gear for your next trip to the Seacoast. Services like Coastal Vacation Supplies in Hampton allow you to rent everything you need for a day of fun in the sun. Their rental selection includes beach chairs for kids and adults, beach umbrellas, beach baby strollers, kids’ beach toys, beach towels, beach games like bocce ball and cornhole, boogie boards and more. 
“People are very surprised and very happy when they find out that they can rent [beach gear],” Coastal Vacation Supplies owner Barbara Whalen said. “It’s a great way to take the stress out of your vacation and be able to enjoy it and have a good time.” 
Many people don’t have their own beach gear, Whalen said, because they either can’t afford it, don’t have space for it in their home, or rarely visit the beach and don’t have a need for it. 
“People don’t want to have to buy a product that they’ll hardly use or are never going to use again,” she said. 
Renting can also be a good option for people who do own their own beach gear, whether they don’t have room in their car to bring everything they want or just for the convenience of not having to pack and unpack all their gear. 
Rental details: Coastal Vacation Supplies and similar services typically allow you to select the items you want to rent and place your order online. The items will be delivered and picked up at the place and time you specify. Most rentals are billed by the week, although Whalen said Coastal Vacation Supplies will offer daily rates starting next year. 
Where to find it: Coastal Vacation Supplies (serves New Hampshire Seacoast vacation destinations, 395-0596,; Seacoast Gear Rental (serves Rye, Portsmouth, Hampton and Seabrook, 508-687-2589, — Angie Sykeny 

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