Our friend and regular contributor, Becky McCray, an expert in small town and rural businesses, recently shared on Small Business Survival a business idea and marketing outreach program that convinces us what comes first in business: First comes the opportunity, then the creative idea is hatched. Here’s Becky’s story.


Everyone loves little Easter baby chicks.

Children especially love baby chicks. And their parents just love how much their young children love those baby chicks.

Unfortunately, that too often leads unprepared parents to purchase a chick or two to take home. Every Easter, we hear about families who buy chicks for their children, only to realize baby chicks don’t really fit into their lives. Left on the side of roads or posted for free on Craigslist, the sweet, active chicks are left scared and alone.

For some people, that might be viewed as a challenge. But to the Omaha, Nebraska farmer Mariel Barreras, it looked like a business and community outreach opportunity that reinforces her family’s successful educational outreach programs the Barreras Family Farm carries out year-round. And so she started the Barreras Family Farm’s Rent-a-Chick Educational Program.

That’s right, instead of selling a family two chicks to take home to an unprepared setting, Barreras “rents” two Easter chicks each to 60 families, day-care centers or other programs.

In addition to the chicks, the family takes home a kit that includes:

  • Tote with breathe through lid
  • Heating pad that is fire safe and won’t burn your children
  • Water dish
  • Food dish
  • Food for length of the program
  • Potty pads
  • Chick health and safety class
  • Emails with activities sent during the program duration
  • Certificate for a FREE dozen eggs that your chicks will begin laying in the fall.

The Rent-a-Chick program educates families on basic chick care. Little downy chicks go to families in pairs. They move in with the family for two weeks who care for the chicks and teach them how to interact with humans. In return, the chicks teach the families how to feed, water, exercise, and love on little animals that are completely dependent on them.

Kids are encouraged to name their chicks and come back to check on them.

After two weeks the chicks return to Barreras Family Farm flock.

The host families even receive a certificate for a free dozen eggs which their chicks will begin to lay in the fall.

Like we said: Everyone loves baby chicks.

Especially when they connect young people with small business owners who develop experiences that can lead to lifelong customer relationships.

Link HT: @maniactive