Things are a bit hectic at Kate Fraser’s home in Metchosin these days, with chickens, horses, cats, bees and children all running around the property.
That will change in the coming weeks, as Fraser is getting set to rent some of her bee hives to help raise funds for a well-known heritage house in Victoria.
Fraser runs Bees Please Farms, a local business that rents bee hives and chickens to residents in the Capital Regional District. As part of the business, residents can rent two of 56 hives, beginning in May. Fraser will bring over the hives, which are constructed to look like a showpiece in people’s gardens rather than a traditional hive, and will come over a few times a month to maintain them.
“It really stems from people knowing about the plight of the bees, and what they’re up against and wanting to support them, but not wanting to become a bee keeper,” said Fraser, adding bees provide pollination to people’s gardens and allow for a source of entertainment for people to watch.
“It’s an option to really help increase the bee population.”
Chickens can also be rented from May to October in groups of two to four (as the feathered friends do better in groups). Fraser will provide a specially-designed two-level chicken coup, organic food and a water dish. Two hens can produce roughly a dozen eggs a week.
Renting chickens allows people to try chicken ownership, without having to commit in the long-term, said Fraser, adding once you have the foundation, owning chickens is similar to having a cat. They need to be fed and poo needs to be cleaned up.
“They’re really entertaining, people love to watch them and play with them,” Fraser said, adding a number of people name their chickens as well.
Renting bees and chickens is an idea that started when Fraser gave birth to her son and wanted to grow food for her young family. That’s when she realized she wanted to provide the same organic lifestyle to residents who might not have the space or ability to do so.
After a quick Google search, she came across Rent the Chicken in Seattle, which offered similar services in Montreal, Toronto and Quebec.
Since then, the business has grown, with the family recently moving to a three-acre farm in Metchosin — luxury living as Fraser called it for her furry and feathered friends.
Now, Fraser is giving back to the community and the Point Ellice House on Pleasant Street. Originally, the heritage house wanted to rent a few hives from Fraser, however, since it is going through renovations this year, it was not in the cards.
That’s when Fraser decided to donate two of her hives to Point Ellice. People can donate a minimum of $100, which permits them access to the grounds and jars of honey. People can visit their bees as well.
For more information on the bee program at Point Ellice House email email@example.com.