In most cities and towns across the country, it’s not difficult to find someone who will, for a certain price, walk your dog, brush your cat, feed your fish, and pet your rabbit while you’re away at work or on vacation. The dog-walking/pet-sitting business is a booming, often lucrative one and an industry that I once, as a graduate student in New York, worked in (in case you were wondering, I’m certified in pet CPR and can remove Great Dane poop
from a sidewalk in one single swoop …what can I say? I have skills).
And now, with an increasing number of self sufficiency-minded folks beginning to keep chickens in urban and suburban areas, you can hire trained chicken sitters to watch over your brood — and perhaps supervise conjugal visits
— while you’re out of town.
L.A. at Home
recently spoke with Anna Goeser, Master Gardener, veteran chicken keeper (15 years), and proprietress of Easy Acres Chicken Sitting
, a professional chicken sitting service or what L.A. at Home calls “the latest indulgence for L.A. urban gardeners.”
Starting at $20 a day, Goeser will do what most other urban pet sitting firms fail to offer on their menu of services: clean coops, put out food and water, and collect eggs. In the event that a flown-the-coop client keeps free-range chickens, she’ll let them out in the morning to roam and hustle them back into the coop in the evening. Goeser also offers domestic pet sitting and yard maintenance services. Although the Easy Acres Chicken Sitting website doesn't list preferred methods of payment, I do wonder if Goeser accepts fresh eggs along with Visa, Mastercard, Discovery, and cash.
In addition to years of chicken keeping at her own home, Goeser possess a much-needed skill of the trade: she’s not at all intimidated by the sometimes unruly backyard beasts. She tells L.A. at Home
: “You can't imagine how many people are afraid of chickens. People are really freaked out by them. Over the years I've heard so many stories from people who were chased by chickens. It is hard to find people to look after them when you go out of town."
As it turns out, Goeser isn’t the only fearless flock-tender for hire. After doing a quick online search, I found several other dedicated chicken sitting companies including Chicken Sitting
and Just Us Hens
, both based in Portland, Ore. (shocker!) and Sound Chicken Sitting
in Seattle. And as it turns out, many non-poultry-centric pet-care companies that primarily focus on sitting of the canine and feline variety will also look after chickens, horses, and other critters primarily found in barnyards, not backyards (are there are nanny goat nanny services out there?) Also, if you want to see what detailed instructions left for a chicken sitter look like, check out this post
at the Urban Chickens Network
As a former pet care provider, I can’t say that I’d be willing to sit chickens (I draw the line at pilling other people's cats and interacting with most reptiles). I do admit they make me a bit nervous and besides, I’m too busying conjuring up my own fantasy niche pet-sitting business: Boozehounds, New York’s first doggie daycare/after-work cocktail lounge.
Urban chicken keepers: how have you dealt with your backyard brood while traveling? Have you enlisted a friend or neighbor or hired a "professional?"
MNN homepage photo: alicepopkorn/Flickr