You have chickens. You need to go out of town for the week. Who ya gonna call? May I recommend a new niche business? Urban chicken sitting.
Our society has baby sitters, dog sitters, house sitters, and cat sitters. Why not chickens sitters? Many city dwellers like to leave urban bliss for much-deserved vacation at least once a year. If you’re chicken savvy and want to earn a few eggstra bucks, why not start a chicken sitting business?
What are the basic duties of a chicken sitter?
Here are some recommendations for what you might offer:
- Two home visits each day the owner is gone.
- Morning visit: Let the birds out of the coop, feed, water, collect eggs.
- Evening visit: Close the birds up in the coop, feed, water, collect eggs.
- Extended in-home service: Watch the birds for an hour or two while they free range in the yard.
- Emergency vet visit: Take any birds that appear sick to the vet.
What are the requirements for a chicken sitter?
Birds and mammals are very different. In order to care for someone else’s birds, you should be able to do the following:
- Like birds!
- Have your own transportation. Having access to a car is a big plus, especially in the case of an emergency situation.
- Keep strict quarantine. If you have your own fowl, clean shoes thoroughly with a bleach solution when you go between your client’s yard and your own. Change soiled clothing to avoid contamination of either flock with foreign bacteria, coccidia protozoa, or other nasties.
- Respect the birds’ routines. Birds are creatures of habit, and changes in routine can cause undue stress. Try to feed and water on the same schedule as your clients. Feed the same food, in the same amounts.
- Know and observe the flock’s behavior. Observe your client’s flock before you begin chicken sitting to determine what normal behavior is. Knowing normal behavior will help you know if something out of the ordinary is going on in terms of health or pecking order.
- Know the signs of distress in birds. For more information, see my post on Subclinical Illness.
- Know what to do in an emergency. If something goes wrong, you should know what to do or whom to call. Feel free to contact Home to Roost, or you can contact one of the recommended avian vets listed on the Resources tab.
- Consult with the owner about the cost of treating a sick bird. How much will the owner want to spend on a vet bill? Will you have to foot the bill and seek reimbursement from the owner?
If you have any thoughts about what you’d like to see in an urban chicken sitter, please post below!