Last summer Linda Walker of Portland, Oregon, gained great knowledge about chickens while working at a feed store. It was a first-hand experience at caring and selling chicks and ducklings, something she had never done before. “It was an intense experience and I worked with people who really knew their stuff,” Walker said. “I just thought it was neat, and I just kind of put it under my hat.”
She decided to quit the job, but not because of lack of interest in chickens. She decided to take up a new opportunity on her own, something that might be unusual in a major city but was in fact in demand in the Portland community. “Just in my neighbourhood there’s got to be at least 20 households that have chickens,” explained Walker. ”Your neighbour can take your cat or dog, but not a whole lot of them know what to do with [chickens] or what to look for.”
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Four months ago she decided to approach a friend of hers – someone who was a newlywed, about to go on a honeymoon, and without a sitter to watch her 200 chickens. Over a period of ten days, she quickly figured out a routine for taking care of the chickens. She made sure the birds were taken out of the cage, fed, and put back and secured by night. Walker described her first chick-sitting experience like babysitting, but much less complex.
After her first chicken-sitting experience, Walker left flyers around town advertising her new service hoping it would be her new source of income. Since then, she’s received over 20 call backs. “It’s been a really great experience for me,” Walker said. “I had to be open to it, and I realized I really enjoyed them. They’re beautiful and really funny and better than TV, they’re fun to watch. And they have great eggs!”