Portland Woman Finds Work As ... Chicken-Sitter

Linda Walker, chicken sitterBy Maria Nikias

Going on vacation means a laundry list of to-do's before heading out of town. Hire a babysitter, house sitter, pet sitter, but a chicken-sitter? "Chicken sitting" the flyer advertises. "Need someone to care for your hens while you take a trip? Now you have someone to care for your backyard barnyard. Experienced, caring and reliable."

Last summer Linda Walker of Portland, Ore., gained great knowledge about chickens while working at a feed store. It was a firsthand 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 told ABC News. "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.

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"Just in my neighborhood there's got to be at least 20 households that have chickens," explained Walker. "Your neighbor can take your cat or dog, but not a whole lot of them know what to do with [chickens] or what to look for."

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. While Walker was excited at her first chicken-sitting opportunity, she admits that she wasn't quite sure what she was she was getting into.

"I said, 'Wow, there's a lot of animals here!" chuckled Walker. "It was like training by fire; you figure it out. I had enough under my belt to start with that."

Over a period of 10 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. Although there was always the unexpected, like occasionally dealing with a chicken getting stuck in a fence.

"I had to go over there and pull him out!" said Walker. "After being out there, if I can handle this many birds, I can sure handle three birds."

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 told ABC News. "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!"

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Hey, you do what you have to to make some money. This is a good idea, sounds like it is a needed service in that area.

March 06 2013 at 12:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"Woman Finds Work As ... Chicken-Sitter" Boy I wouldn't want to try and say that if I'd been drinking.

March 05 2013 at 7:07 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Chicken sitting would be a perfect job for me! We always had chickens when I was growing up and it was my chore to feed, water and gather the eggs. I nursed injured chicks and kept one for a pet for years. Her top beak had been half bitten off by another chick and she needed to be fed alone as she ate slowly. Chickens are not real bright but they are pretty and entertaining!

March 05 2013 at 6:53 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

My husband is a great chicken sitter, he even puts on music for the chickens he has here. I swear, one time I was in the back yard. I could here music and talking, I was like who's out here. For a minute there I thought the chickens were talking to me in spanish to boot. When my husband gets home from work, all I seen was these hens rushing to the front yard to greet him. No lying.

March 05 2013 at 5:32 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

This woman would be a savior to me. I have 20 chickens. If I go on vacation out of town I wouldn't have/know anyone who could take care of them. I sure wish she lived near me! I'd hire her.

March 05 2013 at 3:57 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

Good for her! I wish her the best.

March 05 2013 at 3:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Ah, chicken-sitting. Now that takes me back. The smells, the wonderful stuff that gets stuck to the bottoms of your shoes. Say "chicken sitting" 3 times real fast........be careful now..........Yes, chicken-sitting. There's no clucking way I would do that.

March 05 2013 at 3:20 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to jblandf890's comment

My husband would hire someone to take care of these chickens we have here. Than have me do it. Im still waiting for the day for him to tell me to make myself useful and chicken sit these creatures.

March 05 2013 at 5:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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