Portland, Oregon has gone chicken crazy.
Chickens are all the rage today in this city, where backyard chicken coops are sprouting and residents are allowed to keep up to three chickens (hens only, no roosters) without a permit. Even the city’s Mayor owns a backyard coop himself! In June 2010, the city even had a Tour de Coops, where about 25 backyard chicken coops (including the Mayor’s) all over East Portland opened to the public to share and learn about urban chicken keeping.
As Portland goes ga-ga for chickens, two enterprising ladies are cashing in on the trend. Rhonda Piasecki and Sharon Rowland have started Just Us Hens, which may be the country’s first chicken sitting business.
The ladies are both chicken aficionados, raising about 12 chickens in total between the two of them. They met while working together at an urban farm store, and it just so happens that they were both looking for a change in the direction of their lives. They decided to start a business venture together, based on their mutual love for chickens. In May 2010, their business, Just as Hens http://justushens.com , was born.
Just Us Hens offer services focused on caring for chickens and educating others about raising backyard chickens. They offer hen sitting services ($15), hen health house calls such as wing clipping and beak trimming ($25 and up). They also do consultations on raising and caring for chickens as well as urban agriculture issues ($50 per hour). When doing house calls and chicken sitting, they visit the home twice per day feeding, petting, and holding the chickens whose owners may be gone for the day or away on vacations.
To market the business, Piasecki and Rowland created their website http://justushens.com and started a blog. They actively participate in a chat group of Portland chicken owners called PDXBackyardChix. And the novelty of their business has gained them quite a number of buzz.
Here’s hoping that this business will hold up as the urban farming trend continues!