It started as a joke when Jennifer Murtoff of Oak Park, Ill. printed up 150 business cards that identified her as an Urban Chicken Consultant. She had no real intention of turning her lifelong poultry passion into an entrepreneurial pursuit.
WalletPop reports that it turns out that beyond the Chicago prairie, urban chicken coops are catching on from Albuquerque to Portland, Ore. "There's a move toward urban agriculture and people want to have chickens in their backyard," said Murtoff, who records her exploits on a blog, Home to Roost. "I had a really busy spring because that's when people are getting their chickens."
For most of her services, Murtoff charges between $60 and $75. Yes, she makes house calls for sick birds, and if you pay her $300, she'll pretty much see you through all the chick-to-chicken consultations you need.
Has it paid off? Murtoff's been busy as a mother hen through most of the spring and summer, with lots of paid presentations to church and school groups on the docket as well. She expects things to calm down once the winter weather sets in -- not that her ardor for her business will follow suit.
"It's a lot of fun for me to see a kid hold a chicken, or feed a chicken," she said. "They're unusual and they're the only pets that give back, unless you have a goat or a cow. And chickens really do have a personality. You figure out who they are after awhile."
Photo by Home To Roost.