By Christopher Yee
The urban chicken has become a new status symbol for those seeking to live sustainable lifestyles. Owners can let their chickens out in the morning before they go to work, put them inside after they return home and collect fresh eggs at their leisure. However, what happens when these friends of fowl want to leave home for a few days?
They call Cypress Park resident Anna Goeser, proprietor of Easy Acres Chicken Sitting, to “babysit” their chickens. Goeser has been raising hens for 15 years, but she noticed that she could turn that skill into a business in January when she came across many people on the Eastside were raising chickens.
“Once I had my own chickens, I realized I could never go anywhere. People babysit dogs and cats all the time, but when it comes to chickens, they don’t really know what to do,” said Goeser. “A few people needed someone to watch their chickens over the holidays, so I thought I’d give it a try.”
A few tries later, Goeser has consistent business through word-of-mouth advertising and her website, with about a dozen customers from Culver City to Monrovia. Her chicken sitting rate begins at $25 a day but the final price depends on the requirements of the individual job in addition to mileage. Goeser has been an urban farmer for 20 years and offers gardening and harvesting services in addition to sitting for an minimal fee on top of the price for sitting.
The standard rate includes twice-a-day visits to let the chickens out of their coop, feed and water them, give any medication necessary, clean up excrement, collect eggs and eventually putting the chickens back inside for the night.
Goeser is willing to also help take care of other animals like dogs, cats and even 100-lb. tortoises at a negotiable rate. “I’ll help out with any animal or pet as long as I feel comfortable doing so and have at least some knowledge of the animal,” she said. She does have her limits, though. “I turned down one business proposition to take care of 13 parrots, a flock of chickens, parrots, and a dog and a cat. It was too big a menagerie for me, like a jungle on Mulholland.”
After spending several years in Oregon and becoming a master gardener there, Goeser feels that the shift to sustainable living is a change for the better. “In Oregon, that’s sort of just how people live. They grow and eat their own vegetables, but of course it’s a much more agrarian environment. It’s nice to see it happening in California. People are finding ways to do it, and I’m glad to help,” said Goeser.