Mar 31, 2024 - News

Twin Cities flock-sitting service provides backup to backyard chicken owners

A man squatting holding an egg with 3 chickens looking at him

Flock Sitting MN's services include visits and collecting eggs. Photo courtesy of Craig Heinen

The backyard chicken boom led one Twin Cities-area fowl fan to launch a flock-sitting business.

Why it matters: Many pet sitters who handle dogs and cats don't know how to care for chickens, leaving owners in a bind when they need to leave town.

Zoom in: Richfield resident Craig Heinen got the idea for the service after he and his wife had "a heck of a time" finding someone qualified to watch their backyard ducks while they went on vacation.

What happened: A friend who lives nearby stepped up. But when one of the birds fell ill and eventually died, the Heinens realized the importance of having someone with knowledge and experience at the helm back home.

How it works: For $25 a visit, one of the Heinens will stop by for 15-20 minutes, refill food and water, collect and store eggs, and check the perimeter of the coop for security.

  • Supervised "playtime" in the yard can be added for an additional fee.

Between the lines: In addition to bringing knowledge about the pets, they employ biosecurity best practices, like changing shoes to avoid spreading disease between flocks.

How it's going: The Heinens booked dozens of clients without a real advertising or marketing push in their first year, visiting 7-8 flocks a day during busy holiday and summer travel seasons.

What's next: Heinen plans to train and hire more flock sitters to expand his capacity and coverage area.


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