Back in 2010, Julie Baker’s daughter had a favorite chicken. Their family raised a whole brood of chickens and, like most farm animals, they remained outside, free to peck, scratch, bah-gok, and poop to their hearts’ content. The daughter’s favorite chicken — Abigail — was an old hen who was fond of hanging out inside the house.
As chickens are wont to do, she pooped wherever she pleased, without hesitation. She was, after all, a chicken, creatures which are rarely potty-trained. Countless unsavory illnesses like Toxocariasis, a zoonotic disease, are spread from animals to humans. There’s no better way to spread them than to have animals inside the house, pooping everywhere. Faced with such a fecal phenomenon, Baker consulted the internet. Naturally, what she found was super weird.
She stumbled upon videos of chickens wearing pieces of cloth strapped around their bottoms. Curious about the purpose of such chicken couture, she quickly found out that they were chicken diapers.
“Oh my goodness, I so need to do that,” Baker thought.
So she did.
What began as a simple piece of cloth that kept Abigail from leaving droppings all around the house started to trend. Fellow chicken keepers began to ask Baker to make them chicken diapers, too. As she received more requests, she decided to make the opportunity a teachable moment.
Baker homeschooled her daughter and used the opportunity to teach some business acumen. Challenging her to build a website to promote chicken diaper sales, Pampered Poultry was born. Little did they know how massive it would become.
By 2022, the enterprise software market is slated to surpass $500 billion. Every day brings new tools for enterprising entrepreneurs looking to build a business online. And after establishing her online store, she started building an unlikely business. It began slowly, but, as the poultry popularity started to pick up, it got huge. Baker currently estimates that Pampered Poultry brings in approximately $50,000 in sales per year.
Chicken fever (which sounds like an illness, but isn’t) wasn’t always a thing. Pizza may remain America’s preferred comfort food, but chickens have gone from a fried food staple to family pet. They were traditionally thought of as a form of livestock and generally regarded as uncouth and dirty creatures. Somewhere along the way, the attitude toward them began to shift; they’ve recently become favored pets and even status symbols among Silicon Valley elites.
If you’re wondering who is spending all this money on things like chicken diapers, look to Northern California. As is the way of the San Franciso Bay Area tech world, they’re super extra. Some flock owners hire out contractors to build custom-made chicken coops for more than $20,000 (for reference, the average price of a new pickup truck is around $40,696). Some opt for a pre-made coop from Williams-Sonoma, oft referred to as the “Range Rover of chicken coops.” This isn’t to mention the laundry list of accouterments that come with chicken ownership. For the modern poultry pal, there is a wealth of options for chicken couture.
Pampered Poultry is just one example of the burgeoning clucking clothiers, now formulating a fairly large market of accessories. Beyond diapers, there are also chicken tutus, dresses, capes, hats, and even peep pouches that hold baby chicks in them (and we can’t even with them because they’re outrageously cute). All stemming from a simple idea: how can I stop chickens from pooping on my couch?
As the trend surges across the nation from farms to family rooms, chickens are donning diapers that deftly deny displaced defecation.
Hey, you never know where or how your whimsical side-hustle might start.
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