FRIENDSVILLE, Tenn. — An East Tennessee business grew out of the growing interest in chickens.
Melinda Chachamovits does have official training and certification for their care. But she also just really likes chickens.
“They serve a dual purpose they can give you food and they can be a pet. And they’re just very simple to take care of a lot easier than a dog or a cat, I think,” she said.
But someone needs to take care of then when you’re away. You shouldn’t just put out a bucket of water and hope for the best. So the chicken specialist started a business during the pandemic because she noticed a need.
“I noticed that there was an increase in chicken purchases, and I noticed that a lot of chicken supplies were not available there was not much feed,” she said. “I bet there’s going to be a lot of people when this pandemic slows down that they’re going to realize we can’t go anywhere because we have chickens.”
One recent assignment was caring for chickens in a backyard coop in Friendsville.
The owner travels for business so Combs and Wattles provided chicken sitting.
“I’ll come out let him out of the coop into the run or the yard. And in the evening time I’ll go back put him in. And then I at each visit we refresh the feed the water. We do a health check for your flock we do a predator check around your coop and run. We collect the eggs,” she said.
Melinda washes her hands frequently and wears disposable booties on her shoes. That not only protects her from tracking chicken stuff into her house but they also protect the chickens.
“Chickens can have a disease or a sickness and they don’t show symptoms or signs of it. So if you don’t take the proper precautions and you’re going from one customer’s house to another customer’s house, you’re potentially taking the disease or sickness with you via your shoes your clothing your hands,” she said.
She will also scoop the coop and freshen it up.
Melinda thought her typical clients would be vacationers. But it turns out that chicken sitting has a broad appeal.
“Some people are going back to work now some of you don’t have time. And then you have some older people who just can’t do it for themselves anymore, but they want to keep their chickens, and so we do that as well,” she said.
Looking beyond the coronavirus to the future of Combs and Wattles, she said, “Everybody that has chickens will go on vacation next year, so that I can come out and take care of their chickens.”
She’s not just winging it. Melinda Chachamovits is an eggs-pert.
Combs and Wattles plans to expand the chicken sitting business. New workers will have chicken care credentials.
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