For Chicago's urban chicken entrepreneur, success means laying an egg

For Chicago's urban chicken entrepreneur, success means laying an egg
For Chicago's urban chicken entrepreneur, success means laying an egg

There's an even better chicken joke than the one about a certain fowl crossing the road, and it begins with Jennifer Murtoff of Oak Park, Ill. printing up 150 business cards that identified her as an Urban Chicken Consultant.

True, Murtoff grew up something of a farm girl in south central Pennsylvania, raising chicks with names like Hot Stuff and Baby Jitterbug in her grandpa's barnyard. But Murtoff, 35, had no real intention of turning her lifelong poultry passion into an entrepreneurial pursuit. A fan of Monty Python and practical jokes, she just thought the cards would look funny when she designed them two years ago.

But as these fine feathered tales go, Murtoff soon found that one woman's yuck is another person's yolk. And once the chicken flew the coop, so to speak, there was no stopping it.

"I was just being goofy with the cards," Murtoff recalled. "And then my accountant said, 'I want to get chickens in my back yard.'" That was in March 2009, a time when the French horn player with a master's degree in Hispanic linguistics could've used some spare cash.

Thus a new sideline wasn't so much born as hatched.