Virtual Chicken-Keeping Class, June 8, 2020


Home to Roost is pairing with the Rebuilding Exchange to offer a virtual workshop on keeping chickens in the city on Monday, June 8, from 6:30 – 8:30 pm. Cost is $20. Click here for more information and to register. 

May 23 is National Drinking with Chickens Day!


No, we are not making this up. Drinking with Chickens Day is a real thing, founded by Kate Richards in 2019. So spend some quality time with your birds, with your favorite [non-alcoholic] mocktail, cocktail, brew, or bubbly in hand!

This is a national holiday that we can really relate to here at HtR. Mix yourself a “Cooped-up Cocktail” and head to your backyard or patio for Happy Hour. Your chickens will provide the entertainment!

Home to Roost wants to see how you are celebrating… Send your photos to hometoroostllc@gmail.com, and we will post them!

Drinking with Chickens is also a celebration of the farm-to-table / farm-to-glass movement. Points if your liquor is locally sourced or your beer hails from the local brewpub.

“This day should be celebrated by responsibly drinking cocktails/mocktails with your favorite friends (or, hey, alone, if you prefer) in a garden, backyard, farm, vineyard, outdoor bar setting, ideally with chickens milling about (as chickens typically do),” says the founder.

For more ideas on how to celebrate, go to the founder’s blog. And remember, you’re not drinking alone… you’re Drinking with Chickens!

Online Chicken-Keeping Classes with Home to Roost


Home to Roost is now offering online chicken-keeping programs for libraries, conservatories, schools, and other organizations interested in providing meaningful online content for their stay-at-home patrons.

Everyone’s getting chickens, it seems, and Home to Roost offers several presentations on this decade’s “it” bird. These online programs would help your organization connect with patrons who currently have birds and those who are thinking about raising backyard chickens in the current shelter-in-place environment.

I’d recommend beginning with the Chicken-Keeping Class (2 hrs), followed by Chicken Coop Basics (2 hrs). You can also host a simple Q&A session with Home to Roost! (I also offer all of my classes in-person and design custom programs for kids or to suit your needs!)

Home to Roost’s classes are based on personal experience, rigorous research, best practices, interactions with avian veterinarians, as well as more than 10 years of helping folks in Chicago raise chickens – and of course a great love for poultry. I have presented at public libraries, Morton Arboretum, Chicago Botanic Garden, Garfield Park Conservatory, and Coop Camp, appeared at various festivals, and created a chicken-keeping program for the Cook County Sheriff’s Office.

If your organization is interested in hosting a class, you can download a list of my class offerings or connect with me via my contact page. Let me know if you’d like a class that is not on the list! I’m always happy to accommodate special requests!

Sign the Petition for Chickens in Park Ridge, IL


A group of people interested in bringing chickens started this petition on April 13 in order to get the conversation started with city officials in support of keeping backyard hens in Park Ridge, IL. If you live in Park Ridge, please sign and share this petition!

 

 

FREE Basic Chicken Q&A Zoom meeting with Home to Roost!


Bring your questions about chickens to a FREE Basic Chicken Q&A Zoom meeting with Home to Roost!
First come, first served!
I usually have a number of classes in the spring – basic chicken care, coop building, etc., but due to COVID-19, I’m going to be offering some classes online in the near future.
Topic: Basic Chicken Q&A with Home to Roost
Time: Apr 16, 2020 07:00-07:40 PM Central Time (US and Canada)
Space: 100 participants
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 716 3026 2022
Password: 7R1sf7

Dr. Peter Sakas, Beloved Avian Veterinarian, Passes Due to COVID-19 Complications


It is with a very heavy heart that I report that my favorite avian vet, mentor, and supporter, Dr. Peter Sakas, owner of Niles Animal Hospital, has died from complications of COVID-19.

His quiet demeanor and self-deprecating humor masked a deep-seated compassion and a heart of gold, as well as a kind and generous soul. He cared for many animals that would not otherwise have had a chance and treated gravely injured wildlife, including a red-tailed hawk I picked up.

He was always willing to work a patient into his schedule, respond to an email, or tell an awful joke. He cared deeply for his patients and was always willing to go the extra mile. He performed an oviductectomy on my favorite parakeet Regina Coeli, giving me a bit more time with her; he was there when I had to make difficult decisions about life-or-death matters, always giving me time to think things through and supporting me in my decisions about those life-or-death matters, which is always important for the owner of a companion animal, no matter how small.

His vast knowledge of animal care was hidden behind a quiet humility and a great sense of humor. We were necropsying a chicken one day, and he said, “Do you know what that is?” pointing to an organ. I said “No, I don’t.” And he responded, “Neither do I!” [It was the spleen. Of course he knew this!]

On another occasion I brought in my male Japanese quail Tweedledee and Tweedledum because they had foam in their droppings. I was concerned about parasites. The computers were down that day, and Dr. Sakas did a number of tests – CBC, fecal, gram stain – and nothing turned up, even after examining the foam under a microscope. He sent me home with antibiotics. Once I got home, I did a little online research and was quite amused to find that nature had duped him. As it turns out, male Japanese quail have a foam gland right above the cloaca. The foam aids in sperm motility. We had a good laugh over that one.

His generosity added greatly to my current body of knowledge as a chicken consultant: He let me shadow him in clinic; he reviewed my necropsy photos and notes; he cared for many of my own birds; he believed in me, supported me, respected me.

He was generous, kind, patient, soft-spoken, and so knowledgeable. The animals of Chicagoland are poorer for this loss. My condolences to his family and the staff of Niles Animal Hospital.

Dr. Sakas, you will be greatly, unimaginably missed.

Requiescat in pace.

If you have a favorite memory of Dr. Sakas, please leave it in the comments below.

 

The following is a letter from the family:

 

Dear Niles Animal Hospital family,
It is with completely shattered hearts that we give you the news that Dr. Peter Sakas, our father, has passed away unexpectedly. Though it was unexpected, he was comfortable in his final moments.
There are no words to describe how broken we feel, and you undoubtedly feel the same. Our father was truly one of a kind. His sister recently shared the story with us of why he decided to become a veterinarian. Believe it or not, our dad grew up wanting to become an architect and would frequently be found doodling pictures of his future buildings (a trait he held onto his entire life…he would constantly doodle when he was on the phone). He worked as a caddie over the summers and one day while walking home, he found a small injured bird on the sidewalk. He brought the bird home and was completely beside himself that he was unable to help it. That moment was the impetus for his decision to pursue a career in veterinary medicine. As people get older, they tend to become jaded, but our father’s big heart and compassion only seemed to grow since finding that small bird. His love and empathy knew no bounds. He truly believed all life is precious and that animals have souls. He practiced medicine in a manner that was testament to those beliefs. He frequently took on cases that others considered helpless and he would often double-book himself or come in to the clinic after hours to care for the animals, both pets and wildlife, he so dearly loved.
Our father would often tell us that he’s never worked a day in his life because he loved his job so much. He took great pride in being the voice for patients who could not speak and tell him their problems, but we also know that the people he could speak to (you, his clients) meant the world to him. Our entire lives have been filled with stories of his clients and their animal companions he has had the privilege of treating. He would tell us about the wonderful people who tolerated his “dad joke” style of humor and who even traveled from different states to come see him (We’ll never forget hearing about the turkey who came in a corvette from Wisconsin). So although we have not met many of you in person, you have felt like a part of our family for as long as we can remember and we can’t thank you enough for making him feel so loved. He told us that he was never going to retire, and we’re comforted to know he got to uphold that promise and do what he loved right up until the very end.
The hole that this has left in our hearts will never fully heal, but our father’s spirit lives on in the entire staff at Niles Animal Hospital. Our father said that he was an “excellent judge of character,” and we know firsthand that the team he has created is top-notch and will continue to carry out his legacy and way of practicing. We hope you can continue to trust Niles Animal Hospital with the care of your beloved companions.
Given the extremely unfortunate circumstances, we are unable to have a proper memorial service at this time. There will be a service for immediate family members, but we plan to have another service some time in the future where we can all come together and properly celebrate our father.
In the meantime, please feel free to share your favorite memory, story, or cheesy “dad joke” you have of our father on his personal Facebook page or the Niles Animal Hospital Facebook page. We will personally be reading each one and it would truly mean the world to know how our father has impacted your lives since we are unable to share these stories in person at this time.
If you would like to make a different kind of contribution, we would direct you to make a contribution to the University of Illinois Companion Animal Memorial Fund in our father’s name.
We cannot thank you enough for everything you all have done for our father over the years, and we hope to get the chance to properly celebrate our father with you all in the future. He was too big of a character to be contained by a physical body, and we look forward to hearing the stories you have to share and how he will continue to live on in all of our hearts.
Love,
Courtney, Christopher, and the entire Sakas family

 

Proposed Chicago Livestock Ordinance on Live from the Heartland on Nov. 9


Home to Roost will be discussing the proposed Chicago livestock ordinance on WLUW 88.7 FM at 9 am Saturday morning, 11/9, on Live from the Heartland.

Listen in to the conversation on the radio or online!

Live from the Heartland broadcasts from Loyola’s WLUW 88.7 FM every Saturday morning from 9-10 am with co-hosts Michael James, Katy Hogan & Thom Clark. For over 25 years, we’ve created marvelous conversation on all things Rogers Park & beyond, looking at community news, politics & culture. Streaming from wluw.org with clips posted every week on our Facebook Page and YouTube.com/HeartlandMedia or LiveFromTheHeartland.com