Archive for November, 2010

At long last! The Chicago Tonight coverage!

After a few false starts, Home to Roost made a debut on Chicago Tonight.

Chicago Tonight covered my fledgling business, consulting to individuals, garden groups, schools, et al.

Check out  the coverage here:

Behind the Scenes: Pictures from Chicago Tonight Shooting

On October 22, 2010, I met the Chicago Tonight crew and Mary, the Columbia College student who is making a documentary about my urban chickens business at the house of Bruce, my client whose chicks were featured in the Wednesday Journal in July. Chicago Tonight interviewed us as I conducted a consult. Here are a few pix!

The story airs on Monday, 11/22, at 7 PM on Channel 11.

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Mike Nowak Talks Chickens

Mike Nowak, Chicago’s premiere urban gardening radio host, has picked up the chicken trend here in Chicago. His November 14, 2010, radio show featured Martha Boyd with Angelic Organics Learning Center.

Mike thinks chickens are funny – well, a friend told me that any word with a “k” in it sounds funny – so when I tell folks I’m an urban chicken consultant, to prevent myself from chuckling, I just remember that words with a “k” in them sound funny!

Check out Mike’s web page for the urban chicken links and the podcast! If you want to skip to the urban chicken bit, it begins at around 1:42.

Serama rooster

Serama rooster

Urban Chickens Featured at Green Festival, San Francisco

The San Francisco Green Festival, the nation’s largest sustainability event, is featuring urban chickens on its program. If anyone is heading out to San Francisco for Nov. 6 and 7, here is the link. One of the featured exhibitors is the Nomad Chicken Pad. Cute! Personally, I’d prefer to see more free-ranging space under this chicken tractor. Perhaps the Nomad Chicken Pad has an extendable version?

Nomad Chicken Pad

As you”ll recall, Home to Roost was featured on a chicken panel at Chicago’s Green Fest on Navy Pier earlier this year: Home to Roost at Navy Pier’s Green Fest.

Strange Coincidences Around My Urban Chicken Consulting Business

Strange coincidences have sprung up around my urban chicken consulting business. To name a few:

A few years ago, I purchased a chicken purse…(The Urban Chicken Consultant Recommends… the Rubber Chicken Purse!). Have chicken purse, will travel – and, boy, the places that thing has taken me…

In the spring of 2008, if memory serves, the chicken purse and I went to see my accountant, Stewart, who lives in the Austin neighborhood. He said, “You have a chicken purse!” I explained to him that I had chickens when I was a kid. As it turns out, Stewart was interested in getting chickens… in his backyard… in Austin… in Chicago.

Stewart and friend - is this chicken Playboy or Vogue?

This was rather shocking news to me. He told me about the urban agriculture movement and planted the suggestion that folks in Chicago might benefit from a chicken consultant. Inspired, I designed business cards, mostly as a joke, on Vista Print!

Fastforward to late winter/early spring of 2010, before I started being serious about urban chicken consulting: My friend Jane attended a benefit event in Oak Park. She found an unusual silent auction item: a low-carbon footprint chicken coop. The donor: Seamus Ford. Jane also spotted an ad for Earth Fest and suggested that I contact Seamus and get a booth at Earth Fest. I was a little incredulous, but sure, why not?

I looked up Seamus on LinkedIn, and there he was! As it turned out, Seamus was a neighbor of Stewart, my account. Stewart and his wife had talked to both Seamus and me about each other, but never by name! We talked for a bit on the phone, and then met at Red Hen on March 28 to talk about this crazy idea – urban chicken consulting – really? All right… So on April 1, I started this blog, officially hanging out my shingle, and Seamus and I staffed a booth at Earth Fest.

Seamus and I shared a booth at Earth Fest.

Bruce Caughran hired me and called  Terry Dean of the Wednesday Journal to cover my first media event, setting up chickens in Bruce’s backyard: Home to Roost Makes the Paper! Oddly enough, I ran into both Bruce and Terry the day before my appearance on WCIU in September.

Bruce and Ailsa with the lovely a-frame coop made by Alcuin Middle School

Still more oddly, hours after the WCIU appearance, which dealt with inspiring female entrepreneurs, I got a cold call from a woman in California who wants to start her own urban chicken consulting business. She was calling me for tips, pointers, ideas, and other information. She had no idea I’d just been on TV, talking about female entrepreneurs and chickens – she had found me on AOL’s WalletPop (more on her and her business to come!).

The week of the taping for Chicago Tonight, which airs on 11/4, I met Becky Fogel of Vocalo radio station in Caribou Coffee on Lake Street. Because it was too loud for a recorded interview, we headed to Red Hen, sitting at the same table where Seamus Ford and I sat on March 28. Who happened by Red Hen? None other than Stewart, my accountant!

There have been a number of times when I’ve felt that things have come full circle in this crazy ride that is urban chicken consulting. But the circle moves, redefines itself, and comes full circle again – but in a different way.

I’ve done only word-of-mouth and social media advertising, and to date I have two TV appearances; a upcoming radio spot; and several newspaper, internet, and magazine articles; as well as a film student from Columbia who is producing a documentary covering my avian adventures.

Coincidence? Perhaps not. Maybe just a confirmation that I’m in the right place at the right time. I’m excited to see what surprises are around the corner for the chicken purse and me!

Burger King’s Subservient Chicken

All right, this post is going to be classified as “Weird Chicken Stuff.” There’s just no way around it.

Burger King is advertising chicken just the way you like it, aka The Subservient Chicken. Tell the guy in the chicken suit what to do, and he’ll comply. It’s fun to try to stump him. A guy in a chicken suit who plays bagpipes?! Can’t beat that!

Check it out for a laugh.

Home to Roost in Mindful Metropolis

Mindful Metropolis wrote a great article on the Chicago urban chicken movement. Check out the thoughtful coverage here or here, page 24 (for pictures!).