Archive for May, 2011

June 12, 2011: Openfields Farm Tour

U of I Extension Announces June 12 OPENFIELDS Farm Tour

University of Illinois Extension is working with producers in Northern Illinois to present the third annual Openfields Farm Tour on Sunday, June 12, from Noon to 5 p.m. Openfields Farm Tour is a rare, one-day opportunity in which participating farms collectively open their land and operations to the public, and visitors get a chance to tour and learn about each farm operation. This is a multiple site self-guided tour, and there is no charge to participate.

The Openfields Farm Tour presents an opportunity to visit area market gardens, CSA’s (Community Supported Agriculture), and on-farm operations, and learn more about the local foods system in northern Illinois. Participants will meet the producers and learn about their farms, products and passion for what they do. Openfields provides an opportunity to ask questions and learn about market scale production, farming and CSA’s. Connections between the grower and consumer are often limited to conversations at farmer’s markets or farm. Openfields Farm Tour will provide an opportunity for all to make connections and learn from each other.

The University of Illinois Extension is working with area producers to support the local food system in Northern Illinois. The Local Foods Directory-Northern Illinois was recently updated and currently available on the U of I-Winnebago County website. 100 producers are listed in this directory along with 13 area farmers markets. A second directory, compiled by the Northwest Illinois Audubon Society and U of I Extension-Stephenson County, lists 38 local farms in Northwestern Illinois. Extension also provides support and training opportunities to farmers, farmer’s market managers and area restaurants interested in sourcing local food.

To download an Openfields Farm Tour map, or for more information on programs and events related to local foods, please visit, or call 815-986-4357.

Chick Growth – Day by Day

Blogger Joshua Jay Elliot logged the growth of his chicks over the course of two months. There’s a lot of fun commentary and great photography. Check out his blog here.

This is a very informative and artsy photographic  documentation of chick to pullet! Enjoy!

Feeding Corn to Chickens

Poultry expert Robert Plamondon suggests giving whole corn to chickens. In addition to contributing xanthophylls that make the yolks a lovely golden yellow, corn may help reduce the cost of feed. He suggests a 50/50 split of corn and pellets/laying feed.

According to Plamondon, if hens are fed oyster shells, grit is optional.

Regardless of whether or not you feed corn to laying hens, always give them a laying hen diet, which will provide proper, balanced amounts of vitally important protein, calcium, phosphorus, and other nutrients.

To read Plamondon’s article, click here.

June 15, 2011: Stay tuned for details on Home to Roost at Whole Foods, River Forest

I’ve been invited to speak at Whole Food Market in River Foods on June 15. The topic will be chickens; specifics to be determined. Keep an eye on the blog for more info.

I’m very excited about this partnership, which came out of my Cheney Mansion event earlier this month.

June 18, 2011: Chicken Keeping Class at Belmont Feed and Seed

Join Home to Roost Urban Chicken Consulting at Belmont Feed and Seed for a class on keeping chickens! Everything you need to know about chickens and then some.

DATE: Saturday, June 18

PLACE: Belmont Feed & Seed, 3036 W Belmont Ave, Chicago, IL 60618

TIME: 4 to 6 PM

COST: $25 per person

The owners will have a new shipment of chicks and a package deal on supplies for those who attend!

Package Deal

  • Cardboard box large enough to hold 4-6 chicks (9.95 Value)
  • Pack of pine shavings (12.95 value)
  • Brooder light (15.95 value)
  • Brooder bulb, 125 w. (3.95 value)
  • 4 chicks from our stock (16.00 value). I will have new chicks for the event, and a variety of them.
  • 10 lb. Organic Chick Starter (4.50 value)
  • Chick-size, jar type waterer (7.95 value)
  • Chick-size, jar type food dish (7.95 value)
Total value of the package is $79.20 Special for $68.00, or 15% off all chick/chicken supplies for participants.

Space is limited, so call 708-524-5038. After registering, mail in a check or use PayPal to secure a spot. Or you can pay with cash or check payable to Jennifer Murtoff on June 18.

Please make arrangements for childcare.

Home to Roost Client Writes About Her Chixperience

One of my Oak Park clients is writing for! She emailed earlier this year with a definitive “I am ready for chickens!” and asked for my Home to Roost package deal! I scoped out the yard, gave tips and pointers, checked on the new babies, and responded to a call when one of them died. Read all about it here! We Have Chickens!

Undocumented Chickens Contribute to Ruffled Feathers in San Diego

Oscar and Owl were recently ousted from their cushy San Diego urban backyard coop due to their immigration status: Chickens are illegal in the city.

Booted from their home due to a no-chickens ordinance, the hens were moved into a nearby neighbor’s yard, where their new poultry siblings beat up on them. They currently live in an undisclosed location, a chicken safehouse, as it were, far from the hawklike eyes of the authorities.

For more information, check out Illegal Chickens Forced into Hiding.

World Chicken Populations!

Ah, the humble chicken. Test your knowledge (read: ability to guess) about the chicken population in several countries in the world.

Chicken Populations of Different Countries

Have fun!

May 7, 2011: ReBuilding Exchange Fair

“Going Against the Grain” is a series of workshops/booths that take place this Saturday at the ReBuilding Exchange. Some of the subjects include chickens, bees, composting, and more.  New Belgium Beer is sponsoring as well.

The ReBuilding Exchange sells salvaged construction items that can be used in both home projects as well as chicken coops.

For more information, go to

The Urban Chicken Consultant Recommends: Chicken Sweaters

Apparently the Brits are serious about their chicken rescue operations. Women in England are knitting little sweaters for feathered working girls rescued from battery cage operations. Check out the coverage here: Chicken sweaters.