Archive for August, 2020

Chicken found in Lincoln Marsh in Wheaton, IL

I got a call on Aug. 20 about a chicken on the loose in the Lincoln Marsh Natural Area in Wheaton. I was able to track her down near the Church of the Resurrection. The bird is a juvenile buff orpington hen. If she’s yours, contact me. If I can’t locate her owner, I’ll rehome her.


Mayflower the hen is on the mend

Laura in Oak Park contacted me via email at the end of July about a very sick hen named Mayflower. Laura wasn’t sure if the bird was going to make it: she was sleepy, lying down a lot, and drinking a lot of water – and perching on top of the waterer, which was very odd!

Not being well versed in chicken health issues, Laura wanted some advice from an expert. “I do need some guidance on caring for sick chickens because I feel like I am just sort of winging it,” she wrote to me.

I asked Laura to separate Mayflower from the other hens and put her in a cool, dark place in a box or carrier until I could make an emergency visit.

“It’s funny–the things you say you’ll never do,” Laura said. Not bringing chickens indoors was one of her rules.  But she made an exception for the hen, who means a lot to the family. “Chickens are like pets for my 13-year-old daughter–she loves them,” Laura told me.

I stopped by her home and examined Mayflower, who was indeed doing poorly. Her posture was droopy and her eyes were partially closed. She had lost some weight as well. Her droppings were runny and green. I assessed the health of her flockmates and showed Laura and her daughter Sadie how to do a physical check on the chickens; examined the coop, droppings, and the run; and asked Laura about the overall health of the flock and any observations she’d made since Mayflower got sick.

Based on my observations, my guess was that Mayflower had an intestinal infection or parasites. I recommended that Laura take Mayflower to an avian vet as soon as possible.

Laura saw Dr. Kline at Niles Animal Hospital. “The vet told me if we hadn’t brought her in, she wouldn’t have made it through the weekend, so we are really glad Jen could come! She’s very resourceful,” Laura said.

After two weeks of treatment and TLC from Laura’s daughter Sadie, Mayflower recovered from her bacterial infection and was able to rejoin the other hens in the outdoor coop. I advised Laura on how to clean up the droppings on Mayflower’s feathers, and she gave the lucky hen a mini-spa day, washing up her back end and drying her with the hair dryer! A happy ending!

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Attention Clients: Please Review Home to Roost’s Services!

I am always looking for feedback from my clients. If you have used my chicken consulting services recently, please consider writing a recommendation and posting to my new Facebook Business Page. Thank you very much for your feedback!

Register Now for the Chicken Health Virtual Workshop on Aug. 17, 2020!

Learn about the common health issues chickens face and how you can keep your flock healthy during the Chicken Health Virtual Workshop, Monday, Aug. 17 at 6:30pm.

Register Here for this online class, co-hosted by Home to Roost and the Rebuilding Exchange.

Please note there is a prerequisite: the Basics of Chicken-Keeping class. Haven’t taken this class yet? No problem! You can purchase a recording of this class when you register for the Chicken Health workshop.

Register Now for the Chicken Coop Basics Virtual Workshop on Aug. 11, 2020!

Learn the essential components of a safe and comfortable coop in my “Chicken Coop Basics Virtual Workshop” on Tuesday, Aug. 11 at 6:30pm!  Register Here for this online workshop, co-hosted by Home to Roost and the Rebuilding Exchange.

Please note there is a prerequisite: the Basics of Chicken-Keeping class. If you haven’t taken this class yet, no worries! You can purchase a recording of this class when you register for Chicken Coop Basics.


Odd Health Conditions: Chicken with Curled Toes



Being an urban chicken consultant means encountering a lot of unusual chicken health conditions. I recently heard from James and Sarah. Their pullet Ruby had an odd condition: the toes were curled up on one of her feet, and Ruby was having trouble walking.

“She couldn’t put any weight on her feet. Whenever she tried to walk and put pressure on that foot, she would sort of slip and fall,” James told me. He had tried Googling her symptoms but was unable to find information on her exact condition.

I realized that Ruby was suffering from curled toe paralysis, a condition that is caused by a vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) deficiency. The treatment: vitamin B2 drops and a splint for the affected area. James isolated her from the other hens and gave her a few drops every day.

“It took her about 3 weeks to a month to recover, but she’s healed,” James reports. “She’s walking normally and her foot doesn’t bother her at all.”

James offers kudos for Home to Roost: “Jen’s service was great. Seeing how she handled hens gave us more confidence to help Ruby out. Jen was able to tell us what was wrong and what our options would be. This is our first time keeping chickens, and having her help and knowledge was really useful!”

Here is a lovely “after” photo of Ruby, with toes uncurled!