Archive for February, 2021

Basic Backyard Chicken Keeping — Online Class with Wauconda Area Library on March 6!

Are you new to chicken keeping, or thinking about getting your own birds? Join us for Basic Backyard Chicken Keeping — Online Class with Wauconda Area Library on Saturday, March 6, 2021 from 1:00pm – 2:30pm!

Registration information is located here.

This class is designed for curious folks who are considering getting chickens, as well as for those who already have their own birds. Learn how to find local laws about chicken keeping, choose and raise chicks, and care for adult birds. This online class is open to all, regardless of location.

NOTE: This class is geared to the Chicagoland area, including predators and climate.

Japanese Quail make delightful pets — learn more during “Quail: An Overview” on March 3!

“(Coturnix japonica #Japanese Quail)” by Lin Sun-Fong is licensed with CC BY-SA 2.0.

We know you all love chickens, but let’s hear it for quail!! Specifically, Japanese quail. These small birds are delightful and easy to care for. Find out more about the birds, their diet, and how to house them during “Quail: An Overview,” an online class presented by Home to Roost LLC and the Chicago Rebuilding Exchange.

Quail: An Overview (online class), $15

Wednesday, March 3, 6:30 pm – 7:15 pm

Registration info is located here.

Japanese quail eggs are small and adorable!
New best friends!

Register Now for “Bird Brains: Flock Psychology” (virtual) on February 22!

How do chickens think? They view the world differently from predatory mammals. Find out more about what goes on inside a chicken’s head and how it can help you understand your birds.

Register now for Bird Brains: Flock Psychology, February 22, 6:30 pm – 7:15 pm

Registration info is available here. This online class is presented by Home to Roost LLC and the Chicago Rebuilding Exchange.

While supplies last, we are pleased to offer a free copy of GRIT Backyard Chickens magazine to everyone who signs up for the class!

GRIT Backyard Chickens magazine provides helpful information on topics such as choosing the right chicken breed, nutrition, preventing frostbite, and shoring up your coop against predators. The latest issue includes several articles authored by Home to Roost: reasons to keep backyard chickens, the importance of gut health, and how to boost egg production.

Register now for Chicken Coop Basics class (virtual) on February 11!

This is your last chance to register for Chicken Coop Basics, presented by Home to Roost LLC and the Chicago Rebuilding Exchange on February 11 at 6:30 pm. This online class addresses what you need to know about building a safe and comfortable home for your hens. You’ll learn the basic housing needs of backyard birds. Find out the essential components of a coop, construction materials to choose and avoid, important construction tips, and see different coop styles. 

Registration info is available here.

Winterizing Your Chickens

We are heading for some low temperatures this weekend. If you got chicks this spring, you probably asked the question, “How do I take care of the hens over the winter?” Bringing them into the house is not a great idea, and unlike dogs, chickens generally aren’t given to wearing sweaters and booties. Here are some tips for helping your chickens ride out the winter.

Coop Environment

Heat is not a major need for chickens in winter. They can tolerate pretty low temperatures and will eat more to increase their metabolism. Overheating your coop can lead to hefty hens who haven’t burned off all the extra calories they’re consuming. So leave the space heater in the spare room! Your main enemy is moisture. Too much moisture in the coop leads to frostbite. It’s more important to have a dry coop than a warm coop.

  • Clean poop from the coop often. Chicken feces add to the moisture content of the air in the coop.
  • Ensure that the coop is well ventilated but not drafty.
  • Move your coop to an area out of the wind.
  • Cover the run with tarps or heavy-duty plastic to prevent drafts.
  • Stack strawbales around the run to hold in the heat and prevent snow from blowing in.
  • If your coop is raised, the area between the floor of the coop and the ground is often a favored winter hangout. Provide some windbreaks for the birds and they’ll likely enjoy their winter digs.
  • Provide lots of bedding or straw. Bedding should be dry and fluffy so that it traps the heat.
  • You can use a heat lamp when temps are in the single digits for several days. Beware of fire hazards, especially with the dry bedding, and use a red, rather than white, bulb. A reptile heat emitter is a good alternative.
  • If you want your hens to continue laying during the winter, supplement white light in the morning (not evening) so that the hens get 14 hours of light. You can also let their bodies rest and give them the winter off from laying.
  • Provide wide roosts that allow the down feathers on their bellies to cover their feet.

Food and Water

  • Provide fresh, unfrozen water and be sure they have continuous access to food – their bodies need it to stay warm. You can keep two waterers – one in the house and one outside – and swap them out as the outside one freezes.
  • Provide extra protein for the birds during the winter months. A handful of dry cat (not dog) food will give an extra protein boost.
  • You can provide a handful of scratch grain in the evening, before they head to the roost for the night. This will help keep their metabolism going during the night.
  • Provide a head of cabbage, hung from a string or chain to keep them engaged and prevent pecking.
  • Use a bird suet basket as a treat box.


  • Use Vaseline on combs and wattles to keep them from freezing.
  • Watch feet, combs, and wattles signs of frostbite – they will look swollen and puffy at first. They will eventually turn black and fall off. Infection is a possible risk of a bad case of frostbite.

Contact Home to Roost if you’d like an in-home winterizing consultation.