Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Time to Celebrate National Chicken Month!

Photo by Liz McCrory,

In honor of the chicken, who provides so many of us with eggs, companionship, and entertainment… we are pleased to announce that September is National Chicken Month! We at Home to Roost strongly agree that a bird as important as the chicken should have its own month. After all, the average American ate 97.6 pounds of chicken in 2020, according to the National Chicken Council. And that number is expected to rise in the coming years.

Why September? For more than 20 years, the National Chicken Council has called on all of the major chicken producers in the U.S. to promote chicken sales in September, just as the summer grilling season begins winding down. Thanks to their efforts, September is now one of the year’s best-performing sales periods!

Visit the website for a list of National Chicken Month Activities to help you celebrate, as well as some fast facts about chicken and the history of chicken dishes. Many restaurants are running specials on chicken dishes during this month, so it is definitely a great time to eat more chicken!

HOSTS NEEDED for Windy City Coop Tour! Apply by Friday, Sept. 3.

Register now to become a host of the 2021 Windy City Coop Tour and welcome participants to see your coop! You can host on either or both days of the Tour (Sept. 25 & 26), and choose a time slot that works in your schedule. Apply at the link below:

2021 Windy City Coop Tour Host Application

2021 Windy City Coop Tour is September 25 & 26

The Coop Tour is a self-guided tour of backyard coops and eco-spaces, presented by Chicago Chicken Enthusiasts and Home to Roost LLC in partnership with Advocates for Urban Agriculture. Visit the chicken coops of Chicagoland and see what is possible in terms of raising chickens and other urban livestock in your backyard!

More information about the 2021 Coop Tour is located HERE.

Visit with Home to Roost during the tour!

During the tour I will answer questions about chicken keeping and talk about the services of Home to Roost LLC. I will be stationed at the following tour location on Saturday, Sept. 25:

3717 N Kenneth
Chicago, IL 60641

I hope to see you there! Last year I was also at this location, talking with folks about chickens and chicken care:

Four Hens for Adoption

I am passing along this message to my readers:

We have 4 beautiful chickens who are a year old and provide TONS of eggs. Organic fed since birth, see photos below of birds and eggs. NO KILL. Docile, love to be held and love chatting with you.

Please text JC at 773 251 9270. Thank you.

Four laying hens available for rehoming!
Eggs laid by the 4 hens up for adoption

Get the Chicken Coop Spec Sheet — a complete list of requirements for coop building!

Whether you are buying a commercial chicken coop or building your own, it is important to choose a coop design with the right dimensions, features, and materials. You can get all this information in one place on the Chicken Coop Spec Sheet, Home to Roost’s complete list of recommendations for coop building. You can now purchase this spec sheet on PayPal using the button below!

Chicken Coop Spec Sheet – $6.00

***NOTE: I will e-mail you the spec sheet after I receive your payment. Your e-mail address will automatically be included in the payment notification I receive from PayPal.

Buy Now button

The Chicken Coop Spec Sheet contains recommendations for building safe and functional coops, rather than specific plans or blueprints. These recommendations are the result of more than 10 years of experience helping people raise and house backyard chickens!

REMINDER: Chicken Coop Basics–Online Event, July 7

Ready for more information on coop building? I will discuss the essential components of a chicken coop, important construction tips, and different coop styles. Do you have your own creative ideas for a coop? This class will teach you the basic elements that all coops need to have. Bring your coop-related questions to this online class, which is free and open to the public, regardless of where in the U.S. you live.

Register at the link below:

Chicken Coop Basics, Online — Fremont Public Library, July 7, 6:30 – 8:30pm

Photo by Liz McCrory,

What to do with the roos?

What to do with the boys?

Serama rooster

Many chicken keepers have faced the surprise extra boy that comes in a box of mail-order chicks. What do you do with him when he gets noisy at 4 am (and the rest of the day!)? What do you do when he terrorizes you, your dog, the neighbor’s kids, or your toddler?

There is a natural surplus of male chickens. Fifty percent of the chickens that hatch are male, but chickens do not pair bond. One rooster has a harem of 4 to 8 hens. So what happens with the extra boys? They naturally fight to the death or are killed by predators. On small-scale farms, roosters become Sunday dinner. However, many people find these options to be distasteful.

An increasing number of roosters are turning up at Chicago Animal Care and Control and rescue organizations. The chicken-keeping community needs to remember that rescues and animal control folks are people, too. They do great services for our city, and many spend their own time and money on these birds. Consider giving a donation, volunteering, adopting, or acting as a foster home. Contact Chicago chicken rescue organization to see how you can help. Roo Crew’s FB page: and Chicago Chicken Rescue’s website:

It’s really difficult to rehome roosters, so to avoid overwhelming rescues with roosters and respect their time and efforts, here are a few tips.

If you’re an urban chicken owner, think ahead to the question of “What if I get a rooster?” Help us keep down the rooster population in urban areas:

  • Purchase sexed or sex-linked chicks only! Sexed chicks are almost 100% guaranteed to be hens.
  • Do not purchase straight-run chicks. Fifty percent will be male. If you do purchase straight run, plan out what you are going to do with the boys. Half of them will most likely be roosters. You can figure out sex at around 3 months, if not before.
  • DO NOT HATCH CHICKS unless you know what you are going to do with the boys. Fifty percent of the hatch will be male, and farmers will not want the roosters.
    • If you’re a teacher and want to give your students an experience with embryology, think about a trip to the Museum of Science and Industry.
    • Do not take and hatch eggs from wildlife, such as ducks or geese. It is illegal to take eggs from native birds. They will imprint on humans and will not be able to live in the wild.
    • If you must hatch chicks, get your eggs from a source that will take back ALL of the chicks that hatch. Make sure you have a solution in place BEFORE setting eggs.
  • This option is not for everyone, but you can take roosters to a licensed slaughtering facilityand process them quickly and conveniently for meat. If you are amenable to this option, you can go from live bird to dressed bird for about $4. Some people then donate the meat to a soup kitchen or give it to a neighbor. Some chicken keepers view the birds as livestock rather than companion animals.  
  • If you do have a rooster, please do not release him! Chickens are not wildlife. They cannot survive without humans. Find a more humane alternative. Contact farms in rural areas (perhaps those that have stands at farmers markets). Check with other chicken owners to see if they would like a rooster. Ask feed stores if they can resell him.
  • Keep him. Roosters make a lovely, protective addition to a flock. If you can get past the crowing, the rooster will keep a protective eye on your girls. And there is no harm in eating fertilized (unincubated) eggs!

Thanks, everyone! Let’s remember the rescue organizations and lend a hand where we’re able. 

Community Compost Collection Events

You are all welcome to drop off yard/garden/kitchen waste at any of our upcoming Community Compost Collection Events: 
Households are invited to drop off their yard, garden, and kitchen waste to be composted and pick up finished compost to use to improve your garden soil.

Events are being held

Help us reach our goal of collecting 5 tons of compostable material at each event. Bring your grass clippings, leaves, landscape waste, and kitchen scraps: eggshells, vegetable skins, and stems are welcome but please no products containing oil, dressings, dairy, meat or bones. No branches over 2” in diameter. This event is BYOB— Bring Your Own Bucket to take home finished compost.

Social distancing and face coverings required to participate in these FREE events. Finished compost and other free surprise giveaways are first come first served.

If you have questions about our Community Compost Collection events, please contact Sarah at 217-300-8636 or

Upcoming Chicken Classes: Learn to Raise and House Your Hens Right!

I will be teaching a series of chicken classes online for the Chicago Rebuilding Exchange, starting with “Basic Backyard Chicken Keeping” on May 12. If you have questions about coop design or construction, come to my “Chicken Coop Basics” class on May 19! I will also be offering an encore of my popular new class “Bird Brains: Flock Psychology” on May 26. Then, just in time for the hot weather, come to “Summer Chicken Care” on June 2 and learn how to keep your flock cool during the dog days of summer. Register at the links below!

Basic Backyard Chicken Keeping (Virtual)May 12, 6-8 pm
Learn the basics of raising backyard chickens.

Chicken Coop Basics: (Virtual) – May 19, 6-8 pm
Bring your questions and learn the essential components of a chicken coop, important construction tips, and different coop styles. Use what you learn to construct your own coop or evaluate an existing design.

Bird Brains: Flock Psychology (Virtual) – May 26, 6:00 – 6:45 pm
Find out more about what goes on inside a chicken’s head and how it can help you understand your birds.

Summer Chicken Care (Virtual) – June 2, 6:00 – 6:45 pm

Heat and humidity can be challenging for cold-hardy chicken breeds. Find out how to care for your hens during the dog days of summer.

Jennifer Murtoff of Home to Roost LLC helps city folks raise chickens in the Chicagoland area.
Photo by Liz McCrory,

REHOMED! Hens looking for home

Update: Kim has a home for the chickens!

Contact Kim: 773-746-2285, kimambriz AT

Someone dumped three hens in the backyard of my client Kim in Avondale (Chicago).

Someone dumped three hens in my yard today and they need a home. I already have three girls and we don’t have the space to add three more. They are very sweet, ate from my hand, seem healthy, easy to herd into a chicken tractor, etc. I have no idea how old they are. 
Why would someone do that??!!
Kim (in Avondale)

Reminder: Chicken Coop Basics, Online with Chicago Botanic Garden on April 27!

UPDATE 4/22/21: Unfortunately, this class has been cancelled. Please see the Classes & Events page for future classes with Home to Roost!

For those of you who have questions about chicken coop design or construction, I am teaching an online class, Chicken Coop Basics, for the Chicago Botanic Garden on April 27! Bring your questions and learn the essential components of a coop, important construction tips, and different coop styles. Use what you learn to construct your own coop or evaluate an existing design. Register now for this class at the link below.

Chicken Coop Basics: Online — April 27, 6-8 pm

Please note that all registrations must be submitted online 2 days before your class starts.

Photo courtesy Melissa Goodridge

Medicated vs. Non-Medicated Chick Feed

As if there weren’t enough variations of chick feed on the market, there is one more option to consider: medicated or nonmedicated? Medicated chick feeds help boost chicks’ immunity to one organism: coccidia.

Coccidia are a parasitic protozoan widely found in the soil, and its oocysts, which are similar to eggs, often find their way into a chick’s digestive tract. Here the intestinal parasites can cause a disease called coccidiosis.

Symptoms include bloody droppings, poor appetite, and lack of normal growth. Chicks may fluff up their feathers and appear hunched over. Coccidiosis spreads quickly from bird to bird and is also associated with a high rate of death.

Most medicated chick feeds contain amprolium, a medication that helps limit the number of coccidia in a chick’s digestive system, allowing the chick to develop immunity to the parasite. Medicated feeds with amprolium do not contain antibiotics and are not intended for other diseases.

Also, medicated feeds are designed to prevent cases of coccidiosis, not to cure existing infections: By the time chicks actually contract the disease, medicated feed will not help them. If your birds do get sick, they should be treated with a water-based coccidiostat (like Corid), carefully following instructions on the package. Be careful not to overmedicate with coccidiostats because they can cause severe vitamin deficiencies in your birds.

Vaccine for Coccidiosis

Many chicks receive a coccidiosis vaccine at hatcheries. Find out if your chicks have been vaccinated for coccidiosis. If so, there is no need to give them medicated feed.