Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

The Electrifying Chicken Art of Heid In My World

Digital artist Heide Royer has a thing for chickens. She received her first set of chickens at Christmas 2019 and, chicken math being what it is, she now has a total of 60!

It was only natural that Heide turned to drawing pictures of her birds. “I discovered that chicken people love chicken art,” she said. “I got a great response to the first chicken portraits I did. Now my house looks like a chicken art gallery.” Heide raises her chickens and other animals on a ranch near Weatherford, Texas, appropriately named the “Cock ‘n’ Roll Ranch.”

She calls her electrifying chicken portraits “kinetic art.” Heide starts by sketching the bird, then she moves to a digital tablet to add the kinetic elements, including strokes of digital “electricity.”

“If I look at an animal spiritually, I can see its soul shining out. That is what I attempt to capture in my portraits,” she said.

The response to her artwork has been gratifying and heartwarming. “I found my chicken people,” Heide says. “I feel very, very blessed that I have the chance to create this art for others. In a time when people are losing their jobs, I can bring this joy to them.”

Heide also creates portraits of dogs and other animals, and accepts commissions from pet owners. View her work at

Most popular accessory: the Chicken Purse!

Jen with Chicken Purse
The enterprising chicken consultant with her chicken purse, in April 2010!

The chicken purse is enjoying a moment.

“This season’s hottest purse is a rubber chicken ‘henbag,’” crows the New York Post. On Instagram, folks are posting selfies taken while holding their chicken purses, hashtag #chickenpurse.

May I point out that I saw the possibilities of the chicken purse more than 10 years before it became big?

Here’s an excerpt from a blog post I wrote nearly 10 years ago to the day:

“Might I recommend the snazzy and memorable rubber chicken purse, not to be confused with the dead rubber chicken? This nice, roomy handbag can hold wallet, keys, business cards, dental floss, Altoids, camera bag, pens, CTA card, Post-It notes, gloves, flashlight, spare pair of shoes…

The rubber chicken purse makes a definite statement. I’m not quite sure what that statement is yet, but I’ve found that people remember the purse more than they remember me. Either that, or they leave lots of room on either side of me as I walk down the street.”

I guess I am just ahead of my time when it comes to chicken fashion!


Chicken-Keeping Basics — Online Class with Des Plaines Library, Nov. 14, 2020

Are you new to chicken keeping, or thinking about getting your own coop? Learn how to raise chicks and care for adult birds during the “Chicken-Keeping Basics Class” with Home to Roost, hosted by Des Plaines Public Library on Nov. 14, 10:30am – 12:30pm.

Registration information is available here. This online class is open to all.

Photographer Liz McCrory’s Chicken Portraits Set Hearts Aflutter

  • Chicken portraits by photographer Liz McCrory

Photographer Liz McCrory of Kosmic Studio has embarked on an unusual project that caught our attention here at Home to Roost — portraits of pet chickens!

The Hoffman Estates, IL photographer decided to immortalize people’s birds using the same photographic techniques and equipment she uses with her human subjects. We think the results are quite impressive, presenting these birds as little works of art.

“For this project I wanted to remove chickens from the typical coop setting, and place them in front of a formal backdrop with professional lighting,” Liz explains. “Some of the photos use backdrops I painted myself, and some are composites created after the shoot. My goal was to show the beauty and dignity of these sweet animals.”

Their personalities shine through as well. “I find chickens fascinating–they’re sweet and affectionate, while being somewhat wild at the same time. I recently learned that birds evolved directly from dinosaurs, and I love to look at their fierce eyes and reptilian feet and picture a tiny dinosaur looking back at me,” Liz said.

If you would like your favorite hen or rooster immortalized in a portrait, Liz said she would be happy to hear from you at

Liz will be branching out from chickens to include other animals, starting with horses and puppies. You can follow Liz’s photographic journey on Instagram at @lizmccroryphoto.

Darien, IL Residents Win the Right to Keep Backyard Chickens

Darien resident Melissa Goodridge and her chicken coop

On Monday Oct. 5, the Darien, IL City Council voted unanimously that city residents have a right to keep chickens in their backyards. This ruling ends weeks of controversy that began when a Darien resident, Melissa Goodridge, wound up with 4 hens and a rooster instead of the 5 hen chicks she thought she was getting.

Her story may be an inspiration to those in other communities who hope to change their local ordinances to allow chickens.

A neighbor called the local alderman to complain about the rooster’s noise, and the local council reacted by considering a ban on all backyard chickens in Darien.

“Darien had no ordinance on chickens, which allowed residents to own chickens without a problem,” Melissa said. “The change… was led by the alderman who received one complaint about my rooster.”

Once the ball was rolling, Melissa felt the need to fight because she didn’t want to be the reason all chicken owners in Darien would lose the right to keep their birds.

“I created a petition that created waves in social media, but the local council couldn’t care less,” she recalls. By the time of the ruling, hundreds of people had signed the online petition.

What did get their attention, it seems, were the residents who sent emails to council members about the issue after reading about it on social media.

In addition, “I worked closely with a local politician who would like to remain anonymous. They were a big help in advising me about the logistics of it all,” Melissa said.

“I think the fact that there were so many residents who already had chickens helped. [Council members] knew prohibiting chickens would cause a big issue.”

The new regulations limit the number of hens to six, mandating privacy fences and requiring permits. And, of course, no roosters.

No one here but us girls!

Sign the petition to allow backyard hens in Maywood, IL!

Resident Tammy So has started a petition to allow backyard chickens in Maywood, IL. Maywood is one of the only towns in its area that does not allow backyard poultry. Having a reliable supply of fresh eggs would help the residents, since the town has struggled for years with no grocery stores. Residents of Maywood can sign the petition here.

Windy City Coop Tour is Sept. 19 and 20!

The Windy City Coop Tour is back for its 10th year, showcasing backyard poultry, eco-yards and urban livestock across Chicagoland! This year the tour will happen on Saturday, Sept. 19 & Sunday, Sept. 20. More information is located here.

I will be stationed at one of the tour stops on Sunday, showing participants the chicken coop (and 18 chickens!) at 3717 N. Kenneth, Chicago, IL 60641. I hope to see you there!

The event is hosted by Chicagoland Chicken Enthusiasts, Advocates for Urban Agriculture, and Home to Roost LLC.

Chicken Coop Basics Rescheduled for Sept. 9, 2020

We are rescheduling this online class one more time… thanks for your patience!  The online Coop class covers everything you need to know about chicken coops. Learn the essential components of a coop, what construction materials to use, and examples of different coop styles. Learn how to design and build your own Hen Hilton! Co-hosted by Home to Roost and the Rebuilding Exchange.  

Register Here for this online class, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 7:00 – 9:00pm.

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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