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!

Register Now for Chicken Health 101: Online with the Chicago Botanic Garden, Oct. 7, 2020!

I will be teaching Chicken Health 101: Online for the Chicago Botanic Garden on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 6 – 8 p.m. Please join us for this online class! Learn about the common health issues chickens face and how you can keep your flock healthy. We will cover basic chicken physiology, disease prevention and transmission, and chicken first aid.

Registration information is available here. Please note that all registrations must be submitted online 2 days before the class starts.

Coop Tour Photos: Spreading the Word about Chicken Keeping, Sept. 20, 2020

Home to Roost had a booth at the Windy City Coop Tour this weekend, sharing info about chicken keeping and showing folks how to do chicken health checks. The event was well attended and I really enjoyed talking with people about chicken care!

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Upcoming Home to Roost Classes at Chicago Botanic Garden

I will be teaching a series of online chicken classes for the Chicago Botanic Garden! All classes are 6:00 – 8:00 pm.

Basic Chicken Keeping – online class, Wed. September 23

Chicken Coop Basics – online class, Wed. September 30

Chicken Health – online class, Wed. October 7

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

Visit my station on the Windy City Coop Tour this Sunday, Sept. 20!


Jennifer Murtoff, urban chicken consultant

I will be stationed at 3717 N. Kenneth, Chicago IL 60641 on Sunday. The owner keeps 18 chickens, and I’ll be there to answer questions about chicken keeping and offer information, including how to do a chicken health check.
I hope to see you there! More information about the Coop Tour is located here.

Online Class: Basic Backyard Chicken Keeping, Sept. 19, 2020

Home to Roost is pairing with Mokena Public Library to offer a virtual workshop on basic chicken keeping on Saturday, Sept. 19 from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. Click here for more information and to register.

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 raise chicks, care for adult birds, and keep your neighbors happy! The workshop is open to all.

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.