Out-Of-This-World Chicken Coops


We love how some chicken keepers express their quirky personalities in the coops they build (and, incidentally, their science fiction/fantasy fandom). These coops may push the boundaries of practicality, but we admire the creative vision expressed in these designs!

  • TARDIS Chicken Coop

Build your own creative henhouse!

Do you have some ideas for a fantastic chicken coop design? Once you have built your chicken castles in the air, give them a firm foundation by signing up for my online class, “Chicken Coop Basics” on July 7, 6:30-8:30pm. Learn the essential components of a chicken coop, important construction tips, and different coop styles. More information is available Here!

Help Your Hens Survive the Heat and Humidity!


Heat and humidity can be challenging for cold-hardy chicken breeds. Find out how to care for your hens during the hot weather in my online class, “Summer Chicken Care,” on June 2 at 6:00 pm. Learn how chickens cool themselves naturally and tips for helping them stay cool. I will also describe the signs of heat stroke and what to do to help an overheated bird.

This online class is hosted by the Chicago Rebuilding Exchange on Wed. June 2, 6:00 – 6:45 pm. More info is available Here.

Photo by Liz McCrory, kosmicstudio.org

Ever Wonder What Goes On Inside a Chicken’s Head?


Chickens view the world differently from predatory mammals. Join me for the online event “Bird Brains: Flock Psychology,” May 26 at 6pm, as I discuss how chickens interact with each other. I will demystify much that is puzzling about chicken behavior, including the “pecking order.”

This class is new for 2021 and hosted online by the Chicago Rebuilding Exchange. Register Here and get to know your birds better!

Jennifer Murtoff, Chicken Consultant
Photo by Liz McCrory of kosmicstudio.org

Reminder: Chicken Coop Basics — Online Event on May 19!


If you have questions about chicken coop design or construction, bring them to my online event “Chicken Coop Basics” on May 19, 6-8 pm! 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.

This class will be hosted online by the Chicago Rebuilding Exchange. Registration information is available here.

As a free gift for participants, I am offering a copy of GRIT Backyard Chickens magazine. This publication is full of practical advice for chicken keepers. I wrote several articles in this year’s issue, on subjects including reasons to keep chickens, how to boost egg production, and the importance of chicken gut health.

Chicken_Magazine
Register now and receive a free copy of Backyard Chickens magazine!

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: https://www.facebook.com/ChicagoRooCrew/ and Chicago Chicken Rescue’s website: https://chicagochickenrescue.org/store/.

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 sbatka@illinois.edu

REMINDER: Basic Backyard Chicken Keeping — Online Event, May 12!


Bring your questions about raising chickens to my online class “Basic Backyard Chicken Keeping” on May 12, 6 – 8 pm! This class is for those who are new to chicken keeping or thinking about getting their own birds. Register now at the link below!

Basic Backyard Chicken Keeping — Wednesday, May 12, 6 – 8 pm

This is the first in a series of online classes I am presenting with the Chicago Rebuilding Exchange. As a free gift for participants, I am offering a copy of GRIT Backyard Chickens magazine. This publication is full of practical advice for chicken keepers. I wrote several articles in this year’s issue, on subjects including reasons to keep chickens, how to boost egg production, and the importance of chicken gut health.

Chicken_Magazine
Register now and receive a free copy of Backyard Chickens magazine!

Visit Home to Roost at SCARCE Growin’ Green Garden Market this Saturday, May 1!


I will have a booth at the Growin’ Green Garden Market this Saturday, May 1, 9:00 am – 1:00 pm. I hope to see you there, up close and in person! (Or at least as up close as we can get at this time…)

This market is presented by SCARCE, featuring all manner of gardening supplies, seedlings, compost and more. I will bring a chicken and and give a short talk on the main points of chicken keeping. It is a family-friendly event, with lots of advice and vendors for green gardening!

LOCATION: SCARCE, 800 S Rohlwing Rd (IL Rt 53), Addison, IL

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, kosmicstudio.org

REHOMED! Hens looking for home


Update: Kim has a home for the chickens!

Contact Kim: 773-746-2285, kimambriz AT gmail.com

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)