Posts Tagged ‘coop’

Home to Roost at Windy City Coop Tour, Sept. 25

Home to Roost will be stationed at location #14 on the Coop Tour at 3532 W. Belden.

For more information on the tour, see Sept. 25, 2011: Windy City Coop Tour (formerly Henapalooza).

See you there


Sept. 25, 2011: Windy City Coop Tour (formerly Henapalooza)

Time: September 25, 2011 from 11am to 2pm

Location: Chicago’s North Side (and surrounding areas), 4134 N. Monticello Ave

Website: Windy City Coop Tour page


Phone: 773-640-2402 (for bike tour only)

Thinking of getting chickens or just curious about backyard Chickens in the City of Chicago?   This leisurely bike ride will take you to  a number of Chicago Chicken keepers. The tour is open to all ages, and you will see a large variety of chickens breeds, coop designs, as well as the gardens and yards they occupy. Home to Roost will make an appearance at one of the sites (TBD). Each host will be able to answer questions you may have concerning regulations, feeding, coop designs, space required, egg production, and issues common to chickens in an urban environment.

So save the date of  Sept 25th. This is both a group bike tour and/or a self-guided bike tour.

The group bike tour meets at 4134 N. Monticello  at 10:30 am.  The bike tour starts at 11 am. The biking group tour should last a couple hours and actual length will be determined by the group itself.

The self-guided tour starts at any of the 20+ host sites and just follow the map provided at each site.

The “Windy City Coop Tour” is open as a non-biking event, too.

The Official Windy City Coop Tour hours are 11am – 2 pm  Additional information including web site, press release,  maps, etc. are forthcoming and will be provided on the Windy City Coop Tour page. Not required, but an RSVP to the bike tour will be helpful in planning. We hope you can join us!

Product Review: The Saltbox Coop from My Pet Chicken

A few of my clients have purchased “The Saltbox” coop from the My Pet Chicken site.

I had hoped to provide a product review on the  site, but there is no space to do so. so I’m posting a review below.

I do not recommend the Saltbox coop for a number of reasons.

1. The coop is too small for “3-4 hens” as it is advertised. This coop is not adequate housing for 3-4 hens, with or without a run. This product is poorly categorized and advertised. The following paragraph from the website is misleading:

Designed for up to 4 chickens
With plenty of roosting and nesting space, you can happily house up to four standard-size chickens, or up to six bantams. Keep in mind this coop, like every coop we sell at My Pet Chicken, is NOT intended for full-time confinement. The run is convenient when you can’t let your flock roam freely, but make sure your flock has several hours per day outside.

This coop is too tiny for 1-2 hens, even with a run.

The paragraph that follows recommends it as a broody box or hospital, which is a more accurate description.It also suggests that you’ll get a bigger coop soon.

We love this model for first-timers because it offers inexpensive entree into the hobby. If you’re like most of our customers, you’ll double or triple your flock within a few years, and you’ll end up having to build or buy a larger coop – but you’ll love having this one on hand. Whether you use it to isolate an injured or sick bird, to give a broody hen the space to hatch her own babies, or to transition new juvenile chicks to life “outdoors” while protecting them from your established flock, you’ll always be glad to have it around!

So why spend $400 on this one now? Better to spend a little more or pay someone to make it and get a more permanent solution!

2. The roosting and nesting area is not adequately ventilated. The hens will suffocate or die of heatstroke in the summer if the door is kept closed at night! A good coop needs to have some sort of ventilation/crossbreeze. I was assuming the window could be opened, but it cannot be.

3. The latches on the side doors are not “predator proof,” as advertised. A smart raccoon would figure out how to open these latches. They are well within easy reach of the roof. The kind of latches on the nesting box should be used on all doors to the coop.

4. The predrilled holes for the hardware are not properly placed. Once installed, the latches did not close at all for one of my clients, and the other client has to work at it to get the latch closed on the door to the roost area.

5. The wood splinters easily. My clients had splintering where they inserted the screws, and at the corners of the lift-off nest box lid. A hardwood, rather than a softwood,should have been used.

6. The drop tray is not deep enough to slide out with all the poop and bedding on it. It is far too shallow.It should be 1 1/2 – 2 inches deep to handle chicken litter.

7. There is no room to put the feeding/watering dishes, either hanging or on the ground. The site recommends, and my client purchased, the 11lb plastic feeder. However, if you add that to the enclosed wire area, that reduces the already scarce space. With the feeder and the waterer in this tiny coop, we would be better off raising quail! There is no room for the feeder, waterer, and 2 birds, let alone 4. Also, the frame and wood do not appear adequate to support a hanging feeder. They certainly could not support the hanging waterer.

8. The plastic waterer and feeder barely fit through the door. They have to be tilted sideways to fit through the door.

Poor product, misleading advertising! I’d be suspicious of their other coops’ quality and advertising claims, too.

The Urban Chicken Consultant Recommends… the Chicken Ark

If you’re getting backyard birds this year, consider the Catawba Coop Chicken Ark. Several of my clients have these, and they are a nice set up for your backyard hens!

This coop features a roomy bottom for free-ranging fun and a secure upper section with pull-up ramp for nighttime safety. Roosts are included in the top section, and there are nest boxes on either end. Suitable for 2 to 3 hens. The coop can be picked up and moved around the yard.

Consider running hardware cloth (a heavy gauge wire mesh) down from the sides and under the ground, across the bottom, to keep rodents from digging up into the coop. (However, if you do this, you will lose the mobility.)

NOTE: ALWAYS let the ramp down in the morning during the summer. Otherwise you will roast your hens – literally – and heatstroke is not a pretty death. 

Assembly required! For those of you who are not handy with lumber, hammer, and nails, you’ll need a hand (and a few extra thumbs!)!

Wilkes’ Chicken Ark in Oak Park
Caughan’s Chicken Ark in Oak Park


What kind of coop do you have or recommend? Please post below!

Urban Chickens Featured at Green Festival, San Francisco

The San Francisco Green Festival, the nation’s largest sustainability event, is featuring urban chickens on its program. If anyone is heading out to San Francisco for Nov. 6 and 7, here is the link. One of the featured exhibitors is the Nomad Chicken Pad. Cute! Personally, I’d prefer to see more free-ranging space under this chicken tractor. Perhaps the Nomad Chicken Pad has an extendable version?

Nomad Chicken Pad

As you”ll recall, Home to Roost was featured on a chicken panel at Chicago’s Green Fest on Navy Pier earlier this year: Home to Roost at Navy Pier’s Green Fest.

Hen-apalooza, Chicago, October 3, 2010

Backyard hens had a chance to meet a number of two-legged mammal critters on October 3, during the Hen-apalooza Coop Tour in Chicago on October 3, 2010.

Encompassing several neighborhoods that have been overtaken by barnyard fowl, the tour, organized by the Chicago Chicken Enthusiasts and Martha Boyd of Angelic Organics Learning Center, offered chicken owners, would-be owners, and the curious public the opportunity to take a peek inside the city’s backyard poultry fad.

Chicago’s chicken keepers and folks as far away as northern Indiana had a chance to swap tips, see new ideas in action, and connect with other chicken keepers. Home to Roost Urban Chicken Consulting presented a short six-point inspection–a quick chicken check-up to assess a bird’s health.

The Chicago Sun-Times deemed the event worthy of coverage, and their scoop on the coop tour is here.

Despite it being a crisp, fall day, the turn-out at the 15 featured coop locations was impressive considering the short time frame from inception to event. The Chicago Chicken Enthusiasts are working on a bigger and better Hen-apalooza for the future! Stay tuned!

October 3, 2010: Hen-apalooza Chicagoland Chicken Coop Tour

Are you thinking about raising chickens but wonder what it’s like to do so in an urban or suburban area? Or are you already raising chickens and wonder how others are doing it? Or are you just interested in taking a fun tour through the Chicago area?

On Sunday, October 3rd, 2010—rain or shine—the first annual Hen-apalooza Chicagoland Chicken Coop Tour will take place at 15 locations throughout the area. Hen-apalooza will be a self-guided tour, so visit as few or as many local chicken-keepers and their fowl friends as you like. A map of tour locations is available at

Home to Roost urban chicken consultant Jennifer Murtoff will be on hand at 2 PM at the Logan Square Co-op (1936 Sawyer Ave.) to talk about her experience and services. She’s also give some quick tips, a “six-point inspection” to assess the health of a chicken.

For more information and a Hen-apalooza Passport to track your tour progress, please see or the Chicago Chicken Enthusiasts Google Group at

Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. No dogs or other pets please. Street parking available at each location. Please consider biking or using public transportation.

Hen-apalooza Chicagoland Chicken Coop Tour is presented by the Chicago Chicken Enthusiasts ( and generously supported by Angelic Organics Learning Center (, Backyard Chicken Run ( and DoubleTake Design (