Give the gift of a chicken class!

Looking for a unique gift idea? How about a chicken-keeping class?


In-home assessment consultation
I’ll come to your home on your schedule to discuss the ins and outs of chicken keeping: chicks, adults, coop, end of life, nutrition. $60/hr (+mileage). Leave a message below!

Advocates for Urban Agriculture’s Urban Livestock Expo, Feb 3, Chicago High School for Ag Sciences
I’ll be staffing a table and doing some short presentations. I’ll be able to field quick questions. This is an informational event rather than a full-blown class. Information here.

Three Rivers Public Library, Minooka Branch, Feb 24
Basic chicken-keeping class. Register here.

Good Food Festival, March 24, UIC Forum
I’ll be staffing a table and doing some short presentations. I’ll be able to field quick questions. This is an informational event rather than a full-blown class.

Morton Arboretum, April 21
Basic chicken-keeping class and coop building class. Class not posted yet; call for more info:  630-968-0074

Wauconda Public Library, May 22
Basic chicken-keeping class. Class not yet posted; call for more information: 847.526.6225

Stay tuned for more events; I’ll post them to the blog as I have more information.








Flock Looking for Home!

Contact: Winnie Kearns
winnie DOT kearns AT gmail
seven-seven-three 680-3861
We have 4 adult birds, 3 1/2 years old.  We got them from Belmont Feed and Seed and they have been VERY healthy and successful, laying 8-10 eggs/week this summer.  We have 2 Barred Rocks, and ISA Brown and a Rhode Island Red.  We have loved them thoroughly, but we will be traveling a good deal in the next few months, and caring for them daily is getting more difficult.  We would love for them to go to a good home where they might be able to socialize and continue to be cared for.  We have food and heating watering stand to travel with them if that is helpful.

Winterizing Your Chickens

It’s that time of year again – winter. If you got chicks this spring, you probably asked the question, “How do I take care of the hens over the winter?” Bringing them into the house is not a great idea, and unlike dogs, chickens generally aren’t given to wearing sweaters and booties. Here are some tips for helping your chickens ride out the winter.

Coop Environment

Heat is not a major need for chickens in winter. They can tolerate pretty low temperatures and will eat more to increase their metabolism. Overheating your coop can lead to hefty hens who haven’t burned off all the extra calories they’re consuming. So leave the space heater in the spare room! Your main enemy is moisture. Too much moisture in the coop leads to frostbite. It’s more important to have a dry coop than a warm coop.

  • Clean poop from the coop often. Chicken feces add to the moisture content of the air in the coop.
  • Ensure that the coop is well ventilated but not drafty.
  • Move your coop to an area out of the wind.
  • Cover the run with tarps or heavy-duty plastic to prevent drafts.
  • Stack strawbales around the run to hold in the heat and prevent snow from blowing in.
  • If your coop is raised, the area between the floor of the coop and the ground is often a favored winter hangout. Provide some windbreaks for the birds and they’ll likely enjoy their winter digs.
  • Provide lots of bedding or straw. Bedding should be dry and fluffy so that it traps the heat.
  • You can use a heat lamp when temps are in the single digits for several days. Beware of fire hazards, especially with the dry bedding, and use a red, rather than white, bulb. A reptile heat emitter is a good alternative.
  • If you want your hens to continue laying during the winter, supplement white light in the morning (not evening) so that the hens get 14 hours of light. You can also let their bodies rest and give them the winter off from laying.
  • Provide wide roosts that allow the down feathers on their bellies to cover their feet.

Food and Water

  • Provide fresh, unfrozen water and be sure they have continuous access to food – their bodies need it to stay warm. You can keep two waterers – one in the house and one outside – and swap them out as the outside one freezes.
  • Provide extra protein for the birds during the winter months. A handful of dry cat (not dog) food will give an extra protein boost.
  • You can provide a handful of scratch grain in the evening, before they head to the roost for the night. This will help keep their metabolism going during the night.
  • Provide a head of cabbage, hung from a string or chain to keep them engaged and prevent pecking.
  • Use a bird suet basket as a treat box.


  • Use Vaseline on combs and wattles to keep them from freezing.
  • Watch feet, combs, and wattles signs of frostbite – they will look swollen and puffy at first. They will eventually turn black and fall off. Infection is a possible risk of a bad case of frostbite.

Contact Home to Roost if you’d like an in-home winterizing consultation.

Chicken Sweaters

There are lots of posts on the internet about putting cute little sweaters on your chickens. For a number of reasons, it’s best that chickens not wear clothing. My main objection to chicken sweaters is that a chicken might get a toe or other body part caught, panic as it tries to free itself, and injure or kill itself in the process. Here are a few other reasons why chicken sweaters are not a good idea.

TASC’s Midwest Bird Expo this weekend, Oct 27 and 28!

Come to the National Bird Show & Midwest Bird Expo, October 27 & 28, 2017

Pheasant Run Resort, St. Charles, IL

Attend sessions hosted by members of the All Species Consulting Consortium!

All Species Consulting includes
Lara Joseph, Animal Behavior Center
Robin Shewokis, Enrichment Specialist
Dr. Caroline Efstathion, Avian Preservation & Education Conservancy
Dr. Jason Crean, Biologist
Elise Franchi, Nashville Zoo

And also Buddy Waskey, Dr. Peter Sakas, Jennifer Murtoff, and Dr. Jean Dubach!

Friday, October 27th

Saturday, October 28th

Pheasant Run Resort
Saint Charles, Illinois

You can now reserve your All Access Pass!  This VIP pass gets you entry into the National Bird Show, the Midwest Bird Expo vendor hall, and any of the seminars as well as any other surprises that will be added!

Seating is limited!  Click here to reserve your seat now!

Home to Roost at TASC in St. Charles, October 28

I’m speaking at the Midwest Bird Expo at the National Bird Show! Seminars, vendors, birds of all kinds, and so much more!
Meet members of the American Federation of Aviculture from across the country. Find more information and get your All Access Pass at
Hope to see you there.

Join the goats for the GlennArt Farm Fall Gathering, October 14!

Come pet a goat! Come feed a goat! Come and see our goats at GlennArt Farm. We are opening the pasture to the public, offering lemonade and some music. We will be selling goat products as well. IF you come early at 8 a.m. you can help milk a goat!!!!

More info here.