3 Ways Black Soldier Flies Can Change the Way You Farm

We know what you may be thinking…” why would someone WANT flies?” If you raise chickens or garden, then you may agree that flies can be a nuisance. Therefore, how exactly can they help with backyard farming? Well, one thing that is important to clarify is that these aren’t your typical house flies. Actually, they are much more cool, useful, and interesting! That’s why we’ve put together 3 ways that Black Soldier Flies can dramatically change the way you farm.

Wait…but what are Black Soldier Flies (BSF)?

Black Soldier Flies are a small mouthless wasp that, once established, can help eliminate up to 5 pounds of food waste per day. This fly is also a predator of the common housefly. Black Soldier flies don’t even sting or bite either! 

Eliminate Food Waste – Both in the Kitchen & Garden

  • Did you know that the U.S wastes around 40% of food?1 Chance is that you’ve likely gone through the month having to dispose of a few items due to spoilage. Food is thrown in the trash, gets picked up by a trash company, then later dumped in a large landfill. A cycle that’s less than exciting and even more detrimental to our environment. 

 

  • Don’t you wish there was a better way to put that food to use? Now, if you have chickens…you may opt to throw the scraps to your flock. If you have a composter, you may throw some leftover veggies for future plant food. However, those two options have their limitations. Your moldy bread shouldn’t be a scrap for your birds and raw spoiled fish should definitely not go in your composter. Now…imagine if you can dispose of this waste in a manner that won’t leave waste to aromatically engulf your kitchen or attract the neighborhood trash raccoon. This is where the Grubcone™ comes in to radically change the way you recycle and see food waste forever! Easy to assemble and even easier to use, the Grubcone™ is a simple backyard addition that takes easily degradable food waste and, with the power of the Black Soldier Fly, breaks down and eats everything that you can’t and don’t! All with leaving little to no trace! A non-energy-powered way to make food waste disappear. A pretty good solution if you ask us!

Feed Black Soldier Flies To Your Chickens 

  • If you’re a backyard chicken parent, you may have come across dry grubs as a treat for your birds. Grubs are a delight to your chickens and are considered a super-feed with 40% protein and a high-fat ratio. And must be supplemented by scratch feed (or another carb source) for laying hens to get the balanced nutrition required to maximize laying performance. If you live in a rural area with livestock then you can supplement grubs to your waterfowl, cows, goats, horses, etc. They even say people can eat them…but we’re good with just saving it for our flock only 😉

Production Waste Fertilizer

  • You know how the Grubcone™ and Black Soldier Fly can battle food waste, but how about its benefit to your garden? Although the black soldier fly grub can’t exactly be sprinkled to your garden, its production waste sure can. Depending on where you live, the black soldier fly has a season where it’s composting at full speed, but it also has a season where it stops during the cold, much like us. At this time it’s best to scoop out what little is left in your Grubcone™ to use in your Greenhouse Fall/Winter plants. What you’ll be left with is a mixture of organic super mineral plant fertilizer that your future transplants will love. Then when the next season rolls around, begin the cycle all over again!

 

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Map of where the Black Soldier Fly can live

We hope you enjoyed reading about how the black soldier fly and Grubcone™ can change the way you recycle food waste. Give us a call or visit our Grubcone™ product page to learn more about the BSF! And see how with one simple backyard addition, you can make a small difference in our environment. 🙂 support@roostandroot.com

Citations:

[1] Gunders, Dana. “Wasted: How America is Losing Up to 40 Percent of Its Food from Farm to Fork to Landfill.” Natural Resources Defense Council, 2017. https://www.nrdc.org/sites/default/files/wasted-2017-report.pdf

From Brooder to Coop, When to Transition your Chickens.

Deciding to raise backyard chickens is an exciting decision and journey to begin. Perhaps you’re debating on which flock members you want to begin with or maybe you already have a few chicks growing happily in a brooder. Regardless of which situation you may find yourself in, you’re likely contemplating how and when you should prepare your flock’s future coop. After all, they can’t live inside your home forever rent-free! 

To help with your flock’s future relocation, we’ve compiled a small blog of helpful information to guide you on everything you need to know when it comes time to rehome and purchase your flock’s new Round-Top Coop. You may find that you won’t need your coop as soon as you believe you do! 

Age:

As you may already suspect, your small flock members will eventually outgrow the palm of your hand. In what sometimes seems like overnight, your birds will transition from their fluffy coats to gleaming structured feathers. Chickens will go through 3 stages of growth by the time they are ready to transition outdoors: chicks, pullets/cockerels, and mature hens & roosters. 

Chicks:

As seen on the chart below, your birds are considered chicks when they are 1 to 4 weeks old. At this age, your birds will require the most supervision and care. Chicks are recommended to stay in brooder set-ups to protect them from injury and to help regulate their body temperature. 

If you’re new to brooding chicks, we recommend visiting our following blog post “Chick Brooder Set-Up Guide for Beginners” which shares everything you need to know about preparing a brooding space for chicks. 

Pullets/Cockerels:

At 5-6 weeks of age, most of your bird’s body will be covered by growing adult feathers. At this stage, flock members are much less susceptible to drops in outdoor temperatures.

A rule of thumb to ensure that your flock members can comfortably use their Round-Top coop features is to transition your birds between 6 to 8 weeks of age. Transitioning birds any sooner may lead to an outside risk of safety regardless of their coop. 

Fully Feathered Hens & Roosters:

Pullets and cockerels are not considered to be mature until they reach 16 weeks of age. A pullet is considered a hen when she finally begins to lay, which is around 18 weeks of age. Roosters are recognized as mature once their crow becomes more audible and their spurs are at least an inch long. 

Outdoor Temperature:

Depending on your location and when you begin your backyard farming journey, the temperature should always be considered prior to your flock’s age. Chicks are able to withstand 5° temperature drops each week from the moment they are born, with consideration that they start with supplemental heat of 90°F or if outdoor temperatures are cold 95°F. Your flock is ready to be transitioned outside if by 6 weeks of age temperatures are steadily 70-65°F or higher. If temperatures are lower, we recommend keeping your birds indoors until they reach 8 weeks of age.

Once fully grown, your flock members can be very hardy to cooler temperatures. Temperature considerations are why it’s favored to begin backyard chicken keeping in the Spring and Summer months. Live in a state that experiences longer durations of warmth?  Early Fall can be a considerably great time to start as well! If you often experience snow and freezing temperatures, we recommend utilizing our cold climate accessories.

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Chart for when chickens can move into their coops

Breed:

Looking to start your flock with bantams? We recommend waiting to transition your bantam flock to our coops once they reach 8 weeks of age. If you need further guidance on how to care for and raise bantams, we recommend visiting our blog post How to Raise and Keep Bantam Chickens

When Should Ducks go in a Coop?:

Considering a Round-Top Duck Coop? If you’re considering ducklings then it’s important to note that ducklings grow much much faster than chicks. Average-sized duck breeds are ready to enter their coops by 4 weeks of age if the weather outside is steadily warm and sunny (65°F). Ducks will fully feather at 7 to 9 weeks and begin laying at 5 to 6 months of age.

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Chart that shares when a duck should be moved into a coop

We hope you find this article helpful as you begin or continue your backyard farming journey! If you ever have questions regarding anything mentioned in this blog post, reach out to us at 877-741-2667 or email us at support@roostandroot.comWe’re real people and are always happy to help!

How to Raise and Keep Bantam Chickens

What are Bantam Chickens?

If you’re new to the world of backyard chicken keeping, then you are certain to come across bantam chickens eventually. Bantam chickens are simply smaller versions of regular-sized chicken breeds. Popular for their appearance, bantam chickens are one-half, and sometimes even one-third, the size of an average chicken! Bantam chickens weigh less than 3 pounds, whereas average-sized birds weigh between 5 -10 pounds. 

Cute is simply an understatement for how these fun and small-sized birds appear. Before you get taken over by their adorable appearance, we recommend learning some of the following considerations when it comes to raising and keeping bantam chickens of your own. 

Are Bantam Chickens Good Layers?

Probably one of the most important questions to consider when selecting chicken breeds is if they are good egg layers. As you can assume, a small chicken will produce…small eggs! To get an idea for future recipes, two bantam eggs equal one large egg. However, most importantly, you may be wondering if bantams will even lay often enough to meet your breakfast or baking needs! Depending on the breed you select, most bantams will lay just as often as their regular-sized equivalents. 

Feeding 

Meal servings reduce significantly for bantams compared to their regular-sized companions. You may view this as more money saved in the long-run, or perhaps an opportunity to add even more bantams. 😉 Bantams require no special diet and can enjoy the same nutritional feeds as your average-sized flock members. Regardless of what feed texture you select for your laying flock members, both crumbles and pellets will work great for your bantams. 

Can Bantam Chickens live with Regular Chickens?

The short answer is yes! Although the obvious size difference may initially bring concern, it is still very possible to mix both your bantam favorites and average-sized members seamlessly. There are, however, some simple rules of thumb that will make the overall transition easier for all of your flock members.

How to Introduce Bantams

New Flock Owner:

If you are contemplating both bantams and average-sized birds to start your first flock, we recommend starting with a higher ratio of bantams to average-sized birds, at least a 3:1 ratio. If brooding both average-sized chicks and bantams, it’s very important to separate the two to prevent any injury as well. For more help on how to brood chicks, make sure to refer to our blog topic here!

Existing Flock Owner:

If your existing flock currently consists of average-sized birds, then it is important to not introduce your bantams until they are at least 16 weeks of age. In addition, it is important to never introduce only 1 bantam to your flock of average-sized birds. We recommend always introducing at least 3 or more bantam flock members at once to prevent any possible bullying. 

Flock Distractions

  • If you are still concerned about how your flock may accept their new member, we recommend adding fun distractions for your birds to enjoy when you transition bantams. Distractions may be as simple as a crisp veggie garland from your garden or chicken-friendly treats like these.
  • Some flock members are generally much better sports when it comes to accepting new flock friends than others. A few breeds that we recommend if you are starting your mixed flock include hens of the following breeds: Buff Orpingtons, Rhode Island Reds, Barred Rocks, and Easter Eggers. Unlike other flock members such as leghorns, who are a bit more frantic, a friendlier breed will be less likely to pick on your bantam birds.

Feed & Water

  • If you enjoy the convenience of our EZ-Fill Feeders and Waterer’s then you can rest assured that with a simple adjustment, your new bantams can still have the great convenience of our accessories. If you own average-sized hens, then you may take note that your hens slightly duck to eat from the feeder dispenser. For Bantams, the feeder dispenser is level with their neck already therefore no adjustment is required. 

 

 

If you own our EZ-Fill Waterers, then we recommend placing a stepping stone underneath the poultry nipples to make it easier for your bantam birds to peck at the nipple watering system.

Housing and Spacing 

Although bantams may be smaller, their coop shouldn’t have to be as well! Each of our coops is bantam friendly and can accommodate your bird’s needs with optional accessories. Of course, with an only-bantam flock, you can allot for additional birds in your coop as well. For help on ordering the right number of birds for your coop, make sure to refer to our Advanced Hen and Egg Chart here

For our coops that don’t include ramps, you can rest assured that your bantam will have no issue jumping to and from bars. On average bantams can jump up to 4 feet, a height that far exceeds the space between the ground and the roost bars of our coops!

Our Favorite Bantam Breed Layers

Many of the following bantam breeds keep their excellent egg-laying reputations just like their average-sized counterparts. The mentioned breeds are not only excellent egg layers but are docile and excellent to befriend. 

Easter Egger

  • By far a favorite with flock owners everywhere! The Easter Eggers bantam equivalent will grace you with the same beautifully colored eggs you adore while keeping an excellent and kind demeanor. If you already love the unique “bearded” fluff of feathers that these chickens sport, you’ll believe it to be even cuter on a bantam too!

Sussex

  • Similar in personality to Easter Eggers, bantam Sussex breeds are calm and friendly birds that enjoy bonding with their owners. Unlike a few breeds that momentarily reduce egg production during the winter months, Sussex hens will continue to lay during wintertime.

Plymouth Rocks 

  • Likely one of our absolute favorite breeds, Plymouth rocks are known for their gentle nature and beautiful checkered plumage. You truly cannot go wrong with this flock member! Plymouth rocks are also known as Barred Rocks and lay beautiful brown eggs.

How to Order Bantam Breeds 

Of course, adding bantams isn’t a requirement for starting your very own backyard farm, however, adding them sure is fun! Bantam breeds may be easier to integrate into a family with children as well! If the above information has you eager to add or start a flock with bantams, then we’ll be happy to share some important tips for ordering your first bantam flock. 

All Bantams can Only be Ordered Unsexed

  • Due to their smaller frame, hatcheries are unable to safely identify the gender of bantam chicks. Although you may prefer all hens, roosters are certain to possibly make their way into your order. Of course, roosters are nothing to be concerned about if your backyard or neighborhood allows for them, but if they don’t then we recommend having a plan ahead of ordering to rehome your roosters. 

Ordering Bantams is Best During Warmer Months

  • If you begin your backyard farming journey in a cooler month, then we recommend ordering average-sized birds along with your bantams to ensure that the collective body heat inside the coop keeps your birds warm. 

Minimum Orders

  • Depending on the season in which you order, you may be required to order a minimum number of birds. This is to ensure that your birds travel warm and safe through the mail. It’s best to check with the hatchery of your choice prior to ordering to ensure what your minimum is. 

For more help on how to order your first flock of bantam chicks, make sure to check out our resourceful step-by-step blog post, “Your Guide to Ordering Your First Backyard Flock”. We hope you find this guide helpful as you begin your backyard farming journey! Have a question regarding what was mentioned in our blog post? Reach out to us at any time, we’re real people and enjoy helping new and existing chicken and coop owners everywhere! support@roostandroot.com, phone: 877-741-2667. 

How to Transplant Seedlings to your Raised Garden Bed

Perhaps you’ve been hardening your very own seedlings at home before introducing them full-time outdoors…or maybe you’ve collected a few trays of exciting new vegetables from your local garden center that are in need of deeper soil. No matter how your seedlings have come to grow, the steps taken to transplant your growing flowers or vegetables can mean a great deal in determining how well your future garden grows. 

Although transplanting your seedlings may seem simple…there are a lot of factors that can prevent those seedlings from thriving after being moved to their raised garden beds! To ensure that your growing seedlings have the best chance of thriving after transplanting, follow our helpful tips below!

Can you Transplant Seedlings too Early?

The answer is absolutely, even if your outdoor temperature is relatively warm outside! Depending on your seasonal temperatures, location, and crop, some seedlings can be transplanted 1-2 weeks after your last frost, and sometimes even prior! Getting an early start by planting your seeds before Spring doesn’t always lead to a bigger and better crop. Depending on where you are located, starting your seeds early in the year without grow lights, and when daylight hours are limited, may result in weaker and more fragile seedlings.  

When Can I Plant my Seedlings Outside?

The maximum number of weeks in which a seedling can stay in a tray is 3 to 4 weeks, this time frame may be less if you are collecting seedlings from a local garden center. There are a number of ways to tell when your tray or plastic container seedlings are ready to be transplanted. Below we’ll cover how to spot when your at-home seedlings are ready to be relocated. If you are starting seedlings at home, then it is vital that you harden off your seedlings prior to transplanting them outdoors. If you have yet to harden your plants, make sure to visit this helpful resource from Burpee to learn how. Are you currently hardening your seedlings? Refer to the following signs below to determine when your seedlings are ready to transplant.

*Hardening your seedlings involves introducing your potted or pelleted plants outdoors to get acclimated to outdoor temperatures and winds. In turn, this will toughen your seedlings to their future and permanent outdoor environment.

True Leaves:

Seedlings are typically ready for outdoor planting once they have a minimum of two to three sets of “true” leaves. Although exciting, you shouldn’t depend on your seedling’s first leaves to determine their readiness for outdoor planting. The first few leaves of your seedling will eventually begin to wither, when this happens, don’t be alarmed. The first two leaves of your plant turning yellow and falling is simply a sign of upcoming growth. Eventually, your seedlings will begin to develop “true” leaves, which are leaves that are larger and less flimsy. 

Exposed Roots:

Exposed roots near the drainage holes of container or via the side of a pellet is  another way of knowing when to transplant. If left as is, roots may continue to grow and become what is known as pot-bound. A pot-bound root system will restrict further plant growth and result in the plant’s roots becoming a tightly intertwined mass. 

Transferring Seedlings to Your Raised Garden Bed

Time of Day and Weather

Although it may be tempting to introduce your plants outdoors on a cloudless, sunny day, this may, in turn, cause a great deal of harm. It’s best to introduce your hardened seedlings outdoors either early in a cloudy morning or late afternoon. On the day you decide to transplant your seedlings, check nightly temperatures to ensure that there isn’t a significant drop that could affect your crop. 

Predator Safety

Your new outdoor garden additions will not only be a source of food for you, but also any hungry pests or critters nearby. It’s always best to prepare a safe predator covering, especially if you live in an unfenced area. Our Wildlife Covers are one simple and cheaper way to protect your growing plants from squirrels, birds, and even deer!

Post Transplant

It’s best to always water after transplanting your crops as opposed to transplanting in already moistened dirt. Do you live in a zone that experiences dry weather conditions? If so, we recommend immediately mulching after transplanting your crop. Mulching will prevent your new veggies from baking in the sun and will help retain moisture. For more information on how to prepare your raised garden bed, visit our blog post here!

We hope you find these gardening tips helpful as you begin your backyard farming journey! If you ever have any questions regarding anything that is mentioned in this blog post? Reach out to us at 877-741-2667 or email us at support@roostandroot.com.

For more raised vegetable gardening help, visit our blog post 5 Ways Raised Vegetable Gardens Can Increase Your Gardening Success.

We’re real people and are always happy to help!

All About your Coops Roost Bars & Ramp

When it comes to customizing your chicken coop, there are always a few necessities that are a must when it comes to creating the perfect home for your flock. At Roost & Root, the details taken into consideration mean a great deal for your bird’s comfort and overall satisfaction. Although style and size may vary with each coop, there are always two features that are always a must for any coop we build. 

Roost Bars

Chickens, just like smaller bird species, are naturally inclined to perch when it comes time to rest. Creating a similar ability for your birds to do the same in their coop is a necessity when it comes to housing your flock. When it comes to roost bars, it was important for us to construct a semi-flat/rounded surface that brought natural comfort. Every roost bar that comes with our coop models is sanded and rounded slightly to allow for a comfortable and natural grip, similar to that offered in nature. 

Material:

Not only does a wooden roost bar best mimic nature and match our all cedar construction, but it’s also a much-preferred material than that of metal and plastic. Unlike plastic and metal, wooden roost bars are not affected during drastic temperature changes and are not slippery. 

Height & Space:

When it comes to the height of your roost bar placement, your birds will always prefer the highest bar. This is partly because of your flock’s pecking hierarchy as well as safety preference. 

Spacing each bar is an equally important factor as well. Not only does spacing your roost bars allow for adequate comfort and room for each of your flock members, but it also prevents any droppings from falling on another resting bird! Staggering roost bars not only prevent the prior situation from happening but also provides your flock with a way to hop to their preferred roost bar. Additionally, our Backyard Coop even allows for roost bar adjustment!

Round-Top Walk-In Coop Hen on Ramp
Mobile Backyard Chicken Coop
Round-Top Chicken Loft™ Dropping Board System
Two 33" roost bars

 

 

Ramps

For a few of our models, ramps are sometimes necessary to access roost space or bars. This is particularly true for bantam-sized birds as well as larger/heavier breeds. More often than not, regular-sized birds do just fine jumping on and off roost bars without a ramp. 

Round-top models that have amps include the Round-Top Walk-In Coop, Backyard Coop, and Mobile Coop. Although necessary for the Walk-In and Backyard due to higher placed roost bars and roost/nest box entry, many of our other models don’t require ramps at all! 

Models such as the Stand-Up and Loft don’t require ramps due to their short distance (Ft? For both?) between the ground surface and bars. If birds are of 6-8 weeks of age, chances are they are old enough to reach the bars with ease.

Cleaning Roost Bars & Ramps

Roost bars and ramp are bound to collect droppings, however, it’s not like your chickens do this on purpose! Chickens actually drop the most waste during hours of sleep. To help clean off droppings, we always recommend using an all-natural cleaning solution, scrapper, and an optional bristled brush. For more tips on how to clean your coop, make sure to visit our blog post “How to Clean Your Round-Top Coop” for more great tips!

 

Construction Insight

Ventilation:

It is equally important to ensure that the area your flock rests in would be ventilated during warm and cold months. All coops come with ventilation holes to allow for adequate airflow to reach both roost bars and nest boxes.  

Nest Box Height:

Although it may initially seem like a more comfortable sleeping arrangement, it’s important to not allow your birds to sleep in their nest boxes. This is why all Roost bars are placed higher than your flock’s nest box to naturally attract them to sleep at the highest spot. 

Fun Fact:

Did you know that chickens can, on average, jump/fly at a height of over 5 feet?! Depending on whether or not your flock’s wings are clipped, this may be a shorter height. Your flock’s physical capability allows for ease of movement to and from roost bars.

We hope you enjoyed learning more about the design of some of the most essential features in our Round-Top Coops. Have questions or comments regarding anything mentioned in this article, please feel free to email us at support@roostandroot.com 

 

7 Advantages to Greenhouse Gardening

Gardening doesn’t have to be an activity to admire and enjoy only in the spring and summer months. Whether you wish to start your garden early or keep your prized plants away from any outside pests, greenhouses have a number of advantages! Learn below 7 ways that greenhouse gardening can increase your gardening success, year after year!

Longer Growing Season

A longer growing season is one of the biggest advantages to greenhouse gardening, especially if you experience shorter warm seasons. Gardening in a greenhouse allows anyone to garden well into winter despite any freezing temperatures. Starting late into a season will also have no effect on your indoor crop. Interested in knowing what crops work best in your gardening zone? Make sure to refer to this gardening zone chart! 

 

Fewer Pest Problems

Live in an area prone to visits from hungry pests such as deer, moles, and squirrels? Keep your favorite crops protected inside your greenhouse and away from any tempted pests. If seasonal visits from insects are common in your backyard environment, you may easily relocate your favorite plants inside. In addition, if found, you can easily eliminate any bug from your Greenhouse through the use of simple traps. 

 

Expand your Variety

Choosing what to grow in your greenhouse all comes down to preference. Greenhouse gardening will allow you to successfully grow even your most delicate plants, such as roses or orchids. Looking for more inspiration on the extensive number of plants that can thrive in a greenhouse? Refer to this list of vegetables and ornamental favorites!

 

Greenhouse Weather Protection

An unfortunate, but common occurrence that arises when gardening is inclement weather. Whether in the form of hail or flooding, one unforeseen day in your forecast may cause you to reconstruct your garden completely. Rather than having to look outside your window and endure the inclement weather pouring down on your sprouting flowers and vegetables, you can rest more easily knowing that the time put into growing your crop is safeguarded in a greenhouse.

 

Save Money on Produce

Have you ever noticed how out-of-season fruits or vegetables tend to be higher priced? This is partially due to weather conditions in the state or country of import as well as transportation costs. Instead of paying out-of-season prices, recoup your savings by growing your own fruits and vegetables year-round. Never worry about out-of-season favorites and continue enjoying your favorite vegetables regardless of environmental factors that are out of your control. 

 

Higher Gardening Success

Developing gardening skills can be timely yet rewarding, however, practicing and elevating your craft can be difficult, especially when you’re limited to the outdoor conditions in your area. Greenhouse gardening allows you to test your green thumb with a myriad of flowers and vegetables, regardless of your forecast. Greenhouse gardening also allows for you to successfully sprout your seasonal favorites before transplanting them outdoors for their optimal seasons. 

 

Control Plant Health

When it comes to producing high yields of plants or flowers, some agricultural farmers will depend on fertilizers and sometimes pesticides to ensure that crop yields are met and protected. When it comes to being conscious about what ultimately makes its way to your dinner table, you may prefer to organically grow your own food. You can make a decision on how your favorite vegetables and fruit are produced and have a greater impact on your plant’s health by choosing to garden in a greenhouse. 

We hope you enjoyed learning the various advantages that come with investing in your very own backyard greenhouse. If you ever have any questions regarding anything mentioned in our blog post, reach out to us! We’re real people and are always happy to help. 

Looking for more gardening advice and help? Make sure to visit our blog post “Raised Vegetable Gardening for Beginners” or “5 Ways Raised Vegetable Gardens Can Increase Your Gardening Success“.

 

How to Identify and Stop a Broody Hen

If you’re new to backyard chicken keeping, a broody hens tendency may be an amazing addition to your flock if you are looking to expand your flock with new hatchlings. However, these maternal instincts in a hen may not always be favorable, especially if the eggs she’s laying on aren’t even fertile! If you are new to backyard chicken keeping, there are key identifiers to help spot a hen’s behavior change when her instincts have taken over. A few noteworthy signs of a broody hen may include the following 3 identifiers.

Defensive Reluctance to Move

Once a hen has determined that the collection of eggs in your coops nest box deserve to be hatched, her behavior will radically change. A broody hen will ruffle her feathers, perhaps “hiss”, and even resort to pecking your hand when collecting eggs. 

Missing Feathers and Nest Box Accommodations

Finding an occasional feather in your nest box is no surprise, however, when an accumulation of feathers appears along with identifiable bare skin on your hen, do not be alarmed. A hen will remove feathers to transfer more direct body heat to eggs. If you prepare your nest boxes with straw or excelsior nesting then you may notice some accommodation adjustments. 

Missed Meal Time or Snacks

Ever notice how your flock gets excited about feeding time? Flock members will oftentimes pick up on their feeding time schedule and follow you with excitement when you appear, even more so when presenting an occasional treat! If a particular hen suddenly and continuously refuses to leave a nest box regardless of being presented with a meal or flock favorite snack, check the nest box! 

 

Stopping a Broody Hen

Now that you may have identified and confirmed whether or not your hen is broody, the next step of action would be one of two decisions. If you have a rooster or two, allowing her to nest for the entire 21 day incubation period may be an option that does no harm. However, if you find yourself in the predicament of a broody hen with no fertile eggs, breaking your hen out of her maternal instinct may require a trial of different methods. 

Physically Remove your Broody Hen

Simply grabbing your hen and taking her out of the nest box may not be as simple, especially if she is acting defiant. This choice may require a bit of precaution, we suggest using gloves when doing so.

Closeout the Nest Box

A broody hen exerts a great deal of energy and commitment, even so, that she will rarely leave her nest to hydrate, quickly eat, and relieve herself. If you are quick to notice when she leaves her claimed nest box, we suggest utilizing a solid item such as a small board to block her return. 

Eliminate Comfort

Although it may make sense to make your hens nest box comfortable and ideal for laying eggs, too much comfort may be an easier temptation for a broody hen. If you eliminate your hens broody approved set-up, she may have a change in behavior and snap out of her broodiness.

Relocate your Hen

Accommodating your coop to break one hen out of being broody in a flock of non-broody hens may not seem fair. That’s why having a location set aside for your hen may be a more preferred choice. Oftentimes flock owners will use a dog kennel with no nesting and only food and water, (commonly referred to as a “chicken jail”), to separate and discourage a broody hen. Keeping your hen separated from the rest of the flock may seem unreasonable at first, but if you have one nest box, then your broody hen will refuse to allow the rest of your hens to nest comfortably and provide you with eggs. For more information on how to set up a “chicken jail”, follow the tips mentioned here! Broody hen jail may require confinement for up to 21 days, the same amount of time it takes to hatch a nest of eggs. 

We hope our tips for identifying and stopping your broody hen help you along your backyard farming journey. If you are new to backyard chicken keeping and have any questions in regards to anything mentioned in our article, reach out to us via call or email! We’re real people and are always happy to help! Support@roostandroot.com 

New to backyard chicken keeping? Make sure to visit our blog “5 First Time Backyard Chicken Keeping Tips“.

7 Backyard Farming Resolutions for 2021

The new year calls for new and exciting goals and changes to strive for! However, if you find yourself often times falling back after the first few months of the year, adding backyard farming focused goals can be the missing addition needed to help make this year transformational. Incorporating Backyard Farming can help in a number of areas, such as; increasing time outdoors, practicing patience, recycling, eating healthier, and maintaining a workout regimen. As you plan to tackle your new year resolutions, consider adding a few of these exciting backyard farming ideas!

Composting and Recycling:

Did you know that in the U.S. more food ends up in landfills than plastic or paper1? Before throwing away any leftovers or moldy food in the trash, consider composting your food waste or recycling it to create treats for your flock. Depending on where you live, our Grubcone can be an excellent and simple addition to your recycling regimen. 

Share Eggs or Vegetables:

If you found yourself with an abundance of vegetables or eggs last growing season, consider sharing your bountiful crop with those around you! Not only will you gain inspiring recognition from your neighbors and family, but you’ll also feel great knowing that every bit of your harvest was enjoyed. 

Add More Medicinal Plants:

Medicinal plants can bring forth a number of health benefits that will help inspire and maintain your goals of a healthier you. Use these following herbs for both their aromatic benefits or dry a few of your favorite leaves to create your very own herbal tea blend. 

Lavender – Use lavender to help you relax or sleep during a long day

Mint – Mint is available in a number of flavors and dries wonderfully for future teas

Lemon Grass – A refreshing and anti-inflammatory plant that makes a great addition to any diet

Chamomile – Similar to the use of lavender, this plant creates a nice calming effect and can also be used in combination with honey to help ail a sore throat

Add Native Plants to Your Garden:

Bees are the helpers of any garden, encourage visits from these busy pollinators by planting native plants among your vegetables. Make your garden a bee-friendly inn by incorporating native plants as well as bee favorite herbs such as rosemary, mint, lavender, oregano, and bee balm.  

Encourage a Friend or Family Member to Join You:

They say sharing your goals creates accountability! For an added bit of motivation, try encouraging a friend or family member to join you. Not only will you both inspire each other, but both of you will likely exceed your gardening goals. Additionally sharing your gardening passion with the family will encourage more involvement and outdoor bonding time for everyone.

Add New Flock Members:

Looking to have insta-worthy eggs this year? Consider adding new colorful egg layers to your backyard flock. Make sure to plan ahead which egg layers you’ll want to add to ensure that you place your order in time before the Spring rush. For a few ideas, consider the following 3 chickens as possible future flock additions!

Marans – Looking to create a gradient range of brown egg layers? Marans produce beautiful deep-brown eggs that are sure to amaze you each time you reach inside the nest box.

Easter Eggers – It’s no surprise that a chicken named after a holiday of colorful egg decorating is known for producing a variety of egg colors. Each Easter Egger is likely to produce a specific color. Finding out what color your hen may lay is always an exciting guessing game. 

Araucanas – The beautifully blue-hued eggs laid by this chicken is sure to amaze your neighbors and family members. 

Enjoy Your Garden:

As simple as it is to put more focus on our indoor environments, focusing on making our backyard a relaxing oasis this year can be a great investment. Allow your backyard to be both a retreat for you and your family, as well as a productive source for nutritious and organic food. 

We hope you find this article helpful as you begin the New Year with new and exciting backyard farming resolutions! For questions regarding anything mentioned in this blog post, reach out to us at 877-741-2667 or email us at support@roostandroot.com.

We’re real people and always happy to help!

[1]  https://n.pr/2JzdiEE

Chick Brooder Set-Up Guide for Beginners

Whether you’ve recently committed to ordering your very first flock or your incubated eggs are nearing their hatch date, preparing your future flock’s temporary home will certainly be the next step on your to-do list. If you are new to backyard chicken keeping, your brooder will serve as a safe space as your flock continues to fully develop before being old enough to transition to their future coop. Fortunately, your brooder can be easily put together by following a few simple steps and safety precautions listed below!

Container:

Brooders can be fashioned out of a number of large containers, some of which you may already have at your disposal. You may also follow our dimensions guides to easily construct a brooder of your own as well! Below are a few ways to repurpose a few items as a brooder for your future flock.

Galvanized or Plastic Stock Tank:

Often found in most local feed stores, galvanized stock tanks may range in a number of sizes. Although often used as a water system for livestock, stock tanks can be a great brooding container for chicks. Tanks are available both in a circular and oval form and can be easily repurposed for years. Additionally, it’s important to note that as your flock grows, you’ll need to create a simple wire covering to prevent your flock from jumping out once older as well as to protect them from any surprise pet visits.

Doggy PlayPen:

Doggy Playpens are a great, inexpensive, and space-saving brooder option for growing chicks. Most playpens come with a detachable top and are easily moveable. We suggest going with a fabric or plastic option as opposed to a metal pen. Before selecting this brooder option for your flock, it is important to note that this brooder choice will not be as strongly structured like that of a stock tank or wooden set-up. If you have a concern with anything that may disturb your brooder set up, we would suggest going with a more stabilized structure.

Plastic Storage Bin:

Plastic storage bins similar to those used to store items are another great alternative! A plastic storgae bin will require a few customized adjustments prior to being used for your chicks. Although this repurposed option works well for chicks, it is important to note that when selecting a plastic storage bin, the bigger the better to accommodate your birds as they age. Additionally, depending on the breed you are brooding, this easy brooder alternative may serve as an excellent option for up to 3 to 4 weeks. For tips on how to repurpose a storage bin as a chick brooder, we recommend visiting the helpful tips shared here.

Repurposed Baby PlayPen:

Have a stored away baby playpen that you’ve been meaning to sell? Before putting it on Facebook Marketplace, consider repurposing it as a chick brooder!

If you’ve recently purchased a Walk-in Model Roost & Root Coop (Loft, Walk-In, Stand-Up), we suggest repurposing your shipping crate and following along on our simple step by step video shared below!

Brooder Dimensions:

Have a few pieces of plywood to repurpose? If you are considering building your very own brooder at home, we suggest building with the following recommendations in mind.

Depth:

Once your flock members reach 3 weeks of age, the possibility of them jumping out of their brooder becomes almost inevitable. To prevent any escapees we suggest building with a depth of over 12 inches.

Size:

Again this all depends on the number of chicks you plan on raising. For beginning flock owners, we always suggest starting off with 4 to 6 chickens. Depending on the season in which you plan to raise your flock, you may need to build a brooder to account for more. In the Spring season, many hatcheries will allow for minimum orders of 3 chicks, however during non-hatch seasons such as Fall & Winter, minimal orders range from 20 to 25 chicks.

Location:

When you’ve chosen your ideal brooder container, it’s time to select the right location for placement. Chicks are easily susceptible to a number of environmental factors and dangers, and as a new flock owner, it’s vital to prepare the safest space for your flock to mature. We highly suggest placing your flock’s brooder in a space that is free from pets, high moisture, and low-temperature drafts.

It is also best to take into consideration the noise surrounding your chicks, although you may want your flock to be near as to supervise their safety at any time, it is best to select a location with the least commotion to allow for your flock members to rest peacefully. As chicks slowly transition out of their fluffy plumage, you may notice a significant amount of light dust, this is in part due to the turnover of feathers and skin cells.

Bedding:

Regardless of the number of baby chicks in your brooder, it’s important to be aware of the consistent cleaning of your chicks brooder that will be required for the next 6 to 8 weeks. To make cleaning up less bothersome, it’s helpful to select the right kind of bedding for your flock. Selecting moisture absorbing and non-slip bedding is ideal for your flock’s health and comfort. It is also important to select bedding that is non-aromatic to prevent any respiratory harm to your chicks.

Untreated Pine-Shavings:

One of the most popular bedding options, untreated pine-shavings serve as great moisture absorbing, inexpensive, non-slip option for brooders. If you plan to use a container with a slippery bottom surface, consider adding a base layer of non-slip material. When using pine shavings, we recommend using a layer of 1 to 2 inches.

Construction Grade Sand:

When chosen correctly, sand can be a great absorbent in your brooder. It is important to ensure that the sand in your brooder is not fine-grade sand, such as that used for children’s sandboxes. Brooder sand should have large grains to create traction and prevent dust accumulation. When used correctly sand will act similarly to that of cat litter, allowing you to sift any waste. For tips on how to implement sand in your brooder, consider the following method visit the following link.

***Health Note: Non-slip bedding becomes vital as to prevent your chicks from getting Spraddle Leg. Spraddle leg is an injury or birth complication that affects the tendons of your young chick’s legs. Although simple to correct, Spraddle Leg will leave a chick unable to walk correctly, resulting in a chick being unable to carry its own weight. It is for this reason that we only recommend shredded newspaper and never full sheets as a bedding option.

Heat:

A heat source for your chicks is one of the most important necessities when it comes to brooder preparation. The right heat source is best chosen with the consideration of your chick’s bedding and brooder container in mind. Two of the most common and recommended heat sources include a heat lamp and a heat plate.

Heat Lamps:

Heat lamps work well with shredded newspaper and untreated pine shavings. For the best cautionary care, it’s best to avoid this heating method when it comes to the use of sand. Lamps should always be securely clamped to a brooder wall or arranged overhead with a secure and adjustable chain. Most brooder specific lamps will have a metal guard around the lightbulb for safety and have a recommended wattage capacity.
To select the correct lightbulb, it’s important to consider the size of your brooder as well as the number of chicks you have. To adjust the heat each week of your heat lamp, simply raise the heat lamp and or switch to a lower wattage bulb. It is best to evaluate the conditions of your chicks heat lamp a few days prior to placing chicks in their brooder to ensure accurate heating. Oftentimes you will be able to immediately note your chick’s comfort by their behavior. If chicks are panting or are very quiet, your heat lamp is drastically too warm. If your chicks are huddled together, then your chicks are cold and you will need to adjust your heat lamp’s height or bulb.

250 Watt Infrared Light Bulb: Recommended for brooders holding over 25 chicks.
125 & 175 Watt Heat Bulb: Recommended for brooders holding 13 or fewer chicks. To ensure that your brooder is acclimated correctly, place a thermometer at the bottom of your brooder. Newly hatched chicks should have a heated space of 95 degrees Fahrenheit for the first week. Temperatures will need to be decreased by 5 degrees as each week passes until your chicks reach their recommended coop age of 6 to 8 weeks. When beginning, we suggest adjusting your heat lamp to 18-20 inches above your brooders bedding.

For reference, make sure to refer to the following temperature recommendations.
Newly hatched – 95 degrees F°
1 to 2 weeks of age – 90 degrees F°
2 to 3 weeks of age – 85 degrees F°
3 to 4 weeks of age – 80 degrees F°
4 to 5 weeks of age – 75 degrees F°

Heat Plate:

Although more costly than heat lamps, heat plates can be a much safer and well worth investment. Heat plates are suitable for every bedding choice and brooder container option and can be easily adjusted. Heat plates will often come in various sizes and will have adjustable heights to accommodate your chicks as they age. A good rule of thumb to ensure that temperatures are accurate is to once again observe your flock’s behavior. Chicks should be able to easily enter underneath the heat plate to lay. If chicks are standing and chirping often, your heat plate needs to be adjusted lower. If your chicks cannot enter underneath or refuse to remain under their heat plate, a height adjustment will be needed.

Cleaning:

Cleaning your chick’s brooder will depend on the bedding you select and the amount of waste and odor. Maintenance may be minimal in the beginning, but may increase to a daily regimen as your flock grows older. Once your flock grows old enough for their coops, frequent cleaning will become a thing of the past.

Feed:

When it comes to your flock member’s nutrition, it is important to start your chicks with a Starter crumble feed. Starter feeds provide a high content level of protein that will aid in your chick’s growth by including a number of minerals and nutrients needed to develop their immune system. Starter feed may come as a medicated or unmedicated option. Medicated feeds are chosen as supplemental and optional protection for chicks as a means of preventing any chicken specific illnesses.  Oftentimes unmedicated feed will be fine, especially if your chicks are raised from your very own flock members.

Waterer Container:

Chick waterers can come in two popular options: a waterer nipple and a poultry jar with a screw-on poultry waterer dish. These two waterer options are quite inexpensive and can easily be put together and maintained over time. Poultry nipples are common in large hatcheries and are helpful when transitioning your flock to a larger poultry nipple watering system. Poultry nipples can also become a cleaner and space-saving alternative compared to the commonly seen red dish poultry jar. To ensure that your chicks do not scratch bedding and waste in their poultry jars, we suggest slightly elevating your chick’s waterers either by using a thin cement block or a block of wood.

Feeder Container:

Most feed containers for chicks will either be available in a circular or long rectangular form. All chick feeders are made with small openings for chicks to peer inside and eat without dispersing feed everywhere. Include links to both options.

 

We hope you find this article helpful as you begin or continue your backyard farming journey! If you ever have questions regarding anything mentioned in this blog post, reach out to us at 877-741-2667 or email us at support@roostandroot.comWe’re real people and always happy to help!

5 Beginner Tips for Raising Ducks with Chickens

Who says you can’t have the best of both worlds? In this case, chickens and ducks. Two similar yet very different birds that are loved by a number of backyard farmers everywhere. If you’re a beginner flock owner looking to add ducks to your existing chicken flock, then there are a few key tips that are important to learn beforehand. 

Ducks can be messy.

For a bird that LOVES water, it’s no surprise that they will leave a muddy puddle. A pond or small water bath is necessary for ducks to be able to maintain healthy plumage, maintain body temperature, digestion, as well as clean both their eyes and nostrils. It’s always best to have a designated area separate from your duck’s pond and your chicken’s run to prevent any muddy disasters. Additionally, duck poop does not dry as quickly as that of chickens, thus making it more of a hassle to clean. To minimize the hassle of cleaning duck poop, ensure that you do not use hay or any moisture collecting bedding in your duck’s run, instead make sure to simply use sandy dirt that may be easily raked.

Duck appetites.

Although you can feed ducks the same chick or layer feed as that of a chicken, it’s important to know that your ducks will consume a greater amount of food. Having space for your ducks to forage for other sources of protein will be helpful in supplementing their diet. Additionally, ducks will need Niacin (Brewers Yeast) to aid with development. When feeding your two flocks, it is important to separate their feeds if you choose to implement Niacin or any special medicated food.

Ducks laying eggs.

When it comes to collecting duck eggs, ducks will often lay in the same place that they sleep or elsewhere that they deem secluded and predator safe. Similar to chickens, you do not need a male duck (drake) in order for your female ducks to lay eggs.

Duck Gender Ratio.

Although an even amount of both female and male ducks may seem reasonable to begin with, it can create a great deal of complications sometimes. It is important that you have a ratio of more female than male ducks. A ratio of 1 male to 2 – 5 females is suitable if you are beginning. A high ratio of male ducks will be a danger to female ducks as the males may attempt to over mate and severely injure your females. If you have a drake, but no rooster in your chicken flock, then it may cause your hens to be vulnerable to any injury the drake may inflict, and vice versa. Again, you can easily choose to only have all-female ducks and chickens, but if you are certain you want a rooster or drake, then it is important to take your flock ratio into account. 

Ducks are chatty, especially at night.

Unlike chickens, ducks only need a safe space on the ground to rest. Ducks also put themselves up at night a few hours after chickens. Although you may choose to have your ducks sleep in the same coop, is it important to note that ducks can be noisy at all hours, especially at night, making it difficult sometimes for your chickens to rest. If you are looking to have a special coop for your ducks only, then our Duck coop may be of consideration, with a built-in pool, drying mat, and nesting space, your ducks will be well protected. 

Fisheye View of the Run Area
Duck Coop Pool Picture
Duck Coop Drain Pan
Fowl Weather ;-) Hangout

We hope you find this article helpful as you begin or continue your backyard farming journey! If you ever have questions regarding anything mentioned in this blog post, reach out to us at 877-741-2667 or email us at support@roostandroot.com. We’re real people and always happy to help!

 

Beginners Guide to City Chicken Keeping

For the longest time, chicken keeping was considered as an activity only possible in wide open, large acre spaces. Eggs were something you only sourced from the grocery store and waking up to a Rooster was something that only happened in the countryside. The idea of keeping chickens is now evolving and with it are many misconceptions that are easily debunked when it comes to raising these feathery friends in the city! If you’ve been hesitant on how to welcome a flock to your backyard space, then we encourage you to follow along as we share everything you need to know to begin your backyard chicken-keeping journey in the city!

City Ordinances

If owning chickens has been crossing your mind lately…then it’s important to first know if your city will be accepting of your future flock first. To find out if your city codes allow backyard chickens, we recommend visiting https://library.municode.com/. Simply select your municipality and search for the term ‘chickens’ to see if there are any restrictions in your area. Sometimes you may find that some locations will allow hens, but prohibit owning roosters, which is okay if you don’t want fertilized eggs! It is also important to speak with your HOA to further ensure that your backyard flock will be allowed. 

Note: A common misconception is that Roosters are needed in your flock in order for your hens to lay eggs. This is not true! 

Neighborhood Predators

Dogs:

Unlike the countryside, predators are not much of a concern in the city. The most common and curious coop visitor will likely be your dogs. Although they may pose a danger to your flock at first, with a little bit of training your pet can become one of your flock’s best protectors. 

Raccoons:

If raccoons are an issue when it comes to your trashcan, they may also pose an issue to your flock. Raccoons are curious critters and will not hesitate to visit your backyard flock. A secure latching system is crucial to protecting your flock from a nightly visit from your curious neighborhood raccoon. 

Note: Worried about predators digging around your coop? Visit our Predator Proofing blog post for great ideas and solutions. 

Best Chickens for the City

Depending on your backyard farming goals, you may choose to start with a small flock. For most beginners, a beginning flock of 2-6 birds is a great start. Before you start putting together your dream flock, it’s important to know which birds will best be suited for their backyard environment. Below we’ve put together our favorite and most popular beginner birds that are perfect for backyard spaces. If you prefer to raise your flock as chicks, visit our blog post “Your Guide to Ordering Your First Backyard Flock” for help on how to begin. 

Barred Rock: Excellent brown egg layers with a calm temperament

Easter Eggers: Colorful egg layers that are quiet, yet active

Speckled Sussex: Cold climate strong and calm

Australorps: Quiet and gentle breeds that don’t mind staying inside their coop for long periods

Brahmas: Beautiful large chickens with feathers on shanks and toes

Rhode Island Reds: Hardy, curious, and friendly to be around!

Silkies: Known for their fluffy plumage, will happily raise ducklings and even poults

Note: Chickens will always make some noise. Especially when they lay an egg or see a possible danger. 

Backyard Space

If you plan to let your flock out to forage, then it’s important that your backyard space is safe. Do you have any plants in which you would prefer your flock to avoid? Does your entire backyard have a fence or a majority of cement? Do you have a pool? 

If you have a growing garden, having chickens can be both a great and complicated addition. Your flock will help eliminate any gardening pests, like grasshoppers, who can wreak havoc on your precious greens. If you have fallen fruit, your flock will clean up before the fruit can turn into mush. If you need an extra boost of fertilizer, your flock’s run area can be a source of organic help. However, it’s important to note that your flock also enjoys a good flower and vegetable salad if available. Therefore creating a protected space is necessary to maintain a balance between your chicken and gardening goals. 

Having a fenced-in backyard is a must to prevent any nuisance calls from your neighbors. Although chickens can fly, they will stay in their backyard space if kept occupied. If your flock’s curiosity worries you, then we would suggest training your flock to understand when treats are available. You can train chickens, like other livestock, to immediately return when you call them, encourage this behavior with treats and you will have a flock that comes at your command.

Chickens love to dust bathe, therefore leaving areas of sandy dirt is necessary to allow your flock to do what they love. Additionally, keeping chickens near your cemented space may prove to be a hassle when cleaning their stained droppings. If you have a pool, make sure your flock doesn’t have unsupervised access, although they are able to swim, chickens, unlike ducks, do not have feathers that secrete the oil needed to remain dry, causing them to become waterlogged and drown. 

Our chicken keeping experience says 4 ft2 per hen is an acceptable number for healthy averaged sized hens that are caged 100% of the time and for things not to get too smelly. Space for chickens is a very, very personal decision that takes in factors of perceived humaneness which we of course cannot measure. If you plan to consider free-ranging your flock, then it is important to think about the mentioned space precautions and considerations. Additionally, each of our coops has a recommended coop space that can be found on our coop and egg capacity chart

Pros of Keeping Chickens in the City

Aside from enjoying fresh and organic eggs from your backyard, there are a number of positives that come from raising chickens in the city.

Food Appreciation.

Often times we forget where our food comes from, especially when it comes to the foods we often enjoy. Owning a backyard flock brings a certain awareness and appreciation for nature that is provided by owning and raising a backyard flock.

Community Education

Depending on your neighbors, your backyard flock may spark some interest and curiosity for those who have never considered raising something other than a dog, cat, or fish. Sharing what you’ve learned with them can be both inspiring and interesting to them. Additionally, if you ever find yourself with excess eggs, you can always share them with your neighborhood friends.

Entertainment

Have you ever wanted to encourage yourself or possibly your children to enjoy their time outdoors more? Chickens will create a type of environment that is both peaceful and entertaining. You’ll quickly find that not all chickens are the same and that each flock member will have a unique and fun personality. Watching chickens catch grasshoppers or use a chicken swing is something so simple yet entertaining to watch.

We hope you find this article helpful as you start or continue your backyard farming journey! If questions regarding anything mentioned in this blog post, reach out to us at 877-741-2667 or email us at support@roostandroot.com.

We’re real people and always happy to help!

Fall Treats Your Flock will Love

Fall time is here and with it are a number of seasonal treats that your birds will flock to! Serve these autumn favorites as is or combine a few of these extra snacks to make an ultimate Fall feast.

Note: We do not recommend any canned variations of the foods mentioned below.

Pumpkin 

Health:

Pumpkin is rich in vitamin E, zinc, and potassium, all healthy additions to your flock’s diet that will boost their immune systems and support healthy growth development. Additionally, we recommend leaving pumpkin seeds intact because of the extra minerals and vitamins they provide! You can also choose to dry pumpkin seeds for your flock as a later snack. 

Preparation:

When it comes to preparing a pumpkin for your flock simply cut a small hole in either side to encourage and allow for your flock to begin pecking. Enjoy preparing any colored pumpkin or squash for your flock to enjoy! If you have a small flock, then we recommend gradually feeding pieces of pumpkin for your flock to share gradually. You may also opt to simply give your flock a smaller sized pumpkin as well. Make sure not to leave any pumpkin remains overnight in your flock’s coop as it may attract unwanted rodents or mold.

Corn

Health:

Corn is a great source of potassium for your flock, but should be accompanied by higher protein feeds to help with egg production and molting. 

Preparation:

When preparing corn on the cob for your flock we recommend removing or pulling back the husks. Corn husks pose no danger to your flock but it is not a treat that your flock will prefer. You may also hang the corn husk using twill for a fun hanging snack that your flock will enjoy. In addition to the fresh corn on the cob, you may also consider and see a dried whole and cracked corn, both of which are loved by flocks. If you choose to give your flock dried corn, we recommend no more than a handful.

Apple

Health:

Apples are a great snack-able option for your flock, offering vitamins and minerals, as well as pectin and amino acids. Since apples do not contain protein, we recommend it only as a treat. 

Preparation:

When preparing apples for your flock we recommend leaving the peel on but removing the core. The core may create a choking hazard for chickens, in addition, the seeds are seen as toxic if consumed in excess by your flock. You may choose to hang the apple on a string for your chickens to peck and enjoy or cut the apple into sizable chunks.

 

Fall Treat Combinations:

Looking to combine more than one Fall treat? Try these fun food combinations that your flock will enjoy! For both corn on the cob and apples, you can add peanut butter. Peanut Butter is a great source of protein as well as a great sticky substance to add on additional toppings such as grubs, pumpkin, or sunflower seeds. 

As you may have picked up with each treat, protein is a necessary nutritional factor in your flock’s diet! To help boost protein intake for your flock, we suggest adding grubs to your flock’s feed and especially to their treats! 

Looking to add protein-rich grubs to your flock’s diet by utilizing your very own leftover food waste? Your leftover food waste isn’t always healthy or recommended as a part of your flock’s diet, but there is a way to convert that food to a treat that your flock will love! The Grubcone offers an alternative to disposing of your food waste through a biowaste process that encourages the growth of grubs. This creates a perfect way to have a consistent and fresh source of protein for your flock while helping you reduce organic food waste. To learn more about this unique solution, make sure to visit our Grubcone product page!

 

 

EZ-Fill Waterer Advantages & Training Tips

If there is one thing that flock owners can attest to, it’s how easily a flock can make a mess when it comes to their waterers! Keeping your flock hydrated shouldn’t mean settling for frequent and messy waterer cleanings. Additionally, traditional waterers can be an invitation to frequent cleaning and unwanted bacteria growth for your flock’s main water source. 

Poultry nipple water systems, however, are used by a number of farmers everywhere to hydrate not only their chickens, but turkeys, ducks, and newly hatched chicks as well! There are a number of advantages to using a poultry nipple watering system for your flock, that’s why we’ve compiled together a list of our favorite features of our very own Round-Top Coop EZ-Fill Waterers.

Disadvantages of a Traditional Waterer: 

Constant Cleaning 

    • For years traditional waterers have been the norm for flock owners everywhere, even despite their tedious maintenance. In order to maintain a clean water system for your flock, these waterers must be cleaned every other day. Even if slightly elevated, dust and algae will soon start to take over your flock’s only water source. 

Elimination in Run Space

    • If you have a traditional waterer, chances are you have a chain hanging from the top to elevate it, or you have it placed in the middle of your coop’s run space. The constant entering, cleaning, and take-up in your flock’s run space may eventually become tiresome.

Cold-Weather Disadvantages

    • If you live in an area with yearly snowfall, you may already be considering how you will maintain your flock’s waterer from freezing. To ensure your flock’s water source does not freeze, you will have to invest in a costlier separate, heated waterer. Although there are heated waterers similar to that of the traditional red channel dish, you’ll likely still have the same repetitive routine of maintaining the cleanliness of the waterer.

 

Advantages of an EZ-Fill Waterer:

Low-maintenance Cleaning & Use

    • By far one of our favorite advantages of our EZ-Fill Waterers is the low-maintenance! The opaque, food-grade, and UV-resistant plastic that our waterers are made from will reduce or in most cases eliminate algae growth. The overhead design of this coop saves run space while eliminating any poop or dirt that your flock may introduce. Rather than cleaning multiple days a week, EZ-Fill Waterers only require cleaning up twice a year. When it does come time to clean your flock’s waterer, no scrubbing is necessary! Simply add distilled white vinegar and slosh the water in the tube. Once complete simply turn the waterer’s upward-facing tube down into a bucket or the ground. If desired, you can wipe away any dust that may naturally collect on the outside of the PVC.

Cold-Weather Advantages

    • One of our favorite advantages to our waterers is their simple freeze-proofing steps. In addition to the slotted cap that we include with the 4″ EZ-Fill Waterers, to freeze-proof your waterer you will need a submersible fish tank-style water heater and a cord cover that may be bought at Amazon. Heaters must have a thermostat and be designed to be fully submersible. When you see an upcoming freeze in your forecast, simply insert the submersible heater inside the tube. Generally something 50-100 watts will work in most locations. ***Immersion style coffee and soup heaters will not work.  

Submersible Fish Tank-style Heater: https://a.co/d/9HEHUSD

Cord Cover: https://amzn.to/3m835N8

    • Our Freeze-Guard³ Poultry Drinker™ is also an essential part of freeze-proofing our watering system. In extremely cold conditions, standard poultry nipples can freeze even if you heat the water. With our freeze-guard poultry drinkers, no water is stored in the body of the device so there is nothing to freeze, additionally, the copper drink pin extends into heated water to conduct heat. Furthermore, the red shape of the outer drinker provides a windbreak for wind-freeze protection. ***Please note that our Freeze-Guard Poultry Drinkers are not recommended for juvenile & or bantam small breeds as they will have problems pecking hard enough to cause flow. Regular Poultry nipples are suitable for any age and breed of chicken.

 

feeders

 

Coop Specific Training Tips:

It’s pretty easy to teach your chickens or ducks how to use the poultry nipples of your waterer. Either method mentioned below is enough to teach them what to do. Once one chicken or duck figures it out, they all follow suit. You will also want to remove any other waterers while they are learning. 

Roost-Over-Run Waterer Training:

If you own a Round-Top Backyard, Mobile, or Duck Coop, the best method to train your flock on using the waterer is to utilize a stick or a kabob skewer to activate the nipple and cause it to drip when a flock member is near. Teaching your flock with a Roost-Over-Run coop may take some time, but it only takes one flock member to learn and teach the rest. 

Walk-In Waterer Training:

Our Round-top Walk-in coops allow for the ability to offer more training assistance to your flock members on how to use the waterer. You can either activate the nipple and cause it to drip when the chickens are near or hold a chicken and gently tap its beak against the waterer. 

We hope you find this article helpful as you start or continue your backyard farming journey! If questions regarding anything mentioned in this blog post, reach out to us at 877-741-2667 or email us at support@roostandroot.com.

We’re real people and always happy to help!

70+ Coop Name Board Ideas

There’s no better way to personalize a coop than to name it! That’s why we offer the ability for all of our future coop owners to add their own personal touch with our free customized name board option during checkout. On a regular basis, we use our CNC Machine to carve out numerous personal name boards for our future backyard farmers, to help make your coop just a bit more special. If you’re looking to add a new Round-top coop to your backyard soon, we’ve got all the name board ideas you need. Find inspiration through these popular coop names chosen by our coop owners this year!

Add your Name!

What better way to personalize your coop best than to include your very own name! 

  • Huxley’s Hen
  • Jen’s Hen Den
  • Kristy’s Coop for Cluckers
  • The O’Brien Fluffy Beauties
  • Frazier Henitentiary
  • Janson Egg Company
  • Chan’s Hen Hub
  • Paul & Meg’s Egg Machine
  • Bodhi’s Little Farm
  • Savanah’s Scratchers

 

Chicken, hen,….Hähnchen?

Looking for a better way to name your coop that is unique and different? Look to Google translate to search for a more exciting and unique way to name your coop! Here are just a few examples of how our customers have used a different language to personalize their own coops!

  • Palais de Poulet         (Chicken Palace – French)
  • Hühner Haus      (Chickens House – German)
  • Hönshuset     (The Hen House – Swedish)
  • Das Hühnerhaus     (The Chicken House – German)
  • Välkommen     (Welcome – Swedish)
  • Maison de Poulettes     (Chicken House – French)
  • Le Shâteau Eggcellenté     (The Eggcellent Shâteau – Norwegian)
  • Höna Palats     (Chicken Palace – Swedish)
  • Hønsehus    (Chicken House – Danish)
  • Kokeyahula     (Chicken – Lakota)
  • Hale Moa     (Chicken House – Hawaiian)
  • Le Poulailler     (The Hen House – French)
  • Case de huevos     (House of Eggs – Spanish)
  • Coop de Mer     (Sea Coop – French)
  • Korero Heihei     (Chicken Talk – Maori)
  • Gran Casa del Pollo Loco     (Grand House of the Crazy Chicken)

 

Location Inspiration!

Let’s be honest, your Round-top chicken coop is a sight to see! So why not give it a name to resemble its beauty just like these backyard farmers.

  • Cluckingham Palace
  • Chicken Kingdom
  • Chicken Mart
  • The Eggcellent Inn
  • Henway Park
  • The Egg Drop Palace
  • Golden Yolk Lane
  • Fort Cluck
  • Best Little Hen House in Durham
  • The Silkie Suite
  • Patricia’s Hen Hilton
  • Chick Hilton
  • Coop de C’ville
  • Mount Ever Roost
  • Cluckleberry Inn
  • The White Hen Inn
  • The Chicken Manor
  • Taj ma Cluck
  • LAY-A-DAY INN
  • Casa de Pollo

 

Looking for a Good Laugh?

Share your humor with your flock and backyard farm visitors by engraving something that will give you a good laugh for years!

  • The Breakfast Club
  • Fowl Play
  • Beware Mini Raptors
  • The Crazy Chicken Lady Ranch
  • Clucking Good Time
  • The Chook Nook!
  • Bok Bok Farm
  • Fancy Flock
  • No Roosters! Ever!
  • Here There Be Chickens
  • Go Girls
  • Chick Chick Hooray!
  • Chickenvision
  • Home of Tiny Raptors
  • Cluck a Doodle Doo
  • Eggs by Eggers
  • Fluffy Butt Hut
  • The Eggplant
  • Cash Cluckers
  • Chick-Shall-Lay
  • Mutha Cluckas
  • Happy Hen House
  • Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner
  • Bakury
  • Hen’s a Flyin’
  • We’re making eggs in here!
  • Chicken Noodle Coop
  • Huevos Rancheros
  • Huevo Frito
  • The Cluck Hut
  • The Over Easy Shack
  • The Hen Den
  • TownsHENs
  • The Chicken Shack
  • Coop! (There it is)

 

Duck Coop Name Inspiration

Chickens aren’t the only cool birds around. If you’re looking for some Round-Top Duck Coop inspiration, here are a few that will leave you “quacking” up. 

  • Duckton Abbey
  • The Quack House
  • Waddle Inn
  • Quack Shack
  • Duckingham Palace
  • Duck, Duck, Coop
  • The Aristoquacks

 

Our Available Coop Font Options Include:

Note: The maximum number of characters for each coop is 30.

Script

Modern

Helvetica

 

 

 

 

 

 

We hope you find these coop name board ideas helpful as they are funny! If you ever have any questions regarding anything that is mentioned in this blog post, reach out to us at 877-741-2667 or email us at support@roostandroot.com.

We’re real people and always happy to help!

How to Clean Your Round-Top Coop!

As with any pet or livestock, cleaning is a necessary task that can guarantee a nice and healthy environment for both you and your outdoor companions. The good news is cleaning your coop doesn’t have to be complicated, or hard work! By following a few simple steps and recommendations your Round-top coop can continue to remain tidy and look almost as new as the first day you assembled it!

Recommended Supplies & Tools

When cleaning your coop, we recommend using natural chicken friendly cleaning solutions. For a natural wood friendly, water-based formula you can use a spray bottle filled with half water and half distilled white vinegar, feel free to use as-is or add a touch of rosemary or lavender to your solution for a natural scent boost. As for tools, a long-handled wire brush (especially for our backyard coop), an optional plastic bristle brush, and a rake will be all that you will need. 

Nesting Material Options

Providing nesting material for your coop nest box will not only make cleaning much easier, but it will also lessen the likelihood of eggs being broken! Our preferred nest box materials include plastic nesting pads, pine shavings, and excelsior nest box bedding. Looser nesting material like grass clippings or shredded paper will be more difficult to clean and will likely be fluffed away by your hens. 

  • Plastic nesting pads often come precut and are a great way to create a soft landing for eggs. The plastic will also make for an easy and quick way to sanitize. A great choice if you prefer to limit waste and cleaning time!

 

  • Pine Shavings are a great inexpensive choice that drys quickly while offering a slightly aromatic smell for your flock’s nest box. For a longer-lasting aromatic scent, we recommend sprinkling dried herbs that offer health benefits for your flock! For a list of coop friendly herb ideas, visit our blog post 8 Chicken Healthy Herbs To Grow Next to Your Coop.

 

  • Excelsior nest box bedding is a great option as they provide a soft landing for eggs while also absorbing any smell and droppings from your flock. Many come precut and ready to place inside your coop.

Note: If you have a hen who seems a bit too comfortable in her nesting box and is behaving territorial, she may be broody! 

 

How to Clean Waterers

When cleaning your coop waterer, we recommend pouring regular white distilled vinegar inside the tube with water to disinfect. Turn the EZ-Fill waterer where the upward tubing faces downward into a bucket to empty. For best results, we recommend only cleaning your EZ-Fill waterer bi-annually. 

Note: Be careful not to introduce dirt to your waterer that may be transferred via your watering hose.

 

How to Clean Feeders

To clean your EZ-Fill Feeder, we would recommend using a rag to wipe down all sides of the square tubing. Please note that we do not recommend using a fermented wet feed in your EZ-Fill Feeder. 

 

How to Clean Roost-Over-Run Coops

 

 

Round-Top Backyard Coop:

We recommend utilizing a long-handled wire brush to clean off any accumulation in your Round-Top Backyard Coop’s wired roosting area. If you have a detachable run, simply unhook and lightly rake the run area. Nest Boxes can be easily cleaned via the outside egg box door. 

 

Round-Top Mobile Coop:

One of our favorite abilities with our Mobile coop is the ability to move your coop to a new area. This ability makes it even easier when it comes time to clean! Simply relocate your coop to clean your designated coop area, or choose to move it wherever if you prefer to rotate it around your backyard. When cleaning the nest box of your coop, we highly recommend utilizing a plastic nesting pad to make sanitization easier. For a deeper clean, we recommend having assistance in tilting one side of your coop by its handlebars to scrub any missed areas in the nest box and any roost bar accumulation. 

 

Round-Top Duck Coop:

Each duck coop comes with a plastic scoop that works great for not only scooping feed for your flock but also scooping out excess water out of the duck pool and into the sun pad drain before removing it entirely. Pools can dirty up quite easily and may need to be rinsed and refilled every other day, depending on how quickly the water loses its transparency. Your duck coop should be placed on even ground with native dirt and/or a sandy loam run area. To clean the run, detach the run and use a rake to activate the natural decomposition properties of the dirt/sand. 

 

 

How to Clean Walk-in Style Coops

 

Round-Top Chicken Loft™ Dropping Board System
Roost & Root - Stand-Up Chicken Coop
Roost & Root - Stand-Up Chicken Coop

 

Round-Top Stand-Up Coop:

Our favorite part about walk-in coops is their feasibility to clean. The ability to stand in your coop makes it easier to rake out the run area and clean off any roost bar accumulation. Easily access your coops nest boxes from outside to replace or sanitize bedding. 

 

Round-Top Loft Coop:

The walk-in style of our Loft Coop design is ergonomically friendly. Requires little or no stooping or bending over to clean. The unique and removable dropping tray included below your hen’s roost area allows for any droppings to be emptied on or outside your coops run area. As an optional choice, you may line the droppings tray with pine shavings to make cleaning easier and simpler. As with the Stand-up coop, cleaning the nest box is quick and easy by collecting and cleaning inside the coop.

 

Round-Top Walk-In Coop:

The substantial space inside our grandest coop makes run space cleaning easy and simple. Requires little or no stooping or bending to manage your hens. Our Walk-in coop is also roomy enough for you to get out of any inclement weather too. For nest box cleaning, simply lift and hook your egg box doors by using the included eye hook. To clean the roost area, simply unhook the roost area doors and brush off any accumulation.

Tip: Looking to spruce up your walk-in coop with some aromatics? Try hanging dry herbs inside your coop!

 

Why Dirt/Sand in the Run Area?

A common question we often receive is why we prefer using dirt/sand in the run areas of our coops. We recommend dirt floors in the runs of coops so that chickens can dust bathe. Dirt floors also allow the decomposition of poop to occur utilizing natural microbes in the soil. Part sand part dirt is great, and in almost all instances, the native dirt in your area will work great! We recommend simply raking the run area to accelerate the process of the poop decomposition.

Note: Placing your coop on cement will make it difficult to clean and will leave stains. 

We hope you find these coop cleaning tips helpful as you begin your backyard farming journey! If you ever have any questions regarding anything that is mentioned in this blog post, reach out to us at 877-741-2667 or email us at support@roostandroot.com.

We’re real people and always happy to help!

Raised Bed Gardening for Beginners

Raised garden beds are loved by new and experienced backyard gardeners everywhere, and the reasons are plentiful! The feasibility of harvesting, soil control, and drainage are just a few of our favorite raised garden bed aspects. If you are new to raised bed gardening, there are a number of important factors to consider before beginning! Follow our helpful beginner-raised garden bed recommendations below to help start and reach your backyard gardening goals!

Garden Bed Depth:

Common garden bed depths will come in at either 6” or 14-16” deep. Deep-rooted plants will require more space for roots to expand. Shallow garden beds will do just fine for shorter root systems. To ensure you have enough depth in your raised garden bed, it’s important to plan which vegetables you will be growing. Make sure to plant the following options according to their recommended planting depth.

If planting in a 6” inch deep garden bed, aim to plant low rooting herbs, leafy vegetables, or small root vegetables in these more shallow garden beds. Our favorite plant recommendations include Arugula, leeks, lettuce, onions, radishes, spinach, basil, chives, cilantro, dill, mint, oregano, parsley, and thyme.

If planting in a 14-16” inch deep garden bed, you will have more choices as to which plants you can grow. If you have a wide base model garden bed, you can grow popular vine plants such as beans, cantaloupe, cucumbers, and summer squash around the edges of your garden bed to allow vine plants to hang over the edges of your bed or climb any structured wire fencing. Among other plants, we also recommend beets, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, collards, garlic, kale, swiss chard, turnips. If you are looking to add some chicken-loved plants, you can include Lavender, Rosemary, and Sage, all of which provide excellent health benefits to your flock. For more chicken-friendly options, visit our blog post 8 Chicken Healthy Herbs To Grow Next to Your Coop. 

 

Roost and Root Cedar, Food Grade Safe, Raised Garden Bed

 

Plant Companions:

Take into consideration any compatible companion plants, especially when considering vined vegetables which will overtake any fragile neighboring plants. Companion planting will allow your plants to share nutrients and ward off any unwanted pests. Some planting flowers, such as Marigolds, can help deter particular beetles and worms that are planted near the right vegetables, such as potatoes, squash, and tomatoes. However, if not careful some plant considerations can stunt growth or spread both diseases and pests to your crop. For example, planting herbs near cucumbers will oftentimes impede growth! 

Choosing a Location:

Make sure to place your Raised Garden Beds carefully in one permanent location. Place your garden beds in a flood-prone area that receives 8 or more hours of full sun. Additionally, make sure to place your garden bed in a location that is easily accessible by a watering hose. 

Prior to filling in the area with dirt, make sure to remove any grass and loosen the dirt to improve drainage. Loosening the dirt will also allow your deeper rooting vegetables to grow deeper without difficulty. You can choose to leave the bottom of your newly loosened dirt as is before adding your soil mixture or you can place a flooring to keep burrowing animals or weeds out. Flooring options can include landscape fabric, cardboard, or wire mesh. 

Soil Composition:

Before you begin planting any seeds or transitioning any potted plants, establishing your soil composition is important in creating a healthy ecosystem for your plants to grow in. There are a number of soil ingredients available and recommended to build the right soil mixture for your growing garden. The top-recommended soil combinations always include 50% of high-quality topsoil, compost (either homemade or store-bought), and a low percentage of optional potting soil or a mixture of organic material.

The soil recipe you choose will come down to your preference, price range, and local availability. Once you’ve decided on a soil mixture, make sure to add a light layer of mulch to the very top, this can be from 1″ to 3″ inches. Depending on the mulch material you use, too much mulch will prevent water from reaching your crop and too little won’t keep weeds away or keep your soil cool. 

We hope you find these first-time backyard gardening tips helpful as you begin your backyard farming journey! If you ever have any questions regarding anything that is mentioned in this blog post, reach out to us at 877-741-2667 or email us at support@roostandroot.com.

For more raised garden bed help, visit our blog post 5 Ways Raised Garden Beds Can Increase Your Gardening Success.

We’re real people and always happy to help!

5 First Time Backyard Chicken Keeping Tips

Chicken Keeping doesn’t have to be complicated for a first-time backyard flock owner. Whether you’ve found yourself dreaming of looking out your backyard to see a feathery flock of your own roaming around, or if you’ve committed yourself to purchase your first chicks, we’ve put together a list of 5 of our best and helpful First Time Backyard Chicken Keeping Tips to help you along your new backyard farming journey!

1) Begin with chicks or mature birds 

For new or future backyard chicken keepers, we always recommend starting off with either chicks or mature birds. If you have a preference for raising baby chicks, you can easily order your future flock by visiting a reputable online hatchery such as idealpoulty.com or murraymcmurrayhatchery.com. Baby chicks require extra care and need to remain in an enclosed area until they reach a recommended coop age of 6-8 weeks.

If you have a friend or know of a sustainable and reputable farm that may offer pullets, this will also serve as a great way to begin your chicken-keeping journey. Keep in mind that chickens will typically begin laying eggs at 18 weeks of age. For more information on how to properly order your first flock, visit our blog post Your Guide to Ordering Your First Backyard Flock where we mention breed recommendations that are great for beginners! 

2) Establish a Routine with your chickens

Make sure to establish a daily routine with your flock to ensure good health. Our daily routine always includes checking to see if the flock has clean water and plenty of food. Make sure to also schedule regular times to check your hen’s nest box to collect eggs, if eggs are left uncollected for long periods of time, this may result in broody hens (a hen that will sit on eggs in an attempt to hatch them), unwanted predator attention, or a broken egg in the nest box. To make this routine simpler, our coops feature optional  EZ-Fill Waterers and Feeders with a simple, no-poop feeding system.

For a weekly to monthly basis, make sure to clean your hen’s nest box area by replacing or cleaning the bedding. You can also add chicken-safe nest box herbs that your hens will love! To view a list of chicken healthy herbs that we recommend, visit our blog post 8 Chicken Healthy Herbs To Grow Next to Your Coop. Additionally, it’s important to always schedule a time to rake the dirt or sanded run area of your coop to ensure that the natural microbiomes in the dirt work their magic in decomposing your flock’s poop. For Roost Bars use a plastic bristle brush and/or a wired brush for wired panel sanitization. For a natural wood friendly, water-based formula use a spray bottle filled with half water and half distilled white vinegar, feel free to use as-is or add rosemary or lavender to your formula for a natural scent boost.

3) Plan for the Seasons

Winter:

Depending on where you are establishing your new backyard flock, your weather characteristics may require some seasonal coop preparation. Almost all chickens are fairly cold hardy and can withstand temperatures below freezing as well as snowfall. To assist with the cold temperatures in your area we always recommend using an aquarium heater and Freeze-Guard Poultry Drinker that will prevent waters from freezing. For open airway style coops, like our Roost&Root Coops, we always recommend preparing during wintertime with our Snow/Storm Panels, made to allow airflow while protecting your flock from snow and harsh rains that may reach 50-60 MPH+.

* DO NOT attach a heat lamp to your coop during the cold, this is a very high fire risk.

 

 

Summer:

Compared to winter, the summertime proves much more of a precautionary season as chickens may get heat exhaustion. We always suggest providing your flock with loose topsoil to allow for dust bathing. Rolling around in dust will not only help cool chickens off but will also help eliminate any mites. As an optional choice, you can also include a separate natural electrolyte water formula for your flock. For more summer flock care tips, visit our blog post How to Keep Chickens Cool in the Summer Heat

4) Have an Out of Town Plan

A common misconception that comes with having chickens is being unable to plan vacations. Chickens are by far much easier to care for during long stays away from home. A trusted family member or friend can easily maintain your flock’s feeding system with our EZ-Fill Watering and Feeding System, which allows for easy outside coop feedings. Many of our coops allow up to 3-4 days of feed and water before having to replenish. Additionally, having your flock inside their coop during the time of your vacation will not cause any harm. 

5) Have Fun!

Chicken keeping doesn’t have to be complicated, once your routine and flock are established, the work required to maintain your flock’s health and safety will seem minimal compared to that of a cat or dog. You will find that each flock member will have recognizable characteristics and quirks that will set each one apart, and make them a part of your family. The responsibilities of keeping a flock are simple to remember and will soon become a new and fun task on your backyard farming journey. 

We hope you find these first-time backyard chicken-keeping tips helpful as you begin your backyard farming journey! Have any questions regarding anything that is mentioned in this blog post? Reach out to us at 877-741-2667 or email us at support@roostandroot.com.

We’re real people and always happy to help!

Your Guide to Ordering Your First Backyard Flock

Buying your first chickens is an exciting moment, that at the same time, can bring up a lot of questions! That is why we decided to create this helpful resource to help answer some of the biggest questions you may have when purchasing your very first flock. We’ll help answer questions such as which birds to choose, where, and how to order your birds, as well as important housing considerations once you receive your first chicks. 

1) “What Birds Should I Get?”

It’s easy to immediately get overwhelmed with the various breeds available, each with unique characteristics that set them apart, from the color of their eggs and feathers to the nature of their temperament and hardiness. To help make your decision easier, we’ve listed below 10 of our favorite breeds loved by beginner backyard flock owners everywhere for their excellent egg production, their calm and docile temperament, as well as the color of their eggs. 

  1. Rhode Island Red – Brown Egg Layer
  2. Barred Rock – Brown Egg Layer
  3. Easter Eggers – Green/Blue/Multi-Color Eggs 
  4. Orpingtons – Brown Egg Layer 
  5. Australorp – Brown Egg Layer
  6. Wyandottes – Light to Rich Brown Eggs
  7. Gold Comet – Light to Rich Brown Eggs 
  8. Buckeye – Light to Rich Brown Eggs 
  9. Speckled Sussex – Light Brown Eggs 
  10. Maran – Chocolate Brown Eggs 

*Listed in no specific order. 

Not listed, are Bantam chickens, although not recognized for their egg production, are still favorable among beginners for their excellent temperament, some of which include Polish, Frizzle, Sizzle, and Silkie Chickens. Note that although these chickens are known for their kind temperament, roosters may show some slight aggression by nature. 

2) Where to Order/Find Birds

We recommend ordering your birds either in person at a local feed store, over the phone using a catalog, an online hatchery (Murray McMurray Hatchery & Ideal Poultry), Craigslist, or a sustainable and reputable local farm. If picking up a bird online from Craigslist, make sure to note any unhealthy signs such as any breathing abnormalities (rasping, sneezing), swelling or lesions, physical impairment (limping, hunching, excessive feather loss), or odor. These may be signs of illness and should often be avoided. 

3) How to Order Your Birds

If you plan to order through your local feed store, be certain to reach out and ask when they begin accepting orders for chicks. Often there are two seasons for ordering chicks, the Spring season and the Fall season. For the Spring season, chicks will arrive late January up until May, Fall season chicks will arrive around September to October. To ensure your birds are ready to handle lower temperatures, we recommend ordering your chicks 6 weeks before your first freeze. 

Minimum orders vary based on the hatchery you select and the time of year. Spring chicks tend to sell out faster therefore we recommend placing an order as soon as you learn when the shipping dates are established by the hatchery of your choice. 

  • Sexed vs. Straight Run Birds: When ordering, you may be required to select between sexed or straight run birds. Sexed birds mean a hatchery will do their best to give you the gender you prefer. Straight Runs are an assorted gender and may result in having roosters.

 * Note that you do not need a rooster for hens to produce eggs, a rooster will fertilize eggs thus leading to the possibility of baby chicks if you have a broody hen in your flock. 

The majority of post offices accept mail-order chicks, however, it is best to call your post office first to ensure that they do, as well to learn how they require you to go about pick-ups, often at-home deliveries are available as well. Ordering via a local feed store will allow you to pick-up your orders in person or pick and select from the available chicks they often bring in during the season. 

* Most hatcheries offer a live arrival guarantee with a time-frame window in which you will need to report a loss so that a hatchery can credit you. 

4) Housing Chicks

One important factor when ordering your first flock is the consideration of the nightly temperatures of where you are located. 6 Week Old Chicks should not be let outdoors if nightly temperatures are below that of which are shown in the image below. As you raise your flock, we recommend keeping your chicks indoors until they reach their recommended coop age. For more information on how to house your baby chicks until they reach their recommended age, reference our blog post-Simple Ways to House Chicks While Your Chicken Coop Is Being Built. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We hope you find this guide helpful as you begin your backyard farming journey! Have a question regarding what was mentioned in our blog post? Reach out to us at any time, we’re real people and enjoy helping new and existing chicken and coop owners everywhere! support@roostandroot.com , phone: 877-741-2667. 

8 Chicken Healthy Herbs To Grow Next to Your Coop

As a backyard chicken keeper and current or future gardener, you may notice that your flock simply can’t refuse the temptation of a backyard garden. However, if not cautious some plants you may be interested in can cause some accidental harm for your flock if ingested. 

To help achieve your garden goals, while making sure your backyard garden is chicken safe, we’ve compiled together a list of chicken healthy herbs that you can grow next to your coop for a happy and healthy flock. Use these following herb recommendations as a way to freshen up your coop after coop clean up days or to provide a healthy boost to your flock’s diet.

Lemon Balm:

If your flock is prone to stress or if your backyard has attracted visits from mice, consider planting lemon balm as a natural rodent deterrent for your coop. Although mice typically cannot easily enter our coops, you may find that if found…your flock will likely get rid of a mouse exactly as a cat would. Try drying this herb and leaving it near your coops nest box to create a calming scent that both you and your flock will appreciate. 

Oregano:

Although used as a popular herb for cooking, you can also use this aromatic plant to strengthen the immune systems of your birds while helping prevent diseases such as e.coli, salmonella, or avian flu. Feed this herb as is or dry it to mix in with your flocks feed. 

Rosemary:

Looking for a natural deodorizer for your chicken coop? Enjoy the natural scent of rosemary in your garden and coop by drying and hanging twigs inside your coops or generously sprinkling the clippings in nest boxes. This herb naturally repels insects and can also help in strengthening the respiratory health of your flock. The best part about this herb is how easy and inexpensive it is to grow as well!

Thyme:

To help build the respiratory health of your flock, mix this aromatic healthy herb in your flocks feed or use it as a natural insect repellent in nest boxes. This herb will act as a great antioxidant and antibacterial that is highly beneficial for your flock. 

Sage:

Use this popular herb to add an overall health boost for your flock that will work to prevent both diseases and parasites from harming your flock, add it fresh, or dried to your flock’s feed. 

Dill:

An amazing herb that will not only taste great to you, but also to your flock. Use this herb as a way to strengthen your flock’s immune and respiratory health by sprinkling it either fresh or dry to their feed.

Spearmint:

This aromatic herb is a favorite among chickens in the summertime! Add it to ice cubes and serve it as a treat to help regulate your bird’s temperature and improve their digestive health. It can also be used in an array of other herbs mentioned to repel insects and give off an aromatic scent for your coops nest box.

Lavender:

Share the relaxing aromatherapy benefit of lavender with your backyard flock. Use this herb to calm your flock and protect them from pesky insects. Let this herb dry before placing it in feeds and the run or nest box areas of your coop. 

To ensure your chickens reap the benefits of these herbs, make sure to first establish the plant elsewhere, allowing it to mature before relocating it near the coop, this will ensure your hens don’t eat the seedling before it gets a chance to mature. To prevent any overgrowth that may come from a few of these herbs (Rosemary, Lavender, Dill, Lemon Balm, and Mint), we recommend using a Basic Cedar Raised Vegetable Garden to control growth. Additionally, a cedar made raised vegetable garden can help the longevity of your garden by giving off a distinct cedar aroma that is a deterrent to insects, moths, and other wood pests. These oils are locked into the boards and are what make the wood so resistant to bugs and also rot. 

We appreciate you reading through and hope that you found this blog post helpful and enjoyable as you begin or continue your backyard farming journey. For questions and customer support reach out to us at support@roostandroot.com. We are real people and enjoy helping our past and future customers! 

5 Ways Raised Garden Beds Can Increase Your Gardening Success

If you are looking into starting your very own backyard farm, you may be contemplating the best way to begin. Depending on where you live, you may be uncertain about using your existing ground soil or investing in a Raised Garden Beds. Both of which have positive results, however depending on where your home is, you will likely find that Raised Garden Beds will offer long-term gardening success and look aesthetically pleasing. To further share the benefits of using raised garden beds, we compiled 5 ways Raised Garden Beds can increase your gardening success in your backyard farm. 

1.Reduced Weed Growth

Nobody likes having to pull weeds from their garden. For ground plants, weeds may be native to your soil and can be a never-ending battle unless you invest in a weed killer or pull them out yourself. Raised garden beds allow you to keep weeds at bay due to their inability to thrive in deep soil. If you do see some weed growth in your raised garden beds, we suggest adding a layer of mulch to block out sunlight that may encourage unwanted weed growth. 

 

2. Faster Planting

One of our favorite abilities with raised garden beds is the ability to see faster growth in your garden. This is partly due to the ability to better control your plant’s growth if you are transitioning them from plastic store-bought containers to the ground or growing your garden from seedlings. Additionally, the soil in your raised vegetable garden will warm up faster leading to bigger and better growth, however, we also suggest adding a layer of mulch to the top of your garden bed once daily temperatures begin to rise in your area to prevent your soil from getting too warm.

 

3. Better Drainage and Soil Control

If your backyard has poorly draining soil, you may risk having the soil erode from heavy rainfall, combine that with warm summer temperatures, and you will begin to see fungal growth that will damage your beautiful garden. Raised gardens can additionally help you if your garden is filled with tree roots and clay soil and will help you control the PH levels in your garden for growing particular veggies and fruit. 

 

4. Reduced Wildlife Damage

Wildlife damage can be a foreseeable possibility if your backyard garden is near the countryside, hungry critters, such as deer, and sometimes domestic pets can uproot and begin enjoying your garden before you do! Also, raising your garden bed will likely lead to a reduced risk of finding unwanted snakes that may be hiding in the shade of your large leafy plants. If you live in an unfenced area, you may benefit from Wildlife Covers as a cheaper alternative than fencing in your property, ensuring that your hard work will last season after season.

 

5. Less Stooping

Overtime bending down to plant or harvest your garden may eventually lead to some joint and muscle discomfort. Raised Garden Beds assist in minimizing the added pressure and strain on your body by reducing the constant up and down movements that come from harvesting your garden from ground level. Additionally, Stacked Raised Gardens may eliminate the need to bend entirely, allowing you to harvest and plant your garden from a standing position instead. 

 

Roost and Root Cedar, Food Grade Safe, 47" Wide Wildlife Covers on 47" Raised Garden Bed
Roost and Root Cedar, Food Grade Safe, Raised Garden Bed

 

 

We hope that you found this blog post helpful and enjoyable as you begin or continue your backyard farming journey. We appreciate you reading through and look forward to offering any assistance to your backyard farming journey! For questions and customer support reach out to us at support@roostandroot.com. We are real people and enjoy helping our past and future customers! 

 

How to Predator Proof Your New Coop!

As a new or experienced chicken owner, you may be anticipating the day you can relocate your flock to their new Roost & Root Coop! Whether your backyard is located in an urban area or in the tranquil countryside, your new feathery friends are certain to be well protected in their new predator-safe coop! However, depending on your backyard space…you may be subject to attracting some unwanted attention from curious predators. 

Predator Proofing

After you have located an ideal location for your coop, you can begin by preparing one of these predator protection methods before or after you have assembled your new coop. Regardless of which coop you may own, these optional predator-proofing methods offer great protection that won’t take away from the beauty of your new coop. 

Method 1:

Bury CMU/Cement Blocks around or under the perimeter of your coop. You may choose to bury these blocks completely from sight or allow them to be slightly exposed above ground. If you choose to have your cement blocks exposed slightly above ground level, make sure that you make it flush to the ground to prevent any issues when cleaning your coop’s run space and opening your coop’s door.




 

 

Method 2:

Bury mesh wire around the perimeter of your coop just underground and up under the edge of your coop. This simple and hidden alternative will allow for grass to grow through the wire making it an ideal alternative if you prefer to maintain a grassy area around your coop. You can place small stakes to hold the wire mesh close to the ground until the grass grows enough to hold the wire. We suggest extending the wire mesh to be at least a foot or more wide around the perimeter of your coop.

 

To further ensure that predators are not being attracted to your coop, always make sure to lock your coop at night and collect your hen’s eggs frequently. We hope these helpful tips help you as you begin your backyard farming journey! 

Need more help or explanation on how to predator-proof your coop? Contact us via email at support@roostandroot.com! We’re real people and enjoy helping our coop owners before and after every purchase.  

Our Process for Building Chicken Coops

Every handcrafted coop we make here at Roost & Root matters to us.  

We pride ourselves on using the best materials to make the best coops, but the very best materials in the wrong hands still won’t produce a great coop. From cutting materials to fabrication to packaging, everyone at Roost & Root plays a vital role in producing a great chicken coop.  No one role is more important than the next and without quality at each step it would be impossible to build a great product.

Cut Shop

At Roost & Root, we largely hand build your coop from scratch.  Each week, a shipment of raw cedar lumber is delivered to our location.  The folks in the cut shop handle every piece of wood – literally. They pick up each and every piece of lumber that is delivered and do their very best to ensure it is free from weird knots, cracks or ugly bits.  Once a piece of wood is deemed “coop worthy” it is then cut to size for use in a coop. 

Fabrication Shop

Once the wood is cut, the next step in the coop building process is the fabrication shop.  Once again, each piece of wood is inspected to make sure it is “coop worthy” and then our talented carpenters get to work fabricating the various components that go into making each coop.

Is it ALL built by hand?  Great question! Some of the parts that go into our coops are fabricated on a CNC machine. CNC stands for computer numerically controlled machine which means that a computer is guiding a cutting machine which makes for some very precise parts. 

But, the CNC machine is operated by a human, a super dedicated human that is making sure the computer is doing what a human has asked it to do! Have you seen our custom carved name boards?  Those are done by a CNC machine.

Quality Control

Next stop is the quality control department.  Basically a fancy name for couple of REALLY detail oriented folks at Roost & Root that pick up, measure and inspect every single part that goes into a coop. Luckily, not many errors are found, but handcrafting means humans and that sometimes means something is just a little bit not right.  

Packaging

After QC it is time to get the coop packed up and shipped out. Sounds like a simple task doesn’t it? Not really. Our coops are heavy and must be able to withstand the….uh….rigors of sending it across the country in as few boxes a possible.  It’s like a giant jigsaw puzzle getting a big coop to fit in the boxes and show up on the other end intact and undamaged. Guess what? Our packaging department also looks at every part before it goes into the box which means it goes through yet another quality control check!  Be sure to check out our coop unboxing video to see what we’re talking about.  

Obviously, so much more goes into your Roost & Root coop than is detailed above.  Important tasks like purchasing, design and customer service, but building a quality coop is critical to us here at Roost & Root. 

Cold Weather Chicken-Keeping Tips

We’ve worked hard to understand the needs of our customers all over the United States, and with the cooler weather season approaching, we’ve asked our resident chicken expert to weigh in on best practices for cold weather backyard chicken-keeping.


Chickens, with the notable exception of Silkies and Frizzles, are by nature much more cold hardy than they are heat tolerant.

The design concept of Roost & Root coops provides for three basic spaces for your chickens. (1) Roost Area (2) Egg Box Area, and (3) Run Space. Each space has its design goals, taking into consideration cold and hot climates.

#1 Roost Areas

The Roost area will be used by your chickens primarily at night to sleep. Exceptions to this will be when your birds feel they need additional shelter because of inclement conditions.  They will seek shelter in the roost. Roost & Root coops feature enclosed roosts made from thermally neutral cedar (neither transmits cold or hot) and use updraft passive ventilation so that hens in the roost are protected from stagnant air issues. In hot or cold weather, air circulates from low to high and out the tops of the roosts even though they are enclosed and protected, making sure your chickens stay healthy year-round.

By nature, chickens have a good way to deal with inclement weather. Chickens are very temperature hardy, much better at dealing with extreme cold weather than extreme heat. Poultry experts agree that a dry, wind protected adult chicken allowed to feather up prior to the winter season, can do just fine in freezing temperatures… even sub zero temperatures.

Oddly, overheating of your chickens and frostbite issues have a common root cause…poor ventilation. Frostbite is driven by sub freezing temperatures and overly humid coops that are too enclosed. In the worst coop designs, humid sub freezing temperatures exacerbated by the chickens poop moisture (common with poop trays) and respiration can cause frostbite on exposed combs and leg skin even on a dry chicken. Heaters and light bulbs must be used with great care as they introduce the risk of electrical fires and can actually cause fowl to not “feather-up” the way they otherwise would, and in a power outage, it potentially leaves them without their full natural feathering to keep them warm.

#2 Egg Box Areas

For a different reason, egg box areas are enclosed too. Darkness. Chickens will naturally want to lay their eggs in the darkest most cozy areas of the coops. Our egg boxes, for the same reasons as our roost, afford your chickens refuge from poor weather conditions while they are laying yet keep critical fresh air circulating around them.

#3 Runs

Runs are just that, a run area for your chickens, and a place for them to get outside and forage around. Our run areas have roof areas over them to provide some shade and some protection from normal rain and snow accumulation. At the same time, our runs allow sunlight to shine in too. Sunlight drys up your coop areas, the ultraviolet light disinfects your coop and helps control odors, and in fact as with most animals, chickens need sunlight. So they are necessarily more open than roosts and egg box areas. In extreme stormy conditions (wind driven snow and rain), your chickens even though it is daytime, will seek shelter in their roosts. They’re now out of the storm, but confined to a smaller space. So that the run areas can have both the openness that’s appropriate the vast majority of the time, but to extend use of the run in seriously stormy weather, we’ve introduced optional  Storm Panels™ that will add temporary additional inclement weather protection to run areas. You don’t have to have them, but it’s a smart choice as they offer more sheltered space to your flock when it’s stormy outside.

Remember:

  1. For many of us, chickens have become pets. Leaving Fido out in inclement weather is just not usually an option. With that said, pets or not, chickens are still livestock.  An adult chicken given good choices for different shelter areas (roost, egg box, run) can figure out what areas they need to be in to deal with the weather. Depending on your world view, they’ve been doing it for somewhere between 10,000 and 10 bizillion years. We’ve only had electricity for a little more than 100 years and chickens have certainly done well for much longer than that all over the world.
  2. The fact is that cold isn’t as big a problem for chickens as heat. They can withstand very cold temperatures (even subzero) as long as they are fully feathered adults.  Generally a chicken is fully feathered out by the age of 12 weeks, but does sometimes depend on the breed.  If your chicken has full wing feathers and feathers over it’s neck and middle, it’s safe to consider them fully feathered.  If you have a Round-Top Backyard Chicken Coop™ make sure to place your roost door away from the prevailing or coldest North winds just to give them a bit of extra protection, or you could get a Snow / Storm Panel kit which includes a cover for that door. Lower your roost wings on your Mobile Coop and the roost area becomes a great place to get out of the weather. Likewise, the Walk-In Coop has a giant enclosed roost area where your chickens can seek refuge if they think they need it.
  3. The problem with cold and chickens actually comes from moist cold air.  Moist cold air causes respiratory problems and can cause frost-bitten combs and wattles in very cold temperatures.  The roost-over run design of the Round-Top Backyard Chicken Coops™ takes this into account and provides ventilation through the roost floor and allows the cold moist air to dissipate out the top round vents.  The roost bars are positioned to allow the chickens to roost near the top where the air is warmest, but out of direct wind.
  4. Keep water from freezing by using some sort of a submersible heater or heated chicken waterer.  If you have the Easy Fill Waterer, we have designed it for a particular heater and all that is needed is the slotted cap.
  5. Extra shavings in a sloppy coop run bottom can absorb water and help keep your girls feet dry. Do not use straw or hay as it holds moisture and turns into a mildewy matted mess.
  6. On really cold sub-zero days, you can use a bit of Vaseline to coat combs , waddles and exposed leg skin to protect from frostbite.
  7. Cold birds will huddle up together to keep warm and in the heat, the opposite is true.
  8. Be careful if you decide to use a light-bulb or a heater.  The electricity presents an electrocution and fire hazard and you may in fact be doing harm. IF you provide too much supplemental heat, a bird’s natural reaction is to not feather up as much. IF you were to lose electricity in a cold spell, your birds would be without some part of their best natural defense against cold…their feathers.
  9. Keep unfrozen fresh water available to your hens. Hydrated birds deal with cold better.

Dry, fully feathered chickens that can get out of the wind are very, very cold hardy.  They will be fine in freezing temperatures (even sub zero temperatures) so long as they have access to fresh water and stay dry.  Some particulars may vary breed-to-breed, for instance Silkies and frizzle-feathered chickens are less cold hardy.  The above points will certainly give you a safe place to work from.

Contact us if you have winter chicken keeping questions.  While we live in Central Texas and only have 30 or so freezing days each year, we have thousands of customers in places like Maine, Connecticut,  Massachusetts, Minnesota, Colorado and many other very cold places.  We literally get NO reports of cold weather related chicken deaths with our coops. We’re happy to share with you what we know.

How to Keep Chickens Cool in the Summer Heat

At Roost & Root, we’re here to be your guide on all urban chicken-keeping matters.

For summer, we wanted to give you our TOP 3 useful tips on keeping your chickens cool, comfortable and healthy during hot months. As we’re located in Central Texas, summer days tend to be well over 100 degrees so we have a ton of experience in this area, and have seen first-hand what works best in keeping your chickens from overheating. Read through our tips below or scroll to the bottom to watch the full Urban Coop Scoop episode!

TIP #1: Make sure your chickens have a consistent amount of cool, fresh water
There are a ton of watering systems and methods for chicken coops, but we definitely have our favorite… In order to keep water fresh and “poop-free”, we designed an integrated, easy-fill waterer that can be purchased with each of our coops. These keep chickens from being able to dirty the water, ensuring it stays fresh longer.

If you don’t have a watering system that protects the water from dirt and droppings, make sure to check the water supply a couple times each day to ensure there is enough clean water for your flock.

TIP #2: Provide chickens with loose top soil
Chickens really enjoy what we call “dust bathing” in order to keep themselves cool in the heat. This is where your chickens will lay around in loose, dirt top soil. If your chickens do not already have some, it’d be worth it to provide them with some. Rolling around in it may not only help cool them off, it could also help them eliminate any mites that may be in their feathers.

Chickens dust bathing

TIP #3: Create frozen ice treats for your chickens. 

For the summer, we like offering our chickens strawberries and blueberries, as well as a bit of fresh mint (for an extra cooling effect.) However, any fresh fruit will work. Once you’ve chosen the fruit, cut your ingredients into small pieces that will fit in ice trays. Next, fill the trays with clean water and place in the freezer. Once your trays have frozen solid, dump the ice treats into a bowl with water outside for your chickens to enjoy.

This is a nice treat that will keep your flock hydrated and give them something to do.

If you have chicken-keeping questions, please email us and we will answer them, as well as possibly feature your question on one of our upcoming blogs!

Subscribe to our Roost & Root Scoop™ Newsletter to receive more chicken-keeping tips, tricks and resources for all seasons. Lastly, if you’d like to speak with our resident chicken expert about any of our products, don’t hesitate to give us a call!