Beyond Your Own Backyard™

Eleven years ago, before we became the backyard farming manufacturers known as Roost & Root, we had an interest in helping those around the world whose needs were greater than ours. Particularly the needs of those in Haiti through a number of projects aimed to leave a better and brighter future. Through the generous help of people like you who stepped in, a lot of our projects became a reality and continue to grow into larger impacts. In the past several years, for a variety of reasons, we’ve settled on helping schools and K12 Haiti is the evolution of our efforts to do more of that.

When we’re not building the backyard farming products you love, we dedicate our time to build a greater foundation to help to fund 3 key areas for schools in Haiti, Teachers, Textbooks, and Technology through our nonprofit K12 Haiti. We’re even close to launching an exciting cause product we know you’ll love known as Haiti Joe Coffee™, more on that below!

To learn more about our relief efforts in Haiti that span back to the very first 7.0 magnitude earthquake of 2010, refer to our timeline below!

Angels & Cowboy Boots
2010 – 2015
What started out as Angels in Cowboy Boots (AICB) back in 2010. K12 Haiti is the same 501 C3, same EIN, same nonprofit company charter that Roost & Root founders Montie & Dyan Twining started out with. AICB was a food relief effort that put food into buckets for victims of the 2010 Haiti Earthquake. Around 300,000 meals got served worldwide out of these 5-gallon buckets.

 

Native Egg Project 
2016 – 2018
Founders Montie & Dyan Twining, as well as their kids and a few Roost & Root employees, continued their work in Haiti with the one item they knew best, chicken coops. The Native Egg Project gave chicken coops, hens, and a specially manufactured feed system (aka the Grubcone™) that would deliver a 100 egg per day system to a school in Haiti. Additionally given were proceeds from the company and gifts from others.

 

K12 Haiti, Formerly Ekolaj/K12 Canaan
2019 – Present

K12 Canaan served as a parent non-profit organization for individual like-minded projects that wished to provide for the schooling and provision of students all over Haiti. Ekolaj served as a partnership with private schools in these under-served areas with a goal to fund every student who wants to be in school to enroll and have access to books. The combined efforts of these causes have evolved into what is now K12 Haiti.

 

It’s our goal to leave a greater impact beyond our own backyard for years to come. To impact a generation in Haiti who will, in turn, make up the future of its progress. We hope that by enabling students with the resources needed to succeed, we can not only provide an avenue for opportunities but also a safe haven of support. Whether your interest in helping us help Haiti is new or if you’ve shared this similar passion for years, we encourage you to reach out to us. For when we all come together, we can make a greater impact. If you have any questions about K12 Haiti or want to learn more about how you can help Beyond Your Own Backyard™, we encourage you to send us a message at montie@k12haiti.org

Donations can also be made on our website K12Canaan (soon becoming K12 Haiti) via the link here.

 

Haiti Joe Coffee™

Did you know that Haiti used to be the third biggest coffee producer in the world? Although the country has become less known for producing beans now, its farmers are still active in bringing back this loved bean once again. Through the combined assistance of Rebo, a Haiti-based food manufacturer, we’ve chosen to bring back awareness of Haiti’s loved beans to help create a non-profit coffee known as Haiti Joe Coffee™. Each purchase of Haiti Joe Coffee™ will support…Haiti. Beans are sourced from a network of thousands of smallholder farms whose heritage coffee plants have been harvested for generations.  Harvested beans are lovingly sun-dried, sorted, blended, roasted, tested then packaged for freshness right there in Haiti.

It’s the everyday coffee that directly gives back to the future of Haiti by donating a portion of sales to fund K12 Haiti’s educational improvement efforts. As we await our first coffee shipment, complete our facility (tour to be given soon), and finalize our soon-to-be-released website, we can’t wait to keep you updated on how to receive your future feel-good cup of joe!

We hope you’ve enjoyed learning about our nonprofit efforts in Haiti. Have questions or comments regarding anything mentioned in this blog post? Please feel free to email us or give us a call! We look forward to sharing our progress in Haiti with you over time as we aim to make a difference together.

What To Put In Your Nest Box

The nest box is without a doubt one of your coop’s most important features and one that you’ll want your birds to be both comfortable and happy with, requiring both privacy and consideration of space. Additionally, a nest box will need to be in a location that offers convenience for you, especially when it comes time to clean! If you have a Roost & Root coop, then your nest box is already ideally placed with only one significant part remaining…the nesting material!

When it comes to selecting a nesting material for your hard-working hens, it’s important to remember that your hens shouldn’t rely on the nest box as a comfortable location to rest. The nest box should first serve as a place of privacy, prevention of cracked eggs, an easy to clean space, then if desired, a pleasant space for a broody hen. With the following in mind, there are a few material options that our very own hens approve of and that we can certify as being coop-friendly! 

 

Types of Nesting Material:

Nesting material often comes in two variations, reusable and disposable. Depending on your preference, both options serve as great choices! To decide which may be best for your hens, we’ve listed our top 5 options below!

Reusable Nesting Material:

Plastic Mat 

  • Plastic mats are our go-to nesting material. Not only are they simple to insert and put into place, but they are also beyond easy to clean! Although rare, a hen may accidentally crack an egg in the nest box, or worse, leave leftover droppings. A plastic mat allows you to easily spray down any mess before reinserting the mat into the nest box. Additionally, these mats are perfect for preventing mold and fungal growth!

 

Grass Turf 

  • Similar to plastic mats, grass turf is a great reusable choice, with the addition of a softer material. An even greater difference to this nesting material is the price. Although a few dollars higher, this material goes a long way in longevity. 

 

Disposable Nesting Pads:

By now you may be wondering, if I can reuse my nesting material, why would I buy something that I’ll simply have to throw away later on? Disposable nesting material isn’t all that bad, yes, you’ll have to occasionally replace it, but quite honestly it won’t be as often as you may think! 

 

Excelsior Pads

  • A favorite among flock owners, excelsior pads are an absorbable and mess-free option for nest boxes. Made from woven straw, these nesting pads are slightly less inexpensive than reusable pads and are usually available in a pack. The way these pads are tightly intertwined and attached to kraft paper allows for excellent absorption of droppings. Then, when you’re ready to replace, simply slide out the pad without worrying about messy pieces falling. 

 

Pine Shavings

  • When it comes to using pine shavings in your nest box, there are some pros and cons. Pine shavings are very inexpensive, roughly for the same price as a grass turf nesting pad, you can get 8 cubic feet of pine shavings. Pine shavings, although loose, are great at absorbing any unwanted droppings. One of the biggest cons of pine shavings is how messy they can become! Your hens are likely to fluff up and scatter their nesting often, however, because pine shavings are biodegradable, you wouldn’t have to worry about collecting and disposing of this nesting option! 

 

Hay

  • A simple and more structured nesting box material, hay is a common choice for many homesteaders who may have a few other livestock/pets around already. Hay is easier to collect than pine shavings and can often be the cheapest nesting box option. However, unlike our reusable choices, hay does have its cons. Unlike pine shavings, hay doesn’t serve as a great absorbent, oftentimes getting matted from leftover droppings. In addition, high humidity or slightly moist hay may cause mold. Hay will also need to be monitored and replaced often to ensure your bird’s health and comfort.

 

Extra Nest Box Additions:

Potpourri is always a lovely addition to any room, and just like it, you can create a similar scentful option for your bird’s nesting box. If you don’t mind the loose petals and leaves, some flock owners enjoy sprinkling dry herbs into nest boxes, although not necessary, we like to imagine it enhancing your bird’s private egg laying experience. After all, a happy chicken does lay more eggs! For some herb-friendly options to consider, visit our blog post “8 Chicken Healthy Herbs To Grow Next to Your Coop”.

 

Tips for Getting Your Birds to Lay in Their Nest Box:

If you are transitioning your birds to their coop, then your flock may need some learning assistance before their egg-laying instincts kick in. Birds may first lay their eggs on the ground of their coop, or if free-ranging, they’ll leave you unexpected treasures anywhere! If you are raising your birds from chicks, it’ll take until week 18 for them to begin laying. If you need any assistance on transitioning your chicks to their new coop, visit our blog post, “From Brooder to Coop, When to Transition Your Chickens.”

To help your curious birds, we recommend placing fake eggs in their nest box. Your hens will lay their eggs right next to the mock eggs without concern of the occupancy. Once one hen is seen laying eggs inside, the rest of your flock will almost always follow in suit. 

We hope you found these tips helpful as you decide which nesting material to choose. Have questions or comments regarding anything mentioned in this article? Please feel free to email us at support@roostandroot.com or give us a call at 877-741-2667. We’re real people and enjoy helping others with their backyard farming journeys.

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

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!