Red River Roost Coop Tour
Join Amanda from Meyer Hatchery as Kelly from Red River Roost provides a coop tour! Red River Roost is located in Elyria, Ohio with a great example of what an urban coop set-up can look like for those living near town.
rRed River Roost may have started with 7 chickens, but has quickly escalated to a total of 29. As the chicken math increased, so did Kelly’s adjustments to her coop to provide a safe space for her flock, while keeping her backyard living space in mind. As you’ll see in her coop tour, Kelly’s children are also involved each with their own favorite chicken.
From The Red River Roost sign upon arrival to their wedding arch repurposed into a sliding barn door, the personal heartfelt touches can be found throughout the coop. Kelly explains that the coop is right in the heart of her backyard and wants to ensure the coop space is clean and inviting as their backyard is a big part of their living space. Early this spring she transitioned from straw/pine shavings to sand. While she has tested different types of sand, she currently likes using paver sand, which doubles as a source of grit for her flock. The sand mixed with DE helps reduce ammonia smell, making it a kid-friendly and pleasant space for all.
The nesting boxes include cute handmade curtains with excelsior nesting pads to help keep eggs clean. Feeders are PVC constructed, with a galvanized waterer and heated base. Kelly also uses high-end poultry waterers but says her hens prefer the standard watering system.
Moving to Kelly’s enclosed run you’re greeted by the Meyer Hatchery crazy chicken lady sign. The run is built purposefully, again, appealing to the eye as a backyard fixture. Living near town, the coop still borders a river making predator control a priority. Netting stretches across the top of the coop to help deter hawks and other aerial predators. Commonly you’ll find runs have dirt from the constant scratching of chickens, but Kelly has included a built-in cover over a portion of the run to give chickens access to grass. This small structure covers the area to allow grass to regrow. Currently full of grass seed and sprouting grass, Kelly plans to grow different greens to provide more variety to her flock. They also discuss the importance of extra protein during molt, and a repurposed egg collection basket filled with cabbage and other kitchen scraps as a boredom buster.
Kelly repurposed her old kitchen sink and salvaged a roadside sink filling them with sand and DE to use as a dust bathing station under the covered extension of her coop. This area provides great winter production for her flock!
The backyard run is divided into three sections, one for her main flock, one for meat chickens and one for her garden. Each section has a separating door to rotate her flock as needed. This set-up provides a safe space to grow her veggies! In the fall she opens the door, allowing her to garden with chickens, as they clean up any remaining vegetables while fertilizing the area, preparing it for Spring.
Kelly discusses her current meat chicken set-up and how a chicken tractor didn’t work for their backyard space. This more permanent structure, for fully feathered birds, provides her meat chicks a space to roam on green grass before being processed. This is her first time with Cornish Cross Broilers but has previously raised Rainbow Rangers. When asked about the difference, she felt she may have processed the rangers too soon out of impatience. Rangers are great for free-ranging environments but do take a little longer to grow out. If you’re confined on space and time, Cornish Cross Broilers are a great alternative to raise!
We asked Kelly if she chose her breeds specifically for their family-friendly characteristics. Her first few maybe, but she attributes their handling and care from a very early age to her flocks’ docile nature. She felt the breeds notorious for their friendly nature, like the Orpingtons, were easily a favorite first. She also likes their docile nature, dependability and winter hardiness. The Easter Eggers are a close second. Before leaving the coop tour Amanda spotted Kelly’s beautiful splash Blue Laced Red Wyandotte and discussed the variance the blue gene can produce.
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