There’s no doubt that chickens are one of the most low maintenance animals you can raise, but there are some supplies we absolutely couldn’t live without when caring for our backyard flock. These 7 chicken keeping supplies make our lives easier, keep our chickens safe and healthy, and help us all to keep our sanity. Last month we went over the 6 products your flock doesn’t really need. While you can save yourself some money by skipping those supplies, we’ve found it essential to have the following products in our chicken arsenal.
Read on to find out what 7 chicken keeping supplies made our list.
Hardware Cloth is your best bet in protecting your flock from predators. At the very least, it should be laid down on the floor of your run (and coop if it’s a dirt floor) and cover the bottom foot or so of the sides of the run. These are the places predators are most likely to try to breach. Chicken wire can be used for the walls and roof of the run, but shouldn’t be your only safeguard against predators. Rats can easily chew through chicken wire, and many larger predators can bust through it without trouble. Although it’s more expensive, hardware cloth really is your best friend for flock protection.
This has been a life saver for us in the frigid and long winters of upstate New York. We went years without it, going out to the coop four-six times per day to switch out frozen water founts for fresh ones, only to find a new layer of ice on the new ones an hour later.
Every time I would switch out founts I’d slosh ice cold water all over myself while stumbling through several feet of snow. It was miserable, and this little wonder made it so we never have to go through that again. As soon as we had the money to spare, we invested in one of these bad boys and I have been enjoying toasty warm, dry winter days ever since.
This is especially a good buy for folks that are away at work for most of the day and can’t get home to switch out water. Chickens need access to fresh water at all times of the day, and as the water freezes in the bottom of the fount within two hours, that equals a lot of extra work on your part. I’m telling you, this thing saved my sanity, and the health and well being of my winter birds.
I can’t say enough how important it is to have good spring loaded latches on your coop and run. Many predators are strong and clever, and can find their way through a simple swing latch without problems.
We’ve seen raccoons open chicken coop locks without trouble, and we’ve seen large cats muscle their way through doors with hardly any effort. Protect your coop with good quality latches. They aren’t too expensive and they’ll save you a lot of worry and heartbreak down the road.
4. Basic medical supplies
We buy the type without pain killer and apply it to any and every wound on our birds. It promotes fast healing and is totally safe.
This is must have for any chicken keepers for treating wounds. It’s safe and non-toxic and promotes quick healing and healthy animals.
Wounded chickens tend to get picked on by flock mates, as they are attracted to the color red. This will make it difficult for wounds to heal or cause them to get infected. Blu-kote is germicidal and fungicidal, so it helps to heal wounds while covering them with blue dye to keep other chickens from pecking at them.
It’s no secret that livestock attract pests, and the ring leaders in the pest world are flies. Flies will surround your chicken coop the instant you put your little babies inside, and getting rid of them or even just managing them is a headache in itself. We have found several products that help to keep these invaders at bay, and trust me, we’ve tried everything. The Captivator fly trap is hands down the best fly trap on the market.
We use it every summer to eradicate thousands of flies from our coop. It’s completely natural and non toxic, and works quickly. We’ve had the jug fill up with flies in just one day. The best thing about this trap is, you only have to buy it once. You can empty out the jug and re-use it over and over.
All you need to do is get some more fly attractant to put inside. This saves a lot of money in the long run. Another great fly trap is the Jumbo Fly Catcher. It works best in conjunction with the Captivator fly trap. We hang the Jumbo Fly Catcher right next to the fly trap so that errant flies will get stuck on the sticky trap.
Rats and mice are the second most common pests you’ll deal with when raising chickens. They’re no stranger to urban, suburban, and rural chicken coops, and if you’re not careful, they’ll wipe out your chicken feed supply as well as attack your birds.
The most effective trap we’ve found thus far is the Snap E Rat Trap and Mouse Trap. The very first night we set these traps out, we caught five rats. At just $7 each, you really can’t beat the price, and they can be used over and over. These durable traps have lasted us years.
For more tips on getting rid of rats, read our post: How to Get Rid of Rats in the Chicken Coop: The Definitive Guide
This may seem like a random thing to add the list, but we have used it so often that it’s on our must have list now. When raising chickens, you’ll always need a place to keep one or more birds in seclusion. This cage is great for secluding birds because it’s small and easily transportable, so we can store it when it’s not in use and get it set up quickly when we need it.
Over the years we’ve used this cage to house sick or injured chickens, as a brooder for new baby chicks (the heat lamp hangs above the cage, which is added protection if it happens to fall) We’ve also used it to quarantine new chickens before adding them to the flock, and to house broody hens before and after their chicks hatch. We’ve been pulling it out of our basement at least every two months since these chickens arrived.
While any cage will do to seclude birds, this one is a steal at only $30 and it’s proven to keep our birds safe and secure time and time again.
And there you have it! The 7 supplies we couldn’t live without. We know that everyone who raises chickens has differing opinions about what’s necessary and what’s not. We’d love for you to comment with your absolute necessity supplies, and what you could live without. Happy chicken keeping!
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Our Favorite Chicken Books: