If you’re thinking about getting chickens you may have done some basic research into what chicken supplies you may need to get started, and if you’re anything like me, you may have been immediately overwhelmed. With the popularity of raising backyard chickens on the rise, the number of chicken supplies you can buy for your flock is astounding.
While there are epic tons of supplies out there to choose from, how do you know which ones you’ll actually need?
Well, that’s what we’re here for. We’ve got your back. After years of raising chickens and trying practically every product on the market, we’ve figured out exactly what an absolute beginner chicken keeper truly needs, and what they don’t.
The chicken coop is quite possibly the most essential item you need to start raising chickens. Chicken coops come in all shapes and sizes, from outstandingly fancy to simple and rustic. The most important requirement for the chicken coop is that it provides a safe and efficient place for your chickens to live, everything else is more for you than for them.
Want to build your own chicken coop? We have a post with 10 free chicken coop plans to help you out!
A chicken run isn’t absolutely essential for raising chickens, but it sure is a nice addition to the chicken coop. The chicken run is an outdoor enclosure for your hens to enjoy being outside without the danger of lurking predators or wandering too far from home. We have found the chicken run to be an indispensable part of raising chickens. Our birds spend almost every day out in the run, sitting on their roosts and enjoying the sunshine and fresh air.
The chicken coop is not complete with some litter for the floor. No, we’re not talking about cat litter, litter refers to whatever type of organic material you want to put down to soak up excrement and make the place more cozy for your birds. There are lots of different types of bedding to choose from, our favorites being straw and pine shavings, but in the fall we love to toss in some dried fallen leaves as well!
If your chickens are young you don’t need to worry about nesting boxes right away, but once your hens start laying eggs they’ll definitely need some. Nesting boxes are a clean, quiet, dark place for your hens to lay their eggs in peace. A nesting box can be made out of practically anything, or you can purchase nesting boxes online or at farm stores.
How many nesting boxes you put in your coop depends entirely on how many hens you have. Generally speaking, one box for every five hens is appropriate. Most chicken keepers will tell you that no matter how many nesting boxes you have, they’ll all want to use only one. Even so, if you have a few extras, the hens have options if they need to lay an egg while one is occupied.
Roosts are a definite necessity for the chicken coop and also a nice addition for the chicken run. The roost is where your chickens go to sleep or rest. It’s natural for chickens to sleep up off the ground, much like they would sleep in trees if they were living in the wild. It keeps them safe from predators while they slumber.
Your roosts can be made from lumber (2x4s are the most common choice), tree branches, dowels, or even old wooden ladders or scrap wood. As long as your chickens can wrap their feet around the roost and have enough space to sit, anything will work well for roosts.
A water fount is quite simply the tool that delivers water to your chickens. There are lots of different options for water founts on the market, or you can make your own if you’re so inclined! The most important thing is that you have some way to deliver fresh, clean water to your chickens.
Options for Water Founts:
- Double Wall Galvanized Steel Fount
- Plastic Poultry Fountain
- Chicken Waterer with Poultry Nipples
- Chicken Drinker Cups (to be mounted to PVC or a bucket)
- BriteTap Chicken Waterer
A chicken feeder is merely a way to dispense chicken feed without too much waste. Chickens love to scratch and kick while they eat, if the feed is in a pan they’re likely to kick most of it into the bedding, which makes for a lot of waste.
Chicken feeders solve this problem and they come in many shapes and sizes. Many people make their own chicken feeders, but you can just as easily buy one to suit your needs.
Chicken first aid kit
If you’re raising chickens, chances are at some point, one of them will get injured. Most chicken injuries can be easily treated at home, but it pays to have the supplies to do so ahead of time. Putting together a chicken first aid kit will be a huge help in case of emergency.
What to put in your chicken first aid kit:
We keep Neosporin (plain, not with pain relief) in our first aid kit to help chickens prevent and heal skin infections after a wound.
Vet wrap comes in very handy to keep wounds clean and wrapped. This prevents harmful bacteria and dirt from entering the wound, and also helps to keep other hens from picking at them.
Vetericyn is a good all around wound cleaner for chickens. It’s a safe and easy to use method to prevent infection.
Blu-Kote is used to help treat wounds on chickens. It’s germicidal, fungicidal, and it’s blue in color, which masks the injury and keeps other hens from picking at it. Hens are known for pecking at blood or red wounds, so this does come in very handy for wounds that can’t be covered with vet wrap.
It certainly isn’t easy to navigate the world of chicken keeping when you’re an absolute beginner, but we hope this post has helped you to understand the basics of chicken supplies.
As you can see, chickens are not very needy creatures, as long as they have a clean, safe place to live and proper food and water, they’ll be very happy to be living alongside you!