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  • Writer's pictureBrowns' Family Farmstead

Top Recommended Supplies Every Chicken Owner Needs

If you're considering keeping chickens, it's important to have the right supplies to ensure their health and well-being. From feeders to coops, this guide will provide you with a list of the top essential supplies for chicken owners.


Table of Contents

Supplies for Baby Chicks

Baby chicks require certain 95 degree temperatures to grow and prosper. For new chicken farmers, or continuous farmers that are not utilizing their hens to breed, we consider a chicken brooder to be an essential tool.


Despite the best intentions, baby chicks under the age of 6 weeks will likely not survive without the warmth of a mother hen.


This brooder is not only an affordable option, but it can sustain 20 chicks at a time. Plus as your chicks grow they will quickly learn to jump on it, which is an added bonus of enrichment.

Brooder

Heat Lamp

Similar to the brooder, heat lamps provide heat to keep baby chicks temperature near 95 degrees so they can grow and prosper. Despite the best intentions, baby chicks under the age of 6 weeks will likely not survive without a mother hen.


Brooder Light for Baby Chicks

Health

To ensure your chickens (especially young birds being integrated into the coop), we recommend adding vitamins to their water. By supplementing their diet with vitamins, it will prevent any potential deficiencies and promote their overall vitality.


After integrating our second batch of birds into the coop, we found that the runt couldn't walk straight, had a hard time standing up, and was generally off balance. We were concerned we had a case of Marek's disease. Thankfully it turns out it was a simple case of a vitamin deficiency. A few days of poultry cell and she is good as new, even years later.

Vitamins Poultry Cell

Grit is a collection of small hard particles such as pebbles, eggshells, or flint that chickens ingest to increase their calcium intake and aid in digestion. For chickens that are free ranged, grit is less critical as they can digest small pebbles.


Grit supplements are most important for chickens that live solely in a coop to ensure they have enough grit to digest food and to strengthen the shells of eggs. If a chicken (especially a strong layer) is deficient in calcium, it can lead to severe health complications and a shortened lifespan.


We recommend the Manna Pro Crushed Oyster Shell as it not only provides calcium

supplements so our hens can live longer lives, but also helps them digest their food.

Oyster Shells


Chicken Feeder

Feed dishes are critical if you will be supplementing your chicken's diet with pellets, grain, or other feed.


Depending on the number of chickens you have and the set-up of your coop and run, we recommend two types of goat feeders.


A large automatic chicken feeder with a 50 pound capacity is a great option if you have a few chickens and you are looking for a cleaner and lower maintenance option.

50 pound Automatic Chicken Feeder

This is the feeder that we use, and it has worked out great for our flock. Since we do have a flock of over 20 chickens, we have two of these, and it is enough that all our chickens can comfortably eat everyday.


We really like the high capacity, as it does not require to be filled as frequently, it has been fairly water resistant even in heavy rain we only lost a small amount of feed, and because chickens of the elevation our chickens no longer scratch dirt and debris into their feed.


These hanging chicken feeders tend to be the most common and popular among small chicken farmers, and this is what we used when we got our first couple of batches.


These feeders are easy to carry, they fill from the top which is desirable, and they come in a variety of sizes which makes them perfect for smaller and larger farms alike.

Hanging Chicken Feeder

Water is crucial for any animal to survive. Here are three water buckets for chickens that we would recommend based on your unique situation and needs.


12 Gallon water dispensers with nipples are a great option if you are looking for a low maintenance option that your chickens will not be able to get dirty,

12 Gallon Chicken Waterer with Nipples

We have two of these for our flock of over 20 and even in the heat of summer we only fill them once every one to two weeks.


Initially we were skeptical as we thought it would be difficult to teach our chickens how to use the nipples, but after a few demonstrations they all caught on within a couple of days. Note taking away their regular water source is important for this transition to nipples.


If you have ever used a waterer with nipples then you know the low maintenance is hard to beat. Not to mention the fact that the water consistently stays clean.


So what are your options in winter when everything is freezing? We switch to a heated waterer with nipples powered by a solar panel. Living in the northern states, this is a must on our farm,


Heated Chicken Waterer with nipples

As a lower tech and more affordable option, we started our flock with using a 1.5 Liter gravity waterer.

Beginner Chicken Waterer

This worked well for our 9 chickens, but when we expanded we needed more than one. In our experience this is idea for small chicks, or flocks with only a few chickens. But we still keep one on hand for our next batch of chicks.


Chicken Coop

When setting up a chicken coop, there are several essential items that are necessary for the well-being of the chickens. These include nesting boxes, perches, an automatic door for easy access, and a deodorizer to maintain a fresh-smelling environment. These essentials are crucial for creating a comfortable and functional space for the chickens to live and lay their eggs.


Keeping your precious hens safe from predators is a top concern for many homesteaders. No matter how sturdy and predator proof your coop is, an extra layer of protection can go a long way.


Our favorite part about this automatic door is that is can be controlled by an app on your phone if you are out and unable to personally lock the coop. This automatic and programable chicken coop door will even automatically open in the morning allowing you a few minutes of extra shut eye.

automatic chicken coop door

Fake Chicken Eggs


Fake eggs placed in a nesting box will not only encourage chickens to lay there (which is particularly helpful for young hens), but also can deter them from pecking their own eggs.


We have found that the hens do not favor or reject a box based on the color of eggs such as white, blue, or brown. But it can he helpful for quick collection if the fake egg is a different color than your hens lay as these eggs can be surprisingly realistic.


Nesting Boxes

Mobile nesting boxes are a great option for coops that are unable to accommodate the boxes being included. They are also great if you are using a chicken tractor as they are easily mobile.


Our favorite part about these boxes is the collection feature. Since in a more traditional box where the eggs stay in place, they roll to a collection bin which keeps them safe from being pecked.

Chicken nesting box with collection

For existing nesting boxes, nesting box padding can be a game changer as it ensures that each box has a sufficient nest for your chickens to lay in.


After expanding our flock, we found that it was impossible to keep bedding in half of our nesting boxes as the chicks would (and still do) consistently pull it out. This product has not only provided the hens with more available boxes to lay in (since they prefer a nest) as well as preserving our sanity.

Nesting Box Pads

In order to lay eggs without a decreased level of production, hens need 12 to 14 hours of light a day. This is not a problem during the long summer days, but can be problematic during the shorter winter days.


A solar light is the perfect solution providing the additional light without needing wiring or electricity run to your coop.


Solar Light

It is not a secret that chickens sleep in trees or on perches. These mobile chicken bar perches are perfect for chicken tractors or to complete a coop.


We have also found that by putting perches in the run, it created enrichment for our hens who are constantly on their perches.


Resting Perches for Sleeping Chickens

Like many chicken owners you may have found inconclusive information about what to put in your chickens coop and run. For over a year now we have used pine shavings as these have been easier to and spread than hay.


Dare I say, we think the chickens even prefer the wood shavings for similar reasons.

Chicken Coop Pine Shavings

Chicken Coops and runs that need to be cleaned regularly. To make this process easier we use a rake and hoe/scraper.


While we have a beautiful chicken coop, it has some hard to reach places these tools are a make the process significantly easier.

Coop and Chicken Run cleaning tools

Let's be honest. How many books and articles say that every chicken coop should smell pristine? While we all want this standard year round, it can be hard to keep. Especially during the rainy seasons.


For this reason we use a chicken run deodorizer. It not only makes the run smell better, but also ensures our chickens aren't breathing in harmful scents/chemicals which can impact their health.

Chicken deodorizer

Chicken Enrichment

As a small farm homesteader we take a lot of pride in our eggs and meat being sourced by chickens that live a happy and healthy life.


Our chickens have a lot of personality and we could watch them for hours they are so funny. With added enrichment such as perches, bells, and more they have further developed unique personalities.



Final Thoughts

For proper care and healthy chickens, they require a feeding station, clean source of water, access to grit, proper medicine, and hygiene supplies. These are the top essential items we recommend any goat owner to have on hand.


We have recommended many tools and supplies we have used and tested ourselves to ensure the products are of good quality.


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