Contents: Chicken Supplies
- Essential Poultry Supplies You Need to Raise Backyard Chickens
- Chicken Coop & Run
- Chicken Feed (Healthy, Quality Feed is Essential!)
- Poultry Grit
- Oyster Shells for Backyard Hens
- Chicken Feeders
- Chicken Waterers
- Protect Your Backyard Chickens with Predator Guard (Super Important!)
- Dust Bath (A Must on Your Supply List)
- Supply List for Chicks
Backyard Chicken Supplies (Essential Poultry Care Supplies You Need to Raise Backyard Chickens)
All the chicken-keeping supplies I list in this article are things I personally use to keep my chicks, pullets, and chickens very happy and healthy.
Please note that most of my favorite chicken supplies listed here are from Amazon for two reasons:
- I don’t have a poultry supplier near me.
- I just couldn’t find some of these items in stores, like Predatorguard (Amazon), a solar predator control light.
- I can get great ideas of what I might need for my chickens by looking at Amazon’s “Best Sellers in Poultry Care Supplies” page.
1. Chicken Coop & Run
When it comes to chicken coops, you can either build one or buy one.
DIY Chicken Coop
I’m by no means a professional carpenter (to be honest, I know almost nothing about building anything) but I’ve built all of my chicken coops and enclosed runs myself.
It really wasn’t that hard and it saved me tons of money.
The book that really helped me with building my chicken coops and runs was appropriately titled “Building a Chicken Coop” by Bill Keene. Check out their video to learn more about how easy it is to build your own coop.
Buying a Pre-Made Chicken Coop or Kit
Chicken Coop: Supplies You Need Inside
Other favorite things I use for my chicken coops are nesting boxes (Amazon), nesting liners, a chicken coop heater if you’re in a cold climate, bedding to cover the coop’s floor, and locks (more about locks below).
Chicken Coop: Predator Proof Locks
My favorite lock to keep raccoons and other predators out of my chicken coop and run is a weatherproof, titanium lock that I got from Amazon and a hasp. Then, I have an automatic chicken door opener for my chicken coop that lets my hens out into their run in the morning (sometimes before I wake up).
Also, to protect my chickens from all sorts of predators, I never use chicken wire for my runs and coops. I use this kind of hardware cloth (Amazon) and it works like a charm!
2. Chicken Feed (Healthy, Quality Feed is Essential!)
Here’s how you should feed your chickens:
- 0 to 6 Weeks Old (Chicks): Their diet should contain around 18-20% protein. You should feed them some kind of chick starter (Amazon).
- 6 to around 16 to 20 Weeks Old (Pullets): Their diet should contain around 18% protein. You should feed them some kind of high-quality pullet grower (Amazon) until they start laying. (Sometimes you can find feed that’s good for both chicks and pullets, often called “starter grower” or “start & grow” feed).
- 18-20 Weeks or Above (Egg-Layers): Once chickens start laying eggs, they require around 16% protein in their feed. You should feed your hens layer feed (Amazon) to help them in their egg-laying. (Don’t feed this to your non-laying hens).
- Broiler Chickens (Chickens Raised for Meat): These types of chickens require a higher-level protein feed (Amazon) for maximum growth (approx. 22%-25%). Most meat bird raisers will suggest offering meat birds unlimited feed 24/7 for the first 2-3 weeks and then 12 hours with feed and 12 hours without afterward until they reach slaughter weight.
3. Poultry Grit
It is very important that chickens have access to grit if anything other than commercial feed is offered.
Chickens don’t have the means to grind their food since they don’t have teeth. Without grit in their gizzard, the food would not be broken up into small enough pieces that are digestible by chickens.
Just like chicken feed, you must make sure that the grit is the right size for the chicken’s age. Chick grit will be much finer than grit given to adult chickens. (This is my favorite grit for my chickens and this one is my favorite for chicks, both found on Amazon).
For more information about chicken grit, check out my post: “Do Chickens Need Oyster Shells and Grit?“
4. Oyster Shells for Backyard Hens
When it comes to oyster shells, only laying hens may need it. Chicks, the older chickens, and roosters do not require any oyster shell added to their diet.
Oyster shells are a great source of calcium for laying hens and they help build strong eggshells.
For more information about oyster shells, check out my post: “Do Chickens Need Oyster Shells and Grit?“
5. Chicken Feeders
One of my favorite feeders for my pullets and layers is Grandpa’s Feeders (Amazon).
I had trouble with wild birds and squirrels getting into my chickens’ feed and this feeder stopped this problem (although it doesn’t help against raccoons). It’s also supposed to keep their food dry, but I still have mine under shelters.
The feeders were a bit expensive (I got 3 to stop a bullying issue my chickens were having), but they paid for themselves because I’m not losing any more feed to pests.
Storing Chicken Feed
Please keep in mind that if you’re leaving your feed out at night, you’ll most likely be feeding predators (like those pesky raccoons) and encouraging them to make a home in your yard.
I always bring in my feed and water inside my garage and I keep my feed in a metal bin (my favorite is this one) so that rodents won’t chew through it. I had rats chew through a thick, plastic bin once. But since I got metal bins and plugged in an ultrasonic pest repeller, I haven’t seen any rats or mice at all.
To stop predators from being drawn to your yard, it’s also a good idea to stop them from invading your garbage and compost bins. It’s easy to do this by using a bin strap. Even when tipped over by animals, the lid won’t open.
6. Chicken Waterers
One important thing to know as a chicken keeper is that you won’t get any eggs if your hens are dehydrated. Chickens need access to CLEAN water throughout the day.
Most basic chicken waterers with a no-roost top (Amazon) will do just fine during the warmer seasons. No-roost top waterers are my favorite because it keeps my chickens from roosting on top of the waterer and pooping in their water.
And, like the feeders, I have more than one waterer to reduce bullying.
Another issue I had with my chickens’ water was trying to figure out how to keep the water from freezing in the winter. I didn’t have the time to check the water every few hours and the water kept on freezing. So I got a no-roost heated waterer (Amazon). I’ve only had it for one winter, but so far so good.
7. Protect Your Backyard Chickens with Predator Guard (Super Important!)
If you really don’t want nighttime predators to be around your coop in the first place, what really works for me is this thing I bought on Amazon called PredatorGuard. I had a lot of trouble with raccoons in my yard and this little gadget fixed that problem! It also scares foxes, deer, wolves, coyotes, skunks, and bears.
PredatorGuard introduces a pair of flashing red lights that animals assume is a set of eyes. It scares them and keeps them out of your yard.
I attached 4 of these little gadgets around my chicken coop, facing out in all four directions. Works perfectly!
8. Dust Bath (A Must on Your Supply List)
Dust baths are an important part of keeping chickens healthy and clean. If dry earth is not available to your chickens, you should give them access to a dust bath.
9. Supply List for Chicks
If you’re going to be welcoming chicks into your life, you’ll definitely need a brooder. I’ve been using this reusable and washable brooder for a while now and I love it! I put it inside a kiddie pool so that it’s easy to clean.
This brooder is big enough to make sure several chicks have enough room for some exercise as they’re growing and it keeps them safe. Just make sure to put some hardware cloth or some kind of netting on top of the brooder when you’re not there. You want to keep predators out (like rats) and the chicks in.
You’re also going to need a heat source, like a heating plate, for your chicks (my absolute favorite is this one from Amazon), a thermometer to help regulate temperatures, bedding made with pine shavings (make sure it’s NOT cedar or newspaper), a waterer designed for the chicks’ safety, a plastic feeder, and chick electrolytes.