Here’s a list of my favorite chicken supplies that I use to keep my chicks, pullets, and chickens happy and healthy.
Chicken Coop & Run
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 it.
Other favorite things I use for my chicken coops are nesting boxes (my favorite is this one from Amazon), nesting liners, a chicken coop heater for when cold weather hits, bedding to cover the coop’s floor (my favorite is this one), and locks.
My favorite lock to keep raccoons and other predators out of my chicken run is a weatherproof, titanium lock 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 or coops. I use this kind of hardware cloth and it works like a charm!
Here’s how you should feed your chickens:
- 0 to 6 Week Old (Chicks): Their diet should contain around 20-20% protein. You should feed them some kind of chick starter.
- 6 to 20+ Week Old (Pullets): Their diet should contain around 14-16% protein. You should feed them some kind of high-quality pullet grower until they start laying.
- 20 Week or Above (Egg-Layers): Once chickens start laying eggs, they require around 15-18% protein in their feed. You should feed your hens layer feed to help them in their egg-laying. (Don’t feed this to your non-laying hens).
- Meat Chickens: Unfortunately, I cannot recommend a specific product for these types of birds since I’ve only ever had egg layers. However, I do know that these types of chickens require a higher-level protein (approx. 20%-24%) for maximum growth. 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.
Grit & Oyster Shells
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).
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.
For more information about grit and oyster shells, check out my post “Do Chickens Need Grit and Oyster Shell?“
My favorite feeder 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 feeder was a bit expensive, but it paid for itself because I’m not losing any more feed.
Please keep in mind that if you’re leaving your feed out at night, you’ll most likely be feeding predators 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.
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.
During the warmer seasons, most basic chicken waterers with a no-roost top, will do just fine for your pullets and layers. My favorite is this one from Amazon because it keeps my chickens from roosting and pooping in their water. It was a huge issue with some of my chickens (what a headache that was).
Another issue I had with my chickens’ water was those freezing winter temperatures. 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.
Maybe I’ve always had misbehaved chickens, but I always have to make sure my waterers are elevated so they don’t poop in it.
Predator Deterrent Lights
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!
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.
Supplies 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 of 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 on top of the brooder when you’re not there, 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 (optional).