Supplies for a Chicken Coop
You can significantly increase the comfort and health of your chickens by purchasing the right supplies for a chicken coop. There is such a large selection of chicken coop accessories available, however, that it is important to have a clear understanding of the difference between luxuries and necessities. With the right products, your enclosure will give your birds everything they need for comfortable sleeping, laying eggs and feeling right at home.
Chicken Nest Boxes
Nest boxes are among the most important chicken supplies for your enclosure. When it is time to lay their eggs, hens will want secluded areas to nest in. These boxes are best situated in darker areas of your coop in order to promote optimal egg laying. You’ll need to have sufficient boxes for the number of hens that you are keeping. It is generally best to get at least one nest box for every four to five chickens that you own. If you have have the budget and the extra space, however, more is even better. This will prevent overcrowding and keep the space organized and problem-free.
There are various setups that you can choose from when searching for a way to provide your hens with regular access to water. This is by far, the most important element of a healthy chicken diet and thus, adequate water access should be continual. Two of the more popular waterer designs available are the fountain-style waterer and the bell-type option. It is generally best to provide your hens with access to more water than they actually need. Should a system malfunction occur, your birds will not go thirsty. Ample water supplies also account for the needs of shy birds who are slow to drink.
There are a number of high-end waterer designs out there and these could be necessary if you live in a cold climate or have problems with water becoming stagnant. For instance, one unit features a heated base that prevents water from freezing when temperatures plummet. Others keep water continuously moving so that it stays fresh and potable.
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Chicken Coop Feeders
How you intend to feed your chickens will play a major role in determining the best feeder design for your coop. If you want your hens to regularly lay lots of eggs, keeping feed accessible is important. There are a number of low-cost designs that can be hung from the ceiling of your coop. Many of these can hold a day’s worth of food at best. Bucket-style feeders, however, can hold several days worth of food.
One of the major considerations to make when choosing feeders is how you will protect the unused food supply. When shopping around for chicken supplies many people fail to consider the potential for pests. Although you want to accommodate your chickens, you certainly don’t want to create the ideal feeding grounds for unwanted pests such as rodents. A floor feeder is accessible to chickens, easy to cover during the night hours and can hold an ample amount of food. It should also have a deep lip so that spillage is limited. Keeping a clean coop and making sure that unused food is properly stored will limit the likelihood of troublesome pest problems.
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Chicken Roosting Bars
If your chicken coop does not already feature roosting bars, this is one accessory that you definitely want to invest in. Make sure that the bars you choose are smooth so that foot discomfort does not become an issue. If you intend to create roosting bars of your own, take some time to sand the surfaces of these down before installing them. It is best to have one bar for every chicken or to look for bars that are long enough to accommodate multiple chickens at once.
Chicken Coop Wheels
Depending upon the size of your flock and your coop, it may be a good idea to put your coop up on wheels. Chicken droppings are fairly acidic and this can have a very detrimental impact on lawn aesthetics, especially if the coop is left in one place for too long. Buying wheels and moving the coop around will allow you to spread the nutrients from droppings more evenly across your property.
Chicken Coop Supplies For Hatching Chicks
If you intend to hatch and raise chicks, two of the most important chicken supplies to have on hand are a thermometer and heater. These birds need to be kept at appropriate temperatures during their formative stages of life and you simply cannot do this without the right tools. The thermometer will help you track the temperature of the living environment and then you can use a heat lamp to strategically raise or lower this temperature as necessary.
Fun Upgrades For Your Chicken Coops
There are also a number of chicken supplies that are fun to have on hand even though they aren’t absolute necessities. For instance, you might want to invest in a green roof. This is a great way to create a subsistence garden with limited outdoor space. You can even grow things like comfrey, spinach and other edible plants that can be used to supplement and expand the diet of your chickens. Automatic chicken coop doors, solar-powered LED lights are among some of the other chicken supplies that you can invest in to create more comfortable digs for your birds.