Its been a long winter, and the other day, I decided it was time to clean out the chicken coop. I usually do a deep clean in the fall, and through the winter, use the deep litter method to keep my girls warm. I will be sharing this method on the blog soon! About March, I begin to feel like things need a good cleaning and an update. Its at this time that I like to go over all my chicken coop supplies and necessities and make sure I have everything I need to keep my girls happy all year long. I want to share my favorite must have chicken coop supplies that keep me and my hens happy.
There is no one good way to raise chickens. There are multiple ways to keep a happy group of ladies. In addition to this, there are unlimited chicken coop options and ways to keep your girls safe.
Whatever way you raise your chickens, a coop is a must have, whether it is large or small, fancy or a repurposed shed or broken down structure. The basic need is to have a safe place for them to roost at night that protects them from the elements and most importantly, predators.
Because of the amount of predators coming through our property, we chose to keep ours from completely free ranging. We have a large coop, and two very large runs where my girls can run and perch, play and keep themselves busy.
I often wonder if I am being over protective….and then that chicken hawk is spotted hanging out in the tree above our chicken coop. I then decide we will keep it as is. Our hens are very important to my 8 year old daughter so we do what we can to protect them.
If you have been here before, you might have seen my chicken coop, and if you haven’t, make sure to check it out here!
With my chicken coop set up there are some must have chicken coop supplies that I just have to have. I wanted to share some of these chicken coop necessities with you, in hopes that maybe it will help you if you are just getting started.
Now, this list is mainly things to have or use in the chicken coop, not necessarily any supplies for chickens such as food, scratch, first aid, etc. This list is for things that help keep a clean, well run coop that will make your ladies so happy they will want to lay all the eggs.
First, I will share the products and then we can chat about them a bit.
Chicken Coop Supplies:
Chicken Feeder and Waterer:
Having a good feeder and waterer is so important in my opinion. These are my absolute must have chicken coop supplies. I choose to have a larger feeder that I can fill about once a week, and monitor. This helps me to not feel quite so tied down in the mornings. We use a large metal feeder that gradually dispenses the food and it works great. You can get one with a cover as well if it wont be covered under a roof.
We live in a cold climate, and frozen water is a very big problem in the winter. I knew having a heated chicken waterer was crucial to having healthy, happy hens. We purchased this heated waterer, and it has been amazing! I no longer have to worry about their water freezing, and the water stays clean since they use the nipples to dispense the water. Teaching your chickens to use the nipples is so easy and they figure it out quickly. I would highly recommend getting one. We ran an extension cord to an outlet for a long time until my husband decided to run electricity to the coop, which is a game changer.
Nesting Box Bedding Inserts
For a couple years we used straw or wood shavings in side out nesting boxes. But, without fail every morning, I would go out to find the nesting material kicked out of the boxes and a broken egg or two int he box because they laid it on the hard surface and it broke. This was something I dealt with for a long time, until I found these nesting box grass inserts. These are so awesome. They have a cardboard backing and the material is secured to it. This is so nice because the hens cannot kick this out of the box. Believe me, they have tried! These are so nice and make such a big difference in broken eggs. You can easily throw them out when they get yucky, and replace with a new one. I personally think these are a must have.
Solar Lights for the Chicken Coop
If you do not have electricity to your coop, solar lights are a must have! Before my husband ran electricity to our coop installed a solar light inside the coop and another two on the outsides of the coop. The outside ones are very decorative, and turn on when it gets dark outside. They are automatic and its so nice to have that light if I have to go out late to check on the ladies, or the goats. The inside light is also really nice to have for so many reasons.
If you are one that turns a light on in the winter to get your ladies to keep laying, this can be so helpful! I am not for or against this method, I am simply too lazy to go turn the light on or add a timer to it. I also like giving my ladies a rest over the winter. But, having an interior light, for those times you might have to run out and check on them is so valuable. We use ours often.
This is the light that we have on the exterior of our chicken coop and it looks amazing and has worked so well! We also have one on our goat house. Having security lights at night makes it so nice ot go out and check on all the animals.
This is a pretty obvious must have. You can make your own nesting boxes, but you can also find some really great ones online. We have 4 nesting boxes, and yet the ladies all fight over the same one. I cant figure out why they wont use the other ones. It cracks me up when I find 3 chickens inside one box fighting over it. Ladies, there are more! Haha
Automatic Door Opener
We have an automatic door opener on our chicken coop that closes at nightfall and opens in the morning with the sun. This is so nice to have! I love that they ladies are locked up safe in their coop and I don’t have to go out every night to do it. I often am out there in the summer time, but in the winter, nobody wants to go lock up a door when its so cold out! I also love that it eliminates those cold drafts from coming in during the night. They are safe from predators, and it is such a big help to have.
Broom and Shovel
Since we have a floor to our coop, having a broom and shovel is imperative. I bought a cheap broom to keep in the coop so I can quickly sweep up the dust and debris that accumulates on the coop floor. Our coop is divided into two spaces.
One space is for the chickens and the other side is for storage. I love having that storage, but the dirt and dust can quickly add up. So having a broom is key. When I clean out the chicken coop(where the chickens live), having a shovel and wheel barrow is key. I often take the old bedding directly to my garden and add it to my planter boxes. You can see how I fill my garden boxes here.
Diatomaceous Earth Food Grade
What is Diatomaceous Earth? Diatomaceous earth is made from the fossilized remains of tiny, aquatic organisms called diatoms. Their skeletons are made of a natural substance called silica. Over a long period of time, diatoms accumulated in the sediment of rivers, streams, lakes, and oceans. It is a fine powder substance that has been shown to be helpful in keeping insects and pest down in gardens and chicken coops.
There is a lot of discussion on the use of DTE in the chicken coop. For me, it has been helpful, but we also use it sparingly. I use Diatomaceous Earth in my garden as well to eliminate pests on my plants, so it is convenient to use it in the coop and our goat barn as well.
I only use this in a couple specific spots in my chicken coop. When I clean out the bottom of our coop, I sprinkle a small amount on the dirt prior to adding more wood shavings. This helps keep the bedding free of mites.
I also will add a small amount of DTE to my chickens dust bath. I have a large galvanized bucket full of sand, wood ash, and DTE, and man, you should see my ladies get in there and roll around. They love using the dust bath and this helps keep the mites down, or eliminate them completely.
Coop Odor Neutralizer
On a list of must haves, this is probably lower on that list. If you are keeping a clean coop with fresh bedding, you should not have any unwanted smells. But sometimes, maybe during the hottest months or wet season, you need a bit more help this is a great thing to add.
Galvanized Trash Can with Lid
This is one of the most valuable items in my coop. With mice, and other critters running amok, it is nice to have a place that is water proof and pest proof. We put our chicken feed and chicken scratch in these trash cans. They keep things safe and tucked away and it looks like having everything stored instead of sitting out.
Window with chicken wire
During the warm months, having a window in the coop is so important. When it gets too hot, its nice to be able to cool things off and give them some fresh air. I would highly recommend adding at least one window in to your chicken coop.
Apple Cider Vinegar
This might seem like an odd thing to have in your coop, but we love using apple cider vinegar in our chickens water. We do not use it every time we fill their water. We use it about every other time. We use 1 tbsp per gallon, and our waterer is a 2 gallon, so 2 tbsp is sufficient.
Apple cider vinegar is a great source of probiotics for your chickens. You do need to use one with the “mother”. It is also helpful to keep algae from growing in your water during the warm months. We use it for this as well, because we use thee heated waterer, we find that algae does grow inside the waterer from time to time.
Egg Baskets, Feeder Chains and Chicken Swings
These last couple items are definitely more fun and not necessarily a need. Having an egg basket is key to gettin those eggs to the house without breaking them. I have broken many an egg that was put in my pockets. Keeping an egg basket in the coop helps me keep all my eggs in one piece.
These feeder chains are super fin for the chickens. We put cabbage and lettuce on them and it keeps them busy for hours! Its nice that it keeps them busy mentally stimulates them.
Last, but not least, a chicken swing? Yes! Chickens are funny animals. We have build many different roosting bars and places for them to chill out during the day. A swing is just one more place for them to hangout and enjoy their day. If you have chickens in a large run and are not free range, this is a great addition to keep them busy and happy.
I hope that this post about the my most must have chicken coop supplies will help you get started with your own coop of chickens. I am constantly adding things to this “must have” list. Our chickens are so easy to care for and they give us such amazing eggs, it makes it worth any work that we do have to do.
Want more chicken and chick info? Check these great posts out!