21 Essential Backyard Chicken Supplies for Your Flock

Maintaining your own flock of backyard chickens is rewarding in a few ways. They make interesting pets and dynamic lawn ornaments that also provide fresh food for your family. They’re relatively low maintenance once you make a few key decisions and they can provide entertainment and nutrition. Below, learn more about the essential chicken supplies you need to sustain a small flock of chickens in your own backyard.

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21 Listed Items

With sales of chicken supplies up by 500 percent recently, picking the right products can lead to the best results for your flock. Our list gives you a great spread of items to get started with your laying hens, but here is some additional background to help you get started.

How to Build a Chicken Coop

According to Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens, a chicken coop must accomplish the following things:

  • Easy to clean
  • Offer good drainage
  • Shelter from wind and sun
  • Keeps out pests and predators
  • Provides enough space for the flock size
  • Well ventilated
  • Draft-free
  • Maintains an even temperature
  • Offers roosting space
  • Offers laying nests
  • Provides proper light
  • Provides sanitary water and food

There are a few options when it comes to creating your chicken home. If you have an outbuilding on your property that is no longer in use, you can retrofit it to this purpose by adding access doors, ensuring proper ventilation, and installing roost and nest boxes. 

If you have no such building or want more detail on exactly how to go about it, first consult one of the books on chickens in this list, which can provide specific measurements and guidelines based on how many chickens you want to raise. 

Then, consider chicken coop plans, which are available online. These, along with a book on the subject, will give you exact lists of all the things you need to buy and how to assemble them for a safe, productive chicken coop.

Where Is It Legal to Keep Backyard Chickens?

The legality of backyard livestock is highly relative to the specific jurisdiction in which you live - in some instances, right down to the neighborhood. The best place to verify that you're allowed to have them is your local city hall or zoning office.

In some cases, you may be able to get your municipality to allow you to have chickens, too.

Should I Heat My Chicken Coop During Winter?

Most of the time, the answer is no. Even in Maine where the temperature gets quite low, heating elements pose an unncessary risk of fire. Chickens will acclimate quite well, provided a few factors are considered.

First, your chicken coop must be sealed from winds and drafts. Second, moisture must be able to escape via proper ventilation. Third, a good, thick layer of bedding will provided added drying power and insulation. 

It's true that you do need to keep their water from freezing, as water is one way in which chickens regulate their body temperature. A heated water dish or water dish heater is much less of a risk, provided you properly power your chicken coop.

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