a complete list of chicken supplies

The 10 Best Chicken Supplies For Raising Backyard Chickens

It seems like the list of chicken supplies you need for your backyard chicken coop becomes more complicated every year. There are new gadgets and new modifications to even basic chicken feeders and chicken waterers. This article shares everything you need to raise backyard chickens with links to products as well as suggestions for how to build many chicken supplies yourself (such as chicken feeders and waterers).

You can also see a list of the best supplies for Raising Baby Chicks and calculate the cost of raising chickens.

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Quick List of Chicken Supplies

You can see more details below, but here is a quick list of chicken supplies you will need to get started:

  1. Chicken Coop
  2. Chicken Coop Bedding
  3. Chicken Run
  4. Chicken Feeder
  5. Chicken Feed
  6. Chicken Treats
  7. Chicken Waterer
  8. Chicken Water Heater (for cold climates)
  9. Chicken Toolkit
  10. Other Chicken Supplies

If you’re looking for more information about raising backyard chickens, check out this article:

Everything you Need to Know about How to Raise Backyard Chickens

Selecting a Chicken Coop

If you don’t already have a chicken coop or a barn with a coop area, your chicken coop will be your biggest purchase on your list of chicken supplies list. The coop is what keeps your chickens warm and dry and safe from predators. There are many ways you can convert existing buildings, sheds or barn spaces into a coop.

You can also design and build your own coop. We’ve built 2 coops on our own from scratch, converted a shed we bought at Home Depot and used an existing space in the barn so there are many options for your chicken coop.

When building or selecting a chicken coop, you will want to consider the following things:

  • You need AT LEAST 5 square feet of space inside the coop for every chicken
  • If there is even the slightest chance you may want more chickens in the future, make sure your coop is bigger than you need and buy chicken supplies for a large number of hens
  • You will need to clean your coop so make sure there is a door to get into the main part of the coop and you have access to the coop for cleaning
  • Your chickens will need to get into the run and you will need a way to lock the door – decide how you will do this – from the inside or the outside?
  • If you are keeping hens for eggs – you will need nesting boxes. You can build these, buy them or they may come as part of a chicken coop kit. You will need 1 box for every 3 chickens.
  • Chickens like to sleep on roosting posts. You can purchase these, but simple 2x4s a few feet off the ground work well
  • Depending on your climate, you chicken coop will need insulation and ventilation.
  • Ideally you keep your water outside of the coop since this adds moisture. This doesn’t work for us in the winter so we have a small area off the coop where we keep a chicken feeder and chicken waterer.
  • When you are locating your chicken coop remember that you may be running electricity to the coop and hauling water so consider keeping your coop in a practical location
Chicken supplies for raising backyard hens
Chickens roaming in a yard – see more below for a list of chicken supplies to start your own backyard flock

Chicken Coop versus Chicken Tractor

With a small amount of chickens, you can decide to make your chicken coop stationary or mobile. This depends on your property, how much space you have and how much time you have to move your coop and fencing. With a stationary coop that is built in place you can perfect your run and systems, however with a moveable chicken coop, you can rotate your hens over fresh grass. We’ve used both a tractor and fixed coop and often have our younger hens in the tractor and our larger flock in the permanent coop.

3 Chicken Coops for Your Backyard Hens

If you are planning to build your own coop, you can get chicken coop ideas on my Pinterest Board all about chickens or check out this book: Chicken Coops: 45 Ideas for Housing Your Flock. If you want to purchase a coop, there are so many cute designs available. See 5 of my favorites below:

Large Over EZ Chicken Coop for up to 15 Hens

What we like about this coop:

  • Great ventilation with vents and windows
  • Sturdy and easy to assemble
  • Outside access to the nesting boxes

SnapLock Formex Chicken Coop for 4-6 hens

What we like about this coop:

  • The lightweight aspect makes it easy to assemble and move
  • Easy to clean

Omitree Deluxe Large Wood Chicken Coop – 3 large hens

What we like about this coop:

  • Cute and easy to assemble
  • Has everything you need for a small flock

The Best Chicken Coop Bedding

Selecting the best chicken supplies means choosing the best bedding for your coop. Bedding not only helps keep the coop clean, but it provides a soft spot for chickens feet, egg laying, it collects moisture and can keep your chickens warm. Some bedding materials work better than others.

Here are the most common bedding materials for the chicken coop:

  • Pine Shavings: easy to find a most feed stores, smells great and absorbs moisture.
  • Straw/Hay: This is easy to find an inexpensive but can get moldy in the coop.
  • Cedar Shavings: Though less commonly used than pine, cedar smells great, but may cause problems with respiration – best to use occasionally.
  • Sand: Easy to clean, sand is a good option, especially for a run. Rake or scoop droppings.
  • Grass Clippings: Easy to come by but add moisture. We often add some of these to the run but not to the coop
  • Paper and Leaf Shreds: We’ve added these to the coop occasionally. Make sure they are well shredded and dried.

Deep Litter Method: It’s important to keep your coop clean, but one method for the winter months is to add bedding and build up a base layer. The concept is that the lower layers decompose adding some heat to the coop over time.

Chicken Runs

Building a secure and safe run for your chickens helps keep them safe from predators and keeps them out of the garden. You can build a run with posts, secure fencing and netting, or you can purchase pre-made runs.

You will want to consider how secure to make your run and whether you need overhead protection from hawks or other birds of prey. You can also make moveable runs if you want to move your chickens around in a chicken tractor.

You can read more about building chicken runs and tunnels here, or look at the ideas below if you want to purchase a chicken run. You may need to add a few tools to your chicken supplies list as well to build the run.

Large Chicken Run

Large Run

Large Chicken Run

The Best Chicken Feeders

The best chicken feeders hold enough food for a few days and allow access for multiple hens at the same time. Some newer chicken feeders also offer protection against rodents, and easy release, automatic feeding.

It’s almost impossible to find a completely rat proof chicken feeder but there are several designs that are better than others. You can also purchase small buckets to hold treats or specialty feed or find chicken feeders for sale below.

15 lbs Hanging Poultry Feeder

This is the classic poultry feeder and you can place it on the floor or hang it from the top of the chicken coop. It’s sturdy and keeps down the waste of food spilling although it’s not quite a zero waste chicken feeder.

Grandpa’s Automatic Chicken Feeder

This is a feed on demand chicken feeder and works for a flock of 5-6 hens. It won’t eliminate pests, but it will reduce the amount of food eaten by birds and rodents. This is high quality automatic poultry feeder that will last.

DIY Chicken Feeder Kit

I love this kit that allows you to make a DIY chicken feeder. The kit allows you to drill holes in a large container and make your own poultry feeder.

Rat Proof Chicken Feeder

This is a great design for decreasing rodent problems and has coverings that keep your feed out of the elements. It only lets a small amount of food out at once so you may need more than one if you have a larger flock.

See more details about choosing the best chicken feeders for your flock.

Chicken Feed

There are several options when choosing what to feed you backyard chickens. Generally you will want to go with a feed from you local feed store that you can purchase regularly. You can buy feed in either a pellet or a crumble form. If your hens are bored, a crumble will take longer to eat. Chickens will eat what they need to it is best to give the food as free choice.

Complete guide to backyard chicken supplies - chicken waterers and chicken feeders.
Bantam Chicken – a complete list of chicken supplies

Chicken Treats and Scratch

Chickens love when their diet is supplemented with treats and kitchen scraps.  A general rule is that if you can eat it – so can they (although there are a few exceptions including avocado, rhubarb and a few others).  Laying hens in particular benefit from additional calcium to help with egg productions, and you can also purchase treats for your backyard hens such as meal worms or grubs.

Another option for fresh food in the winter is to grow your own sprouted grain or fodder.

Dried Soldier Flies

Oyster Shells for Calcium

Feed Supplement

Chicken Waterers

There are several different types of poultry waterers to choose from including an automatic chicken waterer, a DIY chicken waterer, a chicken nipple waterer, and more. You can see more about each style below with a link to where you can find one to purchase. The best chicken waterer keeps the water fresh and stops it from spilling over.

Depending on your climate and whether you need to worry about water freezing you can also purchase a heated chicken waterer (see below for more info). You will want to keep you chicken water outside if possible to avoid spilling and getting your bedding wet or simply adding to the coop humidity.

Traditional Chicken Waterer

This chicken drinker is easy to clean and sits on a water heater easily to stay thawed. It easily accommodates a number of chickens at the same time. Since it’s metal after a few years ours develops rust and needs to be replaced.

Automatic Chicken Waterer

This DIY chicken waterer kit creates and automatic chicken waterer from any barrel or container you have at home. It can be a bit hard to clean and doesn’t work well in the winter, but is a great solution to out outdoor waterer for the warm months.

Automatic Chicken Nipple Waterer

These nipples waterers allow you to make your own PVC chicken waterer. This is easy to make and also easy to keep clean. You will need another solution for the winter months .

See the Best Chicken Waterer

Heated Chicken Waterer

If you live where the weather gets below freezing than you will need to add a heated chicken waterer to your chicken supplies list. We didn’t purchase a heated chicken water or heated base the first year we kept chickens and it felt like we spent all winter thawing water. You can either purchase a heated base or an all in one heated chicken waterer. There are also heaters that go into a bucket if you have a large flock. We have heated buckets that we use for our other animals, but we find the chickens make a mess with these.

Currently we’re using a heated base for our metal waterer and not a full heated poultry waterer. Even the best heating element may only last a few seasons, but the better units will last longer.

Heated Base for Chicken

Heated Chicken Waterer

Heated Chicken Waterer

See more suggestions on the Best Ways to Heat Water in your coop.

Chicken Toolkit

The chicken supplies above are the things you will need to keep your chickens safe and healthy on a day to day basis. Occasionally you will have additional situations arise with your chickens that will need extra care. It’s important to have basic emergency supplies for raising chickens available and an emergency chicken medical kit.

First you will need a place to isolate a sick or injured chicken. A small dog crate is perfect for this. Next you will want a few things to available such as scissors, eye droppers, etc. You can see more details in the post here or purchase a chicken first aid kit.

Other Chicken Supplies

There are many other chicken related items available that may not be part of your chicken supply list to get you started but are still fun and useful. This includes the best chicken accessories like boredom busters, chicken saddles, nest herbs and more. These make fun gifts even if they aren’t mandatory chicken supplies!

One item listed below that is slightly different from the rest is a chicken coop heater. Depending on where you live and whether you decide to heat your coop, you may want to consider putting a heater on your chicken supplies list. Remember that heaters can start a fire, so you are better off choosing breeds that can handle the cold and improving your coop design.

Chicken Coop Cameras: If you are concerned with coop safety or have had predator problems, a chicken coop camera might be the best solution. Cameras are becoming very affordable and offer live feeds, motion detection, 2 way communication and more. You can see more about the best chicken coop cameras.

Automatic Chicken Doors: An automatic chickens door with provide an extra layer of security. Find the best automatic chicken doors.

Did I miss any chicken supplies that you have and love? Add a comment and share what I’ve missed or your own favorite chicken supplies.

1 thought on “The 10 Best Chicken Supplies For Raising Backyard Chickens”

  1. Pingback: Everything you Need to Know about How to Raise Backyard Chickens - The Backyard Farming Connection

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