You got your first flock of backyard chickens, but now what? You might be wondering what things you should get to make sure you are prepared for your flock! Here are some must-haves!
Founts and Feeders
Chickens can be messy. Often times, you have to clean their feeders and founts multiple times a day to keep their food and water from getting everywhere. In order to keep parasites and coccidia from getting in their food and spreading around, you'll want to invest in proper feeders and founts. They are the best for keeping the food and water parasite free, but you'll still need to clean them often, just not multiple times a day!
If you don't have food storage containers, rats and rodents can get into the food and you don't want that to happen! You've probably never seen a wild rat before, so trust us when we say that you need to get a proper storage container. You'll want a container that can keep your feed tightly contained. Check your local supply store for some food grade drums.
Chickens love to roost high up, especially when they are sleeping. It helps protect them from potential predators. Occasionally, they will even roost on top of a fount or feeder just to get above ground, so even if you can get a small two by four roost off the ground, your chickens will love it!
Hens need nesting boxes to feel safe when laying eggs. If they don't have nesting boxes, they will feel forced to lay eggs all over the coop which can result in cracked or broken eggs as well as dirty eggs. It's best to have one nesting box per each four to five hens.
Grit actually helps chickens digest their food better. Chickens love to eat small pebbles and gravel for this reason. You can get bags of grit at any farm supply store.
Oregano essential oils help aid in the wellness of your chickens without having to use harsh antibiotics. Oregano actually contains antimicrobial properties, so small amounts can be added to your chicken's water and it will aid their immune system.
You're probably wondering what the heck this is. If you get food grade diatomaceous earth, it's a combination of minerals including clay, silica, iron oxide and fossil remains. Add some of it to the location where your chickens take their dust baths and it will help treat parasites in their feathers and on their skin. Also, it's totally safe and your chickens will love the texture.
Saddles (For Chickens)
Keeping a saddle on hand will help when a rooster gets aggressive with the hens. They help keep your hens safe without having to separate the roosters and the hens.
You'll want to keep towels designated for use with your chickens. Sometimes you have to pick them up. They are easier to catch with towels and if you wrap it around them, it will protect you from their wings, talons and spurs.
Chickens love treats. Giving them treats is a great way to interact with them and it will allow them to get friendlier with you. Check out our post all about feeding chickens table scraps for more information!
Pumpkin seeds are a natural preventative for parasites. They are also good for your chickens and they love the seeds. Also, if you have room for a pumpkin patch, you can harvest your own seeds and save them for your chickens, plus, you'll have plenty of pumpkins come time for Halloween!
Hopefully, by now, you'll feel prepared when you get your very own flock of backyard chickens. Check back next week for another fun blog post!