Whether you start your flock by hatching eggs, buying chicks or getting adults, you will need five basic items to raise healthy chickens. This post will help guide you on what is needed right away and what you may have some time to get.
Should I start with the chicken or the egg? Couldn’t resist. If you’ve decided that you want to start your flock with hatching eggs, then of course you will need a way to hatch them. There are many types of incubators to choose from, and all the details for making that decision are covered in this post: How to Choose an Egg Incubator.
Once you have hatched your chicks, ordered them from a hatchery, or bought adult chickens, there are some things you must have for them when they arrive.
5 Things You Need to Raise Healthy Chickens
1 Coop – Chickens need draft free, clean housing. A coop offers shelter from the elements, room to stretch their legs and wings, and a roost to sleep on. The coop will also house most the remaining items on this list to keep your chickens comfortable. You can build your own or purchase a ready-made coop like this cute little one, and have it delivered right to your homestead.
2 Waterer – Chickens consume 3-4 times the amount of water as they do food in a day. For this reason, large waterers are preferred. Cool water promotes drinking on hot days to keep your chickens hydrated, so consider changing it often. A double walled version like this one is also helpful for extreme temperatures.
3 Feeder – Using a feeder specific to chickens is important because you want to make sure the feed stays clean and sanitary (without chicken poop). Feeders are available in a variety of materials and sizes to meet the needs of chickens in all sizes and scenarios. This metal rain proof option is a favorite on our homestead.
4 Food – A high quality feed is the best way to ensure your flock will remain healthy for years to come. Chicken feed on the market today is scientifically formulated to support all stages of life. Adult poultry and baby chicks have different nutritional needs. Chicks need a diet higher in protein while adults need more calcium to lay eggs. Wherever you buy your feed, make sure you are buying the correct feed for your chicken’s ages. Chick starter, starter/grower, finisher, laying pellets, rooster pellets, and scratch grain are some examples of the different types of feed.
5 Medications – Don’t wait until your chicken is sick before buying necessary medications and vaccinations. Even better, look for feed that includes medication to treat common poultry ailments like Coccidiosis. It is better to be safe than sorry.
We love having chickens at Happiest Camper Homestead. Watching the babies hatch, then seeing what color feathers they end up with is my favorite part. Seeing broody hens taking care of their babies is pretty awesome too, not to mention the endless supply of fresh eggs. If you keep chickens, you’re going to need this list of 20 New Ways to Eat Eggs for Breakfast. There is nothing like the buttery taste of an egg fresh from your own backyard. With the items on this list, we are able to raise healthy chickens that have become part of our family.