Everything You’ll Need To Raise Chickens

The Basics of What You’ll Need to Get Started

Your start-up cost for raising chicks & chickens can be costly, but you can plan ahead and buy a little at a time. There is plenty of time to have chickens, it can be next season or even the one after! Expect to pay somewhere around $1,000+ for a modest set-up… or better yet, take your time and build the coop of your dream.
Chicken Coop
A sturdy, weatherproof coop is essential for providing your chickens with shelter and protection from predators. Make sure it’s large enough to comfortably house your desired number of chickens, with nesting boxes for laying eggs, perches for roosting, and proper ventilation. How Much Space Do Chickens Need?
Chicken Run
A secure outdoor space where your chickens can exercise and forage. It should be fenced & covered to prevent them from escaping and protected from predators. It should be tall enough for you to easily access it for cleaning.
Chickens need clean and dry bedding to keep them comfortable and to help manage waste. Pine shavings are a good choice and are readily available at feed stores. Use a good amount of the floor of the coop and in the nest boxes.
Chicken Feed
A balanced and nutritious diet is important for healthy chickens. You’ll need to provide them with good quality chicken feed that’s appropriate for their age and stage of production. Organic feed is available if that is your choice, although it is substantially higher in price.
Chickens need access to clean, fresh water at all times. Use a waterer designed specifically for chickens. If you start with chicks, you’ll need a special smaller waterer for them.
A feeder designed for chickens or chicks will help keep their food clean and prevent waste. There are various types available.
Nesting Boxes
Hens need nesting boxes where they can lay their eggs. These should be clean, dry, and comfortable, with some privacy for the hens. You’ll need one nest box for every two hens.
First Aid Kit
It’s always good to have a basic first aid kit for any potential chicken health issues. It should include items like poultry vitamins, electrolytes, wound care supplies, and poultry-safe insecticides.
Chicken Wire or Hardware Cloth
To keep your chickens safe from predators, you’ll need to cover any openings in your coop or run with chicken wire or hardware cloth. Make sure it’s sturdy and predator-proof.
Cleaning Supplies
Keeping your coop clean and sanitary is important for the health and well-being of your chickens. You’ll need tools like a rake, shovel, broom, and a putty knife for regular cleaning.
Chickens need perches to roost at night. Provide them with sturdy, rounded, or flat perches that are at least 2-3 feet off the ground.
Dust Bath
Chickens love to dust bathe, which helps them clean their feathers and control parasites. You can provide them with a designated area filled with sand. Avoid using food-grade diatomaceous earth anywhere in your coop, this can cause serious health and respiratory issues in chickens.
Egg Collection Basket
If you’re keeping hens for eggs, you’ll need a place to collect and store the eggs. An egg collection basket or egg cartons are good options.
A Brooder for Baby Chicks
A brooder is an enclosure or container designed to provide a warm and safe environment for newly hatched chicks to grow and develop until they are fully feathered.
Heat Source
If you’re raising chicks, they’ll need a heat source to keep warm. This can be a heat lamp or preferably, a radiant heat brooder plate.
Thermometer for the Brooder
A thermometer allows you to monitor the temperature and make adjustments as needed to ensure that the chicks are comfortable and healthy.
Whether or not chicks need grit to help digest their food is controversial. Today, it is said that if feeding commercial feed, grit isn’t necessary. I’ll leave this option for you to decide.

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Hatcheries and Supplies Index

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Preparing for Baby Chicks

A Detailed Check List of Everything You’ll Need

Before you bring home your baby chicks prepare an area to keep them. Maybe a garage, shed, or any place where the chicks are protected from inclement weather or drafts.
The Basics
A Brooder
This is simply a container worthy of containing the chicks for the first 4-6 weeks. The sides should be about 12 to 15 inches high, the taller the brooder is, the less likely you’re going to have a problem with chicks escaping when they become more active. Brooder Ideas
This is important to monitor the temperature in the brooder. Any outdoor type that is easy to read is sufficient.
Brooder Lamp (and something dependable to hang it from)
The hanging type will allow you better control of temperature. You’ll want the ease of lowering or raising the lamp for more or less heat. Most feed stores carry both brooder lamps and bulbs. Although the bulb color of choice by chicken keepers is a controversial one, I prefer and recommend the RED bulb.

*Today it is better advised to use Radiant Heat.

Feeder & Drinker
Choose both that are made for chicks, they are designed not only for their convenience but safety too.
Shavings are usually the bedding of choice.
Most commonly called Chick Starter feed. They’re going to be on this food for the next 5-7 months or their point of lay, so don’t be afraid to buy a 50lb bag. It won’t be the last bag you buy!

The Extras to Make Caring for Your Chicks Easier…

Paper Towels
Many chicken keepers like to use paper towels for the bottom of the brooder for the first week or two.  I don’t, and all is fine… your choice.
Medium Trash Can (2)
A convenient way to make cleaning less of a chore. Keep it handy by the brooder.
It’s nice to keep your feed in one too, bagged feed can be a big mess to clean up if it falls over.
To dump out the drinker waste, rather than refilling the whole waterer ten times a day.
An extra small brooder box in case you have to isolate or doctor a chick.

It’s a Little Work but There’s a Reward

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