Essential Things For Chickens You Need To Buy
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So if you’re reading this, you’ve taken the decision to welcome your own flock of chickens to your home. If you’re still slightly undecided I do recommend reading my previous article ‘things you should know before getting chickens“.
Today though I would like to cover the essential things for chickens you should consider buying prior to bringing your hens home.
Coop with nesting boxes
Your chickens will need a home to live in, that comes in the form of a chicken coop. It’s thoroughly recommended that your coop has a living area and a separate and secure nesting box area which is elevated from predators. You also need to ensure your coop has enough space to host your required amount of chickens, recommended at 2-3 square foot per chicken.
Your coop should be placed within the area of a secure run. There are a number of options you should consider when it comes to your run. So you live in an area that is affected by a predator population such as foxes or wild ferrets? If the answer to this is yes, a full surrounded galvanised steel coop is recommended with extra steel protection dug into the ground to prevent the predators from digging under the wire to get into the coop to eat your chickens.
If your answer is no, an adequate raised fence surrounding could be ideal. Please note here that you may come across a need to clip your chickens wings to prevent them jumping the fence and escaping.
Sawdust & Straw
Now you have your coop sorted you need to provide some home comforts for your chickens. For this you will need sawdust and straw, it is heavily recommended that dust extracted sawdust is widely advised to prevent respiratory problems within your flock. Also, straw is recommended over hay again for the same respiratory issues which works well as straw is quite usually cheaper to purchase anyway.
Feeder and Drinker
Your chickens require food and water, and for this, it is recommended that the use of a feeder and drinker similar to the one shown below is used. The feeder shown prevents from food wastage as chickens tend to dig in bowls for preferred feed leaving a trail of wastage on the floor. This then will attract mice and other vermin.
Also for the drinker, this provides a steady flow of water when needed and prevents young chicks from drowning in a large bowl.
If you buy your chickens from the point-of-lay stage they will need to be fed on a layers meal. This comes in two forms, pellets or mash. Pellets being of a pellet size and shape and mash being a fine grain. We use both to ensure all our chickens eat a good amount but I’m sure they prefer pellets. A majority of chicken owners prefer pellets as mess created is much less which then attracts less vermin.
Layers meal contains a complete food and rich in calcium and protein. With this feed chickens are known to lay eggs with a golden yolk full of protein whilst the shells are hardened with the calcium the feed provides.
It is also recommended that your chickens daily feed is 90-95% based on this meal. You can also give daily treats which we will discuss another time.
Also known as Oyster Shell is another essential to your chickens diet. Packed full of calcium is boosts their intake on top of the intake they are getting from the layers meal. But also it helps break down food within your chickens crop aiding digestion. It’s ideal to use this alongside the meal in your chickens feeder. They can never eat too much of it.
There are two products on the market which you need to consider giving your chickens regularly to prevent illness and aid good digestion.
Cider Vinegar; Recommended to pop half a cap full per full water drinker twice a week. This promotes good gut and intestinal health, good egg production and is a good all round tonic for chickens.
Verm-X; this is to be used monthly and is a similar product to the cider vinegar. It also boasts the added benefits of preventing worms within your flock if used regularly. Simply use this product for 3 consecutive days every month and follow the recommended dosage provided on the product.
It’s important to protect your flock and coop against a red mite invasion, especially if the coop is wooden. For this, I use these two products. The powder I use directly onto the chickens by rubbing it into their feathers, meanwhile, I spray the coop with the other. This should be regularly completed each month of which I do when I perform my monthly big clean of the coop. This wards off any red mite infestation which can be traumatic to any chicken and is difficult to rid of when an infestation occurs.
I hope you enjoyed reading this article and have helped you discover the essential things for chickens you should buy.