More and more people are raising chickens
Across the U.S. there is an increased interest in raising chickens. Whether it be the state of the economy or people choosing to go back to the basics of trying to supply their own food, there is more and more people starting to raise chickens. I receive alerts that have anything to do with “raise chickens” and daily I receive notifications of cities that are starting to allow chickens to be raised in within the city. Many national hatcheries are sold out on baby chickens until the end of May and have a back-order list for those willing to wait!
With the interest in raising chickens you need to have the correct poultry equipment to maintain your new flock. Some people just jump right in without a thought–kind of like I did in the beginning–my husband brought home six chickens and we are looking for something to keep them in, feed them with, and something to hold water. If you have a choice, first find out what is needed to start raising chickens and then get your chickens.
What comes first–the chicken or the chicken supplies?
At the local Family Meet Night at Green South, I noticed a lady had purchased a new baby chick and along with that she had a chick feeder, a chick waterer, and who knows what at home that was waiting for her new little chicken. I’m assuming since she attended this event, being held to educate people on how to raise chickens, she was prepared to start raising chickens. She probably is not aware that within a few weeks the baby chickens will not be able to eat out of the chick feeder without opening the top and the waterer will not hold enough to give them an adequate water supply for a day or longer.
These are some of the things that you learn from experience in raising chickens. If I was to start all over again and planned for my new hobby, here are the preferred chicken supplies I would start with.
- Chicken Houses–when raising chickens the chicken needs a place to call home. Whether it be a chicken tractor, a chicken coop, or a livestock barn, give the chickens a place to get out of the rain, lay an egg, and roost at night. Baby chickens require an area with a heat source for a short time so the housing requirements will be different.
- Poultry Equipment–this includes the chicken waterer, poultry feeder, and nesting boxes. The type of poultry equipment you purchase depends on the age of the chicken. The feeder and waterer requirements for baby chickens is different than adult birds. You will need the regular feeders at some point. Unless you buy a pre-fab chicken house most do not come with nesting boxes so you will need to supply the area where you want to gather the eggs.
- Used Poultry Equipment–there are many sources to purchase used poultry equipment and the first place I usually look is Craigslist and from there I search for any local livestock or small animal auctions. And don’t forget your local trading posts papers. We have one that comes from our local electric company and sometimes they have some items at good prices.
- Chicken Feed–when you bring home your new chickens one of the first things they want to do is eat. Again what type you buy is determined by the age of the chicken. There are a variety of chicken feeds out there so do your homework to choose the one that is right for you.
- Storage Containers for Poultry Supplies–what do I mean by this? Somewhere to keep your food and grain so other animals do not have access to it. The likelihood of attracting critters of some sort is very high with all the scratching a chicken does in its food that helps to spread it around. I use metal trash containers and they do the trick. I keep my food supplies in one and my chicken equipment in the other.
I have been raising chickens for over five years now so I have my preferred methods of ways to feed and water and also my preferred suppliers of poultry equipment. If you are just starting out and not sure where to turn, start with your local feed store. Check out their prices and then compare them to the online stores. Most of the time you will find if you buy local you will save on the shipping costs. And there is the chance that if they do not have what you are looking for they will order it for you.