So you just finished building your own chicken coop in your backyard. This is the beginning of an adventure and you want to make sure that you are giving your chicken everything they need.
You have done the research about which chicken breeds you are going to raise and you are ready to order them right away.
It doesn’t matter what your chicken coop looks like right now, there are a ton of accessories you can use to make the whole chicken-keeping experience easy and fun for yourself. But the problem is, at some point you just get confused about which one to choose because there are so many of them.
That is the reason why we have narrowed everything down to just 10 accessories that you can choose from. The function of these accessories will range from something just for fun to protecting your brood to making sure that they have everything they need to lay as many eggs as possible.
So without any further ado, lets jump right into it.
The Basic Accessories
You don’t need to go for anything fancy to achieve that. In fact, most of the accessories that we talk about in this article are very cheap. So, don’t worry, you won’t have to burn a hole in your wallet for the happiness of your chicken.
So how many roosting bars do you have to add?
The rule of thumb is to add one roosting bar for every chicken. But, if you have a lot of chickens, then you could add a longer bar for multiple birds. You also want to make sure that you aren’t stuffing your chicken coop with a lot of chicken. Check out this post where we talk about how many chickens you should have in a chicken coop.
Now that you know how many roosting bars you have to add, you need to make sure that the top surfaces of the bars are smoothed off to avoid causing the birds any unnecessary discomfort.
A nesting box is a secluded place in the coop where the chickens can lay their eggs. Usually these are the dark places in the coop. You have to think about how many chickens you have for this accessory as well.
Typically most people have 1 nesting box per 5 hens. But according to David Frame, who is a poultry specialist at the Utah State University Extension, it is a good thing to add more nesting boxes per 5 hens because you want to make sure that they aren’t getting overcrowded.
This makes sense because once more hens start to pile up in a single nesting box, they will eventually start fighting with each other and someone will be thrown out of the box till the other hens can lay their eggs.
To avoid all of that, having more nesting boxes than needed is always a good idea.
Feeders come in different shapes and sizes. So it will depend on how your coop is built to decide whether you should get a feeder that is hung from the top of the coop or if you should buy a floor feeder.
In either case, you want to make sure that your feeder has closed containers that are made out of rubber or plastic where you can store unused feed in.
Also, if you go for a floor feeder, make sure that the lip is deep enough so that the feed does spill onto the chicken coop floor when your birds are eating from it.
Remember, for them to stay healthy, all of your birds need to stay hydrated. Hydration is just as important for your chicken as it is for you.
Not drinking enough water can cause them to not lay as many eggs, not to mention that their own growth gets stunted because of not drinking enough clean water.
Now that you know how important water is for them, lets talk about what kind of waterer you should get.
Again, it depends on the type of chicken coop you have.
But you have more choices in this category compared to what you had for nesting boxes. My personal favorite is the fountain-type drinker. A bell-type drinker is another type of waterer that you can check out.
Once you decide on which one you want to get, you should also think about how many you want to get. If you think you will need 2 waterers, then get 3.
Because, it is always a good idea to have more waterers than having less. Like I said above, hydration is super important for your flock. Without it, your whole experience of raising chicken will just become a headache because you will just be wondering why your chickens are getting ill and stuff.
Another reason why you should have more waterers is just because you should always have contingencies.
When it comes to waterers, there will always be malfunctions or spillages. That’s part of adding waterers in a chicken coop.
So, if you have a shy chicken that doesn’t want to walk far from its spot to drink water because the waterer close to it malfunctioned and there is no fresh water in it, it just won’t drink water. It will choose to stay thirsty.
And if you have more waterers, your shy chicken can still drink water while you work on fixing the broken waterer.
Thermometer & Heater
You will need a heater for the simple reason that the chicks cannot generate enough heat on their own to keep themselves warm. This is why you see that hens in the wild cover their chicks and keep their chicks’ bodies warm.
Adding a heating lamp in your coop is absolutely crucial for the survival of your chicks.
Another thing you need to add is a thermometer to make sure that you aren’t heating up the coop too much or too little. Without a thermometer you won’t have a way to know whether or not the heat generated by your heating lamp is enough.
Remember, you don’t NEED these accessories to be able to have a successful chicken coop in your backyard. But these comfort accessories will definitely make the whole thing easier and more fun for you.
According to David Frame, having an electric fence even discourages raccoons from entering the area. And raccoons are known for being too aggressive.
You don’t need to splurge hundreds of dollars to put up an electric fence. Assuming that you already have a fencing in your backyard, you can just add a simple one or two wire system and electrify the whole thing.
But if you have the budget to splurge on a completely new electric fence, who am I to stop you from doing that? 😊
Because chickens are known for scratching and picking at the soil, searching for bugs and plants to eat. And when they do this, they aerate the ground underneath them. And then they fertilize the whole thing with their droppings.
So if you want to increase the fertility of your soil as a side benefit of raising chickens, then add some wheels to your coop and move it around your entire backyard or plot of land.
An Automatic Chicken Coop Door Closer
You want the whole thing to be automatic and have a timer on them. That way, your birds will know when it is time to get back into the coop and when they can get out to roam around.
But, adding an automatic door closer doesn’t mean that you can just lay back and not care about your birds at all. You still have to check on them every evening and make sure that all of them are back in the coop. Make sure you keep a proper count of all of them.
Another thing you have to make sure is that the door is always working properly. The last thing you want is your hens running around in your backyard at 2am. That’s a disaster that will ruin the whole night the whole next day because you couldn’t get any sleep.
Plants On the Roof
You will need a bit of planning and some extra construction to make sure that the structure of the coop can hold the weight of the soil and the plants. And you will also need to make sure that the water doesn’t seep through the coop structure and weaken the whole thing.
There will be some waterproofing that you will need to do. Another thing you will need to make sure of, is that the roof has a slight angle to it so you can store rainwater in a barrel near the coop for watering your plants or for your flock’s waterer.
You can install a video camera inside your coop and keep an eye on your chicken to make sure that there are no unexpected predators coming in or any weird behavior taking place at odd hours at night.
You will need to install an infrared camera to capture viewable video footage at night but I do think this is worth it. Who knows, you might discover that rodents enter your coop at 3am in the morning and wreak havoc. But you didn’t know about it because you never saw any signs of them entering.