The basic accessories in a chicken coop
What are the most important accessories that cannot be missing in a hen shed? Drinkers and feeders are certainly the first essential tools to be included in a chicken coop, as they provide for all the birds’ vital needs.
In addition, you should also think about the best arrangement in the coop. For example, feeders are usually placed high up to prevent the food from being trampled and soiled by the animals.
Chickens also need to drink quite frequently, so one or more drinkers should not be forgotten when designing a chicken house, depending on the number of birds.
Drinkers have to be primarily practical: this means that you can clean them comfortably and easily.
Siphon drinkers, for example, are extremely basic systems and they are equipped with a siphon with handle feet. They are suitable for a large number of poultry: not only for hens, but also for ducks. They can be regulated in height, depending on the age of the birds, and can be hung directly in the poultry house. Its elevated position above the ground is essential to prevent any kind of contamination.
Nipple and pipette drinkers
The most advanced solution is the nipple drinker, which is in many ways similar to industrial systems. These are stainless steel devices that must be connected to the water supply. They always ensure that animals have clean and fresh water, even on holiday.
Nipple drinkers are connected to the water supply by a simple hose or screwed directly onto a water bucket. They are suitable for installations close to a water source, but they can be impractical for installations situated far from the water source, for example in open country.
How to use chicken drinkers
Installing a waterer in a chicken coop is important, but knowing how to manage and use it’s more important. Hens should drink water at a temperature of between 10 and 15 degrees; it should not be colder than this, as it will affect their body temperature, thus reducing egg production. Drinking troughs should be filled with clean water every day in order to satisfy the needs of chicks, chickens and hens.
As hens drink more frequently than other birds, they need a constant supply of fresh water, accessible at all times. In summer, when temperatures are high, a hen can drink up to half a litre of water in one day. The daily amounts needed are based on the weight of the hens. Assuming a daily feed intake of 100 grams, the amount of water needed can be as much as 300 ml.
Feeders for chickens
The feeder is another essential tool in a chicken shed: there are several models for sale that suit all needs and economic possibilities.
Hen house management also has to pay attention to the so-called “hierarchy”: it means that the weaker birds can only feed after the stronger ones have fed. This is a kind of hierarchy and, as it is not uncommon for weaker birds to go without food, this can be prevented by increasing the number of feeders, possibly by placing them in different locations.
In all cases, it is also important to provide adequate rain cover, as the feed must remain completely dry.
What kind of feeder to choose for your coop
There are several models of feeders on the market: automatic feeders, also known as treadle feeders, are very practical. The working mechanism is easy to explain: the hen climbs on the pedal and receives the food that is dispensed. When the animal gets off, the container closes. In this way, there’s no risk of wasting any of the food.
There are also plastic feeders, which are very resistant and easy to clean, and they offer the best value for money.
How to arrange a hen house: what you need to know
In order to set up a hen house, it is important to consider the number of birds. This is the only way to know how many feeders and drinkers are required.
Finally, you should also think about the model and, especially, the size.
The age of the chickens is another factor that can be considered: chicks, for example, should have easy access to the feeder, which can be placed not too high on the ground. Alternatively, wall-mounted feeders can be used. Finally, it is important to keep the house clean to avoid unpleasant smell and parasites.
Now that you know how to best equip a chicken house, take a look at our drinkers and feeders.