Veteran chicken keeper Carrie Miller has some recommendations for 2020 chicken items, based on her experiences.
Every year new and improved chicken items come out on the market to help make chicken keeping easier. While some items get better and better each year other items were great from the start and need little to no improvements. Here are some of my favorite chicken items that might make life easier and the flock happier.
With all the great options out on the market these days is there really a reason to keep using that old dangerous heat lamp? While these heaters are not always inexpensive, they can be found at most price points, all the while saving money in electric cost. Did you know traditional heat lamps are the largest contributor of barn and coop fires? Whether you heat your coop, have a sick hen, or are raising peeps these heaters are great! My Sweeter Heater is one product I have used for years, it’s my go to heater.
Heated Poultry Waterer
Is there anything worse than dealing with frozen water in the winter? Nipple systems, bases, fountains, and more! With an array of styles and options finding a heated waterer to fit your flock’s needs should be a simple task. However, it may take a few tries to find what works best for your setup. After years of using a top fill fountain and heated water base we finally upgraded this year to an all-in-one heated waterer. Our metal base had rusted pretty badly over the years due to leaking issues from the fountain and became questionably safe. Thus far I love it! My only wish is that it was a bit bigger.
Feeders are ever-changing as companies attempt to improve on food waste, rodent control, manure contamination, and water problems. While the old fashion feeders work as they were intended some newer designing has given some great new features. Sick of waisted feed? Do you have a chicken that likes to perch on the feeder while depositing poo onto the food? They have feeders designed to help with that!
Automatic coop doors
While these are more of a luxury than a need, they sure can make life a bit easier. You can find all kinds of openers which makes it easy to find one that will work for you. Dusk-to-dawn, programmable, and even wifi enabled models are easily found and are more cost-efficient than ever before. Need the door to slide up and down? How about to open left or maybe right? Whether you need a complete door kit or just the opener they are available. If work keeps you after dark or you leave before first light this product might just be perfect for you.
Food can make or break the chicken keeping experience. This lesson I have learned the hard way on more than one occasion. Companies change formulas more often than you might think, making it hard to stay on top of what’s best for your flock. For me my girls let me know when something has changed or their requirements altered. How you may ask? Their laying takes a fast dip in production, they tend to eat more feed, and/or their feathers begin to dull and appear ratty. Don’t be afraid to change feed here and there, especially if egg production stops. Just recently we switched our girls from a local feed-mill made food to NatureWise because our girls had completely stopped laying. After one week we began to see two to three eggs a day! After two weeks six to seven eggs daily!
No matter what products you choose for your flock always keep in mind safety, cleanliness, and happiness. If it works great for the chickens and makes being a chicken-keeper a little easier then I call that a win win!
Carrie Miller has a do-it yourself website/blog that is full of fun chicken projects. Her family is raising all-natural chickens with no antibiotics, no medications and no pesticides in Kinsman, Ohio. You can find her at Miller Micro Farm or follow her on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.