Get to Know Coops for Troops

Chickens aren’t just the gateway to the farming world; they’re also a source of joy, a source of food, and believe it or not, chickens can be calming companions.

Therapy animals.

This is why we we are always thrilled to contribute to a Coopdreams.tv initiative called Coops for Troops. 

What is Coops for Troops?

Coops for Troops is a non-profit organization that was born out of the Coop Dreams TV reality show. The creator, Brad Hauter, initially aired the Coops for Troops idea as a single segment on the television show. 

From this show, Coops for Troops took off and developed into a cause worthy of a chicken lover’s attention. 

Brad Hauter

According to their website, “Coops for Troops provides chickens, a coop, and a starter pack of feed and supplies to returning veterans, the families of deployed military personnel, military schools, VA hospitals, and retirement homes.”

It’s their hope that a gift of chickens will help those struggling with depression, anxiety, or PTSD.

And not only is Brad a super interesting guy because he hosts a TV show and helps veterans while spreading the goodness chickens can bring, but he’s also traveled across the country on a riding lawn mower to raise funds for Keep America Beautiful. Cool, huh?

How Can Chickens Help?

Similar to other therapy animals, chickens can provide companionship, promote relationship-building, and bring a smile to the face of someone who suffers from PTSD. 

Chickens have also been known to reduce stress due to their silly antics and due to the fact that they need to be tended to daily. In other words, chickens give those in need something to care for, a way to feel less isolated, and of course never alone. 

What’s more, chickens don’t just give back through entertainment and companionship, they also provide eggs. It’s nearly a gesture of gratitude in itself when a pet provides such a thing to a devoted caretaker. The relationship is mutual.

But the chickens aren’t just for the troops, they’re also for their families and others dealing with Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD).

Spouses and children of military families are also benefiting from the Coops for Troops initiaitve.

What is Henny+Roo’s connection to Coop Dreams and Coops for Troops?

Since 2016, Henny+Roo has partnered with the incredible folks at Coop Dreams to provide Henny+Roo chicken supply boxes to veterans via the Coops for Troops program. We do this not only because we believe in the healing power of chickens, but because we have very special military veterans in the Henny+Roo family.

We have also participated in fundraisers, like selling our Glory Hen Lapel Pin, where $5 from each sale is donated to Coops for Troops. Get yours here.

We regularly participate in Coop Dreams’ Friday Night Introvert Club, a weekly Facebook Live event full of trivia games and even Chicken Poop Bingo, information, and sometimes even guests hosts. Follow Coop Dreams on Facebook for newsfeed notifications of the next Friday Night Introvert Club.

Back in 2019, we were thrilled to meet The Coop Dreams team in person at their Coop Camp event, which has been held annually since 2014 (except for 2020 and 2021 due to the Covid pandemic). Coop Camp is a fun weekend for chicken keepers held in the Indianapolis area and features expert speakers, hands-on classes, games, door prizes, and even goat yoga. Being an internet-based business doesn’t leave much opportunity for us to interact with the chicken keeping community in person, and we were so happy to do so at Coop Camp 2019. We can’t wait for the next one.

How can You Make a Difference for Veterans?

When you love chickens as much as we do, it’s natural to want to share them with others. It’s like we’re in a secret, special, chicken-loving club. And our arms are wide open to anyone interested in chickens. 

That’s why we wanted to share this amazing opportunity with our readers, so you can help make a difference and share your love for chickens with those who could benefit from a happy flock.

So, if you’d like to nominate a veteran, military family, VA hospital, or home simply visit the Coop Dreams website and complete the form provided. 

If you’re interested in sending a donation to help the program continue to provide coops to troops visit their PayPal page here

Chicken lovers know the healing power of these amazing birds. From their goofy behavior to the delicious eggs they provide for us, they’re truly a joy to behold. So let’s spread that joy to those in need. Together, we can make a difference!

You can also follow Coops for Troops on Facebook to get updates and see the inspiring stories of chickens and their new families.



Henny+Roo is the first and foremost monthly subscription service for chicken keepers, providing our members with health treats, products to build their poultry first aid kids, and useful chicken-themed gifts for keepers. Shop our monthly plans and non-subscription items at hennyandroo.com.

9 Ways to Help Your Chickens in Hot Weather

When the temperature rises, you’re not the only one dealing with the heat and humidity. Your chickens are probably feeling the it too.

The good news is, there’s a lot you can do to keep your chickens comfortable when the summer sun starts shining. 

Here at Henny+Roo, we’ve got a few cool recommendations for you to help your chickens in hot weather.

1. Provide Summer Shade

Chickens are super self-sufficient. They know when they’re overheated. 

In fact, one of the first things your chickens will do when they’re hot is seek out shade. So, if your chooks are confined to their coop, or run, make sure they have shelter from the sun. 

And if they’re free-rangers, they’ll probably seek shade under bushes…most likely where there’s a dust bath. 

You can add tarps, shrubbery, or anything you’ve got laying around the yard to add temporary shade on the hottest days of the year.

2. Dig a Dust Bath

If you have free-range chickens, you’ll often see them taking dust baths on super hot days. This is because it helps them chill out. 

Help them out by creating a special space in your chicken run for a dust bath. And make sure it’s big enough to hold your whole flock because they’ll all want to get in on the sunbathing. 

Dust baths can be made using a shallow bin, a wood frame, a barrier with logs or stones or even just a dry corner or the yard or run. It should be easy for them to get into and large enough to allow your chicken to lie in, spread their wings and flick dust over their whole body.

It can be filled with dry, fine dirt or sand, and can be enhanced with dried herbs, wood ash, or diatomaceous earth if you prefer.

Try Henny+Roo Coop Complete Dried Herbs in the coop and dust bathing area to repel pests, calm chickens, and freshen the area.

You can also purchase dust bathing substrate. We like this one from Lixit which is available in a 5.5 lb tub.

3. Water, Water, and More Water

It usually goes without saying that chickens need access to fresh, clean, water 24/7. But when the heat is on, the water might need refilling more often than usual. Your chickens will frequent their watering hole a lot more often when it’s hot outside. 

So, monitor your waterers throughout the day to make sure your chickens are never without refreshment.

Additionally, ensure waterers are large and can hold enough water to get your chickens through the day if you’re away at work during a hot spell.

4. Ice Helps Chickens in Hot Weather

Speaking of water, if you’re able to, keep it even colder on hot days. You can do this by adding ice cubes to the waterers. 

Your chickens will appreciate the icy cool water, and may even enjoy playing with the ice cubes.

You don’t have to put ice in the waterers, but just think of how you feel when you’re about to take a drink from your ice-cold water glass on a hot day and it’s HOT! In other words, your chickens will appreciate it.

5. Add Electrolytes to Combat Dehydration

As a preventative measure, you might consider adding electrolytes to your chickens’ waterers to hold of dehydration from the heat.

If you’re not sure if your chickens are dehydrated or not, feel free to add electrolytes. It doesn’t hurt to add them, even if your chickens aren’t dehydrated. 

Henny+Roo 3 in 1 Vitamins Electrolytes and Probiotics for Poultry helps you meet your flock’s supplemental needs and can be added directly to their water. Electrolytes help optimize health and hydration during hot weather and times of stress. Vitamins are necessary for cellular functions. And probiotics help beneficial bacteria grow in the digestive tract, aiding digestive health.

6. Fresh Food For Chickens in Hot Weather

Give your chickens fresh food.

And when we say fresh food, we mean fresh, FROZEN food. Like frozen treats right out of the freezer. Think: watermelon.  

Chickens l.o.v.e. watermelon on any given day, but when it’s scorching hot out, they’ll go crazy for a super cold melon…just for them. 

Other water-heavy veggies, like iceberg lettuce, also help keep your chicks cool and hydrated when the heat rises.

7. Easy Breezy

If your chickens are overheating, they’ll appear to be panting, like a dog. But chickens can’t drool or sweat (like us) to keep cooll. Instead, they pant and fluff out their wings hoping to catch a breeze.

In other words, if overheating, your chickens will look as hot as you probably feel on a scorcher. If this happens, your chickens need some relief. Give them a fan and place them in a breezy area with lots of cool water and light watery treats. 

A simple breeze will do wonders for your chickens. You can even put a barn-safe fan nearby to keep them cool in the coop. 

8. Stress Less

You know it feels when your stressed out and it’s hot out? Yeah, you may sweat, you’re probably uncomfortable, and you just wish you could catch a break. Well, chickens stress…out all the time. 

It’s kind of their thing. 

So, do your best to keep your chickens calm during hot weather. Make sure they have everything they need (all the creature comforts), keep predators away, and separate bully hens and roosters to keep the stress under control. 

9. Kiddie Pools and Sprinklers

Chickens don’t typically enjoy swimming. But some might take advantage of a nearby sprinkler or kiddie pool. If they don’t, they may reap some of the benefits of the coolness of the water nearby, regardless of their swimming abilities. 


Henny+Roo monthly supply boxes for chicken keepers have been providing poultry enthusiasts with seasonal supplies and gifts since 2016. See what all the excitement is about on Instagram and visit our website at hennyandroo.com to learn more! New subscribers always save 10% on their first subscription with code: NEWSUB at checkout.

When Do Chickens Start Laying Eggs? 6 Signs Eggs Are on the Way

If you’re waiting for chickens to start laying eggs, you may be wondering what to watch for so you can be ready for the harvest!

The truth is some chickens take longer than others to mature. So there is no right answer as to when your chickens will start laying. 

With that being said, here are some telltale signs that your hens are ready to start serving up breakfast for your family. 

1. It’s Been About Six Months

Chickens are sexually mature around 6 months of age. This means, their bodies are ready to start producing eggs! 

With that being said, there are a variety of factors that can influence the exact start of a hen’s egg-laying career, like: 

  • Environmental factors
  • Breed
  • Illness
  • Nutrition

As a rule of thumb, six months is a good timeframe to watch for fresh eggs, but your hens could start laying sooner, or a bit later, than that. 

2. Your Hens Start to Squat

It sounds a little silly but squatting when approached by a rooster, or other animals, is an indication that your hen has reached sexual maturity, and is ready to lay some fresh eggs. 

This is a behavior that assists the rooster in mating with the hen. Hens become submissive and squat down, allowing the rooster to do his thing. 

You can test this behavior by lightly pushing on the hens back to see if she becomes submissive. If so, eggs won’t be far behind!

3. Changes in Combs and Wattles

As hens develop, and near maturity (ie egg-laying season), you may notice that their combs and wattles turn from pinkish to a beautiful bright red!

Combs will also become larger as your hens grow. And, as a side note, a rooster’s accessories become bigger and more red as well but this usually happens much sooner.

4. Hens Begin to Eat More

As most critters do, hens eat a lot more as they grow and develop. But laying eggs requires more energy than simply spending time as a growing pullet. Hens gearing up to lay their first eggs need more protein, calcium, and other valuable nutrients in order to lay healthy, strong, eggs. 

With that being said, your hens will start eating more than they did before they were ready to lay eggs.

It can be difficult to determine how much a single hen is eating, but you may notice the feeder needing to be refilled more often than before. 

5. Hens May Become Nervous

A hen that’s about to start laying may go through a behavior change. In fact, she may appear more nervous and unsettled. She may even give you a start and pop out of strange nooks and crannies through the coop or barn. 

So be on the lookout, because it can be quite startling!

Hens that hide out, nervously search for….something, and hunker down in cozy crannies are often on the verge of laying their first eggs. 

6. They’ve Noticed the Nesting Boxes

In addition to nervously searching for their own special space to lay their eggs, hens close to maturity may seek out a nesting box that they’ve ignored for the past few months. 

Young hens may curiously hang out by older hens utilizing the nesting boxes. They’re learning from them, and even though they may be annoying to the experienced layer wishing for her privacy, these young pullets are picking up all kinds of tips and tricks. 

It All Depends on Your Hen

While the actual date a hen starts giving you eggs will vary, these are the signs that point to fresh eggs in the coop…soon!

So if your hens are happy and healthy, they’ll start laying as soon as their bodies are able to do so. A hen that lays early may develop internal problems, and her eggs may be rubbery or misshapen (which could potentially be painful). 

All this to say, your hen will know when she’s ready. And all you need to do is ensure she has the nutrition required to produce those tasty eggs. If you do, you’ll be rewarded handsomely, all in good time.

Henny+Roo is the first and foremost subscription box for backyard chicken keepers – sending boxes of treats, first aid and coop items, along with gifts for you since 2016. Learn about our monthly plans and non-subscription offerings at: hennyandroo.com

Inside the June 2021 Henny+Roo Box for Chicken Keepers

Summer is here, and we hope you and your flock are taking the time to enjoy the outdoors. We hope that your June selections help you enjoy every moment of good weather and times with your flock and family!

Free Range Rooster Camp Cup: A fun way to celebrate the 4th of July while showing off your passion for poultry.

Hentastic Peck ‘n Mix Herb Surprise: Thank your ladies for all those eggs!

Hydro Hen Drinking Water Supplement: Probiotics, electrolytes, and acidifiers to provide hydration and gut health when your birds need it most. For all species and ages of poultry. Makes 22 one-gal servings.

Rollerball Oil Perfume: Hay Bale is a fragrance exclusive to Henny+Roo featuring fresh notes of clover and aloe.

Chicken Layer Love Feed: Combining proper proportions of protein, fat, fiber, vitamins, amino acids, and biologicals, these pellets and mealworms are lighted coated with secondary and trace elements that have been Ultra Chelated.

Aluminum Treat Scoop: For dishing out feed, treats, grit, etc.

Throwback Logo Sticker: We’re celebrating our 6th year in business with one of our first logos, by request of some of our longest-term subscribers!

Nesting Box Liner: In every box!

The June box is sold out, so sadly, we don’t have any for sale on our website at hennyandroo.com. The only way to make sure you get one of our monthly boxes, you have to be a subscriber. Join the first and foremost subscription service for backyard chicken keepers, and save 10% with code NEWSUB

!

Roosters With A Bad Rap (And Why You Might Want One)

Roosters get a bad reputation, but one bad egg in the bunch shouldn’t condemn an entire lot of roosters to the soup pot. 

Roos are often misunderstood because they can be aggressive. Certain individual birds (and some breeds) may be more prone to chasing humans, attacking other critters, and of course, crowing…a lot. 

But the truth is, they’re not all bad. In fact, much of their “aggressive” behavior is actually beneficial for the flock. Moreover, you’ll find that most roosters aren’t actually mean at all.

So, to set the record straight, let’s take a look at commonly frowned-upon rooster behavior and how it’s actually good for the flock. 

Mean Rooster Behavior and What it Means

It’s easy to just write off the following as bad behavior from a bad rooster. But let’s think it through a bit first.

Because, in most cases, there’s a reason for the behavior.

Crowing (Not Just in The Morning)

Roosters crow.

All the time. 

But there’s a reason for crowing, and usually, it’s to either communicate with the flock, warn off predators, or ask something of you. 

Roosters can assert themselves to both predators and other roosters and the point is to show whoever he’s talking to that he’s the boss around here…and these are his hens. 

Crowing can be a good thing if you don’t mind the sound of it because it may keep predators at bay, warn you of impending doom, and help the flock find food or safety (because that’s what roosters often talk about most). 

Roos are keen on finding the best treats for their ladies, and when they find a tasty morsel, he will be the last to eat. Instead, he clucks, crows, or calls to his ladies to let them know there are some good eats nearby!

Lastly, roosters crow if they need something. If your flock is confined and they are out of food or water, you better believe your rooster will let you know about it!

Roosters Chasing Humans

Roosters who chase humans or other animals usually do so to protect their hens.

Unfortunately, they may chase us even though we aren’t a threat. For some reason, some roosters are on higher alert than others and misdirect their aggression toward the wrong person. 

In the wild, roosters who chase off possible threats are a blessing to the flock. Just think about it, if we’re intimidated by a puffed-up rooster booking it toward us then their scare tactics might work on other, less well-meaning, beings as well. 

This behavior becomes a problem, however, when roosters act on their aggression by using their beak and spurs to injure humans or other domestic animals.

Fighting with Other Roosters

Speaking of harming other animals. Keeping more than one rooster in a flock is not always a good idea. 

It can be done, with the right roosters (who were also raised together). And if there are enough hens to go around for both of the boys in the flock, it might be feasible.

But even then, one day, you may find your two favorite gentlemen in a bloody battle for the flock. 

And that’s how things work in the natural world. One rooster is typically dominant over all the hens in the flock, and if the other boys nearby disagree it will most likely end in death. 

Considering natural selection, when referring to this aggressive bird-on-bird behavior, you could think of the winning rooster as the strongest to lead your flock. In that case, choose which roo you’d like to keep on for the job and which you will relocate or process.

Favorite Hens Looking Shabby?

Sometimes a certain hen becomes the apple of your rooster’s eye, and she gets, ahem, most of his attention (wink, wink…elbow jab, if you know what I mean).

And you might think it’s a good thing, but that poor hen needs a break and if your rooster doesn’t lay off of the hen in question, you may need to relocate her. 

Another reason your hens may look a little rough around the feathers is that there aren’t enough hens for your overly zealous rooster in your flock.

Adding a few more (like you need a reason to add more chickens, right?) will help distribute your rooster’s, um, affections amongst the flock more evenly and help his favorites heal.

As a side note: if your hens’ feathers have been ripped out from a well-meaning rooster, they will grow back after their next molt.

Should you need to protect your hen’s backs, consider a hen saddle.

Should You Keep a Rooster?

So, while there are some clear drawbacks to keeping a rooster in your flock, as you can see, some of these behaviors serve a purpose. And in some cases, it’s for the good of the flock. Like protection from predators, foraging skills, and of course reproduction. 

The truth is, most roosters, if they have what they need to be happy and healthy, aren’t all that bad. 

In fact, your years of rooster owning, you may only come across one or two bad eggs. 

And to be honest, the crowing may become an enjoyable part of my homestead. 

Rooster Relocation

All this to say, sometimes we can’t accommodate our rooster’s needs or they really are just a bad egg. 

If that’s the case, it may be time to either process your rooster or pass him on to a farm that is willing to take on his behavior. And who knows, a change of scenery might be all he needs to turn his life around.

Books of Interest

Backyard Chickens Beyond the Basics: Lessons for Expanding Your Flock, Understanding Chicken Behavior, Keeping a Rooster, Adjusting for the Seasons, Staying Healthy, and More!

Pokey Jr: Even Roosters Get Second Chances

How to Speak Chicken: Why Your Chickens Do What They Do & Say What They Say

Selecting Spring Plants Chickens Won’t Eat

The deer in our area don’t care for Virginia bluebells, and neither do our chickens.

Chickens love eating plants! Grass, leaves, flowers – they’ll eat everything leaving your yard bare if they like what you have growing.

A rule of thumb that we go by when selecting plants for our yard is to select those that are deer-resistant. We have lots of deer in our area, but also have a fully landscaped yard that the chickens don’t bother because they’re all deer-resistant. We are in gardening zone 5, and are currently enjoy pachysandra, vinca, bluebells, bleeding hearts, pulmonaria, forget-me-nots, geranium, daffodils and various Spring ephemerals.

Your plant nursery or online source for plants will usually indicate if a plant is deer-resistant. You can also Google “deer-resistant plants for zone [your zone] or [your state].”

While chickens might eat anything if they’re hungry or bored enough, selecting plants that deer won’t eat may be your solution to keeping chickens and a beautiful garden.

A look inside the Henny+Roo May Box for Chicken Keepers

Subscribers, take a look inside your May box! Your April box is in transit, and while you await its arrival, we are putting the finishing touches on your May box. First, your chickens will come running for the @exoticnutrition Chicken Treat Variety Pack. And you’ll be able to welcome guests with our cute Henny+Roo exclusive farmhouse-style garden flag!

The April box sold out, and we fully expect the May box to sell out too. Because of the limited supply, the May box will not be available on our website as a non-subscription purchase. You have to be a current subscriber to get it, so it’s a great time to start or reactivate your subscription!

Check out our monthly terms at hennyandroo.com 🐓

8 Must-have Supplies for Raising Chickens

When you’re getting started with chickens, one of the first things you need to do is ensure you have all the supplies your flock needs. 

The good news is, the basics are pretty straightforward. We’re giving you the lowdown on the must-haves and a few optional extras.

Must-Have Supplies for Raising Chickens

The following items are absolutely necessary for raising a happy flock…so don’t skimp on these supplies for your new chooks.

1. A Chicken Coop (The Essential Supply for Raising Chickens)

A shelter for your chickens is definitely a no-brainer. But what you might need to hear is that it doesn’t have to be anything fancy. In fact, some of the safest, most functional, chicken coops are made from repurposed materials. 

The only things you need to be sure of are:

  1. That no predators can get in and kill your chickens
  2. That your chickens are protected from the elements
  3. There is proper ventilation

Other than that, your coop can be made from anything you’d like. So feel free to go all out or get a little thrifty when planning your first chicken coop. But whatever you do, don’t skimp on the hardware cloth!

2. Bedding for Your Chickens

Hand-in-hand with your chicken coop is the bedding you use inside the chicken coop. The purpose of having a layer of bedding on the bottom of the coop is so their droppings don’t sit on the floor of the coop. When they sit on top of bedding, they dry out faster and are easier to remove. We recommend using straw, pine shavings, sand or even dried leaves. 

Pine shavings are a good bedding choice in the chicken coop.

And as a word of caution, never use cedar shavings (the fumes can be toxic to chickens). 

You may also wish to try a product that speeds up drying and reduces odors and ammonia in the coop. We recommend Sweet PDZ Coop Refresher, and have featured it in our monthly supply boxes for chicken keepers.

3. Chicken Specific Feeders

If you imagine completing your morning chores by tossing corn to your chickens in the yard, think again because chickens need containers for their feed. 

You see, chickens pick up parasites, or coccidia, from eating food straight off the ground in their coop or yard. This is because they also poop in their yard, and that’s exactly how parasites get passed from one chicken to another…by inadvertently eating feces (among other things). 

Feeders also keep chicken food clean and dry. Plus, they prevent your soon-to-be chooks from scratching their feed all over the coop, making it inedible, and just plain undesirable. 

We use this Harris Farms plastic feeder in the Henny+Roo coop, and love that it can be hung from the rafters. This prevents the chickens from being able to use their claws to scratch food onto the floor, saving feed. It’s also very easy to fill from the top.

4. Waterers that Work for Chickens

Just like containers for chicken feed, waterers are simply non-negotiable when it comes to supplies for raising chickens. 

Chickens need water available at all times, but especially in hot weather or when being fed dried insects, like mealworms.

Founts made specifically for chickens are our recommendation because they’re made to keep dirt, feed, and droppings out of the water (ensuring it’s fresh and clean for your chickens).

We have used this Harris Farms waterer for a while, and like it because you can fill it from the top. Many waterers require you to fill it upside down, attach the base, then flip it over and hope water doesn’t get everywhere, or the base doesn’t fall off completely. The nipple attachments reduce leaking and keep the water cleaner.

Consider a heated waterer if you live in cold climates so that your flock always has access to water when the temperatures are below freezing.

5. The Right Feed for Your Chicken Breeds

While it’s not a bad idea to mix your own chicken feed, as a beginner, it’s simply easier (and most likely cost-effective) to rely on the ready-made formulations. 

You can rest easy knowing your chickens are getting the nutrition they need from feed created by the professionals. 

So if you’re raising layer hens, make sure you grab the layer-specific feed because it has the right nutrients to help support strong, delicious, eggs. 

On the other hand, if you’re raising meat chickens, look for feed labeled for raising meat birds.

Chicks have their own special feed as well. Be sure to read the labels to determine when to switch young chickens from chick feed to layer feed.

A feed that we are excited to try is Chicken Layer Love from EL CU Animal Nutrition. Chicken Layer Love is for egg-producing hens and is a complete, natural and sustainable feed containing all of the nutrients your flock needs, along with the mealworms and dried black fly larvae that they love. If you’d like to try this for your flock, click the link above and use code HENNYANDROO at checkout to save 5%!

6. Nesting Boxes

If you want to have clean eggs (and be able to find them) then you’ll need nesting boxes for your layer hens. Hens prefer dark, clean, well-protected spaces to lay their eggs. Each hen does not need their own nesting box, but you should have enough to reduce any drama. We’re not sure about your chickens, but ours have a favorite nesting box and usually bicker over it, even though it’s identical to the others! It’s recommended that you have one nesting box for every 4-5 chickens.

You can purchase ready-made nesting boxes or simply DIY them! Pinterest is a great place to look for nesting box and design ideas for inside the coop. We use these Miller Wall Mounted Nesting Boxes because they are easy to remove and clean.

7. Grit for Great Digestion

Grit is a finely ground, hard substance that chickens consume in order to digest their food properly. It sits in their crop and grinds food so that their bodies can more easily absorb nutrients. So while it might seem like an optional add-on, it’s a necessity for happy healthy chickens. Some chickens are able to get enough grit in the form of tiny rocks or coarse sand if they free range. If not, make grit available to the birds anytime in a separate container than their food. They will eat as much as they need, when they need it. Grit for chickens can be found at your local feed store or online. We like Poultry Grit from our friends at MannaPro.

8. Dust Baths

Dust baths are often overlooked when it comes to chicken-keeping supplies. But the truth is, dust baths aren’t just a luxury item for your chickens. They’re also a way for chickens to naturally prevent external parasites, control their body oils, and kick boredom to the curb during long winter months. 

You can make your own dust bathing area by providing a corner in the run that has loose soil, fine sand, or even wood ash. The dust bath material does not necessarily have to be in a container, but if it does, you can build it out of wood, or provide an inexpensive shallow plastic bin. It should be large enough to allow your chicken to lie in, spread their wings and flick dust over their whole body.

There are commercial products you may wish to place in your dust bath area if dry soil is not available, such as Lixit Chicken Dust Bath.

Optional (But Good-to-Have Chicken Supplies)

The following items aren’t necessary, but they’re definitely helpful to have. With that being said, don’t worry about stocking up on these things until you’ve got the basics covered.

Oyster Shells – Great source of calcium (not a replacement for grit because it’s soluble)

Treats- To treat your chickens and add some extra protein try XXXXX

Swings – Who doesn’t love chicken swings?

Apple Cider Vinegar – Add to water biweekly for added immune support

Nesting Box HerbsHenny+Roo’s Coop Complete Dried Herbs can be sprinkled on the coop floor, nesting boxes and dust bathing area to repel pests and calm chickens. All of the selected herbs are safe if ingested, are thought to have health benefits, and are GMO-free with no added chemicals or preservatives. A little goes a long way, so use sparingly and add weekly or whenever bedding is changed. 

Spray for Lice and Mites – Keep on hand in case of an external parasite outbreak

Diatomaceous Earth – Great to dust coop with between cleanings to kill external parasites 

The point is not to get overwhelmed when you start raising your chickens. Because, in truth, chickens are pretty content when their basic needs are met. Once you know you’ve got everything you need to raise happy healthy chickens, don’t be afraid to add-on some extras, just for fun. 

Henny+Roo Monthly Supply Boxes for Chicken Keepers

Chicken keepers ourselves, we would never include an item in our monthly supply boxes that doesn’t get our flock’s cluck of approval. You’ll find that we put a great deal of thought, research and time into the selections for each box.

Save 10% on your first subscription with code NEWSUB at hennyandroo.com!

We will help you build your chicken emergency kit, try new treats that your chickens will love, learn more about how to care for your animals with books and magazines, and enjoy chicken-themed gifts, cooking items, and other goodies. It’s the only way we know to truly surprise yourself with a gift – one that supports your favorite hobby.

Henny+Roo boxes make the perfect gift for the chicken keeper in your life (even if that’s you!). Show your loved one that you love their chickens too by purchasing a subscription or something from our Shop.

The 2021 Henny+Roo Spring Bonus Box is here!

A celebration of Spring chicken keeping: The Henny+Roo 2021 Spring Bonus Box

It’s only February, but we’ve got our eye on Spring! Our Spring Bonus Box features three unique products for your flock, and two for you (because, you deserve them).

  • Spring Hens Tote (matches the Spring Hens Zipper Pouch from the March 2021 Henny+Roo Chicken Keepers Box)
  • The cutest set of tiny wooden hen earrings for pierced ears.
  • Texas Haynet Busy Bag – Designed specifically for poultry, this chicken feeder is the perfect boredom buster, keeping chickens focused on working for food instead of picking on coop mates. 
  • 3 oz. bag of Dried Calendula Flowers – Calendula (marigold) is a poultry super food. It not only promotes healing and is an antioxidant, but it also repels insects in the coop. When eaten, calendula contributes to bright golden yolks. 
  • 8 oz. bag of Grubbets dried grubs. Trust us, your chickens will come running for this high-protein, environmentally sustainable treat!

The Spring Bonus Box is $45.95, and contains over $70 of treats for you and your flock!

6 Things To Know Before Getting Chickens

Getting your first flock of chickens is an exciting adventure. Visions of bountiful egg harvests, peeping baby chicks, and coops full of clucking hens occupy your dreams.

But we’re here to tell you, there’s a few things we wish we had known before we brought chickens into our lives. 

And the good news is, we’re sharing all the dirty details with you so you can be prepared for these otherwise unexpected issues when you start your first flock.

Let’s dig in and get you ready for your chickens!

1. Predator Prevention is Non-negotiable

There’s nothing worse than coming across deceased chickens during morning chores. 

That’s why it’s important to take a preemptive approach to predators in your region.

And when we say predators, we don’t just mean the big ones (like bears of foxes).

Some of the smallest predators are the most deadly.

Snakes, raccoons, and weasels can find their way into even the most predator-proof coops.

So when you’re designing your first chicken coop, always take extra precautions to ensure you’re not leaving your chickens exposed to predators, like making sure every opening in the coop and run is covered in hardware cloth (not chicken wire – it’s not strong enough). Be sure that predators cannot dig under fencing to access your chickens, or fly into your run from above (they will definitely try).

2. You Need a Plan for Roosters

Even if you’ve planned to order all hens, there may come a time that a stray roo gets into the shipping container from the hatchery. No hatchery can guarantee pullets (hens under one year old) with more than 90% accuracy, so it’s best to assume 10% will turn out to be roosters.

On the other hand, if you’ve decided to incubate, prepare for the possibility of more than one rooster in your new little clutch of chicks.

If you’ve got the room and enough hens to go around, you might be able to keep some of those roosters.

With that being said, you’ll need a plan ahead of time for the roosters you won’t be keeping. 

Because more than one rooster means you’ll need more hens for each one, and it also means there’ll be more crowing, more fighting, and maybe even more aggression.

So, what will you do with unneeded roosters?

Here’s a few ideas:

  1. Sell them as chicks as soon as you know they’re roosters to someone who wants to raise them
  2. Raise them and butcher them for yourself
  3. Raise them and process them for sale (check local regulations)
  4. Give them away to a family in need

3. Chickens Don’t Lay Eggs Until They’re Mature

Unfortunately, chickens don’t start to lay eggs until they are a few months old. And depending on the breed you’ve selected, it may even take months to see your first farm fresh egg. 

So it’s a bit of a waiting game, but we’ll tell ya right now when that first egg appears, you’ll be celebrating all the way to the breakfast table!

While you wait for your first eggs, you can spend your free time ensuring your chickens have everything they need to lay quality eggs as soon as they’re ready. 

That includes:

  • Endless amounts of fresh water
  • Oodles of layer feed (formulated for layers)
  • Grit (to help chickens digest their food)
  • Treats (protein treats pack a punch for chickens when they’re growing!)
  • Calcium (this helps chickens lay eggs with strong shells, and it promotes strong and healthy bones)

And if your chickens are happy and healthy, they’ll start laying eggs as soon as they’re old enough, without delay.

4. Chickens Need Plenty of Elbow Room

It’s true! And if your run isn’t large enough to allow all your chickens to hunt, peck, and scratch the earth freely, you’ll soon learn that your beautiful run will turn into a large mud pit. 

So if you’re not free-ranging your chooks, make sure your enclosure is plenty big; it’s just the polite thing to do. 

In general, you’ll need to allow for about 5 to 10 square feet per bird outdoors. 

5. Chickens are Also Predators

Ok, not like the-top-of-the-food-chain predators, but predators to things like mice, frogs, and bugs. 

Never forget that chickens are omnivores and enjoy eating meat. So the next time you see your fluffy butts running across the lawn with a frog in the lead hen’s beak, just know that it’s completely normal and good for them. 

On another note, chickens are predators to your landscaping efforts. 

Nope, your chickens have no idea that your flower garden is not an a la carte buffet created just for them. 

If you want to protect your landscaping from free-ranging beaks, then create barriers to keep your flock from ruining your flower beds…and veggie gardens, for that matter. 

6. The Companionship and Connection

Some will tell you that chickens aren’t pets. And that might be true for the vast majority of them. But from time-to-time, you’ll come across a hen, or rooster, that plucks at your heartstrings. 

Chickens can be friendly; they may even cuddle with you on the porch as you drink your morning coffee in the sun. 

And before you know it, you’ve got a friend or two in the flock. 

The truth is, you’ll see personalities emerge, and you may catch yourself naming your chickens (if we’re being honest, all of the fluffy butts in the Henny+Roo flock have names). 

We’re not ashamed, and that’s one of the reasons we knew we needed to create the Henny + Roo subscription box for chickens (and chicken lovers)!

Dogs and cats aren’t the only companions who deserve a treat for all their hard work (Ummm, egg-making, friendship, and let’s be honest a little bit of pest control too).


So, just know, that your chickens may turn into an extension of your family, and as far as we’re concerned, that’s perfectly fine for everyone involved.