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.

Find Beautiful Plans for Your Next Chicken Coop

Is it time to take your chicken coop to the next level?

When it comes to creating the perfect home for your new flock, you may have something special in mind. 

But if you’re not familiar with planning a construction project, you might be looking for a little inspiration and guidance. 

So we’ve put together this list of ideas that will help get those wheels turning. 

Find Chicken Coop Plans on Instagram

Instagram is one of the most visual social platforms around. And if you follow some favorite chicken-loving accounts, you know there’s usually something beautiful to ogle over. 

Whether it’s pretty little eggs all in rainbow rows or a new chicken coop plan created al la Chip and Joanne from Fixer Upper, all you have to do is hit the right hashtags to get an eyeful of chicken fix-for-the-day.

Type in some of the following to bring up some fantastic chicken coop ideas to spark your imagination:

  • #chickencoop
  • #chickencoopplans
  • #coops
  • #chickencoopideas

And of course, don’t forget to follow us for your daily dose of poultry eye candy.

Find Chicken Coop Ideas on Pinterest

We’ll admit, one of our first places to dig up inspiration is usually Pinterest. And that’s because it’s one of the most visual search engines on the planet with millions of contributors, just like us.

In fact, we’ve got a board set up specifically for new chicken owners looking for coop-building inspiration. 

So go check it out, we’ll wait.

Oh and here’s a special tip: if you search for free chicken coop plans, a bunch of freebies will pop up for you to print out and work off of. 

Our advice? Find a predator-proof plan, use what you’ve got, and then snaz it up once it’s complete. 

Some of the most straightforward designs turn out to be the most beautiful. 

In fact, we’ve seen some pretty impressive coop designs out there (some are jaw-droppingly gorgeous, like this one).

Just remember, the most important thing is safety and functionality, beauty can come later!

Facebook Groups of Chicken Fanatics

Facebook can be like the wild wild west, at times. Everyone seems to have the all the answers. 

And, in truth, there’s plenty of good advice from experienced chicken owners on Facebook. 

But instead of falling down the rabbit hole, here’s what we suggest:

Join a handful of chicken groups and search for the term “chicken coop plans” or “chicken coop design” rather than asking questions or endlessly scrolling the feed.

Who’s got time for that? Not us! We’d rather be with our chickens.

By searching, you’ll avoid the know-it-alls and still get the inspiration you’re looking for when planning your first chicken coop design. 

And be sure to check out Henny+Roo on Facebook while you’re there!

Chicken Coop Planning Books

Lastly, you can always get find inspirational and coop-planning books that walk you through the exact process of building your first chicken coop. 

All you have to do is page through and find the design of your dreams…then head to the lumber yard!

These are some of our favorite chicken coop building books.

  1. DIY Chicken Coops: The Complete Guide To Building Your Own Chicken Coop

2. Building Chicken Coops For Dummies

3. 40 Projects for Building Your Backyard Homestead: A Hands-on, Step-by-Step Sustainable-Living Guide (Creative Homeowner) Fences, Chicken Coops, Sheds, Gardening, and More for Becoming Self-Sufficient

Coop-planning books are great for beginners who need a little extra advice when building their first coop. 

Usually, everything from the nesting box to the dust bath, and the roost is already planned out and included. 

Plus, you know that you’re following plans for a coop that’s been tested against the elements and predators. 

So go ahead, and take the experts’ advice. You can always add your personal touches after the coop is complete, like this coop sign now available in the Henny+Roo Shop:  

Amazon for Easy Peasy Chicken Coops

We know not everyone has the time, or ability, to design and construct their own chicken coop. But, if that’s you, it shouldn’t stop you from making your chicken dreams come true. 

You can find pre-made, semi-started, chicken coops on sites like Amazon. Here are a few that have received good reviews:

  1. SnapLock Formex Large Chicken Coop Backyard Hen House 4-6 Large 6-12 Bantams
  2. GUTINNEEN Outdoor Wooden Chicken Coop Large Hen House Poultry Cage, 69in, Waterproof UV Panel
  3. PawHut 114″ Wooden Customizable Backyard Chicken Coop with Nesting Box and Runs

Pre-made chicken coops come ready to snap together, and in most cases, all the designing and safety considerations are all done for you. 

With that being said, it’s still a good idea to review the materials the coop is made from. That way, you can ensure that it will hold up during bad weather and cold conditions (if that’s where you’re located). You may have to fortify premade coops by adding a 2×4 base frame, hardware cloth on any openings, a stronger door locking mechanism, and/or a protective wood finish to lengthen the life and protectiveness of the coop.

Also watch for treated wood and materials that might be toxic to chickens. 

An excellent way to ensure you’re purchasing a quality coop is to read through the reviews of what previous buyers have said about the chicken coop. 

We wish you the best in creating a safe and happy home for your flock!

A Look Inside the Henny+Roo March 2021 Box

The February boxes are being prepared to ship this week, so let’s talk about March!

Our monthly subscription boxes for chicken keepers are intended to be surprise boxes. We love hearing about the feeling you get when you open a box of goodies just for you and your flock!

The Henny+Roo March 2021 Box features our exclusive Spring Hen Pouch! At 9″x6″, it’s perfect for carrying all of your essentials. You’ll get a jump on spring decorating with the distressed silver sitting hen figurine – it’s made of resin and hand painted (4.5″ h x 6″ w). And for the flock, a big 1.5 lb. bag of Henny+Roo Pecktacular Grains and mealworms. Plus, 5 other items to care for your flock, The items in this box retail at over $60.

Not a subscriber? Sign up now or order without a subscription from our Shop.

The January 2020 Henny+Roo Poultry Supply and Gift Box

Well, 2020 was one heck of a year, right? That’s why we were so happy to get a box of happy mail out to our chicken keeper subscribers to celebrate the new year. If you’re not a subscriber, you can still order the January 2021 box here. Here’s what’s inside:

Mealworm Treats: High-protein treats to keep your flock happy and healthy. Encourages natural foraging during times when free ranging is not ideal. wildlifesciences.com

Aspirin: A staple for your poultry first aid kit. From poultrydvm.com: “Aspirin, a common name for acetylsalicylic acid or ASA, is a type of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agent used as an analgesic, antipyretic, and anti-inflammatory agent. Giving aspirin to poultry may be effective in some cases of acute and chronic gout, or to prevent clot formation and embolisms secondary to egg-related peritonitis, granulomatous diseases, and shock. See dosage information and more at: http://www.poultrydvm.com/drugs/aspirin

Hen Healer:  For body, legs, head, face, comb and wattles. Temporarily protects and helps support healing of minor cuts, lacerations, scrapes and sores. Creates a barrier to insects and dirt. Blue color ointment to help prevent pecking. For use on all classes of poultry. mannapro.com

Hen Print Scarf: Stay warm and show off your favorite hobby in style. hennyandroo.com

New Years Keychain: Our wish to you for a healthy, safe, and prosperous 2021.

2021 Chicken Keeping Journal: Keep all of your flock notes in one place in this blank journal. hennyandroo.com

Items you may wish to record: Names, breeds, ages, expenses, egg production tracking, incubation dates and results, hatch dates, illnesses, treatments and medication, deaths/culls, observations, photos, 4H and show information, projects/repairs, to-do lists, to-buy lists, seasonal reminders, sketches, wish lists, and goal tracking.

Nesting Box Liner: In every box and compostable. For use with mature hens.

Henny+Roo is the first and only subscription box supporting new and experienced chicken keepers with monthly deliveries of supplies for your flock, and items to make you smile. Visit us at hennyandroo.com to learn about our monthly plans or purchase past boxes.

Start Your Backyard Chicken Flock in 2021

If you’ve been hoping to start a backyard flock, 2021 might be the perfect year to start your first flock of chickens. 

And if you’ve already made the decision to start your flock this year, you’re in luck, because we’ve put together this list of things you can do now so you’re ready to bring your chickens home when the weather is better!

What to Do Now To Prepare for Your Chickens

Thinking ahead puts you in a position to have a smooth beginning to your journey as a proud flock owner. 

One of the best things you can do right now, while you wait out the winter, is to read…like, a lot!

While chickens aren’t a complicated animal to care for, they do have their quirks and special considerations. 

For example, did you know that chickens need grit to digest their food? 

Yup… it’s because chickens don’t have teeth like we do, so they need stones to grind up their dinners. 

You can learn all about a chicken’s dietary needs along with other essential things you’ll need to know to raise a healthy, happy, flock in books like:

Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens, 4th Edition: Breed Selection, Facilities, Feeding, Health Care, Managing Layers & Meat Birds
The Chicken Health Handbook, 2nd Edition: A Complete Guide to Maximizing Flock Health and Dealing with Disease
Fresh Eggs Daily: Raising Happy, Healthy Chickens…Naturally

 

Determine Your Budget

Now is the time to think about what you’re willing, and able, to spend on a flock of chickens. 

Because, well, you can’t just have one chicken.

And yes, they are like potato chips, and you’ll almost always want more chickens.

But in reality, chickens need each other. So wanting more than one is perfectly acceptable.

At a minimum, you’ll want at least three chickens in the coop so they keep each other company and so they can cuddle up and keep each other warm during winter. 

You might be surprised at how close a couple of chooks can become. Some will appear to be attached at the hip.

So when determining your chicken budget, think about things like feed costs, bedding, nesting and coop supplies, feeders, and waterers. Then factor in how many chickens you’ll have so you don’t fall short on supplies.

Oh, and don’t forget the grit!

How Many Chickens Can You Have

How many chickens you want to have and how many you can physically keep are two very different things. 

We completely understand how you feel…we’d have all-the-chickens if we could.

But before you place a massive order with your hatchery, other things you need to consider are:

  • Your physical space
  • The buildings you already have and how you might use them to house your chickens
  • How much time you have to care for your chickens
  • Your other pets that may interact with your chickens

These things are important because they directly affect your ability to care for a happy, healthy flock. 

But one of the most important things to look into before you bring a single chicken home is ordinances. 

Yup, each city, town, county, and state may have laws regarding keeping chickens. 

Some cities allow chickens, while others prohibit them, for example.

So make sure you look into the local laws where you live to ensure you can have the ginormous flock you’ve been dreaming of. 

What Kind of Chickens You’ll Keep

There are many different breeds of chickens to choose from. And the kind you decide to raise depends on things like:

Where you live: If you’re in a cold climate, you’ll need to think about choosing breeds that are cold hardy.

Your purpose: Are you mostly interested in layers, or would you rather have a dual-purpose breed and raise your chickens for both meat and eggs. 

Your personal preferences: Do you like ornamental chickens or are you a fan of solid-colored birds?

Availability: Are the chickens you’ve chosen available to you either locally or through a hatchery?

Coop Considerations

Don’t forget to think about the future home of your flock!

Will you buy coops online, at your local farm supply store, or will you DIY a coop castle, for example. 

Think about the kind of space you have available and how much of that space you’re willing to gift to your hens. 

Remember, chickens love to forage, and if you’re planning on keeping them in confinement, make sure you’re willing to part with the lawn you’ll be keeping them on. 

Or, better yet, consider free-ranging your chickens if you have a safe space to do so. 

And, of course, think about what you want your coop to look like…will it be simple, repurposed, or will it be grand and decorative?

Some are really creative when it comes to their chicken coops, and while you wait for spring to arrive, maybe you can spend some time designing the coop of your dreams!

Buy Ahead of Time

Of course, the last item on your list of to-do’s before the spring showers bring flowers is to purchase your chickens. 

While you should make sure not to have chicks shipped to you during the cold months, many hatcheries will allow you to place your orders ahead of time.

Doing so ensures you’ll get the breeds you have your heart set on. 

So once you know what you can handle, go ahead, and start chicken shopping!

Then, go ahead and start shopping for the rest of your supplies. And if you’d like a head-start, don’t forget to check out our monthly chicken subscription boxes.



Henny+Roo is the first and only subscription box supporting new and experienced chicken keepers with monthly deliveries of supplies for your flock, and items to make you smile. Visit us at hennyandroo.com to learn about our monthly plans or purchase past boxes.

Preparing Your Chicken Coop For Winter

When winter temperatures roll in and the days get shorter, it’s time to winterize your chickens for the months ahead. 

And if you do plan ahead, you and your chickens will be ready for the frost when it arrives. 

Most importantly, your chickens will be happy, healthy, and laying eggs all winter.

So how does one winterize their chickens for the cold months ahead?

Well, we’ve got a few simple-but-necessary items to tick off your winter prep list. 

So rest assured, your chickens will be cozy and comfy all winter long. 

Keep your chickens healthy this winter. Chicken in snow.

Prepping With Cold Hardy Chicken Breeds

Before we dive into prepping your chickens for winter, let’s first consider the breeds of chickens in your coop. 

Do you know whether they’re cold hardy breeds? If so, there may be a bit less prep work for you to worry about. 

Some breeds, like the Wyandotte for example, are suited well for colder climates. 

Breeds like the Wyandotte are heavier, have shorter combs, and have dense, loose feathering that can handle a long cold winter. 

On the other hand, breeds with large combs may struggle with ailments like frostbite. Similarily, breeds with tight, lighter, feathering will not insulate as well as the larger, fluffier breeds of chickens. 

Other breeds that can stand up to the cold temps are:

  • Buff Orpington
  • Americauna
  • Dominique
  • Rhode Island Red
  • Jersey Giant

So if you’re at the beginning of your chicken-keeping journey, take some time to research the breeds you’re most interested in. Then ensure your breeds of choice will tolerate the climate in which you live. 

If Your Chickens Aren’t Cold Hardy

Heat lamps can cause fire in chicken coops. Panel heaters are safer.

If you’ve got a few chooks in the coop that cannot tolerate the temps, you might need to consider adding a heat source to your coop. 

Typically, artificial heat sources are discouraged because they can be dangerous fire hazards. 

Additionally, heating your chicken coop could set your chickens up for failure if your electricity goes out. You see, your chooks won’t have had the chance to adapt to the cold winter temperatures. 

So plan accordingly, and if possible, do your best to allow your chickens to manage their own body temperature. 

With that being said, if you’ve determined that your beloved flock will indeed need a heater, you can find safer options like the PetNF Chicken Coop Heater

Prevent Drafts in Your Coop During Winter

Even more dangerous than cold temperature is a draft during bitterly cold weather.

Drafts can cause otherwise hardy chickens to become chilled, get frostbite, and contract respiratory problems. 

So before you even worry about the coop temperatures, test your coop to ensure your chickens are safe from rogue drafts. Look for nooks and crannies facing the direction winter weather most typically comes from.

With that being said, your coop should never be completely closed off. In other words, your chickens do need some ventilation. 

The trick is to make sure there is adequate airflow, but not where your chickens roost.

Give Your Chickens Fresh Water During Winter

One of the biggest challenges for chicken lovers is to keep water fresh and unfrozen 24/7. 

It’s a common misconception that chickens (or other animals for that matter) can eat snow and remain sufficiently hydrated. 

Don’t make this mistake, or you’ll end up with sick chickens. 

You can find heated waterers at your local supply store or online. And while heated waterers are generally safe, make sure you supply electricity to these waterers with fire safety and prevention in mind. 

Chicken Litter Options for Cold Winter Months

When bedding your chickens for winter, you have the unique opportunity to consider different litter options. 

You can simply choose to use straw or pine shavings (never use cedar as it is considered toxic for chickens).

But on top of your chosen litter, you can also employ the deep litter method in your chicken coop. 

This is a newly embraced method of bedding, which includes the accumulation of absorbent materials over time. 

In other words, you keep adding bedding to existing soiled bedding. Piling bedding, rather than removing soiled bedding, creates natural insulation against the frozen ground and a lovely compost for use later. A product that helps neutralize ammonia in the coop while remaining safe for garden use is Sweet PDZ Coop Refresher. We’ve included samples of this product in our Henny+Roo monthly supply and gift boxes for chicken keepers, and our subscribers have noted that it dramatically reduces odors.

The trick is to agitate the deep litter and add more clean bedding when needed so your chickens aren’t living in feces (which can create parasite and respiratory problems…among other things).

Speaking of parasites, since your chickens are all hunkered down together for the snowy months ahead, they are also more susceptible to sharing external parasites.

Routine fluffy-butt checks will help you identify and treat an external parasite problem before it’s out of control.

Frostbite Prevention for Chickens

Just because your chickens have big beautiful combs doesn’t mean they’ll contract frostbite during the winter. 

But if you’re worried, you can find products like Green Goo All Natural Poultry First Aid to help prevent and treat frostbite on your prize-winning rooster’s comb. 

Certain balms and salves help insulate your rooster’s comb so that it isn’t exposed directly to the bitter cold. Some even opt for a simple application of Vasoline if the forecast predicts sub-zero temps. 

Extra Protein and Treats To Keep Warm and Busy

The cold weather takes its toll on farm animals during the winter. And that’s because more energy is needed to stay warm; thus, adding extra protein to your flock’s diet helps your birds stay healthy and warm through blustery winter months. 

Provide chicken-friendly table scraps or scrambled eggs for your chickens as an extra snack to both boost energy and prevent boredom (which can also lead to pecking). 

Special treats like FlyGrubs or Henny & Roo’s Pecktacular Grains and Mealworms are always a hit in the henhouse, and during the winter, everyone could use a little extra to snack on. 

If you’ve done your due diligence and prepped your coop for winter, your chickens will come out the other side happy, healthy, and maybe even a little more portly than before. 

At Henny+Roo, we’re here to help support you and your clucks with monthly boxes filled with treats, tools, and valuable info that can help you raise happy and healthy chickens all year long.