What to Put Inside a Chicken Coop – 6 Must-Have Items

After you build your chicken coop, it’s time to get the inside ready for your hens.

outfitting the chicken coop interior collage - watering nesting box

Chickens deserve to be happy and comfortable in their chicken coop. If this is your first-time raising hens or you want to get a few ideas from others, this is the article for you.

We’ll take a look at six of the essential items to put inside your chicken coop.

How To Set Up Chicken Coop Interior

Five Baby Chickens Peeking out of their Chicken House

Trying to plan out your chicken coop or want to enhance your chickens’ life? You can when you know what items that you can put in a coop.

What to Put Inside a Chicken Coop

Your chicken coop interior layout needs to be well-planned and offer your chickens, hens, and roos all of the items that they need to stay comfortable.

While you have free reign designing chicken coop interiors, you should include, or at least consider, the following items:

1. Nesting Boxes

black and white chicken nesting in hay

A nesting box isn’t a must-have for your hens because they’ll choose the area where they feel most comfortable to lay their eggs. But for you, the nesting box is a lot easier than allowing your hens to lay their eggs wherever they want.

If you don’t have a nesting box, you’ll have to hunt down the eggs, which may be left:

  • Under bushes
  • Near or under outbuildings
  • Under porches

You’ll spend a lot of time hunting down eggs if you don’t have nesting boxes. A general rule of thumb is to have a single nesting box for every three to four hens that you have.

Larger hens may need larger boxes, so be sure to choose a nesting box size that is the right size for the birds that you’re keeping.

2. Straw For The Floor Of The Nest

chicken nesting in straw

You’ll find people recommending hay or straw for the floor of the nesting box. You can use either flooring option, but there are a lot of advantages to straw that make it a top choice of handlers.

Straw is a great option because:

  • Other chickens won’t try eating it
  • Straw will not stick to the eggs and will absorb moisture
  • It keeps the box clean

Since other chickens won’t be interested in the straw, there will be less risk of broken eggs or droppings inside of the box.

Your chickens will also appreciate the straw as a base because it’s soft and comfortable.

Hay, for example, is often eaten by hens and will attract others into the nesting box. These hens often scratch around the hay trying to find leaves and may end up breaking eggs in the process.

3. Layer Pellets

feeding chicken pellets

You want your chickens to be strong and healthy, right? If so, you need a natural layer pellet, which is a feed for all of your hens that are of egg-laying age. Usually, hens that are just 16 to 20 weeks of age are ready to lay eggs.

A well-balanced pellet will be:

  • Formulated to help boost your chickens’ immune system
  • Add antioxidants into your chickens’ diets
  • Filled with vitamins and minerals that are part of a healthy diet

It’s important to do your research and find a layer pellet that is well-rated and provides your chickens with the nutrients that they need to be strong and healthy.

4. Dropping Boards

three chickens roosting in coop

Chickens will poop. Chicken-keepers rely on dropping boards as a fast and easy way to clean up a coop. Overnight, chickens have a tendency to poop a lot. These boards are shelves that are placed in the coop and catch the droppings.

It’s much easier to clean off the boards than it is to clean up the flooring.

When you have high-end dropping boards, you only need to do the following to clean up every morning:

  • Use a knife, taping knives work great
  • Use a bucket to put the droppings in

If you have a compost pile, the droppings can be placed directly into the compost pile. When choosing the right board, you’ll find many are made using a DIY approach, but you can also purchase commercial models.

Some models are removable, while others are permanently installed.

Both types will work well and make tending to your chicken coop much easier.

5. Chicken Waterer

baby chick at waterer

You need to provide fresh water for your chickens, and you can do this either the hard way or the easy way – it’s up to you. For most people, it’s better to outfit their chicken coop with a waterer that:

  • Offers easy refilling
  • Is easy to clean
  • Provides multiple watering stations

You can purchase a chicken waterer that can water up to six hens for an entire week. If you don’t want to change out the water daily, a waterer an ideal solution for easier chicken maintenance and care.

6. Treat Cages or Feeders

wire basket filled with lettuce

Coops & Feathers Treat Wire Basket
By Coops & Feathers

Available at Wayfair

This treat basket is a neat way to give your chickens a healthy treat. Simply fill the basket with leafy greens & call your flock over to check it out.

Chickens love treat cages or hanging feeders because it provides an easy and enjoyable way for them to eat. The cage will make sure that the food stays off the ground and keeps it clean rather than getting trampled on.

Instead, you can place vegetables on the inside of the cage so that the chicken can eat what they want without making a mess.

Hanging feeders are also a great way to keep your chickens active in winter. This can help regulate their body temperature keep them warm even if your coop isn’t heated. The chickens will also enjoy interactive feeding stations. Active chickens stay healthier, just like people.

What Not to Put Inside The Coop

You need to know what to put inside a chicken coop, but it’s also a good idea to learn what to avoid putting inside of your coop. Pine shavings are often used in chicken coops, but there are reports that the shavings may be toxic to your chickens.

AVOID Pine Shavings on the Coop Floor

Cedar shavings are often added into pine shavings and are very toxic to chickens.

The pine shavings that you use also contain abietic acid, which can damage your chicken’s respiratory system. Pine dust can act as a carcinogenic, too. Short-term exposure usually isn’t a cause for concern, but long-term exposure can lead to:

  • Mild illness
  • Severe illness
  • Death

While there are a lot of benefits to using pine, it’s often best to not use it.

What Will You Put Inside the Coop?

Your primary focus when selecting items should be to keep your flock safe and comfortable. Nesting boxes, roosts, chicken feeders, and waterers are all good choices.

Once you cover those items, you can also add a few elements for their entertainment or even a few decorations that bring you joy when you visit them.

what to put inside the chicken coop collage

Over time, you’ll learn what to put inside a chicken coop to make your chickens happy. You can add and remove items to meet the needs of your hens. But the list above will provide you with a good starting point of the items people like to add to their coops.

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