Essential hatchery supplies include nests, feeders and waterers. These items provide essential shelter, food and water for the birds. Incubators, brooding cages and breeding pens are also necessary in any hatchery. Incubators both keep eggs within the required range of temperatures and turn the eggs regularly.
Free range birds require special equipment that birds kept only indoors do not. Most metal feeders, for example, are not ideal for outdoor use, as these types of feeders are prone to rust and other types of corrosion. For free range birds, plastic feeders hold up to the elements better than most medal models. However, for situations in which metal feeders are necessary outdoors, powder coated or galvanized metal feeders provide the same durability of regular metal feeders while possessing superior corrosion resistance.
Free range birds in certain environments also require special types of waterers. In areas that rarely freeze, most regular plastic or metal waterers work fine outdoors. However, in areas that do freeze, waterers usually require heaters. Without a proper heater, the water in a waterer is prone to freezing, cutting off the birds' only supply of fresh water. Most waterer heaters have built-in thermometers that only heat the contents above freezing and prevent overheating or damage to the waterer.