I've always been envious of people who have chickens they can pick up and cuddle; not only is it lovely to have such trusting chickens, but it sure makes it easier to treat them or give them medicine when needed. Although I do have a few chickens that jump up on my lap (and one who jumps onto my back every time I kneel down), they still don't like being picked up. I have 35-40 chickens, and like many people, many of my chickens are prone to leg mites. Battling mites requires a multi-pronged approach: I give them ivermectin a few times a year, I dust their roosts, but most importantly I spray their legs with frontline. I've developed a system that allows me to spray their legs without having to catch each one of them, which stresses all of us out wayyyy too much. Some people are able to spray their birds at night, but the design of my coops makes this hard, and besides, they still rouse and object to any nighttime efforts.
So, here is my design that allows me to spray their legs. I spray with frontline, but also sometimes benzyl benzoate. I suppose it could be used for cooking spray as well, just to get some oil on those mites.
Thin craft wood
A small piece of edging or dowel (to make the lever)
5 small screws
A few finishing nails
About 2' of strong cord (I used jewelry cord)
Corkscrew dog tether
As I built this last year, I don't have pics of the construction.
The design is basically a little box that holds the spray bottle and is mounted at leg-height beside the coop door. The jewelry cord runs from the lever through the bottom of the box and attaches to the longer rope. The rope goes through the dog tether and off to the side:
You can see that the sprayer is aimed just right, but the outer edge of wood is high enough to hide the bottle, to outwit those particularly suspicious hens.
Here is the face that goes against the coop. The lever at the top has a small screw to hold the jewelry cord in place. The lever is attached with the hinge and the remaining 4 screws. I constructed the box without a plan, just the design in my head. I used wood glue to hold it together since the craft wood was too thin for nails. Slightly thicker wood would be easy to nail together.
I forgot to photograph the inside of the box, but there is a wooden divider to keep the bottle from shifting (dotted red line). The jewelry cord runs through the empty side of the box through a hole on the bottom. There are also two holes in each corner that slide onto finishing nails mounted on the coop.
Here are the two finishing nails that the box slides onto. I have more than one coop, so that's why I didn't mount it permanently. I need to be able to move the box from one coop to another!
The box easily slides onto the nails:
There! With this set-up I can hold the rope off to the right side and sit in a lawn chair. As they go in for the night I pull the rope and give their legs a quick squirt. When selecting the rope and cord I chose ones that have very little stretch, so that when I pull the rope it immediately squeezes the lever down. Fortunately, the chickens go in and out a few times before staying in for good, so I can get a good spray or two on each leg (right leg when they go in, left leg when they come out)! I keep a list of the chickens in that coop and check them off as I spray 'em.
Like I said, I envy those who can pick up their chickens without any stress. But for those who cannot, maybe this idea might help! When I use it for benzyl benzoate I refill an empty frontline bottle with the bb. This same box design, though bigger, would work for cooking spray. Using this sprayer in addition to other mite treatments allows me to keep those darn pests at bay!
Hope you like it!