1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    Not a member yet? join BYC here & then introduce yourself in our community forum here.

Keeping Chickens When You Have Arthritis.

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by microchick, Aug 15, 2018.

  1. microchick

    microchick Crossing the Road

    Hi everyone. I was just discussing this with @penny1960 over at the Old Folks Home and she gets credit for coming up with this idea for a thread.

    I was just diagnosed today with osteoarthritis and borderline rheumatoid arthritis. Starting shots this week. In the meantime, I have a flock of over 50 birds who anxiously watch for the treat lady to show up every morning and afternoon with fresh water and goodies to eat.

    I'm sure Penny and I aren't the only two people here on the forum with arthritis of one sort or another. Doctor's orders for me are to keep active, which I told him would be no problem.

    Still I have noticed over the past year that it's getting harder to do the manual labor stuff that goes into flock keeping, and what I do hurts more than it did 6 months ago. I'm also dealing with loss of dexterity and strength in my hands.

    I'm looking for ideas. How do you cut corners, make chores easier, what devices or remedies have really helped you as you deal with keeping a flock and dealing with joint and muscle pain.

    I'll start things out with this idea. I have a little cart that my husband made for me along with a wagon that I use to haul feed and water from the feed room in our shop out to the birds. I'll get pictures tomorrow of both. The little cart is three wheeled and we are going to be adding different wheels to it to make it easier to push.

    I also wear heavy wool gloves in the winter and do everything I can not to get my hands wet.

    Looking forward to hearing other ideas and also feel free to discuss pain control, and obstacles you are encountering as you deal with joint pain along with flock care.
     
  2. penny1960

    penny1960 Going back to La La Land Premium Member

    19,475
    46,596
    1,167
    Dec 29, 2015
    Mossyrock, WA
    okay I am here also we will see who else we can haul in alight
     
  3. ronott1

    ronott1 A chicken will always remember the egg Premium Member Project Manager 7 Years

    46,540
    64,221
    1,597
    Mar 31, 2011
    Woodland, CA
    My Coop
    This is a good idea for a thread!
     
  4. True Patriot

    True Patriot Sanity is subjective Premium Member

    890
    1,750
    282
    May 20, 2018
    Liberty Co, Georgia
    My Coop
    Ok, I got hooked:D
    I personally don't have arthritis, but my wife has fibromyalgia. So I'm familiar with how things can affect everyday life.
    The cart is a great addition. The larger the wheels the easier to move. Wider is better than taller. If it's home built would skis added for winter help or is the parh kept clear.
    The main thing that I've seen that helps is being organized. The fewer steps in a task the easier and quicker it can be completed. Look at things and see what can be moved closer to where it's used. Placing frequently used items at waist to shoulder high so there's no bending or reaching to get them. One of the grabber tools is great for pick up of small items. KIMG0399.JPG Sometimes for me it's easier to write things out. I am forever creating lists. As I become more familiar I can start making the process more efficient. For example to me-
    Water chickens
    1 get waterer from coop
    2 clean waterer
    3 refill
    4 replace in coop
    I realized by writing it down that the hose was on the other side of the yard and I had to walk back and forth twice. My fix was get a second waterer and leave it by the hose. Now I fill the clean one on my way out and bring the older one back to clean when I'm done at the coop.
    I know this sounds like it shouldn't be a big deal, but in a week I've saved about a quarter mile of walking. Sorry for being long winded. My mind wanders and the keyboard follows. Hope at least some of this helps.
     
  5. staceyj

    staceyj Crossing the Road

    4,738
    24,062
    862
    Jan 1, 2017
    Coastal NC
    My Coop
    :caf I have a four wheel wheelbarrow also that helps me so much four wheels make it less likely to tip over but it’s higher off the ground than a wagon. It kind of looks like a grocery cart.
    It has a special caddy area that I use for my phone, abig cup of ice water with a facetowel in it,and a drink. Hydration is important and it saves me steps back to the house if I get thirsty. Also the heat really bothers me now. It’s nice to be able to wipe my face and arms to stay cool.
    I like to have a chair and a stool near the coop.
    I have a deck box that I found free one day that someone had put out for the trashman. Nothing was wrong with at at all!
    In it I have almost everything I need. I reuse the big plastic “jugs” that tidy cat kitty litter comes in.
    I fill them with grit, oyster shell, DE, sweet pdz,...
    I have a small broom, dustpan,telescoping rake, Lysol wipes, poultry dust, insect repellent, rat traps and a lot more odds and ends!
    Having this out there by the coop saves me miles of steps!
     
  6. penny1960

    penny1960 Going back to La La Land Premium Member

    19,475
    46,596
    1,167
    Dec 29, 2015
    Mossyrock, WA
    Ditto gang I have my reach it, a snow shovel child size,, putty knives to rake the two table they roost on also a small rake probably child size and a hoe.. neuropathy in my feet let me tip over so walking stick ie rooster stick and good sharp scissor
     
  7. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road 5 Years

    27,610
    26,094
    907
    Nov 7, 2012
    CENTRAL MAINE zone 4B
    I have myriad aches and pains. Often take inventory at the end of the day, and will conclude: Well, tonight, my nose doesn't hurt. Many of the major joints pay their price in a regular basis. No diagnosis. Things I do to ease the work load:

    During grass season, I haul FF and water to/from the coop/run with a 2 wheeled wheel barrow which is very well balanced. I feed out the bucket of FF, use the hose to refill the bucket, and wheel the bucket back into the garage on the WB, where I refill it for the next day's feed.

    During snow season, I put away the WB and use a kid's plastic toboggan.

    I keep a big plastic ladle in the coop for scooping eggs out of the hard to reach nest boxes.

    Deep litter in coop and run saves a lot of work for me.
     
  8. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road 5 Years

    27,610
    26,094
    907
    Nov 7, 2012
    CENTRAL MAINE zone 4B
    Buy as many lengths of hose as it takes to get the water to where you use it! Amazing how much energy is wasted by lugging water that extra distance.
     
  9. penny1960

    penny1960 Going back to La La Land Premium Member

    19,475
    46,596
    1,167
    Dec 29, 2015
    Mossyrock, WA
    I use 5 gallon buckets for water hose stays in there but my coop is huge 17 square feet diameter food buckets stay in the coop also the guys bring the food in they are my saviors
     
  10. microchick

    microchick Crossing the Road

    Great ideas guys! Keep em coming!

    Right now my hydrant is out of commission at the moment, so I use the cat litter jugs for water also. My husband helps me fill them and load them in the wagon or cart. The big jugs hold 2.5 gallons of water each, the small ones about 1.5 gallons. The wagon will also hold a bucket, once again, kitty littler bucket, well cleaned out and aired out, loaded with 2 days worth of food to top off the feeders. A coffee can of scratch and BOSS. I use a lot of the gallon ice cream jugs and if there is a sick or injured bird, I throw the first aid stuff in the container and into the wagon it goes along with rubber gloves.

    I have three of the pick up sticks. I've even used them to snare a just out of reach bird in the coop.

    I really like the idea of keeping a towel, drinking water, etc, close at hand.

    Currently, my feed is stored in our shop, in a small connecting room. I'm considering moving the garbage cans out to the coop, but need to get two more metal cans.

    Has anyone had luck using the big plastic cans and keeping mice from chewing through.

    Definitely, organize a plan and act on it so you can get everything done at once.

    Hope I'm not the only person who thinks garden hose in 100 foot lengths makes a GREAT gift!:gig
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: