Keeping Chickens When You Have Arthritis.

thepick4uchicks

Songster
May 23, 2020
889
1,448
143
Mississippi
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.
Hi. I am sorry to hear you are having issues with arthritis. I do really understand what you are feeling and dealing with. I am 51. I have been on disability since I was 43 from psoriatic arthritis , osteoarthritis in my knees, and back as well as degenerative disc disease that is very advanced in my back. I need total knee replacements I have had both knee caps relocated and both knees joint surfaces cleaned out completely from all the slug of arthritis and buildup of inflammation of psoriatic arthritis -each knee three times. I have been on several drugs via injections including steroids to the knees and backs including enbrel, methotrexate, and now I am on Humira. Live is very difficult. I have also have had four or maybe five back surgeries - my memory is cloudy today! Lol! I have a spinal cord stimulator in place to help manage my pain levels and use less narcotics. It does help. My knees are the worst after my back. That’s the OA damages. I played lots of sports and worked in healthcare on a concrete floor for years. Gardening and animals were my hobbies and I have a special needs child who was non ambulatory until he was about 8 years old and he is a big boy. So I have lifted a great deal in my life time and worn out my joints in several ways also. I will say this about the shots. I think they work and I think taking sugar out of your diet also helps when you can stand it. Staying active is very good and keeping as much weight off as hard as it is is the best you can do for your joints to help them. Also Voltaren Gel works well and you can take it by mouth but can’t do both at the same time but it’s a good drug as an anti inflammatory and pain reliever. Diclofenac is its generic name. I take 75mg twice a day and when my knees are real bad I rug the gel in twice daily but that is the maximum. I have had scripts for them both a long time. As to your birds I believe I would keep them as long as you can do it and do it well and keep them and you healthy and happy. As long as they are happy and healthy they will keep you healthier because you will be more active. You might consider not replacing their numbers when you lose a few of the fifty and keeping a smaller number that is a little easier to manage and not requiring such a large amount of feed and water and “hefting” or rather heavy lifting from you as I like to say. That way you can just enjoy them more. You can stay just as active but you don’t have to be so hard on yourself if you need a break etc. arthritis hurts and it requires some surgeries and rests sometimes or therapies which you need to give yourself. The older we get the harder it is on us but also the tougher we get - and we have learned to be some tough ole birds! 🙂
Feel free to message me anytime if you like. I hate to say it but having been in radiography for nearly 30 years and then after having about 8 different autoimmune conditions I feel like an expert on arthritis. Maybe I can help you out. If you like.
 

microchick

Enabler
5 Years
Dec 31, 2014
8,640
36,194
1,097
NE Missouri
Hi. I am sorry to hear you are having issues with arthritis. I do really understand what you are feeling and dealing with. I am 51. I have been on disability since I was 43 from psoriatic arthritis , osteoarthritis in my knees, and back as well as degenerative disc disease that is very advanced in my back. I need total knee replacements I have had both knee caps relocated and both knees joint surfaces cleaned out completely from all the slug of arthritis and buildup of inflammation of psoriatic arthritis -each knee three times. I have been on several drugs via injections including steroids to the knees and backs including enbrel, methotrexate, and now I am on Humira. Live is very difficult. I have also have had four or maybe five back surgeries - my memory is cloudy today! Lol! I have a spinal cord stimulator in place to help manage my pain levels and use less narcotics. It does help. My knees are the worst after my back. That’s the OA damages. I played lots of sports and worked in healthcare on a concrete floor for years. Gardening and animals were my hobbies and I have a special needs child who was non ambulatory until he was about 8 years old and he is a big boy. So I have lifted a great deal in my life time and worn out my joints in several ways also. I will say this about the shots. I think they work and I think taking sugar out of your diet also helps when you can stand it. Staying active is very good and keeping as much weight off as hard as it is is the best you can do for your joints to help them. Also Voltaren Gel works well and you can take it by mouth but can’t do both at the same time but it’s a good drug as an anti inflammatory and pain reliever. Diclofenac is its generic name. I take 75mg twice a day and when my knees are real bad I rug the gel in twice daily but that is the maximum. I have had scripts for them both a long time. As to your birds I believe I would keep them as long as you can do it and do it well and keep them and you healthy and happy. As long as they are happy and healthy they will keep you healthier because you will be more active. You might consider not replacing their numbers when you lose a few of the fifty and keeping a smaller number that is a little easier to manage and not requiring such a large amount of feed and water and “hefting” or rather heavy lifting from you as I like to say. That way you can just enjoy them more. You can stay just as active but you don’t have to be so hard on yourself if you need a break etc. arthritis hurts and it requires some surgeries and rests sometimes or therapies which you need to give yourself. The older we get the harder it is on us but also the tougher we get - and we have learned to be some tough ole birds! 🙂
Feel free to message me anytime if you like. I hate to say it but having been in radiography for nearly 30 years and then after having about 8 different autoimmune conditions I feel like an expert on arthritis. Maybe I can help you out. If you like.
:hugs and welcome to the forum, @thepick4uchicks I'm so sorry that you have had to withstand so much.

Like you, I have had an active live that my joints have not liked. I also had Rheumatic Fever when I was 26 and it hit my joints hard. My rheumy thinks it has left me with Serum Negative RA along with the OA, Osteopenia and Osteoporosis. I too was on Methotrexate for about a year and had to stop it when I started having a lot of side effects.

As for the Voltaren, isn't that stuff great? It's the one thing the Rheumy gave me that really has helped me. I cannot take oral NSAIDS and between the Voltaren, Solonpas with Lidocaine and Tramadol I manage to get by.

My husband and I live on a 29 acre hobby farm. We heat with wood which means that we harvest our own firewood from our timber. It's one of the things we do to keep moving.

As far as my birds are concerned, there are days where I don't feel well, my back is killing me, my feet are killing me, my neck and shoulders hurt from the muscle spasms and I ask myself how much longer will it be before taking care of my birds is too much for me? So far the answer is....not today. My husband, our 7 dogs, 5 cats, farm and chickens are my inspiration to keep moving and not give up.

Oh, I realize that some day, probably soon I'll be having to make a decision about keeping my birds. I did reduce my stock to 35 last year but switched to bantams and Fayoumis. Right now I'm somewhere back to near 50 birds but when they are little it doesn't seem as much work, LOL. Plus I do love taking care of them and giving away eggs to service people and friends we do business with.

Yep, someday it will end, but not today and God willing, not tomorrow.

Feel free to pitch in with whatever tips you have employed to make things easier for you. We all need all the help we can get.
 

thepick4uchicks

Songster
May 23, 2020
889
1,448
143
Mississippi
:hugs and welcome to the forum, @thepick4uchicks I'm so sorry that you have had to withstand so much.

Like you, I have had an active live that my joints have not liked. I also had Rheumatic Fever when I was 26 and it hit my joints hard. My rheumy thinks it has left me with Serum Negative RA along with the OA, Osteopenia and Osteoporosis. I too was on Methotrexate for about a year and had to stop it when I started having a lot of side effects.

As for the Voltaren, isn't that stuff great? It's the one thing the Rheumy gave me that really has helped me. I cannot take oral NSAIDS and between the Voltaren, Solonpas with Lidocaine and Tramadol I manage to get by.

My husband and I live on a 29 acre hobby farm. We heat with wood which means that we harvest our own firewood from our timber. It's one of the things we do to keep moving.

As far as my birds are concerned, there are days where I don't feel well, my back is killing me, my feet are killing me, my neck and shoulders hurt from the muscle spasms and I ask myself how much longer will it be before taking care of my birds is too much for me? So far the answer is....not today. My husband, our 7 dogs, 5 cats, farm and chickens are my inspiration to keep moving and not give up.

Oh, I realize that some day, probably soon I'll be having to make a decision about keeping my birds. I did reduce my stock to 35 last year but switched to bantams and Fayoumis. Right now I'm somewhere back to near 50 birds but when they are little it doesn't seem as much work, LOL. Plus I do love taking care of them and giving away eggs to service people and friends we do business with.

Yep, someday it will end, but not today and God willing, not tomorrow.

Feel free to pitch in with whatever tips you have employed to make things easier for you. We all need all the help we can get.
Wow. Rheumatic fever at 26! That had to have been a tough one for you. Also a tough one for your doctor to diagnose I bet. I don’t know what decade that would have been in but just guessing based on treatment in the last fifty years that having that as a diagnosis would have been a stumper for your regular G. P. I believe my mother told me that I had something as a baby which is contributory to my autoimmune stuff also but her side of the family has a wide range of conditions and I seemed to have been blessed with all of them but RA. She had a sister with RA and childhood leukemia. She died when she was 14 so I was not able to learn any from her about the AI stuff.
Yes the Voltaren has saved me many a painful night wide awake. I have lots of those anyway but would have more without that. Taking the Voltaren orally really helps me when I am really down in my knees and hands. I have to use a cane to get around for long distances like the grocery store or shopping. I am okay around home because I can always grab something to help me laying around as needed or send my dog or use the cell for help. I will use the cane all the time if my knees get really bad like they are right now and I can’t get up and down by myself. The chicks are afraid of it so I don’t like to have it in the coop. I only have nine girls. I have two dogs also and one more maybe on the horizon but I just don’t think I am up to it right now. Maybe after knee replacements. I had been holding my Humira due to the COVID-19 scare but my knees have suffered so I can do the holding off no longer. It’s a hard choice. Which health choice do you make? Pain and joint health or virus prevention and so much more health protection?
It is good that you can heat your place with wood but that is a great deal of work for you and your husband. Do you have any alternative form of heat source if something happens? Are you able to stockpile your wood ahead over the years? I know you mentioned giving eggs to service people so I take it you are living close enough into a city or town to socialize? That’s great that you donate eggs to service people. I think that what you mentioned about keeping your hands and joints warm is a must. I live in Mississippi so it is more hot than cold here but it does get cold at times and our weather is changing with the climate change. The older I get the less cold I can tolerate. The less cold my joints can take also. They hurt. However, ice packs are the best form of pain relief for swelling of painful knees and hurting shoulders from over doing it or inflammation from overuse or a flair up. Heating pads are the best relief I can ever get when it comes to my back and if you have seen Biofreeze- gel, roll-ons, or sprays. These are great for pain relief and you can use the biofreeze with the heating pad or ice pack.
Those are my best tips from use and abuse and some good therapists who used them on me and my son and hubby. I hope they help and I wish you the very best in defeating good ole Arthur! I hate em! Been battling em for way too long and started way too early!🙃😜🙏
 

thepick4uchicks

Songster
May 23, 2020
889
1,448
143
Mississippi
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. View attachment 1506129 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.
I am a list writer too and totally agree that lists save steps! I use one of these grabber tools also! Forgot to include this. Sorry forgot all about this little jewel! Use it more in the yard and laundry room. Don’t use it in the coop near the chickens.
 

Flockincrazy

Songster
May 23, 2020
2,000
3,999
203
Elyria, Ohio
Ok so bare with me I'm a hot mess for 41yrs old i have lupus, Fibromyalgia, thoracic outlet syndrome and beginning of Rheumatoid arthritis so my doc said move move move so some days its hard to move and my make it easier hacks my husband dug a trench and we buried a hose that is hooked to the outside spicket that leads to my coops for watering system we built shelves to put the feed buckets on and a slide lever to fill the food troufs including the dogs and cats feed cause everyone gets fed outside my kids are younger and they help so much like today was a bad day and the brooder needed to be cleaned out so my daughter and her friend cleaned it and they both got $20 for doing it yes i have a chores price chart each a different amounts for the extent of the chore and time spent i believe in teaching my kids the power of money if they want something extra they earn the money and buy it they love this system for example my daughter wants new clothes for the school yr past what we buy them so she saves her money for August and I will take her to get what she wants and she pays for it
 

ronott1

A chicken will always remember the egg
Project Manager
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Mar 31, 2011
64,049
166,798
1,982
Woodland, CA
My Coop
Hi. I am sorry to hear you are having issues with arthritis. I do really understand what you are feeling and dealing with. I am 51. I have been on disability since I was 43 from psoriatic arthritis , osteoarthritis in my knees, and back as well as degenerative disc disease that is very advanced in my back. I need total knee replacements I have had both knee caps relocated and both knees joint surfaces cleaned out completely from all the slug of arthritis and buildup of inflammation of psoriatic arthritis -each knee three times. I have been on several drugs via injections including steroids to the knees and backs including enbrel, methotrexate, and now I am on Humira. Live is very difficult. I have also have had four or maybe five back surgeries - my memory is cloudy today! Lol! I have a spinal cord stimulator in place to help manage my pain levels and use less narcotics. It does help. My knees are the worst after my back. That’s the OA damages. I played lots of sports and worked in healthcare on a concrete floor for years. Gardening and animals were my hobbies and I have a special needs child who was non ambulatory until he was about 8 years old and he is a big boy. So I have lifted a great deal in my life time and worn out my joints in several ways also. I will say this about the shots. I think they work and I think taking sugar out of your diet also helps when you can stand it. Staying active is very good and keeping as much weight off as hard as it is is the best you can do for your joints to help them. Also Voltaren Gel works well and you can take it by mouth but can’t do both at the same time but it’s a good drug as an anti inflammatory and pain reliever. Diclofenac is its generic name. I take 75mg twice a day and when my knees are real bad I rug the gel in twice daily but that is the maximum. I have had scripts for them both a long time. As to your birds I believe I would keep them as long as you can do it and do it well and keep them and you healthy and happy. As long as they are happy and healthy they will keep you healthier because you will be more active. You might consider not replacing their numbers when you lose a few of the fifty and keeping a smaller number that is a little easier to manage and not requiring such a large amount of feed and water and “hefting” or rather heavy lifting from you as I like to say. That way you can just enjoy them more. You can stay just as active but you don’t have to be so hard on yourself if you need a break etc. arthritis hurts and it requires some surgeries and rests sometimes or therapies which you need to give yourself. The older we get the harder it is on us but also the tougher we get - and we have learned to be some tough ole birds! 🙂
Feel free to message me anytime if you like. I hate to say it but having been in radiography for nearly 30 years and then after having about 8 different autoimmune conditions I feel like an expert on arthritis. Maybe I can help you out. If you like.
Thanks for sharing your experience! It helps a lot
 

ronott1

A chicken will always remember the egg
Project Manager
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Mar 31, 2011
64,049
166,798
1,982
Woodland, CA
My Coop
Ok so bare with me I'm a hot mess for 41yrs old i have lupus, Fibromyalgia, thoracic outlet syndrome and beginning of Rheumatoid arthritis so my doc said move move move so some days its hard to move and my make it easier hacks my husband dug a trench and we buried a hose that is hooked to the outside spicket that leads to my coops for watering system we built shelves to put the feed buckets on and a slide lever to fill the food troufs including the dogs and cats feed cause everyone gets fed outside my kids are younger and they help so much like today was a bad day and the brooder needed to be cleaned out so my daughter and her friend cleaned it and they both got $20 for doing it yes i have a chores price chart each a different amounts for the extent of the chore and time spent i believe in teaching my kids the power of money if they want something extra they earn the money and buy it they love this system for example my daughter wants new clothes for the school yr past what we buy them so she saves her money for August and I will take her to get what she wants and she pays for it
Good point on moving as much as possible!
 

Flockincrazy

Songster
May 23, 2020
2,000
3,999
203
Elyria, Ohio
Keep moving guess I stepped out of here for a time back in still in pain but a doc I have now wants to take my tramadol away he says my pain is not that great :he
They really have no clue i take Cymbalta for my pain it helps i used to be on Norco hate that stuff the Cymbalta doesn't make me tired like the Norco see if your doc is willing to try it
 

thepick4uchicks

Songster
May 23, 2020
889
1,448
143
Mississippi
I'm 72 years young and in a wheelchair. Luckily I can walk a few steps without too much pain.
My coop and pens are about 75 yards from my hfouse.
I use a golf cart to haul food and other supplies.
The food is kept in metal trash cans on my back porch.
I use kitty litter buckets and fill as many as I need as heavy as I can carry them. I bring them to the lift in my chair and transfer the buckets to the golf cart.
My husband ran water close to the coop and I have a hose going to each of the 3 pens so I don't have to drag the hose around.
I do not my bring the cart into the pens. One, it will not fit, two, it's death on chickens.
I keep an old wheelchair in each pen so I can move the buckets to the feeders and rest when I need to. I collect the eggs and bring them to the golf cart. You would be surprised how moving things around in a wheelchair makes hard jobs easier.
It takes a while to feed and water the 2 pens of roughly 70 chickens and chicks and a pen for 6 geese.
At times I get some help but mostly, I do it myself. Hubby hates the chickens so no help there.
I try to plan my duties so I get as much done with the least amount of effort.
Frankly, I enjoy my time with the chickens. It is hard work but I will keep doing this as long as I can.
chickens rule!!!:wee:celebrate
Chickens rule and you rock! Awesome simply awesome you inspire me!
 

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