When you first decide to raise chickens and you start doing your research, you will quickly learn that you will need feeders, waterers, grit dispensers, nesting boxes, and a coop/run for them. But here are five essential everyday tools that I bet no one told you about.
1.) Small Flashlight - After putting my hand into a dark nesting box and wrapping my fingers around a field mouse instead of the egg I expected, I decided that I need to keep a flashlight in the coop. I now shine the flashlight into each box before reaching in - and good thing because it has saved me from touching a baby black snake and some pullet poop (yes, Virginia still sometimes likes to sleep in one of the nesting boxes).
A flashlight in the coop comes in handy to do a quick headcount if you hear a commotion during the night and run down to the coop in a panic in your pajamas and stocking feet and forget to grab a flashlight from the house (don't ask, long story).
You can also use the flashlight to candle eggs under a broody hen, and it's not a bad idea to check your chickens' vents at night occasionally for mites or lice.
2.) Plastic Paint Scraper - I keep a plastic paint scraper in the coop to scrape the roosts and ladder to the nesting boxes. When I clean the coop, it's perfect to scrape up any poop on the floor as well. No better poop scraper. The plastic ones are super inexpensive, so a second one comes in handy to scrape wet feed out of the feed tubs or dishes.
3.) Plastic Squeeze Bottle - A plastic squeeze bottle is the best way I've found to dispense FGDE (food-grade diatomaceous earth). Fill the bottle and it's a breeze to apply the DE as insect repellent around feeders, in the nooks and crannies of the coop, in the nesting boxes or even to dust the chickens' butts (after dark while they are on the roost is the best time).
4.) Small Folding Knife - A small folding knife is useful for so many things around the coop. I use mine to cut the strings on bales of straw, to cut open feed or supplement bags, to chop vegetables from the garden for the chickens and ducks, and once even to cut a snake in half that had wrapped around one of our duck's bills and was trying to wrap its body around the duck's neck to strangle it! A small folding knife....indispensable.
5.) Long-Handled Fish Net - I spotted this fish net at the dump and decided it needed to come home with me. I have used it to skim leaves and debris out of the duck pool, to scoop eggs up when they are laid (mostly by the ducks!) in less-than-convenient places, and even used it to scoop a pullet out of the tree where she had decided to roost at night. I use the bamboo handle end to 'encourage' the ducks back to their house at night and keep them headed in the right direction.
So there you have it, five common, everyday items that will help make your chicken (and duck) keeping easier.
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