Essential Coop Equipment

There are certain tools that are essential for caring for your backyard flock of hens. There’s the fine-tined pitchfork to pick up manure, and the bucket to put it in. There’s the galvanized can for storing feed, and the scoop to dole it out with. There’s the scrub brush for keeping the waterers clean, and the rake for pen maintenance.

This is also essential for chicken keeping – a stool.


The more you spend time with your chickens, the more you’ll know them, and the better a chicken keeper you’ll be. Sit awhile in their midst. You might also find that your blood pressure lowers and your heart rate steadies. Chickens are calming like that.

A little, cheerful, easy to tote stool is just the thing. I keep this yellow stool in the barn, not in the pen, so that when I want to sit on it, it is clean of manure and chicken feet prints.

I know some people who like having their hens jump on their heads and their backs and their laps. I don’t. I want them to ask. Beatrice came right up to me chattering. Very polite.



I lifted her up and we had a nice conversation.



Owly also wanted one-on-one time. But she had a big plop of manure on her foot. That’s why I like them to ask. I said hello and put her back down.



I’m not much into holding my chickens. I certainly don’t want to hug the girls. I handle them so that I can better care for them.(Never kiss your chickens! There’s always salmonella around; with the usual handling and hand washing afterwards the risk is minimal. Kissing, though, is risky.) What I like is to watch them. And they like to watch me.



  1. So nice! Terry, are there some that seem to never want that relationship with you? Are there some that never want you to pick them up or do they all seem to want to be company with you?

    • Each breed has their own temperament, and each hen has unique quirks within that type. Misty and Twiggy have no interest in handling, and that’s fine with me. But, they all know me and interact with me.

    • I wasn’t going to, but today is THE perfect day of the entire year. The beauty is heart-stopping, the temp perfect. So, yes, I’m getting to the barn!

  2. Great article. We recently found two Crevecouer Roosters on the side of the road. We brought them home. They are not very tame but not aggressive either. Once cornered, I can pick them up and hold them. Can you tame an adult Rooster?

  3. Picture three, circling looking for a vulnerable spot for a sneak attack. ;-)

  4. We all like to watch you, Terry =) Thanks for the info. Must get a little stool. Love your boots!

  5. my eye was caught by the stool, too, only it’s s-o wrong! a pet-watching, chicken-viewing, on-the-ground-sitting stool (otherwise known as a milking stool) should only have three legs.
    they sit on just about any surface without rocking,
    ask us old hand-milkers!

  6. I’m curious about your salmonella comment…I didn’t realize it was something the chickens might have while they’re alive…I thought it came from improper “processing” when making “dinner”. Can backyard chickens be tested for salmonella?

    • Salmonella is naturally occurring in their intestinal tract, and comes out in manure. In a well-kept backyard flock, the risk is small but there. It’s always prudent to wash hands and not to put your lips on something that might be contaminated – like your chicken.The problem with raw chicken for consumption is that it’s processed so quickly and in such a way that the carcasses can become covered in the germs, and then, if not handled properly, it multiplies. Then, if not cooked properly, people get sick. All animals harbor bacteria; but management keeps it in check.

      • Thanks for the details…we’re on “salmonella watch” in CA as there are suspected issues at 3 Foster Farms plants and we DID NOT eat a chicken I cooked from there after realizing it was processed at one of the plants and reading that this salmonella outbreak is particularly antibiotic resistant. Don’t mean to be a worry wart and I read that cooking above 165 will kill the bacteria but…oh, just didn’t want to take that chance!

  7. my girls were guernseys – i had 4 to start with, and ‘we’ grew to 8 – at that time i got a milker.
    i did milk a small herd of goats for one of my neighbors one time – and his goats had a milking platform. it was the most amazing thing to see for me the first time – the goats would come into his barn, he’d fill the feed dish up on top of that platform and then one after another would jum p up on it and eat and be milked.

  8. Those worried about getting salmonella from their chickens, might also like to be aware that any pet can pass it on. It isn’t just chickens and exotic animals like reptiles. It’s dogs and cats, too. The risk is there with the animals we have in our houses all the time and never think twice about. So yes. I do kiss my chickens on the tops of their clean and shiny feathered heads, just like I do kiss my cat and my dog. And my humans, despite the fact that humans can be chronic carriers of salmonella as well.

    • Your chicken’s head might look clean and shiny, but she’s taken dirt baths laced with manure. She’ll know you love her, even if you don’t kiss her.

  9. I call it Chicken TV. At my house we also pull up a stool and watch Bee TV.

  10. Terry, is the little stool from the Ikea children’s furniture section. That is the only one I found, but wanted to make sure it was big enough for an adult! I am definitely not petite like you are!

    • My 17 year old grandson made me a bench to sit out and visit the chickens. What a very nice gift. It’s long enough for 2or 3 of the chickens to hop up and visit and the rest of the ladies usually gather around close. I love holding my chickens. My chickens are free range. I use several shallow plastic bins with clean sand in them for their dust baths, and keep a lid on the bins at night and during inclement weather. I also keep a first aid kit, hammer, screws, twine, nails, clippers, rags, etc. in a small cooler with lid in the chicken house. Saves me many trips.

  11. I appreciate you sharing how enjoyable it is to sit and watch chickens! Many people, including my wonderful husband, glance at me with a questioning look when I talk about how much I enjoy watching chickens!

  12. So may times I think you and I were hatched from the same egg, as it were. My after work ritual is to sit in the coop or out in the yard with my girls. And I too was and am one of those girls who’d give a kidney to have a pony – as it is I’m spending our retirement, my kid’s education and my husband’s apparently endless patience to make it happen. And we even acquired, entirely by accident, a bunny this summer who, thanks to your example of how it can be done, lives the life of Riley with his chicken friends. BUT, my watching chair is only a 10 gallon paint bucket – I need to step up my game – my breeches are getting dirty. Thanks for the daily dose of awesome, East Coast soul sister!

    • Does your rabbit have his own hutch, or does he live with the hens full-time? Candy liked having her own house, but Phoebe was quite clear about wanting to live in the coop.

      • He has his own, very fancy two-story hutch with a cozy hidey-hole, but I have to gently coerce him to spend time in it. I turn him out in the morning, and he spends his day in the coop and run, eating the girls’ food and snuggling with Peaches, my big Welsummer and his beloved BFF. One night I went in to close up shop and found him on the poop board, snugged up under her roosting fanny. He’s ridiculous. And very happy, if somewhat grubby.

        • How charming! If a bunny were to have a BFF chicken, it’d be a Welsummer. Such nice birds. Neither Candy nor Phoebe have that type of hen friendship, but my rabbits have enjoyed the company and the melee in the barn.