Simple Tools & Supplies that Make a Difference when Urban Farming

OK. Starting a farm/hobby farm/or just plain hobby can be expensive. I don’t care how you dice it; it’s an investment. Once you build the structures that NEVER are as cheap as those crafty bloggers claim and buy your livestock (which require more than you ever imagined possible), you’re broke. This is the point where you start asking yourself “Do I really need that? Will they die without that? Can I make do with this?”.

The Answer is YES AND NO. Your animals probably won’t die, but life will be infinitely more work, more awkward and more tiring without this and that.

Here are a few tools we tried to survive without that we say every day how grateful we are to have made the investment.

NOTE: Access to agricultural items is very difficult in the city. Pretty much everything was bought online for delivery or store pickup at places like HOME DEPOT.

  1. PITCHFORK!!!!!!- YES I LOVE PITCHFORKS PITCHFORKS ARE THE BEST!!!! We went a long time without this fabulous centuries old tool. My only regret, we didn’t buy it sooner. After scooping up piles of filthy bedding and lobbing it into a wheelbarrow by hand, we cannot express the love in our hearts for the pitchfork. Also, when flipping steep compost piles a pitchfork simply is a must. We’ve been very happy with this one from Amazon $26.
  2. Heated water bowl– We have two currently. One heated water bowl was acquired as a packaged deal when we bought our first very crappy chicken coop on craigslist. It’s the nicer of the two, and we are using it this winter for our chickens. Chicago winters are cold and when your little girls go out to take care of the chickens in the AM, breaking ice is one less thing to worry about. I broke down and bought a 2nd bowl for our cats. It’s a little smaller than our first but is more than sufficient. Home Depot $40
  3. Extension Cords- It’s just nice not to be constantly problem solving when it comes to how to survive with ONE extension cord. I got two outdoor ones from Aldi $4
  4. Egg Basket- Egg baskets are egg baskets because they help keep the eggs from rolling around, bumping into each other, and breaking. World Market $10
  5. Galvanized Steel Pail- We started urban farming without any buckets! GASP! A 12 qt bucket has been the perfect size for water transport. It’s big enough to not make too many multiple trips and yet small enough that kids can handle it. Home Depot $10
  6. Galvanized Cans- and more and more and more. You never have enough of these beauties. We have them in several sizes for several purposes. They keep out vermin and come with lids! Primarily we use them to store feed. We have a few 31 gallon cans. We use a 10 gallon to store hay for our house rabbit in the kitchen. It’s the perfect size to hold one sleeve of hay and has a handle to carry between the house and barn Home Depot $26
  7. Halter- They’re cheap. They’re amazing! And they’re worth it for goat transportation. It makes us feel so much more secure when walking Peppers and Nira to the milking station in the barn when they are secured in a safe way for both the goat and ourselves.  Trust me the cheap ones are the best ones for miniature goats.Amazon $4   Note: we only use them for transport and never NEVER EVER leave unattended. 
  8. 6 Gallon rubber bucket- This just got delivered today! We can hang it up so the goats can no longer poop in their water! Also it’s deeper than our current rubber bowls, so hopefully the water will take longer to freeze.  Buckets specifically made for the purpose for water and feed are wider rather than deeper. Amazon $32  NOTE: I recently learned that normal 5 gallon buckets while cheap and readily available are actually dangerous for baby goats because it’s a drowning hazard.
  9. Wheel- If your eye didn’t already pick up on it from the picture above, we are in dire need of a new wheelbarrow wheel. We’re putting it off, but someday we’ll be able to say how grateful we are to have an awesome working wheelbarrow. 🙂

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