How Do You Take a Vacation When You Have Chickens

How Do You Take a Vacation When You Have Chickens

How Do You Take a Vacation When You Have Chickens
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How Do You Take a Vacation When You Have Chickens? Leaving your chickens at home while on vacation can be a little daunting and worrisome. There are tricks to help ease into this transition. Whether you’re going on vacation or traveling for business you’ll be needing some help!

How Do You Take a Vacation When You Have Chickens?

Devise A Plan

There are two main ways to take a vacation when you have chickens. Those are to have someone watch them for you or automate everything. We’ll get into the how-to’s of those later.

First, you have to decide if you have anyone who could watch the chickens, if not you may have to lean towards automation.

Chicken Sitter

A chicken sitter is someone who is paid to come over a couple of times a day or possibly even stay at your home while your away. However, they don’t need to stay all day long.

pet sitter written in the sand

A chicken sitter would really only need to come over for about 15 minutes in the morning and at night. Maybe a little more depending on your setup and how many chickens you have.

Typically, you would want someone who already knows about chickens. The last thing you need while you’re on vacation is to worry whether or not you’ve left them in capable hands.

You’ll want to make sure they know how much to feed chickens and that they have an appropriate amount of water throughout the day. It’s a great idea for them to know when you typically collect eggs and how you prefer to store them.

Although, usually when someone watches my chickens for me they can keep as many eggs as they like!

A chicken sitter will also need to know what time to open and close the coop. This is usually at or near sunrise and at dusk for most chicken owners.

Another good idea is that they know about chicken wounds and how to treat them. Just in case something goes wrong. Learn more about having a chicken first aid kit.

Spouses And Other Family Members

If you go on vacation and your spouse or another adult is still going to be at home in the mornings and at night, they could care for the chickens while you’re gone.

Or you can do what I do and put my kiddos in charge! My little farm boys (they’re not little anymore, who am I kidding?) have a fair share of chores around here. They are expected to help with the chickens too. They are what you might call experience farm hands or chicken farmers?

Anyhow, they help me out when I need to go out of town. Dad of course helps and supervises!

If you don’t have someone at home, ask a friend or family member if they would mind helping you out. It wouldn’t even take 15 minutes each time they come.

Although, convincing family or friends to do this for you may be a little difficult. Maybe you can entice them with free eggs!

Another thing to think about is having a chicken run or fenced in chickens. It may be easier for you to go on vacation if the chickens are not free-ranging throughout the day.

I let my girls free range unless there is a big storm coming our way or if I know I will be away for most of the day.

So, in my opinion, you don’t need someone watching the chickens all day long. Get someone to let the chickens out early in the morning, and have them check to make sure they have plenty of food and water, and collect eggs then, close up the coop at night.

I hope this helps. Now, all you have to do is find someone willing to do this for you! That may be the hardest part.

Automate Everything

Another option that many readers say that they do is to make or buy an automatic water and feeder. I prefer a treadle feeder instead of this open feeder. Since, open feeders draw in the attention of many hungry wild animals including other birds, mice, rats, squirrels, and more.

Additionally, don’t forget to have multiple waters and feeders especially if you have a good amount of chickens. This will help keep the peace within the flock.

Having an automatic door on the coop would be a great way to make sure that the chickens are locked in a night, while you’re away.

Predator-Proofing

The only thing I would worry about are predators. Living deep in the woods, we tend to get a lot of predators.

I know that whether I’m here or not, predators are an issue. I have lost a few birds to predators, however, I’ve also successfully defended off some of the attackers too.

Just last week, we had to scare off our first fox. We’re surprised we haven’t seen one around here before now.

No matter who you are or where you live, you are bound to get a predator or two.

My friend lives within the city limits and she has to deal with raccoons. So, you’re never safe from predators.

Especially when it comes to raising chickens and other poultry. Since there are so many predators that love chickens and their delicious eggs.

brown chickens behind chicken wire

How To Predator Proof Your Chicken Pen

Chicken wire is not predator proof. It’s meant to keep chickens in…Not predators out!

Using hardware cloth for fencing will help make the chicken pen more secure.

The hardware cloth should also be used as a digging deterrent, by burying it several inches deep all around the coop.

Animals that like to dig will give up when they hit hardware cloth, since they can’t get around it.

Flying and climbing predators can and will enter the chicken pen through the roof.

Adding a roof to the chicken pen can significantly help keep those pesky buggers away from your chooks!

One thing I really wished we had is electric poultry netting. This is a great defense system in keeping many predators at bay.

In Summary,

Taking a vacation away from your animals can be a little stressful. If you have someone you trust to take care of them while you’re gone, you’ll be able to relax more while on vacation.

However, many people seek automation when it comes to their coop setups and this can also allow you the ability and freedom to leave when you need to.

Predator proofing the chicken pen will help you gain some confidence in leaving them home alone.

I’d love To Know what you think!… Leave me a comment!

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11 thoughts on “How Do You Take a Vacation When You Have Chickens”

  1. I was able to get a few free chainlink dog kennels that I set up, then dug a 1′ deep channel and set it in, so 1′ of it is under ground, then I wrapped the bottom with 3′ tall chicken wire fence. (I actually have one on each side of the coop and rotate them between chickens and garden, since I also have a ton of deer and wild turkeys) We have a few fox and a LOT of free range dogs and aside from barking at them, they can’t do much. I built an automatic waterer out of toilet guts and PVC, so it just hooks to a hose and is an endless water supply and then I built a no waste feeder out of a rubbermaid garbage can, got the idea off of Pinterest, it holds over 2 bags of food and the chickens can’t scratch it empty. We can get away for about 10 days, only having someone stop by once or twice.

    1. Oh wow, that sounds awesome. We use dog kennels too. They work pretty well, except I need to put a roof on them. The raccoons like to scale the fence and eats eggs, and sometimes take a chicken. I want to make some waterers and feeders like that too. It’s on the list of things to do. We just got our new chicken coop built, so maybe we can start knocking off some of these easier projects off the list. Thanks for the great insight!

  2. We’ve had people watch our chickens just once a day with an urban Coop. Since we don’t have predators we can leave the coop door open all day and night when the weather is mild. Checking food and water and collecting eggs is really the main thing once a day for us. We have shade in the summer for the 3 hens and a nice open tube for in the winter that is pretty weather tight. I would never use a heat lamp if we were gone in the winter when it was really really cold. We also do have a heated water fount in the winter.

  3. I only have 3 girls with a coop, run and fenced chicken yard. We camp 4 days a week in summer here in Connecticut and Rhode Island. Since it’s warm, I leave the coop door open so they wake up and hang out in their run. I hang 2 10 gallon waterers and 2 hanging feeders I make sure are all full of pellets and crumbles so they have a variety. The only issue is eggs because they have 2 nest boxes but everyone wants to use the same one so it fills up. I have a friend who comes by to collect eggs at some point. The coop and run have hardware cloth all around so only a random night crawler or insect can get in (quickly devoured by the eagle eyed wonders!) We also had to go away in cold weather and had to leave the coop door open but just made sure the coop was wrapped up with a heavy tarp in additional to the normal winterizing. And had an electric waterer to keep the water from freezing. I would not leave them more than a day or so in cold weather though because the eggs can freeze and the coop door lets the cold in. (we don’t use heat lamps because we are afraid of fires)

    1. I’m so glad that you’ve found a way to get a way. We love camping.

      We wouldn’t be able to use the methods you use, well not with the setup we have now. We have a fence that they could stay in during the day, but we have so many predators here. The fence isn’t predator proof. It would be nice if we found a way to fix that issue though! It would make getting away for a couple days to go camping much easier!!

      I’m not a fan of heat lamps either. Wild chickens sleep in trees even during the cold months. I’m pretty surprised how hardy they are against the cold!

      Thank you for stopping by and sharing how you do it!! It will be helpful to other readers I’m sure.

  4. I personally have left my chickens (I have two separate flocks 10 chickens and 1 rooster in each), two dogs and cat alone for a week while I drove cross country with no problem. I have two coops connected to runs and made sure when building them that they were safe from predators. I bought two 10 gallon waterers and four 15 lb automatic food dispensing metal tubs and filled them to the brim along with some additional containers of water and food just before I left. Since the coop is connected to the run I just installed a door with a small opening to the coop low to the ground so they don’t get a draft at night when they roost.
    I set up metal paint pans with carpeted bottoms and covered the lower end of the pan to collect eggs automatically. It was such a good system that I use it even when I’m home. I can now check on them every other day or every two days with no problem. When it comes to travel for me if there is a will there is a way.

    1. That’s awesome! So glad that you found a wonderful way to get away! I would be worried about predators. We have so many around here. Not locking them up tight at night is a death wish around here. I’m not sure how we’d get the fencing predator proof, but like you said where there’s a will there’s a way! I’m going to work towards this as a goal! Thanks for stopping by Karina!

    1. Assuming the person has a tiny little chicken door. Not everyone has the same style coop. You could always modify just about any door to accommodate it I suppose. You would have to have automatic waterers and feeders too though. Thanks for the thoughts, Ian!

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