If you are planning a vacation, you can safely leave chickens alone for a couple of days as long as you plan ahead and their needs are provided for. Vacations longer than 3 days do require a pet sitter to collect eggs, replenish food and water and to make sure they are locked in the coop at night.
Everyone needs a little vacation now and then and just because you own farm animals doesn’t mean that you can’t plan a little getaway!
The following is a list of tips that will make leaving your chickens while on vacation a lot smoother.
5 Important Tips: Leaving Chickens While You Vacation
1. Install Wireless Video Cameras
Install wireless video cameras so you can monitor your chickens while on vacation. I mounted one in the chicken run so I can see how much food and water the flock has and I can see them walk around. I also point one at my automatic chicken door so I can make sure it opens and closes each day.
Weekend Getaways: If you are only gone for the weekend, you can get away with setting up enough food and water for your chickens until you return. It is always a good idea to have an extra water source for your chickens, just in case they knock one over.
Wireless video surveillance cameras have come way down in price and you can get one for about $20 that you can log into an app online and watch your chickens anytime of day for free!
You can always check your video cameras and contact a neighbor if you need them to go tend to your chickens for any reason.
Long Vacations: Having video surveillance on your chickens is great, especially when you are taking long vacations. By having video surveillance notifications you can let your pet sitter know if there is a predator trying to break in at night or if your chickens require any special assistance at any time of day. (water dumped over, predator ate all the food or in the coop, etc.)
2. Have a Pet Sitter Lined Up Ahead of Time
Weekend Getaways: Whether you are going away for just the weekend or for a week long vacation, it is a good idea to have someone that you can contact while away in case you need them to tend to your chickens.
Long Vacations: Anything over just a weekend getaway and you do need to provide your chickens with a pet sitter. Daily egg collection, replenishing food and water and making sure that the chickens are all locked up safely in the coop each evening are some important chores that you need a pet sitter for.
|DAILY CHORES FOR|
|DAILY EGG COLLECTION|
|MAKE SURE CHICKENS|
ARE LOCKED UP IN COOP
|MAKE SURE CHICKENS ARE|
OUT OF THE COOP IN THE DAY
|FEED TREATS TO CHICKENS|
|CHECK FOR PREDATORS|
Finding a Responsible Pet Sitter for Your Chickens
1.The best pet sitter for your chickens would be someone else that owns chickens too. They already know how to care for them and you can trade pet sitting!
2. It’s nice to have a close neighbor that you can trust with your chickens. A family with children will love the opportunity to get to see what it’s like to take care of chickens for a short time. Who knows, they may even decide to get a few of their own after experiencing how rewarding it can be!
3. You can also ask a close friend or a family member to watch your chickens while you are away. This would be a great side job for a teenager wanting to earn a little extra cash during summer vacation or a school break and see what it’s like to raise chickens.
4. If you find yourself in a bind and not able to get a close friend, family member or neighbor to watch your chickens, check out the Nextdoor app online. Many people are looking for part time jobs to earn a little cash and this is also a great place for you to post the dates and services you are looking for.
Show Your Pet Sitter How You Care for Your Chickens
Whoever you choose to watch your chickens, have them come over and walk them through your day with the chickens. Even someone that is raising their own chickens needs to know how your routine is with your flock.
Show them where you keep your feed, treats and how much food to give them each day. Also show them where the hose bibs are for water. Let them know what to look for as far as predators and give your phone number to them so they can reach you in case they need to ask you a question. Write everything down on a paper and pin it up for your pet sitter to refer to.
|INSTRUCTIONS TO GIVE |
|SHOW THEM WHERE YOU |
KEEP THE FEED
|TELL THEM HOW MUCH |
TO FEED / HOW OFTEN
|SHOW THEM WHERE |
THE TREATS ARE
|TELL THEM HOW MUCH|
TREATS TO GIVE DAILY
|SHOW THEM WHERE THE|
HOSE BIBS ARE FOR WATER
|LEAVE A BASKET FOR THEM|
TO COLLECT EGGS
|LEAVE EGG CRATES SO|
THEY CAN KEEP SOME EGGS
|LEAVE YOUR CELL #|
Long Getaways: Try to have more than one pet sitter that you can contact for your vacation getaways. Sometimes it doesn’t work out for one person to watch the whole time you will be away and you need to split the time between two different people.
It is also a good thing to have a backup pet sitter in case one gets sick while you are away.
3. Install an Automatic Chicken Door
Having an automatic chicken door not only will make life so much easier for you, but for your pet sitters as well! They sell automatic doors that you can schedule to open and close at certain times that you program into it or doors that will open at sunrise and close at sunset.
I am thankful to have had my creative, electronically gifted Dad make me two for my flock.
If you find that you like to take frequent vacations, try to design your coop so you have a protected run for your chickens to free range in for the day and a coop with an automatic door for them to retreat to at night. This will make it so much easier for your pet sitter!
For more information on how to keep your chickens safe from rodents read my articles:
4. Install Automatic Feeders and Waterers
Installing automatic feeders and waterers is something that not only will make things easier for a pet sitter, but will also make your life so much easier too!
They sell a variety of different automatic feeders and waterers both in the stores and online. I recommend going online and finding one through Amazon. The prices are a lot better!
You can also make an automatic feeder with a 5 gallon bucket and some 3″-4″ PVC fittings. I really like these because they are not messy at all and there is very little food waste.
There are also automatic waterers that you can hook to a water source. If you are using one of these while on vacation, make sure that the hose leading up to it is either not in the heat or insulated.
Hoses that sit out in the direct sunlight can heat the water up and the last thing that you want to do is offer your chickens hot water on a hot day. That’s not very refreshing.
When you are vacationing, it is a really good idea to provide your chickens with multiple water sources. This way, if they knock one over, they have another source for their water.
For more information on how to keep your chickens cool during extreme heat read my article: 17 Tips – How to Keep Chickens Cool in Extreme Heat
5. Plan Vacations Around the Weather
If you are able to choose when you take your vacation, it is best to go when the weather isn’t sweltering hot or freezing cold. Chickens have a more difficult time during extreme weather conditions and it is best that you are home to take the extra precautions necessary with them.
Chickens Require Extra Care During Extreme Weather
1. During the ice cold, eggs should be gathered more than once a day, preferably 2-3 times a day. In very cold weather eggs can freeze and crack, setting it up to becoming contaminated.
2. During the sweltering heat, fertile eggs will begin to incubate so they need gathered more frequently.
3. Chickens need their water replenished with nice cold water in the sweltering heat. Chickens do not sweat and they rely on us to provide a means to cool down.
4. During extreme heat chickens need to be provided with shade at all times of the day.
5. Chicken waterers can freeze in the cold weather and chickens need fresh water given multiple times a day. You can also try using an electric pet water bowl heater to keep the water from freezing.
6. Power outages occur more frequently during extreme weather. This means that automatic chicken doors, electric heating for pet bowls, lighting and some automatic feeders will not work. It’s better if you can be home to accommodate for the power loss.
7. You are more likely to experience roof leaks and damage to the chicken coop during the cold and rainy season. Making repairs to the chicken coop isn’t something that you will want your pet sitter to have to be doing while watching your chickens.
8. If you live in an area that is prone to having hurricanes or tornadoes, make sure that your chickens are safe or have been moved to a safer location if you need to leave. For more information on protecting your chickens during disasters, read my articles:
- How to Keep Chickens Safe During a Disaster-Guide with Photos
- 9 Best Tips-How to Hurricane Proof a Chicken Coop
How Long Can You Leave Chickens While on Vacation?
As long as you provide enough food, water and shelter from predators for your chickens while you are away for the weekend, they should do just fine. Any longer than a weekend getaway, then it is recommended to find a pet sitter to collect eggs, feed, water care for your chickens.
Do Chickens Need to be Let Out Every Day?
Your chicken run should provide a minimum of 10 sq. ft. per chicken for them to thrive. This is the equivalent to a 2′ x 5′ area. If your run doesn’t allow at least this much space, then it is important to let your chickens out every day to free range.
For more information on how to tell if your chickens are happy, read my article 9 Important Signs to Look For – Are Your Chickens Happy?
Can I Leave Chicken Coop Door Open All Night?
Because chickens are at increased risk of predator attacks in the evening, it is not recommended to leave your chicken coop door open all night.If you are going on vacation and leave your chickens alone, it is best to have a pet sitter come make sure your chickens are locked up in the coop at night.
For more information on how to rodent proof your chicken coop, read my article 13 Simple Ways to Rodent Proof the Chicken Coop
CONCLUSION: Can You Leave Your Chickens Alone While on Vacation? 5 ImportantTips
Don’t let the fact that you own chickens hold you back from taking a well needed vacation. As long as you prepare ahead of time, your chickens should do just fine.
It is possible to own chickens and take vacations every now and then. Weekend get aways are fine, as long as you leave enough food, water and shelter available for them.
Vacations longer than 3 days, you should hire a pet sitter to help collect eggs, replenish your chickens food and water and make sure they are locked up in their coop and safe every evening.
|5 IMPORTANT TIPS|
|1||INSTALL WIRELESS CAMERAS|
|2||LINE UP PET SITTERS|
FEEDER & WATERER
AROUND THE WEATHER