Thursday, February 22Food Security Matters

Chicken Holiday: Can You Leave Your Chicken and Take a Vacation?

How do you take a vacation when you have chickens? Is having a chicken holiday possible? Leaving your chickens at home while on vacation can be a bit daunting and disturbing. There are tricks to ease this transition. Whether you are going on vacation or traveling on business, you will need help!

How do you take a vacation when you have chickens?

1. Come up with a chicken holiday plan

Leaving your chicken for a week can be depressing if you haven’t tried it before. There are two main ways to take a vacation when you have chickens. Those are to have someone take care of them for you or to automate everything. We will see how to do it later.

Keep your birds inside the coop when you leave for a holiday

You first have to decide if you have someone who can keep an eye on the chickens, if not, you may have to lean towards automation.

2. Chicken Sitter

A chicken babysitter is someone who is paid to come in a few times a day or even to stay at your house while you are away. However, they do not need to stay all day.

A chicken nanny would only have to come in 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 on vacation is to worry about whether or not you’ve left them in capable hands.

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

Although, normally when someone takes care of my chickens for me, they can save as many eggs as they want!

A chicken sitter will also need to know what time to open and close the chicken coop. It is typically at dawn or near dawn and 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 keeping a first aid kit for chickens.

3. Spouses and other family members

If you are going on vacation and your spouse or another adult is still home in the mornings and evenings, they could take care of the chickens while you are gone.

Or you can do what I do and put my kids in charge! My little farmers (not small anymore, who am I kidding?) Have their fair share of chores around here. They are expected to help with the chickens as well. Are they what you might call seasoned farmers or chicken farmers?

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

If you don’t have anyone at home, ask a friend or family member if they’d mind helping you. It wouldn’t take 15 minutes each time they came.

Although, convincing family or friends to do this for you can be a bit difficult. Maybe you can lure them in with free eggs!

Another thing to think about is having a chicken coop or enclosure for chickens. It may be easier for you to go on vacation if the chickens are not free during the day.

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

So, in my opinion, you don’t need someone to watch the chickens all day. Get someone to let the chickens out early in the morning, and check that they have enough food and water, collect the eggs, and then close the hen house 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.

4. Chicken holiday: Automate everything

Another option that many readers say they make is to make or buy an automatic water feeder. I prefer a pedal feeder over this open feeder. The open feeders attract the attention of many hungry wild animals, including other birds, mice, rats, squirrels, and more.

Also, don’t forget to have multiple drinks of water and feeders, especially if you have a good number of chickens. This will help keep the peace within the flock.

Having an automatic door in the chicken coop would be a great way to ensure that the chickens are locked in overnight, while you are away.

5. Predator-proof

The only thing I’d worry about is predators. Living deep in the forest, we tend to have many predators.

I know whether I’m here or not, predators are a problem. I have lost some birds to predators, however, I have also successfully defended some of the attackers.

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

No matter who you are or where you live, you are bound to have one or two predators.

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

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

How to protect your chicken coop from predators

Chicken wire is not predator-proof. It is made to keep chickens in … Not predators out!

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

The fabric from the hardware store should also be used as a deterrent to digging, burying it several inches deep around the chicken coop.

Animals that like to dig give up when they hit the hardware store cloth as they can’t help themselves.

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

Adding a roof to your chicken pen can significantly help keep those pesky critters away from your chickens!

One thing I really wish we had is a poultry power grid. It is a great defense system to keep many predators at bay.

Read our chicken predator article.

Chicken holiday summary

Taking a vacation away from your animals can be a bit stressful. If you have someone you trust to take care of them while you are away, you can relax more during the holidays.

However, many people look for automation when it comes to setting up their cooperatives and this can also allow you the ability and freedom to go out when you need to.

The chicken pen predator test will help you gain the confidence to leave them alone at home.

Now that you know everything, you are ready to take your chicken holiday. Have other tips? Please leave a comment below.

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