A change for chickens while on vacation

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Jenhaus, Jun 28, 2010.

  1. Jenhaus

    Jenhaus New Egg

    7
    0
    7
    Jun 2, 2010
    Hi everyone - I’m a new chicken owner and am looking for some advice for when I go away on vacation for a week. I have a terrific pet sitter who is willing to come to the house once a day and check on them (three pullets about 15 weeks old – not laying yet). They have a small tractor style coop with a built in run, but the run is pretty small. Usually I let them out during the day to range around a fenced-in yard, but a few times they’ve flown out of the yard, making themselves vulnerable to neighborhood cats and hawks. I’m trying to decide if I should keep them enclosed in their coop with the tiny run for the week that I’m gone. I’m worried that they’ll get bored and what they will do if they are bored, since they’re used to having a lot of freedom.

    I guess another option is to ask the pet sitter to come twice a day and let them out in the morning, and then come back at night when they’ve gone back inside, but I worry that they could escape the yard and he’d have trouble rounding them up, etc. Plus I’d worry all day during the whole vacation.

    Just wondering if anyone has any comments or suggestions on how to keep them happy.
    Many thanks,
    Jennifer in Nyack, NY
     
  2. crittersitter

    crittersitter Chillin' With My Peeps

    218
    0
    109
    Feb 23, 2010
    Westchester County,NY
    Hi Jennifer,
    i just answered one of your other posts [​IMG]
    What are the dimensions of their run? And coop? Is it well ventilated?
    If they are escape artists i'd be concerned about the free ranging while you are away. You can have the petsitter give them a big head of cabbage to pick at or toss them an old log to peck and look for bugs. i'm sure others will chime in with some good ideas!
    [​IMG]
     
  3. gabbyscritters

    gabbyscritters Chillin' With My Peeps

    228
    2
    131
    Mar 28, 2009
    fredonia, wi
    I agree, you would worry, I would. We don't let our chickens have the run of our yard when we are out of town. They get locked in their coop by the critter sitter at night and during the day get let out to their enclosed run, but no outside free run time. When you are not home is when something will go wrong. I leave treats for the sitter to give out. Sometimes I leave buns in the freezer to give out, it takes them a while to thaw out and they keep pecking at them. Let the sitter know if they have any watermelon to bring over the rind. 3 pullets, even in a small pen should be able to get along. Good pet sitters are owrth their weight in gold!
     
  4. Jenhaus

    Jenhaus New Egg

    7
    0
    7
    Jun 2, 2010
    Thanks you guys. The coop where they roost is only about 6 square feet and the run is only about 10 square feet. We're talking small! So it would be a big change for them to be confined. I'd hate for them to fight or start picking on each other because of boredom! But better than being picked on by a hawk!!
    Love the buns, watermelon, log and cabbage suggestions. A new "treat" every day would probably be great to keep them occupied.
    [​IMG]
     
  5. crittersitter

    crittersitter Chillin' With My Peeps

    218
    0
    109
    Feb 23, 2010
    Westchester County,NY
    You might want to consider hanging your feeder and waterer if they are being checked on once a day. Less waste and cleaner water.
     
  6. Farmer_Dan

    Farmer_Dan Chillin' With My Peeps

    399
    1
    121
    Apr 9, 2010
    Seattle
    1 vote -- lock them up

    Doubtful that they will get too bored or mean ot eachother in just a week and it'll do a lot for your relaxation on your vacation not to have to worry about the chicks.

    Definately get the sitter to toss some nice big treats for them to spend their time on while you are away, they will miss foraging, but if they have a big log to pick at or a pumpkin to try to get into, they should be able to keep themselves busy.
     
  7. beachchickie

    beachchickie Chillin' With My Peeps

    396
    0
    119
    Dec 6, 2009
    Alabama
    Throw in an ear of corn. It will entertain them for awhile.
     
  8. Jenhaus

    Jenhaus New Egg

    7
    0
    7
    Jun 2, 2010
    Excellent - love the corn and pumpkin ideas too!!
    Jennifer
     
  9. Raketemensch

    Raketemensch New Egg

    6
    0
    7
    Oct 13, 2010
    NW Connecticut
    That coop is awesome! Do you have plans for it or something? That would be perfect for keeping snow from building up on the roof....
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by