Anyone interested in starting a NETWORK of backyard chicken "babysitters" or "boarding" for extended

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Feather495, Aug 21, 2016.

  1. Feather495

    Feather495 New Egg

    Aug 21, 2016
    We have a work opportunity that will take us out of town for an extended period, and are not sure what to do with our 3 chickens. We thought that many people might have the same dilemma. Our chickens are a little too spoiled just to have someone pop in once a day. One idea, would be to organize a 'rent the chicken' scenario (which is becoming very popular) or, for fellow BackYardChicken members to open their home to a few extra chickens (chickens would come with their own portable coop/food/feeders and money). I would love to hear what everyone thinks.
  2. Folly's place

    Folly's place True BYC Addict

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    Welcome! It's much safer and less stressful for your birds to stay home, with a once or twice 'sitter' checking on them. A neighbor, friend, or family member. Free eggs! Having them in their safe coop and run rather than ranging will be best too. Many of us wouldn't want visiting chickens on our property, because of possiible disease issues, to ours or the visitors. Mary
  3. Feather495

    Feather495 New Egg

    Aug 21, 2016
    Thank you for the reply Mary. I understand not wanting to mix the chickens for fear of transfering diseases, I thought that bringing their own coop, food and food dishes would solve that problem - keeping them away from other chickens. Have you heard about 'rent my chicken'? Interesting concept, those chickens are uprooted and moved about - I will inquire as to how they do under that stress. I'm still not convinced that the best thing for my 3 are to be left here without more attention, they like to go out in the morning, they like treats, they love being around people - they are very spoiled.
  4. BlueBaby

    BlueBaby Overrun With Chickens

    I agree with Folly's place.
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    X3 Folly's place.

    True bio quarantine is a bit more complicated than that... birds needs to be separated by 300', clothes and shoes need swapping out also.

    The rent a chicken thing does seem popular, backyard chickens are a hot fad because and some folks have decided to make some bucks off of it,
    'selling' to folks don't want to take a realistic, long term responsibility for keeping food animals.
    I'm pretty convinced that it's NOT the best thing for the birds... too small of coops, inexperienced people caring for animals that are probably going to suffer.
    In some cases it's probably a great thing, but I suspect there are many more disasters than successes.
    It would be great to see some real data on success and failures, but you're not going to get that from the 'sellers' and I doubt there's an independent, objective entity assessing that market.

    Chicken as pets is great until you realize that you can't board them like dogs and cats when you want to get away.
    Even when I chicken-sat for friends, I never wear the same shoes an clothes in their coop as in mine.

    Not sure what your chicken experience is or if you know of anyone else with(or without) chickens that would keep your birds for however long you're going to be gone, 'but that's your best bet. Or you may just have to sell them and start over when you're back home to stay.

    Sorry for the seemingly harsh words...just being honest.
  6. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon

    I would put the word out locally, on FaceBook, work, church, etc. I think your target would be folks who want birds but don't have any yet. They could keep your birds for the time you're gone (how long?) and decide if they want to move forward with their own.

    Be aware, there's always risk with exchanges like this. What if your hens get taken by a predator? Just gets sick, or egg bound, etc? These are things that should be addressed before birds change hands.
  7. trinak

    trinak New Egg

    Jul 28, 2016
    We tried this ourselves last winter so we could return to California to spend the holidays with family. I had the same concerns about wanting to make sure my gang would be closely looked after. I even considered letting someone stay at my house rent free if they agreed to take care of my flock, lol. I was desperate! Well I finally found a couple through our local produce exchange who wanted to see what it would be like to raise ducks and agreed to board our 7 Indian Runners and 2 Bantam roos. The wife had raised chickens for a number of years (in fact we got our 2 roosters from eggs she gave us) and she thought it'd be a fun experiment. She had a nice little shed and enclosure for them (she kept my guys separate from hers but let them free range together) and it seemed like they'd be safe and well taken care of. I felt pretty good when I dropped them off.

    She was not really prepared for ducks. Even though I explained the best I could what their needs were I know she had a hard time with the most important one...water. She wasn't a fan of filling their pool everyday. I know this isn't exactly your situation because ducks do have special needs that are different than chickens but be aware people won't always do things the way you do and that can cause some problems. Also she was hurt that my guys didn't take to her (they're skittish even around me) so I think the love affair with raising ducks died quickly. We got word about a month later that there had been a dog attack and we lost 2 of our older females. I think my smaller rooster got injured in the attack as well because when I went to pick my guys up to take them home he was having some trouble walking. I baby my guys but she felt if they make it, that's great...if not, that's nature. She was not the type to nurse a bird back to health. A lot of this was my fault because I didn't ask enough questions. If I had I would have found out she had a big problem with animal attacks on her property. I was just so happy to find someone willing to look after them that I might have overlooked some things.

    This post is not to discourage you. Just to tell you my own experience and some things to consider. I'm actually in this pickle again right now. Family health issues require me to make the trip back to California for a few months. I would love to figure out a solution to boarding my animals but this time, as much as I don't want to get rid of my gang, I think I'm going to have to consider re-homing them. Not going to lie, even given this past experience if I could find someone willing to board my ducks and chicken again this year I'd probably do it. The ladies are great egg producers and I'm pretty attached to my little guys so I hate to even consider it but it probably what's best for them.

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