Care commitment involved for layers

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by ella&clara, Sep 18, 2010.

  1. ella&clara

    ella&clara Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 18, 2010
    Hi, I am new here. I stay at home with my 2 daughters, 4 yo and 18 months, and I am considering getting layers. My main hesitation is the care involved. I have two dogs, which I take to my parents' house when we go out of town. But what about chickens? What if I want to be gone for 10 days or something?
     
  2. erin76

    erin76 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 17, 2010
    Battle Ground, WA
    [​IMG]


    I have a small flock of 5 laying hens...i spend about 20-45 min a day cleaning up poo, cleaning and filling the waterers and filling the feeders (that doesn't include time spent "bonding" [​IMG] ) My boys always collect the eggs. If we are going out of town for more than a few days, I have the neighbors collect eggs (that they keep)and check the feed and water. I am probably a little neurotic about cleaning up...there are ways to manage things do the clean-up can be done less frequently. Good Luck!

    It is a wonderful "addiction" and my kids now turn their noses up at store bought eggs!
     
  3. Pet Duck Boy

    Pet Duck Boy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 12, 2009
    Orlando, FL
    I have 5 laying hens too, and as far as the time spent a day for care it's usually around 20-40 minutes a day. Like the above poster, that time is spent filling/cleaning the feeder and waterer, cleaning the roosts and shoveling out the poop laden dirt, and letting the girls out to forage. I actually keep mine in a 6' by 11' chain-link dog kennel. So far, it works great as a cheaper choice for the neighborhood. Of course this would be a bad setup when you live somewhere more rural. And for vacations, we have a pet sitter that charges 10$ a day and visits twice a day to fill the feeder/waterer and other things. During this time, we keep a loud radio on a talk show 24/7 along with a scarecrow to help deter raccoons and possums. The eggs plus the entertainment they provide me and my parents with is all worth it.
     
  4. ella&clara

    ella&clara Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If I do this, I'm planning on a "chicken tractor" type set-up as we have lots of room for them to roam. Part of the attraction is improvign the garden so I guess that would cut down on the shoveling time. I'll have to look into the pet sitter/neighbor thing. Thanks!
     
  5. matimeo

    matimeo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think with some planning, you can create a setup that requires minimal maintenance. I had some of the some concerns when I recently built my coop. I used a five gallon bucket nipple waterer and got a large feeder that should last well over a week for my four chickens. The only major problem is that someone will have to collect eggs, but I'm sure a neighbor wouldn't mind free eggs while you're gone. I also set up my coop so I can leave the pop door open and the chickens can access the run 24/7. I can also close the pop door from outside. I thought this would be nice in the summer as well, so that I can leave the pop door open, since the chickens will probably be getting up before I am. You can click on the link to my BYC page under my profile name to see some of my ideas. Best of luck!
     
  6. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    If you get a chicken tractor, be aware that predators can dig under the fence unless it is buried or aproned out above ground. So you would be stuck leaving them at risk for predation at night unless you close them up in the upper part of the tractor.

    Some people take hardware cloth (the only predator proof fencing) and make it bend out at an angle so that the animal goes up to the fence and tries to dig but meets fencing. This way you can lift the tractor and move it. I have no experience with whether this is actually predator proof or not. This is called an apron- you can do a search on this message board to see some.

    The least maintenance chicken setup is a fully enclosed coop and run, where you have buried the fencing (HARDWARE CLOTH) and don't even need to open and close the coop at night. Food and water in the run (although mice will eat some of the food if you leave it out- maybe better put it in the coop).

    Some folks put a 2-3 foot high hardware cloth skirting around the fencing and cover the rest with chicken wire. But be aware that a raccoon can tear apart chicken wire just like it isn't there.

    So, the chicken "Fort Knox" would be a fully enclosed hardware cloth run, including the top. Some people use chicken wire for the top. I use just plastic bird netting, since I close mine up every night.

    The more run space they have, the happier they are. You could still get a chicken tractor for them to sleep in, and a Fort Knox run for the tractor to be in when you are gone. Just suggestions!!!

    Maybe someone will nail the right idea for you.
     
  7. pascopol

    pascopol Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 6, 2009
    Tampa Bay
    ella&clara :

    Hi, I am new here. I stay at home with my 2 daughters, 4 yo and 18 months, and I am considering getting layers. My main hesitation is the care involved. I have two dogs, which I take to my parents' house when we go out of town. But what about chickens? What if I want to be gone for 10 days or something?

    The bottom line is: if you'll be gone for 10 days it will be better to abandon chickens idea for the good of chickens.

    Chickens are not dogs, you can take a dog or 5 dogs to dog shelter when you are away, but you can not just pick up a yellow book, make a phone call and take a flock of chicken to commercial animal "hotel".

    Somebody has to stay with them, take care of them, and feed and water them them every day.​
     
  8. SilverPhoenix

    SilverPhoenix Bantam Fanatic

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    Dec 15, 2009
    Penn Valley, CA
    Quote:The bottom line is: if you'll be gone for 10 days it will be better to abandon chickens idea for the good of chickens.

    Chickens are not dogs, you can take a dog or 5 dogs to dog shelter when you are away, but you can not just pick up a yellow book, make a phone call and take a flock of chicken to commercial animal "hotel".

    Somebody has to stay with them, take care of them, and feed and water them them every day.

    I disagree, one can usually find a petsitter to come to your home once or twice a day and take care of the birds. Chickens don't require that much care daily, and I've left behind my many chickens when I go on vacation several times. Our petsitter has done fine with them, although she is not really a chicken person. As long as one can find a nice, reliable person to care for them while you're away, chickens don't generally cause an issue as far as going on vacations. (Unless you're like me and think about them the whole time you're gone! [​IMG]) I even petsit chickens for friends of mine and it's no hassle at all!
     
  9. pascopol

    pascopol Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Tractor will not feed chickens for 10 days, tractor is not a solution for absence of caregiver.

    Chickens and other poultry have to be taken care and attended EVERY DAY.



    Chickens are not pets or machines for making eggs, although some people make them into pets, they are living thinks and need to be treated humanely with responsibility and respect.

    Some common sense and responsibility folks!
     
  10. ams3651

    ams3651 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 23, 2008
    NE PA
    I dont think its out of the question, a small flock would be easy to manage. I have 8 right now, I think LOL, and my older son stopped by when I was gone for a week. Only took him a few minutes to feed, water, check for eggs and hand out treats each day. A neighbor would stop by on his way past just to check in on everything, no big deal. I do have a pretty nice size run so they have plenty of room and everything is just fine. They have access to the outside 24/7 but are usually in by 7pm in the summer and 5 this time of year. If your gone frequently for long periods maybe it wouldnt be worth the effort but if you vacation once or twice a year I would say its do-able.
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2010

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