Chicken sitter instructions

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by cowchipss, Oct 14, 2015.

  1. cowchipss

    cowchipss Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am preparing to teach a non-chicken friend how to check on my flock while I'm away. She's asked for a list of instructions and I think that's a great idea. I'm preparing to sit down tonight to start putting together a list and figured I'd consult BYC. What types of things do you include in your chicken sitting list? My flock is young and fully contained in a coop/run at this point so there aren't egg collecting or letting chickens in or out type tasks.

    So far I've thought of things like: checking around coop for signs of predators trying to break in or dig, check and refill water, refill feed with premeasured amount. Count all the heads to make sure everyone is accounted for.

    I also plan on asking a family member who has chickens to be my on call chicken expert in case of an emergency.
     
  2. N F C

    N F C dem crazy bones Premium Member

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    We had to go out of state in January and friends watched over our chickens (and other animals). It sounds like you're doing well as far as instructions. A couple of things we did in addition to the instructions:
    * We wrote up our instructions in the form of a check list. They marked things off as they did them and knew right away if they had forgotten anything.
    * They came over and we walked through the steps of a normal day, following along with the check list. That brought up a few more things to add to the list.
    * We made sure they knew where the 1st aid kit for the birds is located, just in case.

    That's about all I can think of now. I hope you're going off to do something fun!
     
  3. cowchipss

    cowchipss Chillin' With My Peeps

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    NorthFLChick,

    Thanks! I forgot to add that she wants me to send her my original copy of a list (I love the idea of using a checklist as you go), so she can look at it, and then she wants to come over to run through it. She's very organized and awesome. I was thinking about taking a sheet of paper with me tomorrow morning and just writing down the things I do or look for. Some things are automatic.

    We are doing something fun! Going to have a taste of the fall by going to NC for a week. We recently moved from North FL to SE FL and miss having some sort of season..... You lucky duck you're in N FL?!!!
     
  4. N F C

    N F C dem crazy bones Premium Member

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    I don't know how lucky we are...we used to live in the Keys and I loved it down there. It's cold up here (to me anyway)! Give me those warm tropical breezes and heat any day, lol.
     
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Yes! I was going to suggest you make list as you do chores.
    If you type it up and send it, she can print it off daily if she wants to.

    When I chicken sat they had a detailed list of what to do, the amounts and description of types of feeds(cause I didn't know the diff back then).
    My pay was all the eggs I gathered and later a gas card too because I was no longer able to stop by on the way from work(lost job).
    The only thing I worried about, and worry about someone else taking care of my birds now, is that if they aren't familiar with chickens they won't spot a potential problem or know what to do about it, so I always had their contact number in case I had a question.

    Have a great trip!.....funny, my daughter just came up from NC for a visit to feel a 'real' fall here in Michigan. :D
     
  6. cowchipss

    cowchipss Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks! We had a great trip. We got to experience some traditional NC weather. It was misty and cloudy/foggy about half the time we were there and we loved it! I don't need Florida sunshine every day while I'm in NC. We felt like we were walking through a fairy forest while we were hiking with the fog on one day.

    I'll post the list I left for my friends for fun. Things I'd add to the next list are where a flashlight is and how to turn on the floodlight on that practically lights up the whole yard for chicken checking after sunlight. One of my friends suggested rubber gloves for scooping leaves/litter out of the water reservoir. And to have handsoap nearby. 8) They said it was easy and basically they just would check everything and say,"Yep, same number of chickens as last time....." Ha! I have pullets now, so no egg collecting yet. But my two friends will be getting some of the first eggs. That is, after we've had a few of our own.

    I bought a five gallon waterer and a 10 lb hanging feeder for going away so that no real chores were being done and it was just chicken checking. For my purposes, once they are done growing, I plan to measure their feed instead of having a buffet style feeder that's always full of food.
     
  7. cowchipss

    cowchipss Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I didn't see an option for uploading a doc so I pasted it. Some of the formating is lost but this is the text. I also labeled the feed, jugs for refilling water, poop ahem COOP shoes, and other items in the workshop with green paper.

    Taking care of the girls should take 5-10 minutes. Here are the things to focus on:

    ___ Water: There is a 5 gallon waterer that is elevated on concrete blocks.
    (add 1 gallon from the gallon containers each visit.) There is a spigot outside
    of the workshop.
    ___ scoop out any leaves or wood chips from the red water reservoir
    ___ take the black cap and screw it over the spout on the waterer
    (if you don't it will overflow)
    ___ then unscrew the top and pour a gallon of fresh water in
    ___ put the top back on the waterer,
    DO NOT OVER TIGHTEN TOP LID
    *tighten enough that water does not overflow from the red reservoir

    ___ remove the black cap from the spout and screw to the cap saver

    ___ Food: I have filled their hanging feeder with enough crumbles to last them a week. There are mason jars in the workshop full of crumbles that you can pour directly into the top of the handing feeder. Please put the empty jars back in the clear bin (it cuts down on food for the roaches!) There is extra feed in the dark grey garbage can if needed.
    ___ Make sure the hanging feeder is at least half full when you visit the chicks.

    ____ Eggs: There are no eggs to collect because the hens are only 10 weeks old. I expect them to begin laying in mid to late February. If all goes as planned, you should eggspect to have your first taste of chicken eggs by early March when I will have collected enough to fill up cartons for you.

    ____ Veggies and Herbs: Feel free to take cuttings from the garden containers. There is basil, mint, okra, lettuce, and greens growing. Use the scissors in from the workshop to take cuttings from the garden.

    Eggstras (this was on the back of the chicken watching list)

    ___ COOP SECURITY – walking out to the coop, I assess for any signs of predators trying to get in such as digging around the ground.
    ***there are concrete blocks behind the shed if hole needs to be temporarily covered.

    ____SHOES – I have slip on shoes in the workshop that you can wear in the coop to protect your shoes from chicken poo. It happens.

    ____CHICK HEALTH – when in the coop, I am saying “hi” to all my
    chicks and looking them over. Perky chicks hold their
    wings neatly to their bodies, peep, and move rather quickly. An ill chick
    will stand still, often in the corner, holding wings away from body, or with
    wings that appear to be drooping, eyes half open.
    ***Chickens do like to sunbath or dust bath and in this case they will flop over on their sides wiggle around in the earth below them. So if you find
    them like this, not to worry. However, when you enter the coop, they will
    typically hop up and come over to say “hi”.

    ___ ENTERING THE COOP – chicks do get excited when they see the green weeds growing outside of the coop, so don't be alarmed when they rush to the door to greet you and try to poke their heads out.
    ___ lift up up on the door, open it in
    ___ you can use your foot to gently push the chicks back
    ___lift up on the door and close it behind you

    ___ LEAVING THE COOP – same as entering but in reverse order!
    ___ lift up on the door to open and close it
    ___ make sure you clip both top and bottom locks

    ___ FEEDING GRIT – if you are feeling adventurous. Take a handful of grit from the open bag on the counter in the shop. Once inside the coop, squat down and let the chicks peck it out of your hand.
    Pro Tip: Open your hand flat. Otherwise, the chicks will accidentally nip the folds of your hand and it will probably startle you. It's not painful... just might surprise you!
    *** Having chicks eat out of my hand it one of my favorite feelings and it allows me to see them up close. Reach out and stoke them on their soft feathered backs. Some are more keen to this than others.
     
    path.otto, aart and beginnergirl like this.
  8. N F C

    N F C dem crazy bones Premium Member

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    I'd say you did a pretty good job with the list of chores!

    Glad you had a nice vacation [​IMG]
     

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