Chicken Sitters?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by OtterCreekRanch, Apr 18, 2011.

  1. OtterCreekRanch

    OtterCreekRanch Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 16, 2011
    NE Texas
    What does a person do when they must go out of town and have no family or friends who want to watch their chickens?

    We have been talking about going to the beach for a 3 day weekend, but I am stumped as to what to do about our chickens. I really don't want to trouble any of my family members with taking care of them because none of them are animal people and I know it would be a hassle for them. They have never asked us to pet or house sit. Most of them aren't very close by either.

    Our feeder lasts more than 3 days and the water usually lasts that long, but they would still need someone to look in on them. Then I have three brooders of different sized chicks that need to be checked on at least twice a day because they can go through feed like you wouldn't believe.

    We talked about hiring a pet sitter but I worry about what the would do if one of our hens got out (they all race to the pen door any time you go out there and try their darndest to get out....our dog is a known chicken killer so any escapees are lunch)....and I really I am not sure I like the idea of strangers in my house anyway (where the chicks are...only other house pet we have is a cat and she can easily go 3 days without anyone checking on her as long as we put out extra food and water bowls.).

    Am I destined to never vacation again because I am now a "chicken person"?
  2. hennyannie

    hennyannie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 12, 2011
    North Carolina
    A person I know contacted the local ag teacher, and she recommended a couple of her students who could be trusted to care for the animals.
  3. SunnyCalifornia

    SunnyCalifornia Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 8, 2010
    Escondido CA
    4H kids might also be an option? Just give them chicken duty, and not access to your entire house. Put the dog in a kennel, cat in the house... and just hire someone for the chickens?

    You may just want to adjust your timing of your vacations so that you don't have any really little ones to look after. Just wait until they're out of the brooder, and plan a break in between them and the next hatch. [​IMG]
  4. Chicken Charlotte

    Chicken Charlotte Out of the Brooder

    Jun 7, 2010
    Quote:This sounds strange but you are a good explaner and helper by the sound of it you sound like you know alot about this sort of stuff haha [​IMG]
  5. memiller123

    memiller123 Out Of The Brooder

    May 3, 2009
    FFA or 4H members sounds like a great idea. You can ask the FFA teacher at your local high school to recommend someone.
  6. rebel-rousing-at-night

    rebel-rousing-at-night Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:Man ain't it tough?It's been almost 6 yrs. since I had a vacation too. Would love to have one.
    My chickens run to the gate to get out so I grab treats to distract them so I can get in. If it was a stranger I think they would shy away because they are not used to but one other person besides me.

    When you get this worked out please PM me. I may have hope yet. [​IMG]
  7. mmaddie's mom

    mmaddie's mom Chillin' With My Peeps

    I find a compressed seed block is good for 2 reasons... it's treat food & it keeps them busy because the have to really work to get those seeds off.

    My pet sitter is also my letter carrier... I set it up so she doesn't have to do much and she looks in to check on eveything... she comes by here once a day anyway... and the real advantage is that she is also a chicken lady.

    Good luck! The 4-H or FFA kids sound good.
  8. OtterCreekRanch

    OtterCreekRanch Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 16, 2011
    NE Texas
    Unfortunately our county isn't much for poultry in FFA and 4H as I have recently found out. A few kids raise broilers but it is usually younger kids that are too small to easily handle cattle which is the big ticket around here. I can ask around but I honestly worry about kids (even high school age...mostly high school age lol I am too few years out of high school myself to have forgotten what the kids that age are like) being responsible. I guess I would be more comfortable trying to find a local fellow chicken lover to come by. Everyone I have met so far isn't very local. I guess I may check craigslist or something. Then I worry about someone taking my chickens. Maybe I just worry too much. [​IMG]

    I guess it comes down to finding someone you can trust which I have a hard time with. Some of my girls are NOT bothered by strangers and will meet anyone at the gate to try and get out.

    Right now we are talking about waiting 6-8 weeks for our youngest chicks to get out of the brooder and into pens outside. Having small chicks is the biggest concern. I have large enough feeders and waterers that the chickens can go 3 days without needing them filled as long as nothing goes wrong. I guess at that point it will be just a matter of finding someone who can look in on them to make sure there are no emergencies or anything.

    I hate to wait until summer is in full swing to go to the beach since it will be that much busier....but my animals come first.
  9. DelcoChix

    DelcoChix Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 12, 2009
    Central Ohio
    1) Got any friends and/or neighbors?
    2) Make it as easy, simple, and hands-off as you possibly can...if you have the capability of filling feeders and waterers full so they'll last the three days you're gone, is there a way you can make it so the caretaker won't have to go into the pens/coops?
    When we go on vacation it is a major undertaking as we have horses, dogs, cats, fish and the hens of course.....I am blessed with some great family members and friends who are willing to help out. I do pay them (although I think they'd do it anyway) because I am soooo grateful and the break from "real-life" and chores (and I love my animal family) allows us to return refreshed and excited to get back into the routine. I have whoever is taking care of them to come over a week or so in advance and go over everything, I contact my horse and dog vets and advise them we'll be out of town, if they get a call on our behalf just come out and bill me later (has never happened yet) so the vets are aware that we're gone and they may be needed, if only for a question from a novice. I also have a mini-novel on my computer that I update before we leave town that is pretty detailed and covers everything I can think of. I print it out, one page for dogs, one for horses, one for chickens, one for general house stuff, and leave it on the counter. My one friend laughs at my "novella" but every time he asks if I'll have it out before I leave! He enjoys a week or so playing gentleman farmer and equally enjoys it when we return! We love to travel so staying home 24/7/365 is not an option--once or twice a year, it is well worth the trouble to be prepared in advance. The chickens are a piece of cake as we have not left town when chicks were small....
    If yours can be made "easy" to take care of I think you should go for it--a 3 day weekend is a great test run and you will return eager to get back to your feathered friends. Might be a good way to get to know your neighbors?
    Good luck!

    PS: Have you maybe checked to see if there are any BYC'ers in your vicinity? Or other chicken owners? Maybe you could start a swap system in your neck of the woods...?
  10. oldchickenlady

    oldchickenlady Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 9, 2010
    Cabot, AR
    Wait until babies are outside in their own pen. Then buy an extra waterer for each pen, fill the feeders and go. Nothing is going to starve to death in 3 days. I promise! You might try putting a cabbage head or two in each pen (can hang from fence) to give them something else to peck at and keep them occupied and/or a flock block too. Then GO! Life is too short to just dream about the beach.

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