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Discussion in 'Random Ramblings' started by Tastelikechicn, Jan 17, 2016.
Can I have chickens and not be able to check on them every day?
What climate do you live in? How many days between visits do you think it will be? Will your coop be wired for electric or not? There is no one answer to this as there are a lot of variables involved. In the spring/fall when weather is more temperate there is less risk to going days between visits than in the winter/summer. You can install some pretty nifty feed/water units that can hold days worth of feed/water - but in the winter unheated water would freeze and in the summer there is more of a risk if something were to go wrong causing the water to run out before you think it will.
It is optimal to at least see them daily - this allows you to assure they never go long without feed/water if something happens that what they were given becomes spilled/spoiled/etc, allows you to notice changes in behavior or condition that are best addressed quickly vs. having days to progress. That being said, as long as you are able to assure they have ample feed and water and their other basic needs are sure to be met during absences, a couple of days between visits is not necessarily going to be a bad thing.
I would like to add, do you have a secure, predator proof coop and covered(I hope) run for them? You wouldn't want to return to find your birds massacred by a dog or wild predator.
I don't have anything now. I intend on having a predator proof run and house. Just wondering if anyone else has the same problem.
I wouldn't think about it if i thought my chickens would suffer.
X2 on both of the above posts.
I agree with the others. It's certainly do-able in the right conditions, but there might be a few more risks if you are not able to check them everyday, like spotting problems like an empty watered or a hole in the coop so predators can enter. I don't think they would suffer if you take the time to plan out a good setup for them.
The one problem you might face though is not being able to collect eggs every day. In the heat of a summer, eggs left for more than a day start to develop and in the winter (depending on where you live) they may freeze.
You could also hire a petsitter to give them water, food and close the door at night. One visit a day would do. Petsitters are not expensive.
I have to leave mine - a lot. <sigh> Hubby's position with WYGL is such that we have lots of two, three and four day trips. My run is as predator proof as we could possibly make it. Our dog tried digging under and broke and bloodied a toenail - she gave up and never did it again, so I'm confident that the way we have ours set up is as safe as possible. That said, even Fort Knox has folks doing maintenance, patrolling, and guarding, so I'm a firm believer in looking at things from a predator point of view and fixing any weak spots and watching for signs that some critter has shown interest in your birds. If you see any sign of that, reinforce!! I am able to keep my pop door to the run open 24/7 so my chickens can go in and out at will, but I never forget that it takes just one little weak spot for a predator to wreak havoc. So if you are going to have to leave for a couple of days, the very first thing on your list of things to do is check and recheck your coop and run.
Because we are gone so much, I have two feeders. When we are in town, we just use the one I made out of rain gutters because it holds a lot of food and has room for all the chickens to stand side by side in a neat little row and eat. Because it's covered, they can't poop in it or walk through it. When we are going to be gone, we make sure that that one is full, AND the large galvanized hanging metal feeder we add is also full. I use a 5 gallon bucket with horizontal nipples for water. Ken rigged it so that there is a PVC tube that runs from the bucket lid to the outside of the run. All we have to do is take the cover off the outside tube, stick the hose in it and fill it up. We have a little fishing bobber with a metal skewer attached and it sits in the water with the skewer running up through a little hole in the lid of the waterer. As the water level in the bucket drops, so does the height of the little skewer, so we can see at a glance if the water level is getting low. If we are only gone for a day or two, eggs are the only concern. There is always plenty of food and clean water to last a couple of days.
Those are things we did because our "chicken sitter" is our granddaughter. She's been doing this since she was 8 years old and she's now 10. We don't have to worry about a thing while we are gone because we've made the process of caring for the chickens as simple as possible. She does a superb job - we have never had a single little (or big) problem. She can see at a glance if the feeders are low. They are usually just fine and she might top them off if we are gone longer than three or four days, but that's all she has to do. Same with the water. She can see from outside the run if she needs to put the hose in the little PVC tube and add water. Again, not usually needed but she can top if off if she needs to. This is even more remarkable because Katie can do all of this all by herself, with no help or supervision, and she is mildly autistic. It works because we made it possible with planning. If you make the chores difficult, time consuming, or if you end up with someone who really isn't "into" chickens and doesn't care to get too close, this setup will make it easy to still find someone to look in on them.
Eggs are another story. She gathers them a couple of times during the day. I have no roosters so I don't have to worry about any eggs developing if they are out in the heat too long because they aren't fertile. But they do need to be picked up at the very least once a day, preferably twice. When we leave during the winter she picks them up before school, (I have a couple of early morning layers) and after school. That usually suffices since she gets home from school at 3:30 and it gets dark here in winter around 4:30 so the girls are done laying for the day.
With some planning as you build, you can make your coop and run function like a well-oiled machine even if you aren't there. We don't really need Katie to do anything but gather eggs because there is enough food and water. But she loves to do it, and we love letting her. If I had to give up traveling with Ken just because of the chickens, I'd get rid of the chickens!
X 2 on what Blooie said!
We are gone on many 2 - 5 day trips often. Multiple feeders, multiple watering stations, automatic pop door, predator proof coop. (My run still needs some work.) I have a neighbor who will collect eggs if we're gone too long.
When we're gone a week or longer, we have a neighbor check food and water in exchange for the eggs. We did leave for 5 days once without anyone able to check on them, all the chickens were fine when we returned and I just tossed the eggs.
Chickens are wonderful, but if you set up your system right, you don't have to be a slave to them!