Going camping for the weekend, what to do with chickens?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by 77horses, Jun 22, 2010.

  1. 77horses

    77horses ◊The Spontaneous Pullet!◊

    Aug 19, 2008
    So this weekend, my family and I are going camping and I have a small flock of chickens (1 rooster, 1 Bantam hen, and 3 month-old chicks that are just recovering from a cocci outbreak). There is absolutely no one nearby who could (or would) care for the chickens while we are gone...Just punky, trouble-making teenagers and strangers who I would NEVER trust to care for my chickens. [​IMG] The chickens would need to be let out every morning, have feed given to them with a little water added to it to make it mushy (that's how they like it, anyway [​IMG]), some socializing time spent with them (Ivory, my baby house-trained rooster, [​IMG] loves it when I take him out and let him walk around and I spoil him with treats and let him sit on my lap, even if he poops everywhere! [​IMG]), snacks given to them throughout the day, and then put back in at night (make sure ALL of them are in the coop!) and the whole coop needs to be shut up for the night with the light on and feed/water has to be put inside in case they want a snack during the night or in case it rains so the extra leftover feed doesn't get wet and moldy. It's a certain schedule that I go by for them that only I or someone else who knows my chickens (such as my parents, who care for them occasionally when I go somewhere) goes by and some stranger who doesn't properly know how to care for chickens (a.k.a everyone who lives nearby), I can't trust them to take care of my chickens without worrying that something will go wrong. And I don't want to go out and buy a new set of larger, longer-lasting feeders/waterers for them because after reading a thread about someone who left their chickens for 3 days with an automatic feeder/waterer and came back and they were all dead...That made me never ever want to leave my chickens for more than a day without a trusted person to care for them...Even if they have an auto-waterer/feeder, something can go wrong anytime and I just don't want to take that risk! [​IMG]

    Soooo.....What should I do?? My only other option is to bring all the chickens (which is easy to because it's a small flock) on an hour-long car ride to my dad's house. He has a small extra coop and he has other chickens, so think he would let me bring them there with their feed and water and everything just so I have someone who I can trust to take care of them. [​IMG]

    What do you think? Is there anything else I can do for them?

    Thanks! [​IMG]
  2. mboreham1

    mboreham1 Songster

    Dec 14, 2009
    Carmichael, CA
    you sound very contentious so i am not sure any answer other than "dont go camping" or take them to your Dads house will work. However, here is what i do, hopefully you will get some peace of mind.

    I have a predator proof run (as predator proof as you can get) I have 3 RIR hens, 3 barred rock pullets (3 months old) and 1 belgian d'uccle. All have lived in the outside coop since 4 weeks old. If i go away for a weekend (2 nights or less) They are left to their own devices, they have about 5 gallons of water available to them and enough food for a week. I am in northern CA, it gets hot here, they have shade, a covered coop and a large (ish) run.

    Your chickens will be fine, they are very tough, if you are concerned about boredom throw in a whole cabbage or hang a basket of treats (corn, fruit, lettuce etc) from the coop roof, they will have a wonderful time working out how to eat the treats as they hang and sway about. I also put a sandbox in the coop, so come rain, sun or snow they have somewhere to dust down, again offers some entertainment. Good luck and relax, your ladies will be fine!
  3. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    The most sensible thing, if you will permit me to say so, is to get over the idea that nobody else can possibly take care of your chickens satisfactorily except you yourself, and the idea that they utterly MUST have this particular exact routine you use.

    All they need is to be checked to see that they've got enough feed and water, to have eggs collected from the boxes, and to make sure that nothing bad has happened that needs attention.

    They don't need their feed exactly the way they like it; they don't need 'socializing'; they don't need snacks; they don't need food and water put in overnight unless they will not be let out til later in the morning. Et cetera.

    If your coop is reasonably large they needn't necessarily even be let out and put back in; but if they DO need to have that done, again, it is not brain surgery. And if your run is really good 'n' predatorproof (as it probably oughta be anyhow) then frankly the chances of anything bad happening if the popdoor is left open overnight are pretty small indeed)

    Surely you have neighbors, or people who do pet-sitting or house-sitting, who can do THAT. "Strangers" has nothing to do with it.

    You seem to be wanting to be told "oh yes, take them to your dad's for the weekend" but that strikes me as an exceptionally BAD idea. First, they will be exposed to different diseases and parasites at exactly the time when they will be highly stressed by the move and thus more susceptible. Second, they will be MISERABLE -- surely you've noticed how chickens HATE change and find it very hard to adjust to moving to a new place. And thirdly, there'd have to be a place at your dad's that they could be kept SEPARATE from all the other chickens, preferably not even able to see the other chickens (to minimize the stress level). Really, that would be terribly difficult on your chickens -- and then have to re-move all over again in a couple days, and even though it'd be "coming home" don't think it wouldn't STILL be hard on their nerves.

    Whereas you can perfectly well have them stay where they're accustomed and happy, and have only minor changes in their schedule which frankly they probably will not care one whit about, and get somebody to check on them.

    JMHO, good luck, have fun, and remember that the MAJOR issue here is not how *you* feel but how the *chickens* will feel,

  4. chicks4kids

    chicks4kids Songster

    Apr 22, 2009
    Northern Indiana
    Your flock is so tiny that you can use regular feeders or handmade ones and waterers and not worry about automatic everything. They don't need it and They will survive. Sounds to me like you will have to leave them locked up for the weekend. Add some extra roosts in there to allow for more spaces to go to, hang out on, etc. Loading up chickens and driving them an hour one way, then back again seems a bit much. Not to mention the stress that that could cause them.......seems like they're pretty spoiled and any change of their habits is causing great concern on your part [​IMG]

    Then when you get back, start working on a predator proof run that allows you to leave their door open day and night so they can go in an out as they please and yet still be completely safe while you're away. Also start monitoring how long a feeder lasts them...along with a waterer. That will give you an idea if you want larger feeder/waterers etc. and can help you plan trips away from home better.
  5. 77horses

    77horses ◊The Spontaneous Pullet!◊

    Aug 19, 2008
    Thanks everyone! Yes, I know I spoil them too much [​IMG] and I bet they would be just fine...I just care about them so much that leaving them for a little while without me being there to care for them kinda makes me worried. [​IMG]

    So what we've decided to do is on Friday, before we leave, I'm going to fill up the waterer and feeder before I leave. My stepfather is leaving a little earlier to join the family for camping, so when I leave he's going to stop by and put the chickens in before dark, etc. Then my sister's boyfriend is going to stop by on Saturday morning to let them out, feed them, etc. and since my older sister will only be gone camping with us for half the weekend, she's going to stop by to put them back in on Saturday evening before dark. Then on Sunday morning, her boyfriend will stop by again to let them out and feed/water them, etc. and to check on the dogs and other pets...Then I'll be back on Sunday evening. [​IMG] Now my job is to make a list about where everything is (feed, etc.), how to care for them (when to let them out in the morning, and how to put them in before dark, etc.), and any other information needed. This list will be for my sister and her boyfriend, since they don't really know where the chicken feed is kept and how to lock them in at night, etc. It will be like a reference guide for them in case they're unsure about anything. [​IMG]
    So I think that now that everything is planned out and set, I feel more comfortable with leaving the chickens and I'm sure the chickens will be way more happy, too! And the stress thing is also what I was worrying about too, if I brought them to my dad's house. [​IMG] It would be a big change, especially for the mother hen and three baby chicks. Ivory, the rooster, has been on many "road trips" before to my dad's house (actually, ever since he hatched up until he was around 3 months old, since he was a runt house-chicken, he had gone almost every weekend with me to my dad's house...and really he seemed to enjoy going on the hour-long car rides. He had his own personal box, and loved to sit on my lap to look out the window. [​IMG]) so I think he would be fine, but still it would be more stressful than usual since he's been living in his own coop for nearly a month now so it wouldn't be the same. So now that everything is set and I know they will be fine and they don't need to move anywhere, I feel better with leaving them and like I said, I bet they'll be much more happy and comfortable, too.

    Thanks again everyone! [​IMG]
  6. ColoradoMike

    ColoradoMike Songster

    Jun 12, 2009
    Northern Colorado
    My advice on chicken sitters:

    Do NOT ask them to follow a complicated routine. The more difficult you make it, the less likely they'll be willing to look after the chickens in the future. Having reliable chicken sitters is very important, imo, and the easier you make it on them the better...
  7. EweSheep

    EweSheep Flock Mistress

    Jan 12, 2007
    Land of Lincoln
    I have left a whole weekend, Friday AM to Sunday PM and the chickens were fine. Water and feed provided. Always have MORE water bowls here and there in case one gets dumped over or dirtied. Usually two bowls of water in the run and one waterer in the coop.
  8. l-o-v-e

    l-o-v-e Chirping

    Apr 23, 2012
    I am going to going to a family reiunon today and wont be back till late sunday help pm me ideas
    Last edited: May 25, 2012
  9. jamesbwood

    jamesbwood Songster

    Food, water, shelter (with predater protection). That is it.

    Complicated instructions won't be read or they will be and may get confused. Remember, your helpers have busy lives of their own and other priorities, make it easy for them.
  10. NightsInWhiteSilkies

    NightsInWhiteSilkies Chirping

    Nov 3, 2011
    Look on craigslist and you can find dog sitters and some who will come to your house and clean their poop and what not and take care of the dog at the house. There are agencys who have folks working for them who even run background checks on folks to make sure their not a criminal. Theres pet sitting agencys here in my area where I live. I would think in this economy that they wouldnt mind coming to someones house to deal with chickens.Sure you might have to spend a little money but its better than no one looking after them if thats something that some on this site sometimes have to do If you have no other resources that is a last etch effort to get someone to come out to your house.
    I know youve posted you have family coming out to help you but anyone else who reads this who might not know what to do if they dont have anyone helping them.

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