Going out of town - What do I do?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by DangerChickenHouse, Aug 9, 2011.

  1. DangerChickenHouse

    DangerChickenHouse Songster

    Jun 30, 2011
    Charlotte, NC
    My wife and I have a family thing 7 hours away and planned on being away 4 days. Here is the problem:

    1. We have 4 chickens - two 6 week olds, one 4 week old, and one 2.5 week old
    2. They still are coming into the house every night. They have not spent a night in the coop.
    3. Someone can come by and check on them daily, but not at sunrise or sunset.

    Our concerns:
    1. They will not put themselves to bed.
    2. Tonight will be their first night sleeping in the coop. It's Tuesday. We leave Thursday.

    We aren't concerned with:
    1. Food and Water - we have someone that can do that
    2. Temperature - I'm in NC and it's in the late 70s at night. I didn't put the roosts up in the coop so the others would cuddle with the little one instead of roosting.
    3. They spend everyday (dawn to dusk) in the 8x8 run and are super happy there. They have been doing this for over a week now. All of them including the little one.
    4. The coop is inside the run. So, they have full access.

    My question is:
    Should my wife stay home with the chickens? This is an important trip and we can't take them with us. Our options are to pay a pet sitting service to put up the chickens or make my wife stay home.

  2. spish

    spish De Regenboog Kippetjes

    Apr 7, 2010
    make the wife stay at home [​IMG]

    nah just kidding....if someones coming by to feed and water them...could they not put them to bed a little earlier? its only for 4 days......?

    or if your worried about predators etc...dont you know anyone who'd keep them at their home?
  3. Chemguy

    Chemguy Songster

    May 30, 2011
    Springfield, Ohio
    I'm not sure where you are but if your coop is secure and draft-free, the little chick is starting to feather and temps are not cold at night (above 60), they should be OK staying out there. They will huddle together, cold or no. You would want to make sure that they have all the water and food they need and can't tip it over. It would be a bonus for you if you knew somebody who could stop by quickly to ensure that all is well by peeking into the coop.

    I put my 3.5 week chicks in the coop on Friday and they've been out there since. They will stay IN the coop until the run is finished so that they know where home is. Everyone is happy and healthy. Maybe even well-adjusted, but who can tell with chickens?
  4. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    How large is your housing??? If it's big enough, and has ample ventilation, couldn't you leave them shut inside for four days?? It wouldn't be much different from being kept inside a brooder...
  5. SunnyDawn

    SunnyDawn Sun Lovin' Lizard

    Sep 12, 2009
    Nor Cal
    Quote:Ditto. That's what I would do.

  6. chickenbythesea

    chickenbythesea Songster

    Jun 15, 2011
    Nova Scotia
    we just got back from our trip state side and our chicks spent 9 days in the coop. a friend came by daily to open windows and make sure the food and water was good and then dropped by some time in the evening to close the windows up. Our chicks did fine, mind you they were shack happy by the time we got home and one did escape on my friend but once it realized it was out on its own, it ran around to the run door and waited to be put back in with the other. My how they ran around in the run when we got back [​IMG] Don't make you wife stay home... it's only 4 days and if someone's checking on them you're good. Have a great time
  7. lroth217

    lroth217 In the Brooder

    May 29, 2011
    Lemont, IL
    I agree, I would put them in the coop, but not let them out into the run at all. Let them get to know their coop while you are gone and then when you return then you can resume letting them out to the run. That way at dusk they will WANT to return to what they will then know is home.
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2011
  8. Nicole01

    Nicole01 Crowing

    Mar 28, 2011
    They need to be taught to go into the coop at night. I brought mine in one by one and it took them a week to get the hang of it. Ever since then, they go in on their own and are settled by 8:45pm. I close the coop door for safety reasons. We have a nice run, but I don't trust it and I think weasels can get into welded wire.

    I'd keep them cooped up, especially if weather permits and it's not too hot inside. I'd have a neighbor/family/friend stop by once a day to check on things and change the water(if you change daily). They will be fine.
  9. DangerChickenHouse

    DangerChickenHouse Songster

    Jun 30, 2011
    Charlotte, NC
    They haven't been in a brooder. I've only had them for a week and two of them are pretty much fully feathered. Everyday at 7am they go out into the run until 8pm. So, they are accustomed to being outside. But, at 8 pm, we load them up into a pet carrier and put them in our bedroom to sleep.

    I guess i will lock them in the coop tonight and see what happens. I'm not comfortable with locking them in the coop for four days. They are accustomed to free roaming the run, which makes them so happy.

  10. Hummingbird Hollow

    Hummingbird Hollow Songster

    Jul 1, 2011
    Colorado mountains
    Quote:I would think that the most expensive option would be to make your wife stay home...unless she doesn't really want to go to the family thing and just needs a good excuse...even then there are "costs" involved in skipping family functions. Personally, I'd go for the pet sitting service, perhaps finding a reliable neighbor or friend of one of my kids and offering them a reasonable fee to come over twice a day, once to let them out into the run and once to shut them back into the coop, each time checking on their feed and water. I know I'd enjoy the trip more knowing that my chickens were being looked after.

    It's one of those responsibilities of animal ownership, whether it is a chicken, a dog or goldfish, knowing what they need to be happy and healthy and providing it. I worked proactively and recruited my mom (who lives next door) and a friend (who is 15 minutes away) into my chicken keeping adventure. Before I even ordered the 8 chicks I told them both that if they each paid for the cost of two chicks plus 1/4 of the feed cost, I'd cover the cost of the coop and be #1 caregiver and they'd have 1/4 of the eggs produced. My mom is on standby to care for them if we're out of town (or even on evenings where I'm away after dark) and my friend will be chicken sitter on the rare instances where my family and my mom were out of town at the same time.

    I know it's too close to your trip for that option to work, but perhaps you could lure a neighbor onto your team with the offer of future fresh eggs.

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