Got any advice on taking your chicks for a 5 hour car-ride on vacation

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by guesswhatchickenbutt, Mar 17, 2009.

  1. guesswhatchickenbutt

    guesswhatchickenbutt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 5, 2009
    Central FL
    I am getting my first chicks in the first week in April and we're going on an 8-day vacation at the end of April to my cousin's wedding. We've decided to take the chicks with us because I'm afraid that any pet-sitters we hire won't handle them enough or wouldn't know how to deal with a sticky chick bum or some other emergency. And no, I cannot believe we're taking chicks to the wedding....

    So... anyone have any advice for me about traveling and vacationing with chicks? LOL.

    Can they go without food and water for the 5-hour drive? I don't want to put it in their carrier because I'm afraid it'd fall over in the car. I think we'll be using a tupperware container for the brooder so we'll put them in the car with our two boys and our German Shepherd (who'll be in the very back). The wedding is on a beautiful island off the coast of FL so I'm sure we'll look like the Clampetts when we show up with a box of chickens and a big hairy dog. LOL.

    When we get to the cottage where we'll be staying, we'll put a baby gate up to the kitchen and keep them in there while we're home and lock them in the bathroom away from the dog while we're gone.

    How much food should I bring? They'll be on starter then... and how many pine shavings bags will we need to stash in the car?

    I'm very nervous about traveling with these little girls, but I can't leave them alone with a once-a-day pet-sitter when they're this young. They'll only be about 4 weeks old when we leave. (I'm assuming our local mom and pop feed store is getting newbie chicks so I assume they'll only be a few days old when we get them).

    I'm open to any and all advice - and ridicule too - LOL. I do realize how insane this is. I'm lucky to have a supportive hubby who no longer bats an eye at my insane schemes. [​IMG]

    ETA: If you've got pictures of your 4-week to 5-week old chicks, I'd love to see them so I know how big they'll be at this age.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2009
  2. agnes_day

    agnes_day Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 29, 2008
    oklahoma
    you would probably do better to use a once a day pet sitter than to take them on that long of a trip..just have someone come in and make sure they are fed and watered. i have a big brooder of chicks in my laundry room and i feed and water them every day, but other than that i leave them alone.
     
  3. guesswhatchickenbutt

    guesswhatchickenbutt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 5, 2009
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    The problem with that is I'm only getting three chicks and really want to handle them as much as possible so they'll be friendly and used to us. I don't like the idea of them not getting handled much during that length of time. I've had a few people tell me that taking them would be better than leaving them at this young of an age.... so as a newbie chicken owner I went with that advice. It's hard to make judgement calls when you're new to something....
     
  4. agnes_day

    agnes_day Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 29, 2008
    oklahoma
    oh i understand, i am pretty new too!
    i would think though that the stress and all involved could actually weaken them but i could be wrong.
     
  5. greathorse

    greathorse Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Its a little like taking a 3 year old child on a rock climbing expedition so they wont be afraid of heights. Do the chicks a favor and leave them at home.
     
  6. Griffox

    Griffox Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 26, 2008
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    4 weeks is pretty old. They are going to be big. They should be fine without heat lamps and you may want to try training them to drink from a rabbit waterer. That way they can have water on the way there without it spilling. I think they'd be okay without food for 5 hours, but they are going to be stressed so water is important. It would be good to add electrolytes as well. Monitor how much food and shavings you are going through per day in the days before you leave (no point in measuring now, since they will be about 5 times bigger in four weeks) and be sure and bring enough to last. Or you could check to see if they have a TSC (do you have those in FL?) where you're going and just stop in there when you need extras.
     
  7. Griffox

    Griffox Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 26, 2008
    Harrodsburg, KY
    Here's a picture of 4 week olds

    [​IMG]
     
  8. guesswhatchickenbutt

    guesswhatchickenbutt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 5, 2009
    Central FL
    Man... it is sooo hard to make a decision when you're new and you keep getting different advice. Some BYCers have told me that the chicks won't know the difference between being at home or "on vacation" since they'll be in a tupperware brooder and that since we really want them to be tame and friendly that taking them with us made the most sense.

    Now I'm getting the vibe that they should be left at home. I really want to do what's right for them. If they're left at home, they'll have to be out in their coop. It's fully enclosed, but cannot have a heat source. Typical outside weather for the time we'll be gone is 80s in day and 60s at night. If they aren't handled much when we're gone for that long.... can we still hope for super-tame hens?

    Sorry to sound so clueless, but I'm doing as much reading as I can and really want to make the best decisions.

    I figured that we have a very large vehicle and will be staying in a 2-bedroom, 2-bath cottage... so the birds would be better off with us... now i'm doubting myself [​IMG]
     
  9. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    At 4-5 weeks or so, they will be bonded to you so one or even two weeks away or even a month will be fine. They won't have pasty butt problems any more, and if they are inside, you probably don't even have to give them heat. I take heat away at 6 weeks from birds living outside in temps between 30-40F.

    I would leave them at home, the stress of the trip, plus your interaction with them while stressed, will likely cause them to associate you with stress. Leaving them at home, they will only associate you with good, and be that much happier.

    I leave my adults at home with my parents 3 months at a time, and every time I go home, they run up to the car. They will remember you. No need to stress them or you out on the trip!

    ETA: If you have day temps between 60-80 (that day temp is as hot as our warmest summer days), they will probably do just fine starting outside at 4 weeks old! Shoot, at 80F day temps, you can show them the coop and let them use it for the day hours in a few weeks, and acclimate them to the coop before you go. They should be fine! The movement of the car on the ride will likely be stressful, and by 4 weeks, they probably don't need to be in a brooder anymore and will have likly out grown a tub by then. However, I do brood mine outside starting from like 3 days old so they are pretty hardy if raised hardy. They'll like you just the same when you get back. Reach under, not over, and lots of treats do wonders!
     
  10. guesswhatchickenbutt

    guesswhatchickenbutt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 5, 2009
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    silkiechicken - so since our temps will be in the 80s during the day and 60s at night, I'm guessing my 4-week-old's could be left outside in their coop? My DH will NOT let us leave a heat lamp on in our house while we're gone...which was one of the main reasons we were taking them.

    If they can be left outside with no heat, maybe that's the best choice. Their coop has a fully enclosed mini-run (with wood floor) so they'd have fresh air and a place to perch outside along with a place to go inside if they figure out the stairs at that age.

    Thanks for the advice. This really is a GREAT group of people for us newbies!
     

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