How do you feed your freerange (urban) chickens while on vacation ?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by rosiethechicken, Aug 3, 2010.

  1. rosiethechicken

    rosiethechicken Songster

    Aug 2, 2010
    We are raising 5 BRs in urban setting (1/3 acre). We have squirrel, ground hog and chipmunk problem as it is.
    We may go on a week vacation in winter.


    1. Leave the feed out and let chickens and other animals sort it out - concerns that chipmunks/squirrels will finish feed in couple of days
    2. Build / but automated feed dispenser - expensive.
    3. Build mechanical feed dispenser that chickens need to learn to use - saw picture/plan on these forums.
    4. Ask someone to attend daily and feed them - need to bother others and have to give them keys etc.

    Wondering how others have dealt with feeding in similar situation.
  2. elmo

    elmo Songster

    May 23, 2009
    What do you do with your chickens at night?
  3. rosiethechicken

    rosiethechicken Songster

    Aug 2, 2010
    Quote:I am completing the automated coop door that opens at dawn and closes at dusk.
    But I cant figure the feed thing.

    Moderators: I should have posted this in feed forum and mistakenly put it in "Eggs" forum. Please feel free to move.
  4. zazouse

    zazouse Crowing

    Sep 7, 2009
    Southeast texas
    Do you have a deer hunter friend that hads a feeder with a timmer on it?
  5. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    Why not make a big self-feeder out of a 5 gallon bucket and a potted plant saucer? OR an ABS pipe feeder? INSIDE the coop, so the chickens go inside to get their feed... and there is less chance of the wild critters getting it all.


    So, with the auto pop door, and the feeder inside, they're basically on their own and okay (enough) whilst you're vacationing. Don't forget to leave plenty of water in waterers for them, too!!!
  6. rosiethechicken

    rosiethechicken Songster

    Aug 2, 2010
    gryeyes: the auto door stays open during the day. And we have squirrels, chipmunks stealing the food already.
    They are getting into the coop and eating the food while chickens are free ranging. I have to take the food
    away completely from the coop because of the critters.
  7. swordgeek

    swordgeek Chirping

    Jun 23, 2010
    Westford, MA
    I'm not sure where you live, but around here, the chipmunks and woodchucks (groundhogs) are all hibernating through the winter. There are still squirrels around, but they generally go after my wild bird feeders, not my chicken food. I keep the feed inside the coop all winter, as well as a heater under the waterer. I've never seen a squirrel inside the coop - though I do get mice and chipmunks coming and going in the summer, until the birds go after them.

    Whenever I go away, regardless of the time of year, I either have a friend or a friend's teenage daughter pet-sit for me. (If it's the friend, it's generally a trade-off in kind, plus maybe some good artisanal beer. If it's the teen, I pay her.) They change the water daily, and refill the feed. Sometimes even bring treats. [​IMG] It's nice having people I trust who can look in on the birds - and my cat - and report back to me how everything is going. I'll usually set up a heat lamp on a timer that she can turn on for a few hours if the forecast calls for severe cold. I don't have her let them out of the run while we're away, for fear that she won't be able to round them all up again. The birds don't usually want to leave the coop a lot in winter, anyway. Too much snow to find good eats out there.
  8. Gypsy07

    Gypsy07 Songster

    Feb 4, 2010
    Glasgow, Scotland
    We have fabulous neighbours who also have chickens, and we take it in turns to look after each others flock when either of us goes away anywhere. They only have four hens and I have nearer to twenty, but they go away on holiday much more than us, so the work required balances out quite nicely I think.

    I wouldn't be happy leaving my hens alone with no-one checking up on them. What if all their water got spilled on the first day and it was really hot weather? Or if their coop door slammed over and they all got shut outside at night? Or if one got injured and was bleeding slowly? I'd worry too much about something bad happening.

    Perhaps you could find someone to pop by and have a quick check on your flock without having to give them a set of keys to your house? I'd think most decent kids would love the responsibility of looking after your hens for a week, especially if you were offering to pay them for their trouble.
  9. Chickenaddict

    Chickenaddict Songster

    May 19, 2008
    East Bethel MN
    If I leave for even just a night I have a family member chicken sit for me. They put themselves to bed between 6:30 pm and 8 pm. With the heat lately someone needs to be here to refresh the waterers every few hours and lock everyone up at bedtime. There is no way I would be comfortable leaving them by themselves even overnight.
  10. austradork

    austradork In the Brooder

    Apr 12, 2010
    We trade dog sitting for chicken sitting with our friends.

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