How do you go on vacation?


5 Years
Apr 15, 2014
I'm assuming folks within this forum have collections similar to my own. I have 6 laying hens, 34 eggs due to hatch, 4 adult Flemish Giants, their 16 babies, 4 dogs, 4 guinea pigs, their babies, goldfish and a tortoise. I am supposed to go to Cali for memorial day weekend. I looked at in home overnight petsitting but its very expensive and there's too much for them to manage likely. I really have no one I trust with this many pets. What are some people's solution for a 3 day vacation and large pet collections? Thanks


7 Years
Dec 30, 2012
north adams
what's a vacation? lol. maybe ask neighbors that you trust if they could come check on and feed and water everyone 2 times a day. send dogs to kennel. I have 5 dogs and haven't been on a vacay in forever simply because it would cost more to board them than to get a motel room. good luck :)


9 Years
Jan 19, 2011
Escanaba, MI
Vacations here are planned incredibly far in advance with the sitter being a very trustworthy person who is both well paid and well trained. They stay at the house, too. No need to board any dogs when they're at the house with them.

I have someone who will watch my animals in exchange for me watching theirs. They trust me with their horses, goats, and fowl. And I trust them with my goats and fowl as well. Dogs usually come along on vacation, here.

The solution I think you've already written off. It can cost a lot to watch just a single dog. Multiply the number and diversity of animals, and you will need to shell out a substantial amount for whatever sitter you hire. They pretty much would need to stay at the home with the number of animals to ensure everybody is OK. Seriously, you have four dogs. Trust me, you want them taken potty on a very regular basis. And that means someone staying with them.


7 Years
Aug 19, 2012
Los Angeles
You could also try to get multiple people to come and take care of different animals/parts so it's not too overwhelming for one person. Perhaps have neighbors or ever neighbor kids take on small tasks and easy chores for a small amount and then closer friends/family or a professional for other things that need more speciality care--sometimes its just worth the cost.

I went out of the country for two weeks last year on honeymoon and even with only 4 dogs and 6 hens it was a worry. I paid my neighbor to do multiple daily visits and to take one older, ill dog home with him and then had other people stopping by for various specific things.

You could also check your local thread or see if there are any local MeetUp chicken groups in your area -- perhaps someone would be willing to trade you pet sitting for future pet sitting favors.
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Some pet sitters charge a flat fee for 24-hour in-home care, but most of them adjust their fee if they are responsible for more than the "average" number of pets and livestock. Think about how long it takes you to care for your animals - it will take the sitters the same amount of time or LONGER since they are not as familiar with the routine. You have to be prepared to pay them for their time. They will be spending time at your house that could be spent doing 2 or 3 other sitting jobs and earning them more money than what you are paying them.

I don't have quite the same number of animals as you - I only have 3 horses, 3 goats, 1 steer, 4 dogs, 3 cats, 21 laying hens and 28 meat chicks. When I have to leave, I try to simplify everything for the sitters. Everything is color coded so the right species/animal gets the right feed (stall signs, labels, instructions, buckets are all the same color for each animal and/or species). I have detailed instructions posted in the barns where they are easily visible during feeding time (and they are printed on colored cardstock to match buckets, signs, etc.). My sitters really appreciate the organization, and reflect that in their price. They charge me LESS than my neighbors, even though I have 2x the number of animals.

I also let my in-home sitters have free access to my food and pantry, and even plan to get them gift cards to their favorite restaurant for their next stay. I want them to come back!


9 Years
Sep 16, 2010
Pensacola, FL
I don't have many animals, but be careful who you put in charge. My mom has left the pen door open several times while I have been on trips and my birds all got out, but luckily they did not run off.

I have shown my boyfriend how to feed and care for my birds, so I really trust him to take care of the birds when I am gone. He does a good job since he pays attention when I care for the birds and he cares about them since he knows them.

You might not have anyone you trust with your animals as far as care goes, but for the future you should maybe consider training someone about how to care for all of your critters. I used to get very nervous leaving my peafowl in my parent's care, but my boyfriend makes me feel less worried.

Another story...I hatched out a peachick on the day our family was going off on a vacation. I had to take the chick to my Grandma's and she watched him and also my friend's mom visited every day to feed the peachick and play with it, etc. When I got back the peachick was very well socialized and healthy. These people had no previous experience with chicks, but did a great job! Now that same bird is all grown up and he is a beautiful, friendly peacock. He is my favorite bird!


9 Years
Apr 11, 2011
:gig Vacation?

The last time we went on vacation was about 3 years ago. I had 2 dogs, more chickens than I could count, 2 cats, a rabbit, several fish tanks and a couple of pet mice. My brother house/animal sat for me. He was about 17 at the time and did a great job and his price was right (pizza money, stocked fridge, tv and the freedom of staying at my house). But, even though he did a great job, it was an incredibly stressful situation for me. I called everyday of the week we were gone and felt I'd have been able to relax more if my husband and I would've just spent our vacation at home. Which is probably the reason I haven't been on a vacation in such a long time.

Sorry, I don't think anything I typed was helpful at all. Good luck and I hope you enjoy your vacay!


5 Years
Apr 15, 2014
Ok. I have been really brainstorming here. And thanks for all the ideas. I think dividing stuff up is the key and I'm totally gonna color code and label. I also learned on the baby chick forum that my hens will kill my chicks. So I'm taking my 6 hens to my parents. Then selling the 16 Flemish Giant babies. Then letting the 30 chicks (90% hatched!), rabbit adults and guinea pigs in the run. Then my stepson will stay here and feed the dogs and check the pets in the run but they should be set with auto feeders/waterers to last 3 days. But I can't guarantee they won't clog or whatever. The dogs have a dog door and pool. So even if the stepson doesn't do a great job, everyone should still be alive.


9 Years
Mar 14, 2012
I'm fortunate enough to have five adult children and their signifigant others. There is always someone willing to stay at the house. That said, it is always planned way in advance to make sure we have everything in order.
This has occurred rarely though as I generally don't take vacations...more like going out of town for a funeral, illness in the family, emergency etc.!


6 Years
Jan 18, 2014
I'm fortunate enough to have my mother close by. That being said I'm sure you could find someone and pay them a flat fee and leave them a manual. There are many highschoolers and some college kids that would stay at your house (assuming you have tv and internet of course ;) ) and you could pay per day/night. They would be MUCH cheaper and would enjoy hanging out, getting paid to hang out.

Trust me, I dog sat for a few weeks one summer... best job ever! If you lived near me I would, and I'm an adult with my own house!

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