How do you make sure your chickens are taken care of when you go out of town?


6 Years
Mar 11, 2013
We just went out of town for a 2 days and hired the 12 year old neighbor to feed and water our chickens (we have not family close to use to help). We also let him take home the eggs to enjoy with his family. However came home with to the chickens not being feed. Which I really upset about. The poor things went most of the day without any food and a small amount dirty water to drink. So how do you make sure your chickens are going to be feed and water when you go out of town. Do you trade care with other chicken owners? If so how do you find them? Do you just put extra water and food blocks? I need some ideas.

We don't go out town much, but I want to make sure my girls are take care of when we do..
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Greetings and
! Happy you joined us! Just sounds like you need to find a more dependable chicken sitter. If it's any consolation, chickens will probably be okay without food for a couple of days and even if they had dirty water, they're gonna be alright. I'd sure let the person who let you down know about it though!! You might drive around your town/neighborhood to see if you see some coops. If you find some poultry keepers and their birds look like they are well taken care of, you can at least assume this person would treat your flock well if you came to an agreement. You might want to post in your state's thread in the link below - maybe there's a local who is the solution to your problem. (But extra food and water in the coop is a good back up measure). Good luck to you!
So did the person even come over or did they just take your money and not bother to do anything? I would definitely say something to the person and get my money back. I have been out of town several times since we have gotten chickens but my husband stayed behind and took care of the pets. Normally we don't go anywhere (our last vacation together was our honeymoon 3 years ago) but if we do between his family and mine everyone gets taken care of. We have to split the pets up usually my parents will take the dogs and cats and my husbands sister take the birds. Recently I found out my husbands sister and her friend was spreading rumors about me and trying to get me fired from my job so needless to say she won't be watching my pets anymore. So I need a plan B..
I hire a bonded, insured animal caretaker to come in daily and take care of my outside dogs and fowl. We took a two week trip for our 40 th anniversary, and she lived in our home while we were gone. It gives me a feeling of security to know that she is caring for my animals.
That would be so cool to hire a pet sitter, but I don't think I can pay a pet sitter. I posted my city (I think). I don't really know what to do I don't have any plans to go out of town for a while, but I will have to find someone else to take care of them that for sure..
He did come over and get the eggs and throw a little bit of food in their coop( I saw so food on the ground around their coop so I guessing that what he did). I know he did not open the door and fill up the feeder. No sure way. I think he was just being lazy. Thought throwing a hand full of food would be ok. Did not even fill up the water at all the hole time I was gone. Day 2 he did not even come over as far as I can tell.
Like redsoxs said it is not the end of the world for them and they will be OK. There are many avenues you could pursue in the event that you go away again. You could contact your local 4H extension office to see if there are any clubs close by to you and if there are chicken specific clubs, even if there isn't many kids in these clubs also have chickens. 4H kids are very dedicated to their animals and from what I can see most are go-getters willing to make a few dollars. I speak of that because all 3 of my kids belong to 4H although my oldest has now finished with it due to age. I also volunteer at our local fair in the 4H barns and see many dedicated kids there at the crack of dawn doing chores. Search out online to see if there are any poultry clubs around you and get to know some of the people and maybe trade off care with them. Also post on craigslist to see if there is any homeowners with chickens and work a deal with them on swapping time away. But on CL I would want to go to a responders house to make sure they have chickens and they are well kept before anything else. There are many scammers out there. Retired people also deserve a look as well, many on fixed incomes would enjoy fresh eggs and a few bucks. Go to a local coffee shop at 6 in the AM and there is always a few old timers hanging out, worth a shot. Just a few ideas
short of hiring a professional.
I would look into building a larger capacity auto feeder out of PVC pipe that can be filled from outside the coop/run, and a drinking pan elevated on blocks up against the fence that can be filled with a hose. That way if you have a kid doing it, they don't need to go inside. Some chickens are sneaky, and wary of strangers, so should they escape at the door, the chicken watcher may have a very difficult time catching them. Especially if they're not familiar with chickens.

When we go out of town, if it's only a couple of days I put out 3 drinkers and the giant feeder. All drinkers are elevated to keep them clean. If it's a week or more, we have sister-in-law stay or look in on them, and to get eggs and clean up. We did find other local chicken keepers to share responsibilities with through a local Yahoo chicken group. Sister-in-law doesn't know chickens, and isn't very good at catching them, so I try to make everything as easy as possible by having access to the important things without opening any doors.

But really, we just don't go out of town. Our dogs are crazy for anyone but us, so if they can't go, we don't go. There's only one person they'll listen to and who can handle them, and that's my dad. He's not a chicken guy. Previously we've had to split the animals up based on who could do competent care for what. Still cheaper than hiring an expert to come stay.

If you want to know how much food and water needs to be out, set it all up as if you're leaving. Then watch, and do nothing, as if you're not there. You can tweak the system before you leave and get a lot more peace of mind.

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