How do you vacation when you have chickens?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Chicken.Lytle, Dec 14, 2010.

  1. DelcoChix

    DelcoChix Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 12, 2009
    Central Ohio
    I also have quite a few members in our animal family (horses, dogs, cats, and of course, the flock),but we also love to travel once or twice a year soooo I have a couple of really good, non-farm friends who I give a lot of advance notice to, humbly asking (with much gratitude) if they would be interested and available to farm-sit while we're gone, and also family is available if we aren't travelling together. We always have a run though a week or two before we leave town so they know what they will be doing.
    I try really hard to make it as simple as possible for whoever is taking care of the critturs, i.e., minimal stall cleaning (usually not an issue in the summer as they horses are out in their turnout.) I also have a word.doc saved on my pc that I just update each time--had detailed instructions, a page per animal species with all the little things I just do without thinking about. That is really helpful--I even specify things like 'the black pony,' or the 'red horse,' and which chickens are in which area (three coop/runs)...would rather have too much detail instead of not enough. One city friend who loves to come out and play farmer...short term of course...always asks if I have my "novel" done yet? Having it in writing is really nice, and I just update it each time we leave.
    I also have everything done that can possibly be done in advance so it is very easy to do--label feed containers with a sharpie and duct tape, coop/run cleaned, plenty of feed, treats labelled,etc. I do not have inexperienced folks letting our chickens free range, too many chances of missing one later. I also reassure them not to stress out if one happens to die while we are gone--maybe that sounds cruel but I really don't want my friends, who are helping us out, to feel so worried they miss out on the fun of being out in the country--I do everything I can to protect the girls but as we all know, sometimes things just happen. So far we've been extremly blessed by great friends and family so I think we're doing something right.
    The last thing I make sure is more for the dogs and horses.. I notify my vets so if our helpers call the vet, they know it's OK to come out and bill me later (I have their contact info on my 'novel')...and also my vets are willing to answer concerns over the phone too as they know I'm not around. Makes it a lot easier to leave town and have a relaxing vacation knowing I've done everything I possibly could to prevent problems and also it really is nice to get away for a need to get up and take care of everyone...if only for a few days.[​IMG]
    Then cannot wait to come home and see the rest of the family...good luck, it can be done and you can have peace of mind...and it is a good thing to do. They will be fine.
  2. nanneram

    nanneram New Egg

    Dec 10, 2010
    Call a PET-SITTER!
  3. swimmer

    swimmer Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 17, 2010
    We just top off the food/water if it's a few days. Longer, we have a freind come over once a day to feed/water collect eggs.
  4. NarleevilleClucks

    NarleevilleClucks Out Of The Brooder

    May 27, 2009
    Linthicum, Maryland
    I never leave my dog, but my cat and 5 hens get left behind at least a few times a year. I have great neighbors with a teenaged daughter who looks after them. It's simple really...she comes over in the a.m. and opens the coop, checks for eggs and gives them food and fresh water. At dusk she comes back and shuts the coop door (as they go there at dusk). She feeds the cat once a day, and takes home the eggs she collects, and I usually give her about $50 for four or five days. It all works out. I can't imagine never leaving or sending my family away without me. Although, I have urban chickens, not a farm. Farm life is different. Good luck!
  5. amberflea

    amberflea Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 11, 2010
    Central WI
    We go away most every weekend in the summer/fall up north as we just bought a cabin on a lake last year. The 13 chickens are kept penned with their bird door open so they have access to the coop or fenced in run, same with the 14 guineas. We started using the nipple watering system, and can put plenty of water in for 2 or 3 days, as well as enough feed in the feeders inside and out. If we are gone more than 3 days, I have my dog sitter stop over to feed them and change water. She doesn't like to let them free range, and I agree, as shes afraid one might not come in, and she wouldn't be able to find it (it's never happened, but it worries her). Plus that way she only needs to make one trip a day to my house.

    If and when we take other vacations (out west hunting for 10 days) she stays with my 4 dogs also, and usually spends nights here. The pay for just the chickens is about $10.00 a day, and to do dogs and chickens I pay her about $25 a day.

    She doesn't like getting chicken poop on her shoes tho! [​IMG] I did offer her my rubber boots... but she declined [​IMG]

    We live out in the rural area, and its sometimes hard for her to get here, (20 miles round trip from town). I do have a neighbor who has a young boy that I am thinking of asking this summer to watch the chickens, I think he would like to make some extra money, plus its handier for him to come over.[​IMG]
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2010
  6. chicks4kids

    chicks4kids Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 22, 2009
    Northern Indiana
    How long are you talking about?? I've left for a week without worries in the summer. But if it's longer, that might help people get a better idea of suggestions....
  7. Chicken.Lytle

    Chicken.Lytle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 19, 2010
    Montgomery County, TX
    My friend Dr Dolittle watched my flock while I was away. Now I am back with a ToDo list for even more needed coop improvements .
  8. PaulaSB12

    PaulaSB12 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 6, 2010
    Quote:Can't you take them with you?
  9. kuntrygirl

    kuntrygirl Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

    Feb 20, 2008
    Opelousas, Louisiana
    I am trying to take a vacation but it's difficult finding a pet sitter or someone who charges reasonable prices. I ventured out in the month of September looking for a pet sitter. I contacted a local pet sitter and she came out to visit. She quoted a price of $75.00 per day. That was way too much for my budget. I called one of the local high schools that have the FFA- Future Farmers of America club and talked with the teacher that works with the club. He said that he had a student that would be interested in the pet sitting job. The teacher and I talked several times and tried to schedule a meeting but something was always changing on the student's part and he couldn't make it out to my place to visit. This was in September and it's almost January and I still don't have a pet sitter. And I still haven't taken a vacation. [​IMG]
  10. kuntrygirl

    kuntrygirl Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

    Feb 20, 2008
    Opelousas, Louisiana
    Quote:That is a great idea. I wish we could create some kind of sticky that could have a list by state/city/region of those BYC'ers who are willing to pet sit so that we can use the list to find someone in our local area. That would be a great tool. [​IMG]
    1 person likes this.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by