How to leave 8 week old chicks while on vacation.

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by The Balcom Clan, Oct 17, 2015.

  1. The Balcom Clan

    The Balcom Clan Out Of The Brooder

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    Our 5 babies are just over 2 weeks old and we are going out of town for 10 days when they will be almost 9 weeks old. (the timing of chicks and the trip weren't in my control) :)
    Since this is our first time having chicks, I'm wondering what kind of attention they'll still need at 9 weeks? We have friends who live close by and have chickens that I was going to ask to come help, but I'm curious how much "help" is going to be needed? Because we are going to be gone for so long, I'm worried we're asking too much!
    I have nipple waterers that will last them a couple of days at a time and am hoping to have a feeding system that will last a few days (if not the whole 10 days!) as well. But at that age, will they still have to have their chips/paper towels cleaned every day? We have a large 4x4 shipping crate we were going to set up on our covered patio for them. We are doing the heating pad brooder method so they'll have a warm place to sleep still. We live in Washington and it's anyone's guess what the weather will be like the first 2 weeks of December! I'm just wondering how intense their care will still be at 9 weeks. I hope I'm not asking too much of my friends!
     
  2. Goulais Girl

    Goulais Girl Out Of The Brooder

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    Could you ask your friends to take them to their house while you're gone, if they already have chickens might make it easier if yours are in a little portable coop? Easier for them at least. [​IMG]
     
  3. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    They should have a coop and run at 9 weeks of age and long been weened from heating pads/heat lamps.

    When I go away for days I pay a neighbor (eggs, beer, favor or whatever) to open the coop each morning and ensure the water and feed is full. Then at dusk or shortly after they come and close the coop door. That's it. In winter you need some sort of method to deice the water. I don't know about nipple water systems and winter but myself use a heated water fountain out in run.
     
  4. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

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    Unless you have very cold sensitive breeds, at nine weeks of age they should do fine outside, especially with wind protection and a roof. They will be fairly large by then and a little crowded in the space. Shavings bedded deep should work fine, and larger feeders and a water source. Definitely have someone check on them daily, and be very careful about avoiding predator issues. A covered patio sounds very risky to me! Mary
     
  5. The Balcom Clan

    The Balcom Clan Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for your input Mary!
    Can I ask why the covered patio sounds risky? I was thinking it would be safe. I supposed I could always put the 4x4 crate in our family room! :)
    We have a coop and fenced in run for them but that would require someone coming twice a day to open and close the coop door. I was trying to come up with the least burdensome way for someone else to care for them.
     
  6. The Balcom Clan

    The Balcom Clan Out Of The Brooder

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    They have a history of mites with their chickens. I think they have them under control at the moment, but should I be worried? They'd probably keep the two groups of birds separate, but might let our chicks in their back yard where their chickens also go....do you foresee any issues with that?
     
  7. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    You definitely don't want your chicks going to their house. Where do you live? What will your temps be? How big is your coop? IMO, if the coop is VERY well ventilated, they would be better off shut in the coop with their feed and water than left in a box on your patio. Are these people neighbors? How inconvenient would it be for them to let them in and out on a daily basis?
     
  8. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

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    Your coop must be larger than the box, so having them in a predator proof, well ventilated coop would be a good idea, as long as the food and water and bedding are fine. Mary
     
  9. The Balcom Clan

    The Balcom Clan Out Of The Brooder

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    We live south of Seattle, so it *shouldn't* get too cold but our weather is so unpredictable.
    The "box" is a 4x4 shipping crate, like what apples are shipped in, without a lid. We would be putting wood over half for protection from the weather (even though it would be under our patio cover) and then netting over the other half for protection from any critters. The coop is 3x4.
    [​IMG]
    I haven't been sure when to put them out there as there isn't any light except through the little screened in window above the nesting boxes. (see photo)

    Our friends live about a quarter mile away so it wouldn't exactly be convenient for them to come twice a day to open/close the coop door. [​IMG] Which was why I was thinking of taking the shipping crate to their house and putting it in their covered car port. Our birds would be away from their birds, but it would still be convenient for them to check on our birds.
     
  10. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

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    So your brooder is actually larger than your new coop? Use the larger space, with a very secure hardware cloth cover. If it's a store-bought coop, return it and start over. If not, rebuild it to be chicken friendly. It's too small, too dark, and lacks ventilation. Mary
     
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