Newbie chicken owner and travel question

Sueby

Free Ranging
Apr 23, 2019
2,041
15,130
636
CT
I leave my chickens all the time. I have an auto door & a camera so I can check on them. I always have at least 2 feeders & waterers in case anything happens to one of them. If I'm gone for more than a couple days I have a neighbor collect eggs, but they don't have to do any more than that.

I wouldn't hesitate to leave them with your set up with the pop door open as long as you have an anti dig apron. Your set up looks pretty secure!
 
Mar 22, 2021
123
408
126
Wisconsin
I leave my chickens. They are free ranging and are pretty independent aside from me feeding and watering them daily. I have an automatic chicken door that I run on a 12 volt battery (happy henhouse Sherlock automatic coop door) I got it off Amazon, the owner has great customer service and can answer any and all questions! The door is great too. I set up a camera with an old cellphone and use the app Alfred camera. I made an auto feeder from a bucket and I have two 5 gallon Waters. The longest I've been away is 3 days. I give tons of feed and I buy a flock block as a back up feeder. They do very well on there own and free range the entire time. I know it's chancy but they are living to the fullest of their little chicken life's.
 

Folly's place

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Sep 13, 2011
24,128
41,721
1,156
southern Michigan
We had cattle until last winter, and still have horses, also dogs and cats, so we need a house sitter, or at least twice daily visitations if the dogs are boarded. Friends! Friends who also have horses, dogs, chickens, and we trade off 'pet sitting' with each other. Also neighbors who will look in, and sometimes family too. Network, and make it work, because having lots of critters means supervision by other people who know what to look for.
One Thanksgiving I took a horse with an eye injury to the university for a neighbor while i was farm sitting. She would do the same thing for me in the same circumstances.
Mary
 

U_Stormcrow

Free Ranging
Jun 7, 2020
4,632
13,509
536
North FL Panhandle Region / Wiregrass
Comes down to a combination of duration, predator protection, and risk tolerance.

I think nothing of leaving my birds for four days at a time. They have a huge run, a massive pasture (protected by electric fencing), I've already come to grips with potential predator losses - can you imagine stringing netting over 4.5 acres??? and electric fencing only works till a storm drops a tree on it, someone digs under it, or they find a path over it - my electric runs thru the woods.

Why four days as my limit? Because I have goats. And while I have two different 275 gal totes that collect rainwater off different roofs, to supply numerous watering stations (so even if one springs a leak...) plus a static source kiddie pool, plus a statck source duck pond, I am limited in how much food I can supply the chickens and ducks. If the goats manage to get it, and eat many days worth, it doesn't end well for the goats. Given my pasture size, and what's normally growing at any time of year, I'm quite confident my birds could fend for themselves for several days with nothing more than a good meal before I leave.

If I had someone to visit, and tip over 15# of feed every day? I could go indefinitely. Without the goats, some J'style feeders full of pellets (I have three) would stock 150# worth of food - that's 10 days for the birds plus what they get free ranging - a two week vacation for me. (we average 1" of rainfall weekly, more than enough is collected off the roof to meet all the animal's needs, indefinitely, because 1" of rainfall will fill the main 275 gallon tank, and put about 45 gallons in the secondary).

There are a number of things you can do to automate feeding and watering, which are useful all the time, not just when leaving the property. But the risk assessment? That's very personal, and situational.
 

Chickmamajessica

Chirping
Aug 1, 2021
82
118
96
Personally, my husband and I cannot leave due to the fact that we have about 90-100 chickens and lots of other animals (definitely can't leave the emus unattended), and we haven't ever left our home for more than just a few hours for the past 2 years. All of our family lives in Texas still, and the nice people we've made friends with out here all have their own farms to tend to or they're all 65+ with health issues. Frankly, I wouldn't be able to trust anyone with my animals (including my chickens) because at the end of the day, no one knows how to take care of your flock like you.

A real life example of this occurred to my grandparent in laws a few months ago when they came up here to visit. They had left their neighbors that had watched their chickens before in charge to put the chickens up at night and collect eggs. They had an automatic waterer and feeder so they didn't even have to feed them. The coop was predator proof, but the neighbors didn't put the chickens up until after dark one night, and a raccoon or possum took off with 2 of their girls. They have a smaller flock like you so 2 out of 10 is a big deal. To make matters even worse, the neighbors also didn't collect eggs for a few days and they came home to a lot of broken, nasty eggs in their nesting boxes. This was the 2nd time this same problem happened to them, but the other time was their other grandson watching them. He went out with his girlfriend one night and didn't put them up on time and predators took advantage.

That being said, don't shy away from going on your trip. It seems like you won't be gone long, you have a small flock, and you can always do what others mentioned above and get an automatic door and even a camera. If you do leave someone to watch your flock, I would pick someone you know for sure is really responsible and will do what they need to do. Otherwise, expect mistakes/accidents to happen. Like I said above, no one knows your chickens like you do.
Wow! You certainly have your hands full! That’s a good way of putting it: no one will take care of them the way you do.

I do have a friend who grew up with chickens and she has offered to help with the few days we will be gone. That makes me feel much better!
 

Chickmamajessica

Chirping
Aug 1, 2021
82
118
96
Comes down to a combination of duration, predator protection, and risk tolerance.

I think nothing of leaving my birds for four days at a time. They have a huge run, a massive pasture (protected by electric fencing), I've already come to grips with potential predator losses - can you imagine stringing netting over 4.5 acres??? and electric fencing only works till a storm drops a tree on it, someone digs under it, or they find a path over it - my electric runs thru the woods.

Why four days as my limit? Because I have goats. And while I have two different 275 gal totes that collect rainwater off different roofs, to supply numerous watering stations (so even if one springs a leak...) plus a static source kiddie pool, plus a statck source duck pond, I am limited in how much food I can supply the chickens and ducks. If the goats manage to get it, and eat many days worth, it doesn't end well for the goats. Given my pasture size, and what's normally growing at any time of year, I'm quite confident my birds could fend for themselves for several days with nothing more than a good meal before I leave.

If I had someone to visit, and tip over 15# of feed every day? I could go indefinitely. Without the goats, some J'style feeders full of pellets (I have three) would stock 150# worth of food - that's 10 days for the birds plus what they get free ranging - a two week vacation for me. (we average 1" of rainfall weekly, more than enough is collected off the roof to meet all the animal's needs, indefinitely, because 1" of rainfall will fill the main 275 gallon tank, and put about 45 gallons in the secondary).

There are a number of things you can do to automate feeding and watering, which are useful all the time, not just when leaving the property. But the risk assessment? That's very personal, and situational.
All great points. I did just find out my friend grew up with chickens and she is willing to help out, which makes me feel much more relieved. Thanks for your input!
 

Tclloyd0812

Songster
Mar 13, 2021
582
1,897
231
Ozark Mountain Foothills of Arkansas
Wow! You certainly have your hands full! That’s a good way of putting it: no one will take care of them the way you do.

I do have a friend who grew up with chickens and she has offered to help with the few days we will be gone. That makes me feel much better!
That's good you found someone to help out! Like I mentioned, don't shy away from going on your trip, everything will be fine especially in that short amount of time 😊
 

K0k0shka

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
Jul 24, 2019
3,371
9,021
487
Boston Area, MA
My Coop
My Coop
If the run is predator proof, you can leave the pop door open and let them go in and out. A friend checking in to make sure they didn't spill the water (or getting a waterer that doesn't spill) will help, too. I left my chickens for 3 days over Labor Day weekend and only had a friend check in on them, they did fine.

By the way, on a side note - that coop and run is way too small for 8 chickens. As you've seen, life happens, and sometimes things come up and the chickens may indeed need to spend some time locked inside the coop. Crammed in a space so small, they'll peck each other's eyes out. Think about expanding their living quarters, for everybody's sake.
 

Chickmamajessica

Chirping
Aug 1, 2021
82
118
96
If the run is predator proof, you can leave the pop door open and let them go in and out. A friend checking in to make sure they didn't spill the water (or getting a waterer that doesn't spill) will help, too. I left my chickens for 3 days over Labor Day weekend and only had a friend check in on them, they did fine.

By the way, on a side note - that coop and run is way too small for 8 chickens. As you've seen, life happens, and sometimes things come up and the chickens may indeed need to spend some time locked inside the coop. Crammed in a space so small, they'll peck each other's eyes out. Think about expanding their living quarters, for everybody's sake.
yes! That’s the plan! And since they aren’t laying eggs yet, I won’t need a friend to gather those either. We have 4 water options (2 in the coop and 2 in the run) and they shouldn’t be able to tip over but I can have my friend check in. We are also going to use a passcode lock on the exterior run door.

As far as sizing goes, The run isn’t too small: 5x16= 80 sq. Ft and it’s recommended 10 sq ft per chicken in the run. Plus, we free range for hours during the day normally. The coop, however, is small for 8 grown chickens by 7 square feet. 5x5=25 and we need 32 for 8 chickens. But my chickens won’t be fully grown by the time we go on the trip and we have time to consider expanding or not (most likely not since we will likely be giving a few away). I know we are also getting rid of one chicken because she turned out to be a he, so then we will only be off by 3 sq. Feet. Most of the day they won’t be in the coop and have 10 feet of roosting space so I’m not concerned about that. It’s mostly just for this trip. But thank you!
 

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