Took three days vacation....came back, no eggs!


8 Years
Mar 20, 2011
oh, I am just at my wit's end! I left for three days during Christmas and had my kids care for my hens. Bad idea! I came back to find that they had no water (except for access to the pond) and were fed nothing but oyster shells by my granddaughter who mistook it for feed! I have 19 hens and I was getting 9-12 eggs daily (feed them lay pellets). They are free-range hens, but there was little to be found for them to eat....maybe a few bugs. I am mortified! They look and act healthy; just aren't nesting! Will they bounce back from their lack of food/water for that 3 day duration?
If they still look healthy and are pecking around, then yes they will bounce back after a good feed. Remember they saved a lot of energy by not laying eggs. If they had pond water and access to grass and bugs, it hopefully hasn't hurt them much. You could give them some oatmeal mush type stuff with raisins in to help them up again.
They should be fine but next time you leave it might be worthwhile to leave enough feeders out to last the entire time you are gone. Same with the water.

When we leave on 2 week vacations we leave enough feed and water for at least a week - this means we use our spare feeders and waterers and set them out along with our regular feed and water containers. Our dog sitter then goes out and replenishes 1x during the entire time we are gone. We also allow her to take home any eggs that are laid - which we find is good incentive to have her go check on our birds on a regular basis. In fact she gives our ducks extra swimming water more frequently that we do!

BTW, I would have expected that you would have at least gotten a few eggs. The hens should have had some eggs in 'production' when you left and I would have expected those to have been laid even if you go no others during that time. Any idea what happened to those eggs?
Most of my coops have food and water for at least a week.

They'll probably take a week to get back to laying.
Short on water was probably more stressful than food.
OK, so now you have a new job! Search the forums for the best feeders and waterers. Then get busy and build them! That way, you can go off for 3 days and not worry that the kids and grands are not doing a good job. All they'll have to do is collect the eggs!

The PVC feeder and bucket/nipple water system work great for me!
I agree.

Eggs contain a lot of water, so if they don't have access to water, they can't lay. Hopefully the stress doesn't put them into a molt.
Thanks all! Actually, it was my 35 year-old daughter who was to feed/water my hens.....I think she sat at the computer and sent my 5-year-old granddaughter out to do the chores! I thought I raised her better than that...
Anyway, yes, there were a few eggs the first and second day which they gathered and took home. I'll just need to get a qualified livestock lover to watch my animals next time....AND get the larger waterers and feeders!
I use a metal dog feeder, the kind that holds a sack of dog feed. DH put a screw in to hold the feeder part open and accessible for chickens. It works for me and mine. I did have a new roo that had a hard time getting used to it; he wanted to scratch it out everywhere. It works for crumbles or pellets. You need to keep it dry but I do so by positioning it where the rain does not blow in it.
I am so sorry that happened. I am sure we all know people who we thought we could trust, and then have fail at something so basic. I used to make good $ petsitting in my old neighborhood, since I was trustworthy, reliable, and dedicated. I do miss living there.

Somewhere on this forum there is a thread that has a list of people who will do chicken sitting. Maybe there is someone in your area?

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