What should the chicken sitter to do?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by IdyllwildAcres, Dec 15, 2016.

  1. IdyllwildAcres

    IdyllwildAcres Chillin' With My Peeps

    Well the coop is coming along and the chicks are ordered, and the first time I will have to be gone it will be for 9 days and they will be two months old, 7 of them will share 135 square feet combined coop and run, there is a 4' wide barn door always open leading from the 8x10 coop area to the 5 x 11 run. They will be brooded in the coop, fully feathered and acclimated to the warming temps, this will be in June. I do plan to get someone to check in on them if I can find someone but other than a peek in to do a head count what would the chicken sitter do? Because of this trip and knowing I will be away I have decided not to start letting the flock out of the coop and run until after I return, my thinking being since they have never been out they will not expect it, one less thing...

    So I will have two water sources, one of them either chicken nipples or cups fed by a 55 gallon drum and another passive 5 gallon solution as well and these will be well tested by then. They will have plenty of food in tested feeders. I will give them a flock block. I will likely set up a chicken cam I can see from my phone.

    The girls, if Meyer's gets the sexing right, will not be laying, so no eggs to collect, the food and water on autopilot, I will be peeking at them on my phone what should I ask a sitter to do?


    Gary from Idyllwild Ca here
  2. ChickenGrass

    ChickenGrass Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 16, 2015
    Republic of Ireland
    Well the first things I would ask them to do is
    1.Make sure their bedding is clean.
    2,Make sure all the hens are eating and drinking and have lots of energy.
    3.Make sure all the feeders and drinkers have food and are clean.ie.No poop in food
    4.Make sure that all chickens are still alive.
    5.Make sure the chickens fence/run is free of damage

    Last edited: Dec 15, 2016
  3. IdyllwildAcres

    IdyllwildAcres Chillin' With My Peeps

    1. Bedding is deep litter, I think I will ask chicken helper to throw some scratch and get the girls to turn it.
    2. I am not sure how chicken sitter would know if they are all eating and drinking other than sick hen?
    3. the feeders and waterers will be pretty poop proof but I will know for sure in the time leading up to it if I have poop in food or water I will change up my system to avoid a proble.
    4. Yes, chickens should all be alive... thx
    5Good point, walk around check for damage.

    Thanks Fionn

    Gary from Idyllwild Ca here
  4. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 3, 2016
    Pac NW
    I know I'm simplifying it but once I need a sitter it'll be: Open coop in morning. Check for eggs. Check that there's food and water (I know mine both last approx 6-7 days without needing a refill). Come back at dusk and lock up coop.

    Obviously if any issues arise your bird sitter should contact you and see if anything can be done about it. Otherwise the simpler the better, especially if the sitter is just a friend or neighbor who has no real chicken experience.

    As you don't have a ton of birds there's no need to worry about cleaning or anything until you get back.
  5. IdyllwildAcres

    IdyllwildAcres Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thanks for the response:)

    My birds will not need to be let out, coop is open to the run.
    No eggs, the hens will only be 2 month olds for this trip.
    Food and water will be plentiful
    I will be watching the girls from a webcam with audio, I can even say hi and listen in.
    Maybe I just call someone to check if I see a problem?


    Gary from Idyllwild Ca here
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2016
  6. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    I think is sounds like you've got things covered. I'd probably feel better having human eyes on them in person once a day or so, but it's really just a wellness check.

    I think you'd just want someone available for some really unforeseen devastating thing, like some freak predator attack.

    Usually water is the biggie to have a sitter check, but if your plan works, that will be well covered.
  7. IdyllwildAcres

    IdyllwildAcres Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thanks, I am not too worried I have a neighbor I could call if something looks wrong

    Gary from Idyllwild Ca here
  8. Cacique500

    Cacique500 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 2, 2013
    Atlanta, Georgia
    I have my sitter do the following (he comes every other day when I'm gone)

    1) clean roost poop
    2) change and fill water in both waterers
    3) make sure food is ok (two 7# feeders)
    4) check birds for any obvious issues
    5) collect eggs and put in coop mini fridge
    6) check & refresh nestbox bedding if necessary
    7) Walk around coop/run and check fencing
    8) close up and lock everything (including backyard fence gates)...count the chickens to make sure everybody's inside and accounted for

    I didn't see mention of this, but you might also want to have a small batch of first aid stuff available. I have styptic powder, blu-kote, gloves, neosporin, and paper towels in the coop. Had one chicken rip off a toenail (lots of blood) and fortunately my sitter was able to get the bleeding stopped with the powder. Another time I had one hen get bullied (comb was cut) and the sitter was able to use the above supplies to get the bleeding stopped.

    Takes him about 15 minutes to do all the above.

    You'll really enjoy your camera system - I watch mine on the phone all the time when I'm travelling!

    If you haven't already done so...have your neighbor come over and show them everything in the coop and run and how it all works...in case there is an emergency and the sitter is not available.
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2016
  9. IdyllwildAcres

    IdyllwildAcres Chillin' With My Peeps

    All good ideas, I will be getting my chicks first week of April I will have the neighbor over before I leave.


    Gary from Idyllwild Ca here
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    I'd work on compiling your list as you do chores everyday for a week.......
    ......then invite neighbor over to go thru a chore sequence with you, so they can see what each list item means.

    One thing that confused me when I was a chicken sitter before having chickens was some of the terminology,
    I didn't know the difference between scratch and mash so had them write a description.

    Biggest concern for me having a chicken sitter would be that they know about chickens,
    how to spot potential problems before they become critical, and what to do about them.

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