What vacation?...Sometimes chickens aren't low maintenance....

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by mrsbos, Jul 22, 2011.

  1. mrsbos

    mrsbos Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 11, 2010
    Greenacres, WA
    I just want to take an overnight trip with my husband to celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary. We have 3 sweet EE pullets in our 1/2 acre lot suburban home where unfortunately chickens aren't legal (residential zoning regs) and one neighbor HATES them. I lock our chickens up tight every night after sunset (~9pm) and let them out to free range at 7am. They would be ready to go at first light at 5am, but I have to keep them locked in the small coop (no run access) so they don't come out and BAWK! BAWK! BAWK! at 5am and wake up the entire neighborhood.

    So my dilemma, I tried letting them put themselves to bed one night, without locking them up (very low risk of predators in our fenced backyard) to see if I could do that for the one night I'd be away. They went to bed fine, and then the next morning woke up just before 5am, came out and BAWK! BAWK! BAWK! sang their morning song as I leapt out of bed to quiet them down with some treats. Again at 5:30am BAWK! BAWK! BAWK! they go while hanging out on my back porch. Again, I had to rush out of bed to shush them.

    This isn't going to work. So now I have to have my mom spend the night at MY house with the 3 kids, so someone can lock the girls up at night and not let them out until 7am the next morning. I couldn't let them out later in the morning, because the coop (or the "cave" as we call it) is extremely small and only meant for sleeping/roosting quarters. Can't just let them out in the run because they are spoiled from free ranging their whole lives and BAWK! BAWK! BAWK! in protest when they're kept in a small caged area.

    I swear I'm going to need to find a live in "chicken sitter" if I ever actually want to get away with the whole family even just for one night! Or at least someone who would come by late at night and then early in the morning to tend to the girls.
  2. SueSteeves

    SueSteeves Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 18, 2010
    Southern California
    I feel your pain. Maybe get one of the automatic coop doors that work on a timer?
  3. Sassafras

    Sassafras Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 16, 2011
    I second the door opener. I have one and it works great. I got the motor from home discount automation and made a door out of a plastic cutting board from Wal-Mart as I saw fom another board member.
  4. ChickieBooBoo

    ChickieBooBoo Cold Canadian Chick

    Dec 2, 2009
    Can't you just lock them in while your away?
  5. twistedwire

    twistedwire Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 2, 2011
    Quote:If you're just gone overnight and aren't going to be back super duper late the next day, this is an easy option. When I'm going to be home late and worry about predators, I chase all my girls in (and they are NOT happy because they free range).

    The thing I'd worry about an automatic door is that if not all of them are in yet you're not there to count...
  6. lowry075

    lowry075 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 29, 2011
    Southern California
    I totally hear you. We like to go camping, but ever since I got my girls, our trips are less frequent and only overnight, as I am limited in who I can trust to take care of them. Good luck!
  7. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Chicken Obsessed

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    Start giving a nice neighbor some eggs for free! My husband would not be happy if the reason we were giving up the vacation were the birds! Keeping my hubby happy is my job.

    Really the hens will survive if they are in the run for a couple of days. and the automatic door is a good idea if you want them locked up til later in the morning. In fact I think it is good to occasionally keep my hens in the run, so they can be comfortable there. Put treats there, so they see it as a good place.


BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by