Who Takes Care of Your Flock When You Leave Home?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by N F C, Oct 4, 2014.

  1. N F C

    N F C dem crazy bones Premium Member

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    We've had chickens since mid-December last year and for the first time since then, there's a chance someone other than DH or I may need to take care of our 16 chickens. DH has a 4 day/3 night job about 4 hours from home and he wants me to go along since he won't be able to come home after the day's work is done. I'd like to go but am a bit anxious about our birds.

    We have friends that would be willing to check in on them a couple times a day. They have a small farm similar to ours and live close by. Is bio-security an issue since they have chickens too? Is it enough that they would come in the morning & evening? They would have to collect eggs, feed, water and lock up at night.

    We also have 6 goats and our meat rabbits just had babies that the mothers are nursing. These animals would have to be watered and while the goats can graze, the rabbits have to be fed.

    What sort of things do you consider when asking someone to take care of your flock? Is this too much to ask of someone (we would pay them)? Am I worried about too much?

    Yikes, I feel like the 1st time mom leaving her kids with a sitter. Maybe since this isn't a family emergency situation, I should stay home. Advice please!
     
  2. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    What is this going away you speak of? It's been so long since I've been able to leave my animals I've almost forgot what it's like.

    As far as bio-security is concerned, just ask your friends to change shoes and clothes and wash up good before tending your flock. Others can say what they want, but when my dad was ill and then passed on, I had a neighbor care for mine and that neighbor happens to be a commercial chicken farmer. It was a big no-no for her to be doing it - she could have lost her contract with Tyson for doing it had they found out. She washed up and changed clothing and shoes before coming to our farm to tend mine.

    FYI - Both of my closest neighbors are commercial chicken farmers and both have told me that as much of a big deal as the poultry companies make about them being around backyard birds, they themselves are certain that their birds are much more of a danger to my backyard flock than vice versa.
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2014
  3. N F C

    N F C dem crazy bones Premium Member

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    Thank you for the reply gritsar. I sure wouldn't want anything to happen to my girls (or other animals too of course) if we're both gone. That would make our friends feel terrible and I'd be heartsick. As mush as I would like to go with DH, I just can't decide if it's worth the risk...not that something couldn't happen while I was home too, but it would be worse if something happened under someone else's care.

    That was a good friend to take care of your birds when you were tending to your dad. My condolences on losing him, I know what that's like (lost mine in 2010). And it's most likely accurate that the commercial birds are more of a danger to the backyard ones if even half the stories I've read are true.

    Thank you again!
     
  4. Michael OShay

    Michael OShay Chicken Obsessed

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    My son has a really good friend that he's known since high school. He's over at our house so often (more than he's at his own house) that he seems like part of our family. When we are gone for a period of time (family vacation, etc.), he takes care of our flock, and our cats, for us and does a great job. :eek:)
     
  5. N F C

    N F C dem crazy bones Premium Member

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    Hi Michael,

    That's really convenient to have someone like that to help out. We don't have any family in this area and have only lived here a bit over one year so are pretty limited on baby sitters. Our friends would do it, I just am not sure if it's a good idea to ask.

    Are there any pointers or reminders you can pass on that would help me prepare them for doing this? They have chickens of their own but everyone's set up and routine is slightly different.

    Thanks!
     
  6. Michael OShay

    Michael OShay Chicken Obsessed

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    You need to leave them a detailed set of written instructions on a check off sheet for each day, and be sure and walk them through the process before you leave your home.
     
  7. N F C

    N F C dem crazy bones Premium Member

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    I like the check off list idea. Thanks!
     
  8. Michael OShay

    Michael OShay Chicken Obsessed

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    You're welcome.
     
  9. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    My Coop
    My 8 year old granddaughter, Katie, lives across the street and my 9 year old grandson Evan lives two blocks down. They take care of the chickens when Ken and I leave town, and we leave frequently. The kids were walked through stuff the first time, and then they eagerly came over to "practice" a few times while we were home. Now they let the girls out while they work in the coop, gather the eggs, top off the feeder and waterer if they need it, clean the poop board, and then put the chickens back into the run by tossing in a little scratch when they are finished. They each have a pair of rubber boots (that they call their coop shoes) and they aren't allowed past the sidewalk dividing the yard unless those shoes are on. They also know that the girls are only allowed to free range on the back half of our lot, so they have their little bamboo "persuaders" and know how to gently turn them back to the right area by tapping the ground in front the wandering hen. They have a checklist on the fridge but they rarely need to refer to anymore. The routine is to come over after school, change their shoes on the deck, let the girls out while they do their chicken chores, put the girls back in and lock up. Then they mark the laying date on top of each egg with pencil and put the eggs in the fridge - after they've changed their shoes back to street shoes. No street shoes near the coop, and no coop shoes in the house. They make sure that the door to the run and the people door to the coop have both locks secured on each. Then they wash their hands and go home until the next day.

    I'm very proud of how careful and thorough they both are. They love those silly birds and it shows. I must brag and tell you that not once, in all the time they've been caring for the chickens, have I come home and had to correct something. Love those kids!

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    Katie and Evan out with the chickens. This was when we had 22 - including 3 roosters.

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    Katie in her coop shoes.
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2014
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  10. sunflour

    sunflour Flock Master Premium Member

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    I have a very reliable, non- chicken owner, who met my hens, got instructions on how to care for them for me and DH to take an overdue vacation….and at the 11th hour 2 of my BO went broody and I felt uncomfortable having him deal with them…so my long awaited 10 day vacation was spent at home….just couldn't take the chance of any problems with my girls….yes, I am a crazy chicken lady! Next time, I think, I'll find a way to send those 2 to chicken boarding?
     

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