Holidays and Chickens: What to Do with Your Chickens During Your Vacation?

 When we rise hens, we occasionally run into the issue of absences: what should we do with his hens over the holidays? Chickens are not autonomous creatures and require regular feeding, watering, and maintenance of their coop.

Holidays and Chickens: What to Do with Your Chickens During Your Vacation?
Holidays and Chickens: What to Do with Your Chickens During Your Vacation?

 While it's possible to leave them alone for a day or two with enough resources, beyond that, you'll need to find a satisfactory solution for their care during your absence. Here are our tips when you leave your chickens alone for a few days.

Three Possible Solutions for Your Chickens During Vacation

1. Ask the help of your neighbors

 This is the ideal solution because your chickens won't have to adjust to a new environment, experience any stress, and can continue their daily routine in your absence.

 Of course, this requires a complete commitment from your neighbors, including a minimum of two daily visits to open and close the coop in the morning and evening.

Things to Check Daily in Your Coop During Your Absence

 In addition, your neighbors must check the food and water levels daily and take the time to observe your chickens during each visit to detect any abnormal behavior that could indicate illness, such as:

  • A chicken that becomes motionless and doesn't move.
  • A chicken that stops eating.
  • A chicken that appears to have difficulty breathing, etc.

 In summer, when temperatures exceed 25 degrees as they are more and more often now, regardless of the region, heat stroke is not uncommon and can be deadly.

 Your neighbor should also be able to handle a broody hen during this time, especially if you don't have a rooster and the eggs are not fertilized. A broody hen in an overheated coop puts herself in danger.

A Complete Commitment from Your Neighbors

 This is a real commitment, and all of these points should be discussed together without ambiguity to ensure that your neighbors know what to expect.

 It's worth asking your various neighbors since you might be surprised by their reactions. Those who don't have chickens are often delighted to have this experience and may even consider getting their own. You can then consider an exchange of caretaking services in the future!

Also, since you'll offer them the collected eggs as a thank you, they'll be even more thrilled!

2. Arrange for a chicken sitter or consider a chicken-sitting exchange

 The second solution proposed is similar to the first, except this time it involves finding someone outside of your immediate environment to take care of your chickens.

 It's even possible to set up a system for exchanging chicken-sitting duties if the "Poulsitter" also raises chickens.

 There are two possible solutions: the chicken sitter moves to your home which is quite possible, or he welcomes your chickens at home. Of course, this requires them to have a chicken coop dedicated solely to your chickens, as well as a secure enclosure.

At home during your vacation, it's better for your chickens

 It's evident that to avoid any stress on your chickens due to changes in their environment and territory, it's preferable for the care to take place at your home.

It's necessary to discuss the terms of the care:

  • The number of visits per day.
  • Daily tasks to be completed.
  • Amount of possible financial compensation.
  • Duration of the service, etc.

 The ideal thing is to set up a written contract containing all the details of custody and signed by both parties.

 If it's easier for you to have your chickens cared for at the chicken sitter's home, then it's recommended to have the same recommendations noted in writing.

 In both cases, this contract will serve as a reminder for the person in charge of your chickens during your absence.

3. Place them with friends

 In my opinion, this is the solution to consider last. As I said before any change in their environment can be a major source of stress for them.

 Additionally, this type of care is often implemented with makeshift means and installations that may not be suitable. Finally, friends don't always realize the responsibility involved in caring for chickens. They're your friends, and they want to help you without really understanding the consequences of the commitment made.

 And if things go wrong, it's better to hold a neighbor or an outsider accountable rather than a friend So ideally, this third solution should only be considered as a last resort.


Taking your chickens on vacation, is it possible?

 For the reasons mentioned above, it is very complicated to take your chickens on vacation. Your chickens may become stressed not only by the change in territory, but also by the change in their coop, and even more so by transportation. Not to mention they would have to endure a trip there and back.

 Moreover, it requires a secure installation on site for them to stay...which seems very complicated. Sincerely, it is a solution that can only bring complications and stress, not only to your hens but also to you as a breeder.

Checklist of things to prepare when you have someone take care of your chickens during vacation:

  • Let's see now everything you need to prepare and do before leaving your hens in someone else's care. This list is useful if someone comes to your home to take care of them.
  • Before leaving, remember to stock up on seeds and any supplements that you usually give them, such as dried insects or mealworms, for example. When it comes to feeding them, to make it easier for your chicken sitter, it's best to forego the notion of quantity and ratio. Ideally, fill their feeders to the maximum to avoid them having to do it themselves too often. The important thing to note: make sure to tell them to keep the feeders inside every night so as not to attract pests like rats, mice, etc.
  • Gather everything in the same place: accessories for cleaning the coop (bucket, gloves, shovel, diatomaceous earth if you use it against red mites or as an internal dewormer, spare litter, etc.), food, supplements, etc. This way, your chicken sitter won't have to look for anything.
  • Regarding water, don’t forget to mention its importance and that they make sure it is always clean. Water must never run out, so it's a point your chicken guardians will have to check every day.
  • Do a complete cleaning of the coop and all accessories (feeders, waterers, perches). This also involves renewing all the litter. Your chicken sitter will only have to remove the droppings on a daily basis and you can do another complete cleaning when you return.
  • If any health problems arise during your vacation, be prepared to be able to isolate the sick chicken, ideally in a second coop or a secure place like a garage or shed. If possible, have a veterinarian's number to give to the person taking care of them. Lastly, make sure you are reachable to answer any questions or give possible instructions.

How long can my chickens stay alone?

 It is possible that you leave from time to time for a short time, an extended weekend for example.  In this case, you can leave your poultry alone for a minimum of two and a maximum of three days.

 If this is the case and your absence extends beyond 3 days, you will need to provide enough feeders and waterers.

Normally, one 3kg feeder and a 3 to 5-liter waterer are enough for about 4 chickens.

 Unfortunately, this quantity will not be enough in case of an extended absence, so you will need to provide more, ideally by multiplying this number by 3. So, 3 feeders and 3 waterers are to be on the safe side, but with no guarantee that it will be enough.

Conclusion about chickens and vacations

 As you have understood, chickens require special attention that does not allow us to leave them alone for too long. You must therefore find the best care option for them if you are going on vacation. You will only leave more serenely.

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Islam Khennoucha

Islam Khennoucha is an Australian author and chicken farmer who has dedicated his life to the study and care of these fascinating creatures. He was born and raised in Algeria, where he developed a love for nature and animals, especially chickens. After moving to Australia, Islam purchased a farm where he could fulfill his passion for raising chickens.
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