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Care for your chickens when you go away

Posted by Dine A Chook UK on

Holidays are exciting! But going away can be stressful if you have chickens. Find out the Top 5 ways to Care for Chickens when you go away.

Things to consider if going away

When it comes to your Chickens and laying hens you should consider their:

  • Adequate Feed Supply
  • Adequate Fresh water supply
  • Number of days you shall be gone
  • Shade and protection from weather
  • Are they protected from predators

As long as you adequately provide the things mentioned above the you shall be able to go away for a few days. However, it is important to remember:

  • An average chicken shall require a minimum allocation of 500ml of water per day.
  • An average chicken requires between 120g - 150g of feed per day
  • Cramped, confined space will mean the chickens may fight one another. If your housing is like this then they shall need some extra space to alleviate boredom.
  • Chickens should never be left alone in extreme weather. Heatwaves are a significant threat to your flock.
  • If you are going for more than two days it is important for someone to check in on the birds. Even a quick look over the fence.

These are some of the things to consider when you think of How to Care for Chickens when you go away.

Do I need a chicken-sitter?

It is probably best to have a chicken sitter drop by in the morning and evening if:

  • You will be away for more than 3-4 days
  • High temperatures or severe storms are predicted
  • Your drinker will require topping up
  • Your feeder will require topping up
  • You have an egg-eating chicken
  • Your coop is too small for your chickens to stay in there 24/7 and you don’t have an automatic door or secure run.
  • Your coop isn't shady
  • You have pest or predator problems

Feeding a chicken by hand

If you do need a pet sitter, remember that chickens are not like dogs or cats. The most attention they will need is a quick morning and evening visit. Don't forget the chicken sitter will be handsomely rewarded with beautiful fresh eggs.

Top 5 ways to Care for Chickens when you go away

By following these guidelines, you can go away for a few days and know that your chickens will be perfectly fine without supervision. 

1. Water

Water is always the biggest concern. Dehydration can arise quickly in the hot Australian summer. Even when you are at home dehydration is a risk in high temperatures.

Open Drinking Buckets and Containers

Avoid using open containers as a waterer for Chickens. They can cross-contaminate drinking water with chicken faeces. Also, they can topple over leaving the hens with no water. Chickens need and will die quickly without it.

Chicken Drinkers

A Dine A Chook automatic chicken drinker provided fresh, clean drinking water for your hens. At a minimum, birds should have access to 500ml of clean, fresh water per day. In hot weather, closer to a litre may be needed. Whichever Chicken waterer option you use, ensure there is adequate water at all times. Two Dine A Chook Chicken Drinkers provide enough water for 8 Hens for two days or 4 Chickens for 4 days

Because hydration is critical to Laying Hens, having access to water from a Chicken Waterer is top on our list of Top 5 ways to Care for Chickens when you go away.

Chicken Waterers

2. Security

Chickens should not be left unlocked at night. Even if you have never had signs of a predator, they are simply defenceless if unlocked. If you have time to plan before you go away, you should check the fencing and roofing of the coop and pen to ensure it is predator safe.

One solution to the security issue is an automatic chicken coop door, also known as an auto door. These generally are run by battery or solar. For more information on these, we suggest you make contact with your local Chicken Breeder or Farming Supplier. 

3. Feed

Ensure chickens have access to 120g - 150g of feed per bird, per day. Shop our range of Chicken Feeder and Chicken Drinker packages to entirely equip your chicken coop before your holiday.

4. Amusement

Cooped up chickens are physically okay, but they get bored. And boredom = trouble. They might not rip up your cushions or chew your shoes, but chickens will pick on and peck each other. It may only be a few days, but providing your chickens with some amusement while you’re gone can help if they’re not going to be able to free-range.

You could consider:

  • Hanging a whole cabbage or iceberg lettuce from the roof, like a cool chicken piñata
  • Whole sunflower heads, cobs of corn and big bunches of weeds, seed heads or greens make great piñatas too!
  • Making an old drink bottle into a chicken toy – these toys can roll around on the ground or be hung up
  • Repurposing dog toys for chickens
  • Throwing in a couple of really stale bread rolls – if they’re hard enough, the rolls will give your birds something to peck at for days
  • Adding a big pile of garden waste (hopefully with some bugs) for birds to forage through
  • Buying or making a chicken swing
  • Hanging old CDs on strings
  • Adding a small, plastic ball (obviously not one they can pop) to kick around
  • Forming a seed block for them to peck at
  • Stuffing bones, hollow logs or even lengths of pipe with something tasty

And if you have enough room, making sure birds have a good-sized dust bath will also amuse – a kid’s paddling pool (the hard plastic kind) filled with sand is perfect.

5. A clean environment

An extra couple layers of bedding on the chicken coop floor is also a great addition if you are going to be away. It keeps the coop that little bit cleaner, and gives your birds yet another thing to peck at that isn’t each other.

Rest easy on your holiday

Any chicken keeper knows that things don't always go as planned. Caring for Chickens when you go away doesn't have to be a major obstacle. A little planning as well as considering the important things will allow you more time to enjoy yourself.

Other great Articles which may also be of interest are:

How to Keep Chickens and Laying Hens

Time Saving Tips for Chicken Keepers

What should you feed backyard chickens