So, How do you vacation when your chickens don’t? One of the challenging parts of raising backyard chickens is leaving them when I’m going on a vacation. Since I cherish my birds so much, I get torn between looking after them and taking my holiday.
No matter how passionate I am about my flock. I have to take a break away from home. So, I have to find a way of keeping them comfortable while I’m enjoying every moment of my holiday. Read on to find out more about caring for your chickens when taking a vacation.
How do you vacation when your chickens don’t? There are different ways you can keep your chickens safe, comfortable, and happy while on holiday. You can install an automatic feeder, set up an automatic waterer, and automate the pop door among other ways.
Planning a vacation is not an easy task especially if you are a chicken owner. You cannot take a vacation when your chickens don’t for obvious reasons.
To begin with, there are no chicken kennels or special structures that you can book your flock into. Also, chickens are not like other pets that you can take with you when traveling.
The only option, in this case, is to leave them behind. So, how do you go on holiday when you have chickens in your backyard? Below are a few tips to help you take care of your birds while you’re enjoying yourself away from home.
Helpful Tips on How to Vacation When Chickens Don’t
Going on holiday requires a lot of planning ahead of time. This is important if you have backyard chickens. Planning adequately can help you get someone who will take care of your flock for you. For that reason, you need to start your planning at the right time to avoid the last-minute rush.
Look for somebody you can trust with your birds. Make sure that the person that you are giving this responsibility is knowledgeable about chickens or farm animals in general.
Most importantly, this individual should be trustworthy and hard working. Otherwise, you may come back from your vacation to find your chickens missing or dead.
Since raising chickens is your long term investment, you wouldn’t wish to lose your birds any time soon. Therefore, plan accordingly before taking a break for your holiday.
Look for an Automatic Chicken Feeder
An automatic feeder is the best poultry investment you can think of. This equipment will help you on several occasions to feed your birds when you are away.
By installing an automatic chicken feeder in the coop, you will be helping your chickens to feed at will. Besides ensuring that your flock get access to feed throughout, the automatic feeder helps get rid of rats.
A typical automatic feeder comes with a bonus to hold up to 20lbs of chicken feed. This amount of feed is enough for 12 chickens in a period of ten days.
Even if you leave your birds to go on vacation for several days, they will still have their meal all day. What you need to do is to assign someone the task of topping up the feeder once or twice.
Certainly, an automatic feeder is great for you, great for your birds and a reliable option when taking a holiday. Ensure that there is enough feed, grit and oyster shell to meet your chickens’ needs the whole time you are away. At least you will enjoy your holiday knowing that your birds are well catered for.
Install an Automatic Waterer
Just like the automatic feeder, an automatic waterer is essential equipment for your backyard flock. This poultry equipment is designed to provide your chickens with water whenever they feel thirsty.
In fact, investing in one or two of these type of waterer is a good idea, especially when taking a vacation. Keep in mind that your chickens need to be dehydrated hence the need to help them access water.
There are numerous designs of homemade drinkers that you can use to keep your chickens hydrated for a while. But you can purchase the ready-made ones to save your time when going on vacation.
Choose stainless steel waterers because they are easy to clean and maintain, unlike the plastic ones. Also, these types of waterers discourage algae growth and degeneration compared to those made of plastic materials.
Place your automatic chicken waterer in the shade at a strategic location within the run. Add a few bowls around your chicken run to ensure that there is an endless supply of water.
During the hot weather, you may add some ice cubes to the watering pans to cool down your birds. In addition to that, purchase a few watermelons before going on vacation. Hens love pecking at watermelons to keep themselves hydrated in hot weather. Moreover, this is one of your birds’ favorite treats as it is watery and tastes sweet.
Automate the Pop Door
Now that you have an automatic feeder and automatic waterer, next in line should be an automatic pop door. This door is designed to open automatically to let in or out your chickens when it is necessary.
So, you will not have to worry about your flock accessing their coop or leaving it. Everything is done automatically much to your delight, giving you peace of mind when you are miles away from home.
Before you take your vacation, you need to set the door to the right times of your choice using the built-in timer. You can set it to open in the morning and closed in the evening with the help of a light sensor.
Most significantly, this door is equipped with a safety mechanism to prevent it from catching your chickens when closing automatically.
To make it safe for all your birds, you may ask someone to take up the task of doing a headcount. The person should count your chickens in the evening when they get inside their coop. This will help account for every bird in your backyard when you are on holiday.
Protect them Against Predators
Predators are a threat to your flock of chickens. This is one of the scariest realities of leaving your birds unattended when taking a vacation when your chickens don’t. Chickens are an easy meal for predators when they are left to free-range.
Much to your surprise, most predators are usually aware when humans are not around. For that reason, they will take advantage of the situation and wreak havoc to your backyard chickens.
Some of these unwanted visitors can gain access to your chickens by burrowing their way into the coop. Others may attack your chickens from the air or jump over the fence if no proper security measures are put in place.
Now that you are aware of the menace created by predators, you need to take drastic measures at the right time. One of the things you have to do to protect your birds is securing your yard with a strong fence.
Make sure that the fence can deter all four-legged predators regardless of their sizes. At the same time, you may cover your yard using a specially-designed wire mesh to keep owls and hawks away.
Once you have secured every part of your chicken yard, you will not have to worry about locking the coop. But if you are going on holiday, nothing should be left to chance. Ensure that you predator-proof every section of your chicken yard including the coop.
You can secure the coop using wire mesh flooring in order to prevent predators from burrowing under. Additionally, you may install a predator light as a clever way of protecting your chickens when you are on vacation.
Before you leave, ensure that you clean the coop thoroughly and make the area around it conducive for your birds.
All these safety measures will give you peace of mind as you take a break away from your busy schedule. And your birds will remain safe and sound even in your absence.
Whom can you entrust with taking care of your birds while you are on holiday? Most likely, you will consider asking your partner, other family members, or neighbors to take care of your chickens when you are not around. These are people you can lay your trust in because they understand best the importance of keeping chickens.
What should you expect your new chicken caretakers to do when you are not around? Ideally, you need to talk to them about the tasks before leaving your birds under their care. Brief them about routine checking of your flock, knowing what to do when there’s an emergency and how to handle your chickens in all situations.
Before taking your vacation, you need to ensure that your chickens are safe, well-fed, watered and happy. With these tips at the back of your mind, you should go on vacation knowing that your birds are comfortable.
Below is a Pinterest friendly photo…. so you can pin it to your Chicken Board!!