How Long Can I Leave My Chickens For?
As with all pets, you as the owner have the main responsibility for making sure the animals are safe and happy. That means that before you go away overnight, whether it is for work or on holiday, you will need to make sure you have a plan for the chickens, ensuring they will be alright while you are not around.
Chickens are much more self-sufficient than some other popular pets; they do not need human interaction every day, will sort out their own exercise, and will not overeat even if there is more food than needed available. That being said though, there are lots of things to think about before you leave them alone.
How long can I leave my chickens alone for?
This is not an easy question to answer, as it depends heavily on your chickens, where you live, and what your setup looks like. Even leaving your flock of chickens for a day requires some preparation.
Hens need constant access to food and water, and enough space to move around on. This is relatively easy to organize if you are going away for 2-3 days. The more important, and probably the trickier, thing to ensure is that the chickens are safe from predators when you are not there to keep an eye on them. Letting your chickens free range without any supervision is very risky, so you will need to have a safe enclosure that is big enough for your chickens to move around in while you are gone.
An Eglu Cube connected to a Walk in run is a perfect setup for all chicken keeping situations, but maybe particularly when you are not able to keep a constant eye on your hens. The Walk in run can be extended to suit the number of chickens you have, and you can be sure that they will not have to fend off any foxes, raccoons, or wild birds.
If you are confident your enclosure is safe and spacious enough, and that there is no risk that the chickens will run out of food and water, most flocks will be alright by themselves for a weekend.
Should I get a chicken sitter?
If you are going away for anything longer than three days, you will need to organize for someone to help you come and check on and take care of your chickens on a daily basis. Even if you are just gone for one night, we would recommend asking a friendly neighbor to poke their head over the fence to make sure the hens are well.
Accidents happen: one of your chickens could have had a fall and seems to be in pain, or a water container may have fallen over. Your friend or neighbor will then hopefully be able to refill the water or give you a call to let you know what has happened.
You might be surprised at how many of your friends and family will be happy to go and check on your chickens once a day if they get to keep the delicious fresh eggs. If you have an automatic door that lets your chickens out in the morning and shuts behind them at night, your helpers can decide for themselves at what time of the day they would like to go.
If you are getting someone to look after your chickens for you, it is nice to make it as easy as possible for them before you leave home.
What do my chickens need while I’m away?
If you have decided you feel confident that your chickens will be okay by themselves for a few days you will probably already have thought about these things, but they are still worth mentioning:
Food and water
You probably have quite a good idea of how much your chickens eat and drink in a day, it all depends on breed, age and size. It is always better to leave a bit too much food than too little, and make sure you have more than one feeder to choose from in case something were to happen to one of them.
Prep for different weathers
Do not trust the weather forecast completely. Make sure the chickens can return to the coop and that they have sheltered spots on the run in case of all day rain or a particularly scorching sunny day.
If your chickens are used to you coming to hang out with them after work every day they might miss the fun. Try to make up for this by giving them some fun toys to play with on the run. Some chickens absolutely love perching on the Chicken Swing, whereas others will go crazy for food dispensing toys, like the Caddi Treat Holder or Peck Toys.
This entry was posted in Chickens