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Coastal 101 | Animals | Home & Garden

Caring for Your Chickens when You’re Away

August 11, 2017

As Americans, we love to get away for long weekends now and then. But for chicken owners, holidays and vacations away might seem impossible – especially with the daily feedings, watering, egg collecting, and predator preparedness. With a few updates to your regime and some foresight, you can leave your chickens for up to three or even four days.

Ask a Friend or Neighbor

The best way to get away is to have a friend or neighbor care for your hens while you’re away. Offer to let them keep all the eggs they can collect while you’re gone. If that’s doesn’t entice them, it’s time to start making some modifications to prepare for your departure.

Cover the Survival Basics

Your top priorities are food, water, and security. When you’re away, you will need to ensure they are properly enclosed and protected from every possible threat. That includes dogs, cats, hawks, and raccoons. Even kids can be a threat if they open gates and let the chickens out.

Check all the latches, shore up any loose areas of the fencing, and make sure nothing can get in without a fight. Try adding wire mesh flooring to prevent burrowing predators. Additionally, install a motion-detector flood light to scare away unwanted guests.

Coastal tip: If your chicken’s outdoor space cannot be secured, you may need to lock them in their coop while you’re away.

As for food and water, you will need .5 cups of feed and .5 liters of water per chicken per day. If you have three chickens and you plan to go away for three days, you’ll want to provide 4.5 cups of food and 4.5 liters of water. You’ll need more water on hotter days. And on colder days, you’ll want to make sure the water doesn’t freeze.

Coastal tip: It’s a good idea to add additional waterers and feeders to your coop when you’re away. Chickens are known to knock things over when they are cooped up too long. 

Clean the Coop Before You Go

When you get back there will be a fair bit of manure and broken eggs in the coop and nests. But if you finish a deep clean before you leave on your trip or getaway and add new bedding, you’ll have less to clean. Plus, a clean coop doesn’t attract as many mice and rodents.

Your Chickens Probably Won’t Miss You

We like to think that chickens are social creatures that rely on us every day. While your hens do appreciate the food and water, they won’t miss you for a few days. They might not even realize you were gone.

The Eggs Should Still Be Good

If by luck there are some eggs left unbroken when you return, they should still be safe to eat. Check out our article on How to Collect, Clean, and Store Eggs for more.

Stock Up on Chicken Supplies at Coastal

Your Northwest owned and operated Coastal Farm & Ranch has everything you need to plan ahead for your weekend away from your hens. Stop by today for feeders, waterers, ready-to-go chicken coops and incubators, fencing, feed, bedding, and expert advice.