Chicken on holiday

Holiday Care for Chickens

Chicken Boarding and alternative Holiday care for Chickens

Is chicken boarding a thing? If you have chickens, as much as you love spending time with them, now and again you are possibly hoping to go on holiday. How do you get holiday care for chickens when you want to go away? This is a very good question and there are several answers which we have tried to cover below

Is Chicken Boarding the only solution?

Well no, but there are various options for sorting out holiday care for chickens and each has their own issues. Boarding is the only one in which you can literally dump and run.

Don’t go on holidayNo issues with care. You don’t get to miss your chickens.Not so feasible as everyone benefits from a break now and then
Chicken boardingJust hand your chickens over and walk away.Additional forward planning as pre-booking will be required. You may have to travel some distance to reach your boarding. Adds to the cost of your holiday. Increased infection risk if placements are not well spaced or disinfected effectively. Cockerel boarding is unlikely. See our recommendations below for approved places.
Chicken sitter live inChickens are cared for in their own surroundings. No infection riskYour house will need cleaning from top to bottom to make it presentable perhaps. Space may have to be made for your sitter to be comfortable which adds to pre-holiday workload. That clutter you have been ignoring for years may have to be tackled. You have to provide food. Home security risk
Chicken sitter visitingDaily visits to monitor food and water and cleaning done if agreed. Less risk to house securityMight not visit regularly as agreed. Might not notice health issues. Always go on recommendations if you can.
Leave chickens unattendedReduced security risk. Less reliance on others. CheapRisk of food running out. Water running out. Risk of automatic door failure. Lots of forward planning and you will need to add failsafes.

What alternative is there for holiday care for chickens

There are some things you can do to make a holiday easier if you have no external assistance. This requires more investment in other equipment. It also requires a coop inside a very secure and fox-proof run however please remember that chicken wire is definitely NOT fox-proof. Fox-proofing is a topic in more detail here. The coop needs an automatic door opener whereby you can safely shut the chickens away at night and open them up in the morning. You will need to address food and water essentials because chickens cannot ever be left without these things.

Issue: How to keep the water flowing

  • You can try a nipple drinker supplied by a large bucket or header tank with enough capacity to last for the duration of your holiday.
  • Bell drinkers supplied by a gravity header tank
  • Cup drinkers supplied by a gravity header tank
  • All the above can be supplied from the mains and a ballcock in a header tank to be even more automatic
  • A beehive style tripod drinker will hold up to 30 litres of water
  • Several large untipping buckets
  • Test the duration of the water supply in the weeks beforehand with the proviso that it must not run out or get dirty

Issue: How to keep the food flowing

  • Large capacity treadle feeder or grandpa feeder to keep vermin out
  • Beehive style emperor feeder preferably with a wright feeder attachment rather than the included pan feeder.
  • Spring or pan feeder fed by a drum or barrel
  • Large capacity hanging feeders or several feeders.
  • Other home-made large capacity and unclogging feeder
  • Outside feeders need top hats to keep the food dry. It needs to be off the ground if possible to minimise spoilage due to slugs and vermin.
  • Test the duration of the food supply in the weeks beforehand with the proviso that it must stay dry and not run out

Suppliers of chicken boarding

Chicken Holiday care and boarding Contact/Website details
If you provide this service and would like to be entered here please contact usYour website or page can be added here
The Mother Hen covering CH61 and surrounding areas.
Providing a chicken care and visiting service while you are away or if you just need an extra pair of hands. Happy to do morning/evening visits, including feeding, watering and keeping on top of cleanliness. Prices will vary a little depending on location and how many daily visits you require. You can be safe in the knowledge that they are being cared for in their own environment and by an experienced chicken keeper. I can also offer care at my home address for up to 4 hens. Get in touch via my Facebook page if you are interested.
Lucy Byrom
Based in Irby on the Wirral

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