My Tiny Brood of Backyard Chooks

chooks, hens or chickens?

What to do with the chickens while we are away


Haitch and I have had a trip to Melbourne planned for a long time. Now it is upon us and we have been trying to decide what to do with the chickens.

Do we leave them to free range for five days and let them put themselves to bed each night. They always put themselves to bed if we are late home so I have no problems with them doing that. But when we are late home, we are still able to shut the run door so that nothing can get in at night while they are sleeping. But then I don’t think there are any night chicken predators in New Zealand except stoats or ferrets and I don’t think we have any of those around here. There are possums but I have never heard of possums attacking chickens.

If I let them free range while I am away, it means there is no one home in the evening to check that nothing has happened to them during the day. One could have got lost or hurt and there would be no one to help out.

I could always leave them locked up for five days but I feel mean doing that. But then as Haitch pointed out, they have been locked up for two weeks before and they survived. But then if they are locked up, they need their coop and run moving after two days or else the grass will be non existent. So I rang my daughter Aitch to talk it over. (She loves the chickens as much as I do so she is the perfect person to have this discussion with.)

Problem solved and I will have safe (but maybe not happy) chickens. Aitch will visit the chickens every two days to check on them, give them some treats and move the coop and run to give them new grass to scratch and peck in. I feel relieved and it means I won’t worry about them while I am away. Thanks Aitch.


10 thoughts on “What to do with the chickens while we are away

  1. Sounds like a good plan. If I was in your shoes, and I didn’t have someone to check on them, with an open coop door all night, (especially for the 2 girls who don’t know any different) I know I would go crazy with worry the whole time I was gone. I’m sure they will be fine. It looks like you have a nice big run for them. πŸ™‚

  2. It is tough to leave your chickens for the first time….it has been a year for us and we still worry about them while we are away – though not quite as much as we used to. Have a wonderful trip and I’m sure that everyone will be happy and healthy when you return! πŸ™‚

  3. thats exactly what I did when I had to leave my chooks for just over a week, except it was my mum! At the end of the day I figured it was better to know they were safe or I would have been too worried. (I’ve grown too attached to the old birds!) xxx

  4. We pay the son of one of my friends to care for our 7 chickens and one wiener dog. He does a bit of watering in the summer too.

  5. Hannah! Mwa mwa darling!
    Having critters is such a … bugger,,, really!
    We all nee an Aitch!

  6. Good for your daughter. I wouldn’t feel comfortable leaving my chooks for more than a day or 2 without someone checking on them either.

  7. I feel honour bound to say one more thing. My chickens free range all day in my back garden when I’m at home. If I leave the house and every night they are locked in a large run that incorporates their coop (you can see what I mean here This run is fox proof and has a fence the girls can’t fly over if they get startled. At night they put themselves to bed in their coop, but the door remains open. I simply go down and lock up the run so no animals can get to them over night. When I go out of town, I leave them in this run and they aren’t allowed to free range. Neighbours check on them once a day to make sure they have food and water but I never fear any animals will harm my chickens. It’s large enough that I know they aren’t uncomfortable – plenty of scratch space and a bit of grass (most they’ve eaten away but some remains).

    I know it’s a bit of a pain and a lot of work but I think building a fox proof run to keep chickens safe at night and during absences of their care-givers is worth the effort.

    • Your set up is perfect. The main difference I see between your chickens and mine is that we don’t have foxes in New Zealand and for that I am so grateful. There are lots of chicken / fox horror stories I read.
      Thanks for your wonderful comments.

  8. Thank you to everyone for your comments. You were all right. I definitely made the right decision to lock them up πŸ™‚

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