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Keeping chickens is great fun but it is also a huge responsibility which should never be taken too lightly. Taking care of hens can be time consuming because it's crucial to keep their hen houses and coops clean and free of parasites. Just like any other animal, chickens can pick up some nasty diseases and suffer from injuries so it's important to keep a close eye on them. However, everyone needs a holiday and pets need to be taken care of when their owners are away sunning themselves on distant shores so they stay happy and healthy.
There are several options open to people who keep poultry which are worth considering because having peace of mind your chickens will be properly looked after is a must.
Like many other animals, chickens are not terribly fond of change so if you can organise a "chicken sitter" who would be able to care for your hens in their own environment, all the better. If you have lots of hens this is probably the best and only real option you would have open to you.
If you have friendly neighbours and they like the fact you keep chickens, they may be more than happy to look after your hens while you are away on holiday. However, you need to make sure they know what to do and are able to stick to your normal routine. It's also a good idea to get your neighbours to come over a few times before you leave for your holidays like this they get to know your hens and vice a versa.
If any of your friends keep chickens, you could always have a reciprocal arrangement in place so that you look after their flock when they are away and they do the same for you when you go on holiday.
You may know someone in the neighbourhood who loves chickens who would be able to look after your birds. It could be an older person who is passionate about chickens but cannot keep any themselves or it could be a reliable and trustworthy youngster and you could offer to pay them a little money for looking after your hens. However, you need to know the person really well and be sure they are responsible and that they will religiously come over and see to your chickens every day.
These days there are lots of professional pet sitting services who offer to come to your home to care of your animals or they may even stay in your house whilst you are away. This is a great option if you don't like leaving your property empty. However, you need to ensure you employ a reputable company that boasts very good reviews from other satisfied clients. A good place to look for a "pet-sitter" is at your local veterinary surgery.
If you only keep a couple of chickens you might like to think about taking them over to a friend or member of your family for them to look after them. It's quite easy to move a small coop. It also offers you the perfect opportunity to give the coop a thorough clean fore moving it which includes disinfecting it and treating for any parasites like red mite. Even if there is no evidence of these nasty creatures it's a good idea to disinfect the coop anyway. However, you need to make sure the people appreciate everything that goes into looking after chickens including the sort of predators that might attack them.
Chicken boarding facilities are popping up all over the country and by doing an internet search you can find one local to you. Some of these facilities have coops and runs already set up but others require that you bring your own along for your birds to stay in. It's really important to check out the establishment to make sure you are happy with the way it's run and that to see if the environment is nice and clean. You also need to be absolutely sure that all areas whether inside or out, are thoroughly disinfected before new occupants are placed in them. Visiting the place also allows you to see if the chickens already being boarded there look happy and healthy.
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