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What to Do With Chickens When on Vacation

Can chickens stay in a coop all day? What if you need to leave for a day or two? How long can chickens go without water? The tips below will help you plan your vacation while taking care of your chickens.

I started with six Rhode Island Red chickens when we lived across Walmart. BJ’s Wholesale Club was only two houses down the road. Yet the lines were funny, and we were able to have chickens.

What to Do With Chickens When on Vacation

My husband built the chicken coop, and it was small, but the birds had some grass to munch on. So I sat there wondering, How long can chickens stay in a coop?

I wouldn’t say I liked thinking about the birds in this tiny little space. But, I also knew if I started letting them out, we probably could never go on vacation.

According to this article, chickens can go 24 hours without water, but they may not lay eggs.

What to Do With Chickens When on Vacation

I couldn’t ask my neighbor to round up our chickens. They are in their 80s, and well, I couldn’t do that to them. What if they made it to the BJs parking lot?

If you are thinking about getting chickens, it is crucial to start with the basics. So first, go and read my post on getting started with chicks for cheap. Second, go and read the five common mistakes chicken owners make here.

If your coop isn’t big enough, you probably won’t be able to leave your chickens inside for days at a time.

What to Do With Chickens When on Vacation

Let me share with you how we have left our chickens to fend for themselves and go on vacation.

What to Do With Chickens When on Vacation

You need to factor in how many chickens you have for these tips. When you only have six birds, it will be easier to leave them for a few days with minimal attention.

If you have twenty birds, you will need to recruit a helping hand and set up the following ideas below.


I don’t know if there is a technical name for it. That’s what I came up with when I asked my husband, and he said, ” I don’t know.”

chickens vacation coop

This will allow the birds to have a larger amount of water without worrying if it gets dumped.

Here is an idea on how to make your own.

Set this up at least a week before you leave. A few days will take the birds to adjust to the new water system.

Suppose you want a more manageable project for your birds to access water. Try this method.

chickens vacation coop

Use a five-gallon bucket and purchase Chicken Waterer cups. You can grab four cups for only $19.99.

Of course, you can buy the whole thing already made on Amazon here.


You will want to make sure the birds have plenty of food for the few days you will be gone. If you plan on taking off for more than a couple of days, you will need someone to come in and check on the birds.

chickens vacation coop

I find you can get away with stocking up on all the chicken food and water for two days. After that, it’s a good idea to have a neighbor stop in and check water and food levels.

I like to set up two water bowls for the chickens. In case there is a leak, or one gets dumped, etc.

If you have only chickens in a coop, I find they rarely dump over a water bowl. However, our pigs dump bowls daily in the winter.

You can also grab an automatic waterer and feeder.

Check out this automatic waterer on Amazon for under $15. Also, check out this Automatic feeder on Amazon here.

Another frugal way to do this is to make your own DIY feeder that you won’t have to worry about filling for several days. Here are 20 DIY Chicken Feeders.

Grab my Ultimate Chicken Planner- perfect for someone who is going to take care of your chickens while you are away!

backyard chicken planner

Need tips for keeping your chickens warm in winter? Read This.

We have this same chicken feeder with 22 birds. If they are locked in the coop, it lasts two days. Give or take.

If it’s winter, make sure they have an extra straw. Then, the eggs will be okay to sit for a few days. But, again, if you are leaving for a week in the summer when it’s 90 degrees, you will need someone to come and get the eggs.


Be sure to have your coop secured from any predators. We pasture raise our chickens, but we will lock them up in the coop if need be. If you have a chicken run, be sure there aren’t any holes for predators to get in.

Check out tips here for your chicken coop.

chickens vacation coop

Weather plays a significant role. For example, if winter and the temperatures are below freezing, leaving your eggs in the coop will probably cause them to freeze and crack.

For us cheap folks, sometimes losing a few eggs is more reasonable than paying someone to come in and grab the eggs.

What to Do With Chickens When on Vacation

If you are going to have someone come and check your chickens leave a couple of egg cartons near the coop. This way, they won’t be trying to shove the eggs in their pocket.

You could always have the neighbor come to gather eggs and check your chickens and take the eggs with them. However, if you live out in the country and your nearest neighbor is miles away, you may find losing a few eggs is worth it.

Don’t have anyone near you to care for your chickens? This Pet Sitter website now offers sitters for chickens! Check it out here.

Taking care of your chickens while you’re on vacation doesn’t have to be complicated. By following these simple tips, you can ensure that they are well fed and hydrated. If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to leave us a comment below.


What tips do you have for leaving your chickens when you go on vacation?

Hurry and Grab the Chicken Planner While it is on sale!

the chicken planner mockup two

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Sunday 13th of March 2022

I have my chicken coop and run ready to leave my chickens for 2 or 3 days. I have a large coop with a small door to the run. The chickens come in at dusk and on their roost at night. When morning comes they can wake up and walk out to the run. Their food and water is there, 2 large chicken waters and large rubber feeder. I place enough food for 3 days in several feeder bowls . Our run and coop have been built like Fort Knox, so no worries about predators breaking in .


Sunday 28th of November 2021

I have seven hens and recently went out of town for a week. I left their hanging feeder filled with scratch and a flock block. It proved to be sufficient food. For their water, I found a 12-gallon waterer at Tractor Supply and that was more than enough water for them. As for the eggs, I asked a friend to gather them every other day and left cartons for her to take the eggs home to keep.


Friday 5th of June 2020

We leave a kiddie pool out under a slanted roof to collect water like a rain barrel. Only if we have a drought for weeks or a freeze do we have to worry about watering the chickens.


Saturday 6th of June 2020

That is a great idea too!

Stuart Bone

Thursday 29th of August 2019

Chicken Straw after the girls have finished with it is great in the Compost


Sunday 2nd of June 2019

I used to do straw. I switched to sand and LOVE it. Do a thick layer of sand and liberally sprinkle granular PDZ every time you clean the coop. It's like scooping a huge kitty litter box. Use a rake, scrape it into a pile and throw it in a plastic bin. That goes in the compost pile. Do it, you won't regret it!

Mollie Cornwell

Monday 7th of June 2021

I agree. I use straight PDZ but have been thinking about using sand. Love PDZ! Just like scooping cat litter and super easy!


Saturday 24th of April 2021

Doesn’t the sand freeze in the winter?


Tuesday 20th of August 2019

What is PDZ ??


Monday 3rd of June 2019

That's a great idea!

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