Leaving the chickens for a Highland Holiday…

The majority of my social circle either work on farms or own them, and they all attest to having a crippling addiction to their work. Regardless of if they’re working with animals or with the land, they all admit to finding it incredibly difficult to leave their respective farms.

Luckily, many of us have families and friends who will not let us go for months on end without some form of a break. Recently, my wife was good enough to book us a holiday away to a secluded Highland lodge with a hot tub, this might sound like an idyllic weekend break that would be impossible to resist, however I still dragged my heels when it came to leaving my clan of Scotland Dumpy chickens for just a few days.

I take the responsibility of looking after my flock of chickens very seriously. Each animal is only alive today as a result of my diligent work and ethics, to not treat their lives with respect would be the same as disrespecting years of my life’s work. My daily task list is long but satisfying and built around maintaining the healthy lives of the birds that are both my livelihood, so you’ll understand why I find it so difficult to leave them in the hands of another person whilst I’m miles away.

I’ve grappled with the issues of leaving my flock before of course, but somehow the same nagging issues that I’ve always had have compounded rather than lessened over the years. Thankfully, modern technology has provided solutions for many of the issues that I have had with leaving my chickens for long periods of time.

I’ve always disliked the idea of hiring a person to feed my animals. Despite having always stipulated how much feed to give the chickens, I’ve always returned from a break to find them either woefully undernourished or horribly overweight. This problem has now been solved with automatic feeders. Set to a digital timer and loaded with enough food to last a week, the right amount of food is dropped into the chickens’ trough every morning, so I no longer have to worry about if they’re getting the right nutrition or not.

If you’re an amateur chicken keeper then security will always be a worry, regardless of if you’re home or away. I’ve spent years ensuring that the coop is as fox-proof as possible and it’s been years since we’ve had an attack, still the fear will always remain in the back of my mind. Ensuring that the birds are safe has been a priority for a long time, but it’s much harder to do when you’re miles away. The installation of an automatic pop door for the coop means that I can be safe in the knowledge that the birds are getting their fresh air.

Finally, mobile technology has allowed me the greatest freedom of all, to be able to watch over my beloved brood of chickens from the comfort of a hot tub in the stunning Scottish Highlands. There are plenty of apps out there to choose from, the important thing is that you spend good money on a quality camera, so that you can keep an eye on your birds throughout the day and night.

We’re taking our first holiday in years next week and I can honestly say that my fears over leaving my chickens have almost (completely) been eradicated.