Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Leaving the Cats, Dogs and Chickens

There were a couple of comments yesterday asking about what we do if we have to stay away from the place overnight and if we have neighbours that would look after pets for us.  Although we have now met quite a few of the folk that live on our hill there are none that we would ask to look after our furry and feathered family members if we go away, mostly because they are either elderly or working full time.
We tend to do what suits us and our animals, we know what they are like and we have tested the waters very carefully over various time scales and found a system that suits us and more importantly them.
The chickens are fine for up to three nights as a maximum although we are rarely away for that long.  Their house is dry and warm and if we go away we leave the large window closed, they sleep well away from their pop hole so this means they are not in any draught.  (Chickens can cope well with cold but not with draughts.).  Of course they have their electrified fence around them to keep out any unwanted visitors.
They have their large black food dispenser at the left hand side of the house, a smaller one that they treat as a snack wagon and a safe and secure large food dispenser inside the house, so they have at least one that is not accessible by any wild birds or animals.  They have two large water dispensers outside the house and another smaller one inside it.  There is also the large trough that fills with rain water after every shower.

The dogs are NEVER left on their own overnight.  The longest we have ever left them is for around eight hours, they coped well with that occasion but it is a very rare occurrence that means they are not either with us or in kennels if we are going away for any length of time.
Ginger is also okay for up to three days, although this as I said before is very rare. 
I'm sure he would be okay for longer actually but I would never push this.  He, as most of my cats have been, is very independent and loves his own company, but even solitary animals can get lonely and I've noticed that after he has been left for two nights he is craving our attention for a few hours the day after we return, a sure sign in my opinion that he likes our company even if he choses to rarely be with us when we are actually here.
He has access to the house through his cat flap, so can come and go as he pleases, we are happy that he chooses to mooch about at the back of the house and on the periphery of the woods rather than venturing near the road.  He has this type of food dispenser on top of the chest freezer out of the reach of the dogs and eats mostly dried food, which he regulates himself with very well. He shares his water with the dogs usually, so a great big bowl of fresh water is always left for him.
If our animals and birds weren't happy we would make alternative arrangements, but this is suiting us just fine at the moment.  Of course once we have pigs again  and maybe other animals there will be no nights away for both of us at the same time without using the services of farm sitters or being especially nice to family and friends, or maybe offering a free holiday in Wales to anyone who is willing to feed and look after the menagerie.
Now there's an idea for the future.  We could nip off for a week and Blog readers could have a free holiday in return for animal minding duties ..... of course you would also have to update the Blog on a daily basis !!
Now that would be a good idea, I could read Our New Life in the Country from someone else's perspective :-)
Sue xx


  1. Very well explained Sue;
    I would hope that my lovely grandson Jason and Myself would be in line again .
    Lots of love MUM XXXXXXXX

  2. I know its hard when you have animals to be away for too long, so well explained.

    Think you might be getting lots of bloggers to stay now! lol

    X x

  3. We are VERY lucky. Our youngest daughter, who works full time, only lives a mile away and she works about a quarter of a mile away, from us. When we go away she decamps to ours with her dog (and years ago, her children) and house sits at the same time. I streamline everything as much as I can for her with the animals and also make her meals which I refrigerate or freeze. I don't forget the bottle or two of her favourite wine in the rack!
    As we go fishing in Cornwall for the weekend at least ten times a year I know how lucky we are!. Oh yes! she also keeps the parrot and cat company. I suspect if we left the house completely empty for more than a day the parrot would be very unhappy as he needs lots of company.
    Like your feeding arrangements for your hens

  4. You will be over run with volunteers!

  5. Oh I would love to house sit your menagerie....We leave our cats home alone for a couple of nights in the same way, but don't have a cat flap so have to put out extra litter tays. We also have a key with a neighbour to use in an emergency should we get stuck somewhere and are unable to get back. So glad you had a nice break at the weekend. Xx

  6. Well, that's a great idea! Something to really consider I guess, as there are plenty of people who would jump on the occasion (me, for example :) )

  7. We are the same, we have 2 indoor cats and they are fine for 2-3 nights alone. Our dogs, we had Newfoundlands , are gone now, but we usually took them with us. We have a goat who just wanders around and is fine. Then this year we have chickens. So, just moments a go a coyote got a chicken who was wandering around. We let them go out of their yard everyday. But now we ushered them back in. It's horrible losing one of the girls. I wonder what is your electric fence? Can you tell how to do it ? Thanks, and if I wasn't in California , I'd house sit in a minute.:)

    1. Our electric fencing system is this one -


      and it has never let us down. There is always a link to this company at the top of the right hand sidebar.

  8. Interesting Blog idea house sitting services ( I'd house sit yours if I was free ! )

  9. Our dogs are left four hours max, the collie has a weak bladder and she hasn't even had kids!

  10. Ooh book me in we will bring our caravan!!

    We only had cats and so did next door so we just helped each other, it worked well.

  11. Oh, how I wish we were friends so I could visit you! :) I dream of the day I'll have my own herd of animals that will need watching over. It's a long ways off yet.

  12. I think that you have started a land slide Sue, you can add me into the mix. I grew up on a small holding and know how much needs to be organised for a day out never mind a holiday. The last time that I did anything like that I ended up helping a cow to calve at 2 in the morning by lantern light, in a howling gale with horizontal rain. The heifer was gorgeous and well worth the soaking.

  13. Could you advertise for a pet sitter in your nearest town/village? I've been pet sitting/dog walking for people for years and now my son is old enough, he helps too. I don't know how far away you are from a larger community though. There are quite a few pet sitters in our area - some even come to your house to stay.

  14. I've got my hand up!! I bet yours and my dogs would have a great party!!

  15. We always took the view with HRH The Cat that being away say from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon was fine - any longer than that and Mum popped in to see her - thankfully we live close enough to my parents that this was an option. You're right about dogs though - if you value your fixtures and fittings, never leave them alone for long enough to get TOO bored! ;-)


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