Chicken boarding near me!? Here’s what to look for in a Chicken Hotel.
Hello my lovelies!
That’s how I used to greet my chickens every morning when I used to run the original chicken hotel in Cornwall. For me, going out in the morning to look after my hens was a reason to get out of bed in the morning. Quite simply, it’s something I loved doing.
Now, as we’re building Betsy, the world’s first website dedicated to finding ‘chicken boarding near you’, we’re looking for people who are just as passionate about chickens as we are.
Chicken boarding near me
After you have assembled your flock, you might be wondering, “How on earth do I go on holiday!?” And wonder you might! Caring for chickens is different from simply feeding a cat or walking a dog! They’re a little more unusual in their needs and your neighbour might not be up for the challenge.
So, you’ll probably turn to Google and search for chicken boarding. There are lots of decent chicken boarding establishments out there, so here’s what to look for.
Finding a local chicken hotel
Travelling with chickens is perfectly fine, with trips of less than 30 mins being ideal. We’d encourage you not to make trips of over an hour as this may stress out your birds. You can read more on travelling with chickens in this blog.
As Betsy grows, we hope to present the best range of chicken hotels, all with easy reach of where you’re based.
Dedicated guest chicken coop
Running a chicken hotel is a viable business, as such, you’ll be looking for establishments with a dedicated guest coop and run. Ideally you’ll be looking for a set up on grass that is easy to move around. Eglu coops and runs by Omlet are a popular choice thanks to their lightweight and easy-to-clean plastic structure.
Thorough cleaning between guests
Cleaning is essential to prevent the transmission of any bugs, red mite, or diseases between flocks. Your chicken hotel owner should know how to deep clean between stays and be committed to keeping up a level of hygiene standards. Part of the vetting process at Betsy is to check that all of our Chicken Hotel locations meet these levels.
The coops that your hens are staying in should look clean, fresh and not run down. Old wooden coops can easily harbour mites if the owners aren’t rigorous in their cleaning.
Another reason Eglu’s are popular is because of their plastic construction. Being plastic makes them easy to pressure wash and clean thoroughly.
Plenty of space
At Betsy we look for Chicken Hotels that have coops with at least one 1 sq foot per chicken (See the Poultry Club of Great Britain for guidelines).
In terms of a chicken run, a 2m by 1m run should be enough for 4 chickens (about 5 sq feet per bird according to the RSPCA). Ideally this should be outside space on grass or wood chippings and the run should be moved to a fresh patch between guests.
If there is more than one guest accommodation at a Hotel location then there should be space between the runs so that the risk of cross contamination can be reduced.
A caring host
There are two really easy ways to see if a host is caring. The first way: They have a photo of them holding a chicken. (Or even a chicken on their shoulder!) The second: They name their chickens and ask for the names of yours when you ‘chick in’. These two signs are dead giveaways for someone who cares about chickens just as much as you do.
There are other things to look for, of course. We send a survey out to all our hosts to assess their level of expertise. We also have the final say on whether a drafted listing can go live.
Some of the questions we ask new applicants:
- How many years experience do you have looking after chickens?
- What security do you have to protect your guests and fend off potential threats?
- What kind of bedding will you use for guests?
- Can you spot red mite, scaly leg, wry neck, sour crop or bumble foot?
Other good chicken-care signs
By now you should be able to tell if a Chicken Hotel is legit! But have a look at this image below. You can see the owner:
- Accepts cockerels
- Will save your eggs
- Has organic feed
- Will send you photos
- Offers treats
Now, none of this is mandatory (especially catering for roosters), but it does go to show some of the love that chicken owners are prepared to put into looking after your flock.
When can I start to use Betsy to find chicken hotels?
We’re aiming to have Betsy live around March 2022. We’re looking at providing chicken boarding in Dorset, Somerset, Wiltshire and Hampshire as our test areas.