Vacations & Finding A Farm Sitter

milking a goat

Republished from 8/1/11….

Anybody who has a dog or a cat knows that when you have pets it can be hard to get away for a little vacation once a year. Unless it’s a dog that you can take with you, arrangements will have to be made either at a boarding facility or with a friend or family member who can care for your pet until you return.

But imagine how this problem is compounded when you have chickens and a milk goat to find care for. The needs of these animals are a little more complicated. You can’t put them in a boarding facility. And you can’t let your friend take them to their house for a few days. Well, not unless they have a farm of their own and a trailer, and even then it isn’t practical to load up a couple dozen chickens to transport! No. These animals have to stay on location, and they require daily (even twice daily) care.

Finding a farm sitter can be nearly impossible. And if you are blessed with a willing vessel, if you have a milk cow or goat, you’ll still need for that person to know how to properly milk.

I say all of this because this has been our dilemma. We wanted to get away for a weekend, but didn’t know ANYBODY who could farm sit for us. But after I sent out an SOS message on my personal facebook page, I was blessed to have a couple of friends respond with an offer to help. I could hardly believe it! And one of them even has a milk goat of her own, so she knows the deal. How great is that?!

We were so blessed by the willing hearts of our friends to help us out… those willing to learn to milk a goat just to give us a break, and those offering to drive a good distance each day in order to be of some assistance. But in the end, our dear neighbors have offered to care for the homestead while we’re gone. They’ve had milk goats in the past, and they own chickens, so they know how to go about things here.

fresh produce

In exchange, we’re happy to let them keep all of the milk they get for themselves, and the eggs they collect, and any garden produce that comes in while we’re gone. Though I wish it could be more. What a blessing to have people willing to lend a helping hand.

If you know somebody who has farm animals, consider the blessing you would be by offering your help so these people can get away for a couple of days. The work isn’t really that hard, and you’re more than likely to be compensated with delicious, fresh foods.

So, this weekend we’re heading to the beach for a little R&R. It’ll be fun for the kids in particular. My family has a house within walking distance from the beach, and we are blessed to be able to stay there pretty much whenever we want.

I’m gonna be EXTRA busy this week making sure everything is good here before we leave. I’ll be so ready for a break by Friday!

Do you have a faithful farm sitter? How do you get away for a little vacation?


Kendra
About Kendra 1106 Articles
A city girl learning to homestead on an acre of land in the country. Wife and homeschooling mother of four. Enjoying life, and everything that has to do with self sufficient living.

10 Comments

  1. It is quite a dilemma for a lot of farmers. I just wanted to comment and let you know that this is what I do for a living! I live in CT, but I would travel anywhere in the country so long as the job paid for the plane ticket and time away. It is such a great job to have, and I enjoy the people I meet and the menagerie of farms I sit for!

    http://www.backyardstobarnyardspetsitting.com

  2. I too will be looking for somebody to trust while I leave the farm for a few weeks this summer. It’s a great opportunity to learn about organic gardening, caring for livestock and working with dogs. Beautiful setting in Franklin, Ky. Let me know if anyone is truly interested.
    Sandra Placco [email protected]

  3. I helped out a friend with her farm animals a week ago when she went on vacation. My friend gathered three people to help out through the week. One had mornings (the closest of us) and the second person and I split the evenings. I took my six year old with me to help out and so he could experience a few ‘farm’ chores. We had a lot of fun! She did the same as you and let us keep the eggs we found. Of course, I would have done it for nothing! My friend has two goats, four baby goats (Two of which came while my friend was gone!), ten chickens, two cats and a dog. It really is a whole other job to find help for all of that. And I thought finding dog care for one dog was difficult. HA! : )

  4. I know how it is trying to find someone that can and is willing to take care of the myriad of responsibilities a farm has. We have no neighbors and are cautious about who we would want around while we are away. Some of our past solutions have been church friends, family & a 4-H family that we knew and trusted.

  5. I don’t know if you thought about it. But I had heard someone make a suggestion to ask the local school FFA. The students are learning alot of stuff about plants, planting, crops, and animals ect. So sometimes they will be willing to come do it as school projects or individuals for like points they get for awards.

  6. Good for you! I read and totally agree about how everyone needs a break from their farm because you are at your job 24/7, always work staring you in the face. haha.

    We do not have a farm sitter and so Farmer usually stays at home and I take the kids to wherever we are going. It gets old because A: I miss him when we’re gone and always think “Farmer would enjoy this or that” and B: leaving home means extra work for me with 4 kids on the road and he’s not around to help! But, I was forewarned of this occurence prior to marriage and so I can’t say no one told me.

  7. It is interesting to see this point-of-view. My boyfriend and I farmsit for a family that live quite the drive frome our home. So they let us live in there house for the week they are out. This provides an amazing experience every time. You may feel that you are the ones being blessed when others offer their hand. But from the sitters prospective it can be you that is providing the blessing. I grew up in the suburbs, my boyfriend is from the country. Neither of us had prior knowledge of farm animals, but this family was amazing enough to trust us. After our first week of waking up to roosters, tending to the pigs and goats, and feeding the many chickens our whole plans in life had changed. The country made us happy and often find ourselves missing the chores of their farm. We now plan to buy a house in the country as well, hopefully in a year, and start ourselves out with chickens and goats. To think that someone’s need for a simple vacation has put into motion a shift in my own life. If you are able to find someone trust worthy that is new to the farm, give them a chance. You may end up helping them in more ways than they could ever help you. 🙂

    • Thank you so much for sharing your perspective from the other side, Michelle. I loved reading what you had to say about farmsitting for your friends. How great that you’ve been given that experience and the leading to live in the country one day also. Very awesome.

  8. I totally understand your dilemma! We only have a few chickens and a couple of horses, but it is hard to find someone to help out while you take that vacation. Our situation is quite different as our kids show animals at the local fair. From January until Saturday night of the youth fair, we are tied to the farm. The animals have to be cared for twice a day. But, tonight they go up for auction at the fair sale, so we should have some free time!

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