Anyone livestock sit?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Mouse, Sep 21, 2004.

  1. Mouse

    Mouse Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Northwest Arkansas
    Hi,

    I'm thinking about becoming a livestock sitter. Do any of you do this? Have you tried it before? pros and cons? Things to watch out for? How do you figure charges?

    Would you hire a livestock sitter? I know how hard it is to find reliable and dependable people to watch your animals. I live in central Arkansas so for anyone local who might be interested, let me know.

    Thank you,
    Mouse (Marion)
     
  2. deberosa

    deberosa SW Virginia Gourd Farmer!

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    Floyd County, VA
    There is a woman that does this in my area. I really like her service, but sounds like she has dealt with real problem customers. She gets everything in writing because customers get picky and expect added services. She is also bonded - don't know what that takes.

    I just got the impression that she had dealt with some real unpleasant people in her business and was happy when I call.
     

  3. Jen H

    Jen H Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Washington
    I hire folks to watch my livestock over Christmas so I can get down to visit my family. So yes, people do hire livestock sitters.

    Last year I paid a local teenager $50 per day to come in once a day and feed the goats and sheep, change their water, and sweep the bare floor area of the barn. He also checked in on the house to make sure everything was ok - I'm glad he did because we had a surprise freeze and the faucet he left dripping saved the water line in an out building. Doing all of this took him maybe 1/2 hour a day and the kid lived close by.

    I really don't know how he figured out how much to charge. He set what I thought was a fair price for this area. Unfortunately he's off at college now and won't be sitting again this year. :(

    The only advertising he did was an ad pinned up at the local gas station/corner store.
     
  4. Lt. Wombat

    Lt. Wombat Well-Known Member

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    We did it once back in California and will never do it again. The gal had references, wonderful references in fact. She listed 6 and I called 4, all gave her glowing reviews. We left for a month to hunt for property and her job was to stop by the place, feed in the morning, leave, then come back in the evening and feed again. PERIOD!

    We got back and there was an abandoned junky, crappy pickup and camper in front of the house and it looked as if they had drained the oil from then engine onto the ground. I went into the garage and the smell of ether floored me. She and someone had used our place to set up a methamphetamine lab. There was trash everywhere, anything that could be carried away was and the stock was gone.

    Sheriff’s office cleaned up the lab, recovered some of the stuff but the stock were never seen again so we can only assume they were sold somewhere.

    The kicker was the $1,700 PG&E (power) bill we had to pay. We appealed it but they refused to bend.

    Even this year we paid the high school kid down the road to feed while we took a trip and she did us dirty. We found beer cans and condoms all over the barn plus cigarette butts. She refuses to admit doing it but it looks as if she had a barn party.

    Nope never again. I'll sell the stock off or butcher them all before I let someone stay here again.
     
  5. MaKettle

    MaKettle Well-Known Member

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    :eek: :eek: :eek: Omigosh! What horrible experiences. We have house/critter sat for our neighbor, with no $ exchange. Had a young man stay in our house for a month once to house/dog sit. That worked out well, but we knew him. Also had a young woman come over daily for a couple weeks to do the barn chores when we couldn't, but we were in the house, we knew her brother, and she came with her baby--no danger of barn parties there. I would be afraid to leave the place in the care of strangers. Which is why we haven't gone anywhere in 15 years. Would like to figure out how to get away without having to empty the barn of critters.

    If a person is bonded, it is sort of like they have insurance to pay for any damages that may occur while they are on your premises.
     
  6. farmmaid

    farmmaid Well-Known Member Supporter

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    New York
    Hubby and I take care of people's horses when they are gone but come and go, do not stay there. They all are good friends of ours and we charge $10 an hour plus $1 a trip for gas, the longest we drive is 5 miles one way. They go for a week or so, nice little $. We have had and shown horses for 50+ years so they know that we do more than just throw the animals hay. We look each animal over 2x a day and have "an eye" to spot something not just right. I would never myself hire someone without any "horse sense" to just throw them the feed, we would know what to do in an emergence. This has been fun and we are SO appreciated!!!...Joan :)
     
  7. Mouse

    Mouse Well-Known Member

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    Northwest Arkansas
    Wow those are some incredibe horror stories. There sure is a need for someone like me, dependable and able to spot trouble fast. I definitely wouldn't want to live in someone else's house especially since I have my own farm of sheep, 2 horses, goats, and poultry and 7 house dogs. Thanks for all the stories.
     
  8. MorrisonCorner

    MorrisonCorner Mansfield, VT for 200 yrs

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    VT
    We pay $100/day for someone to come and live on the property and care for all the critters. Let me say frankly... we grossly overpay. But the peace of mind is worth it. So far (knock on wood) we've had people who might not be of a mind to be responsible (and use our place for a party) realize that this is a very good gig, and not want to mess it up. So they watch videos, eat what's in our fridge, and mind the animals.

    I think the going rate here is around $50/day for someone to drop in 2x a day.
     
  9. beaglady

    beaglady Well-Known Member

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    Pennsylvania
    We sometimes hire a 12 yr old neighbor boy to feed & water our poultry if we are gone overnight. He comes by in the morning and lets them out to range, fills feed and water. In the evening, he comes by again to close the pens back up. I leave very specific typed instructions. His dad comes along to supervise, so things are done pretty thoroughly. I pay him $5 per visit & he seems happy with that.
     
  10. Denise K.

    Denise K. Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Eastern Washington
    I pay $ 30.00 a day to feed and water the rabbits, one pet goat and one horse. Generally, I have hired the lady that used to babysit for me, her children for the chores, it works well. Their Grandpa is a horseman he always checked up on the kids!!(at one time he worked draft horses for my grandfather!) The chores arern't hard but need to be done right. So far I never have had a problem.
    Over the years my kids have also critter sat for many people, since they were raised around livestock, they are wise to the care. If you pay a good rate, should be able to find someone. (ask the 4-H/FFA leaders)
    Denise
     
  11. CountryWannabe

    CountryWannabe Well-Known Member

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    Oklahoma
    I have had people look after my dogs when I have been away at shows or on vacation. One man was wonderful - very knowledgeable, reliable and conscientious. Unfortunately he died :waa:

    I had a young woman who worked for me twice a week (general kennel and doggy chores) who was so useless when not supervised I could have cried. Not a bad person, but no common sense :no: . She didn't last long.

    I have a good friend who will come in twice a day when I am gone. She is good and reliable, but short on specific knowledge. She does know her limitations, though, and will call me if she is worried.

    I generally pay $35 per day. That includes feeding, watering and letting dogs in and out and cleaning the kennel. I guess it will have to go up now because I have poultry for her to feed and water, too.

    Mary
     
  12. Mouse

    Mouse Well-Known Member

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    Northwest Arkansas
    Thanks for the prices. It's good to know what's going in the various areas.