Days away with animals

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Nax, Jun 14, 2005.

  1. Nax

    Nax Well-Known Member

    Mar 26, 2005
    NW Michigan
    It strikes me as odd as how many people loose their livestock because they go away for a day or two, have a tragic occurance, and then act surprised and sad about it. How sad it is that these animals are forced to suffer and then go to waste because people want to play at having a farm. Keeping animals is task enough when there are people around, and tragic things can happen even then, but IMHO, a person is just asking for trouble when he/she goes away for a couple days thinking they've left enough food and water, and everything is secure.

    Again, in IMHO, when you have livestock, you do not take mini-vacations and hope the animals can fend for themselves. Or if you do go away, you find a trustworthy person who can check on them at least morning and evening, and even a third or fourth time during the day if the weather becomes extreme. Animals have a habit of knocking over waterers and the like, and do not have the ability to go and fetch more themselves, and they cannot open and shut doors and windows if it gets too hot or too cold.

    If you want to keep animals--KEEP animals. If you'd rather play around and spend time at other places away from home, go to a petting zoo and contract with an organic farmer. Don't waste animals.

    That's my rant. Thank you for reading.
  2. MorrisonCorner

    MorrisonCorner Mansfield, VT for 200 yrs

    Jul 27, 2004
    We hire someone to watch the animals, but having said that, if it weren't for the dogs we could easily fill stock tanks, fill hay feeders, bulk up the chicken feeders... and walk away for 24-48 hours this time of year. Even in the winter, with the water freezing, we could do it if there was enough snow on the ground. Sometimes you just have to go... family obligations or an emergency just make it necessary.

    I think it is prudent to dry run it every few months. Stock the feeders, fill the water tanks and don't "do" the animals for a pre-determined period of time. Emergency Animal Maintance Drill! Because for sure and certain there is going to be a time when you do need to walk away from the place, when you can't find someone to "look in" and you're better off knowing the weak spots before you go then on the day you get back.

  3. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

    Sep 19, 2004
    I don't notice it that much around me that people would leave for days at a time away from their animals, but I agree that people having animals are responsible for their upkeep. It may be that some emergencies come up. I had a recent house fire and my neigbors took in my dogs while I had to be away for treatment in the hospital and overnight 'away' from the animals. I could never leave them for more than the part of the day on their own. If I go somewhere, they would go, or be properly tended by a caretaker.
    As for the pasture animals if people have these, one also has to realize that sometimes they can get out or be harrassed by predators (or dogs running loose) which could happen even if you were around and had them well fed and watered. Mishaps do happen, with or without, our awareness sometimes.
  4. DaleK

    DaleK Well-Known Member

    Sep 22, 2004
    East-Central Ontario
    I've noticed a real trend here of city people buying an acreage and deciding that they can keep livestock and just come out on weekends to check on them. Pretty pathetic. Last summer one guy decided it would be ok to skip a weekend to party, some of his sheep and cattle got out on the road and a neighbour (who didn't even know there were animals on the property) went to check and the well pump had quit 10 days before, most of the animals were dead. Think he got a $10,000 fine or some ridiculous thing.
  5. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

    Jun 6, 2004
    Michigan's thumb
    Our vacation this week has been cancelled in large part because we couldn't get someone to come and farmsit. Our plan was to be gone for a week with my college age nephew housesitting (we're about a half hour from his work). His car broke down so we pared our outing to 4 days, but ended up staying home. Our neighbors across the road will keep an eye on our pasture, there's plenty to eat and thanks to all this rain we've had, water is not an issue. Just the same, anything could happen.
  6. sullen

    sullen Question Answerer

    Oct 14, 2004
    I have a friend who is in the animal sitting business, she comes to feed and water my hens when we go away once a year at christmas time, and I let her have all the eggs they lay those days. She learned that she better come often, because hens with not much water lay not much eggs. :p
    And we learned to tie down all the waters, they don't get knocked over then.
  7. MullersLaneFarm

    MullersLaneFarm Well-Known Member

    Jul 23, 2004
    NW-IL Fiber Enabler
    Paul and I are taking separate 'vacations' this year. (He went to CO for his son's HS graduation and I'm going to Dawndra's Homesteading getaway next week)

    We have a couple cows in milk so getting away isn't easy. We do have Mennonite friends that come and milk for us when we've needed to be gone longer than 12 hours.

    We don't have a problem with it ... we'd rather be here than anywhere else!
  8. indypartridge

    indypartridge Well-Known Member Supporter

    Oct 25, 2004
    Yesterday I brought a city-friend of my daughter's home with me after work. We arrived just moments after my daughter discovered her horse was lame. Well, the next few hours were spent focused on the horse. "City friend" asked "When are we eating?" I laughed and told her that when you have animals, they come first...when they are fed and watered and cared for, then we can think about dinner.

    Me and the kids are heading to the family reunion this summer without DW. I hate leaving her behind, but someone's got to care for the animals and since we've been on the homestead less than a year, there's no one we trust enough to take care of them.

    In beekeeping circles they talk about the difference between being a beeHAVER or beeKEEPER. So as Nax says, "If you want to keep animals -- KEEP animals."
  9. unioncreek

    unioncreek Well-Known Member Supporter

    Jun 18, 2002
    SE Washington
    We'll go for 10 days at a time. We have a few chickens that we have someone check and gather eggs from every 2 to 3 days. Cows are out on pasture and we only check them once a month, there's enough neighbors around that if they see something wrong the check and correct if possible. We went to Detroit last July for my son's wedding and were gone 10 days. There had been a wheat field fire that burned 3000 acres, neighbor had disced a fire break around our property and had wet down the roof on our house. A little shocked when we came home, but in our area that's what neighbors do and I would also do it for any of them.

  10. Ravenlost

    Ravenlost Well-Known Member Supporter

    Jul 20, 2004
    We just don't leave for any extended period together. This weekend I'm going to see my parents, but I won't leave until my husband gets home from work Sunday afternoon (he'll then be home until Wednesday afternoon). If we have to go for even a few hours I worry about all the animals.

    We would very much like to find someone who would "farm sit" for us so we could go visit relatives for a few days, but so far that doesn't seem likely. And my husband said even if we did find someone he wouldn't trust them to watch out for the dogs. Keeping six dogs at the kennel for a few days is going to run up quite a bill so I don't see us going on a vacation anytime soon.

    Like someone else said, that's okay with me. No place I'd rather be than here with the dogs, cats, horses and chickens.