What Do You Do With Your homestead and animals when you travel or retire ??

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Helena, Apr 22, 2005.

  1. Helena

    Helena Well-Known Member

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    Now that hubby is about to retire in a couple of years we thought it would be nice to travel a little and maybe visit some of you folks across the country !!! ;) We love our little homestead but just might end of moving to a even less (if possible) populated area in the years to come but our problem now and even then will be our homestead animals. We realize we will always have the dogs in the kennel expense but what our real problem is our horses, goats, chickens when we go away from home now. A thought passed through me about actually having a "boarder" of types but that would take our privacy away and our house isn't "that" big nor do we have the land to put a trailer rental on it for this purpose. Our neighbor watches and cares for them when we visit the beach for a week sometimes in the fall. Plan it this way so the animals aren't kidding etc. But..it is increasingly harder for him to do this with his work schdule, farm and to find a teenager now a days that would rather do this than work and drive to McDonald's is not out there. Even 4-H teens by car driving time and they can do the work...they aren't interested when they can work longer hours somewhere else for more money. So...do we have to wait until our barn friends die (we'll be 100 by then !)...or give or sell them away. It would break my heart to sell our horses or even think of splitting them apart from each other. I know the quarter horse would be the hardest hit. Animals rights farms I'm sure are overwhelmed and our horses are older now and later to give to a charity horse farm and their health and age is catching up with them also. So...what can and do you do..No real family here to help us out either.. Help with ideas...???
     
  2. Freeholder

    Freeholder Well-Known Member

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    This is a difficult situation, for sure, and one reason why I seldom go anywhere. This summer, my middle daughter is getting married in New Hampshire (I'm living in Oregon now), and I'll need to go back for about a week for her wedding. I *think* I have reliable friends lined up to take care of things while I'm gone, but it's still pretty tentative . . . . . We are getting involved in the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism -- Medieval reenacting group), and in order to participate in events away from home will have to take at least the goats with us -- a travelling farm display! I'm not sure who I will be able to get to look after the poultry if I leave them home, though. If you have a college close by, you might put up a notice on the bulletin boards there and see if someone who likes animals would like to earn a little extra money.

    Kathleen
     

  3. Mrs_stuart

    Mrs_stuart Well-Known Member

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    We too have no real solution to this problem...no one who is responsible enough, or available or has the know how to milk and handle animals so we just stay home and yes, this gets tiresome. We want to go...camping or on vacation but it is one of those things that we have had to give up to have our animals. For emergencies, we do have my mother who can milk and take care of animals but we only use her for an emergency.
    I do know that lots of people ask my daughter to watch their animals...she is 13...and as soon as they see her with animals, they just know that she loves then and is very good with them, so they always ask her to animal sit for them. She makes ok money at it but because of her age, if i have to take her it adds up to my time too. I do try to take her as much as possible so that she can learn responsibitity and such.
    I wish i had an answer for you but i dont! Good luck!
    Belinda
     
  4. Alex

    Alex Well-Known Member

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    It's OK to live a full life on the land, travel, visit, and have fun, without animals. You don't have to have them. I know, I loved ours, they gave joy.

    You, did your time, now let others do it. It's OK, really -- NOT to have animals, and still live on the land. Just appreciate the land, the time of the year, the wild animals, the wind and sun.

    You can love your animals by knowing all about them when you see them in other's fields, at shows, you can be strong and visit, and not own any.

    Still, the point is you don't have to keep animals – no worries – no animals.

    Enjoy,

    Alex
     
  5. Helena

    Helena Well-Known Member

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    It is a real nightmare at times to get help...but do we have to do without our homestead animals in case we need to go out of town in an emergency "once in a blue moon". I guess this is where "village" type of living is a good thing. People of common interest within a town/village. About 4 years back we needed to go quickly to my daughters in SC ..grandson was hospitalized with a terrible emergency. The neighbor we had at that time who we thought would be fine since they have horses and cattle was to take care of our goats and horses. Well..of course 4 does kidded at this few days away..7 kids died and I believe it was because they came once a day not twice a day and didn't check to see if the kids were nursing etc..horses water from the hose was left running for 26 hours and when we got home that day our old pump in the cellar to the well of red hot. Just thankful that our house didn't go on fire. It was a terrible experience to say the least. People are so "dumb" at times that you could just scream. So unless we all want to move in together I guess it is just an ongoing problem for each of us. But..I have to remind myself that the joys do out weigh the inconviences !!! :)
     
  6. Thumper/inOkla.

    Thumper/inOkla. Well-Known Member

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    We fill up all the water containers, pack hay into the rabbit cages and lock the gate.

    I don't indentify with retirement changing anything, this is our retirement.
     
  7. BamaSuzy

    BamaSuzy Well-Known Member

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    Travel......the last time we were away from home was about 18 months ago when we went to the state capitol overnight for me to accept a newspaper writing award....We were just gone overnight so made sure all the animals had plenty of water and feed before we left and then checked on them immediately when we got back....Both of us could hardly wait to get back to our homestead even tho we had a FREE room and FREE meals in a swanky hotel.......

    Right now we'd have to call some neighbors if an emergency came up and we had to be away longer than that...
     
  8. MorrisonCorner

    MorrisonCorner Mansfield, VT for 200 yrs

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    This is such a nightmare... we don't have anyone reliable either. The last "sitter" (and we pay lavishly for sitters) left the dogs closed up for so long they deficated in the house. Repeatedly. Now, you can't tell me he let the dogs out every 4 hours as agreed, nor could you convince me he spent the nights here, as agreed. But he sure didn't clean the mess up. Nope, left that for us to find.

    The chicken feeders can be overstuffed, the sheep could be (in theory) left for a couple of days... but the dogs are an issue. And going away for a week? No way, no how.
     
  9. bgak47

    bgak47 Well-Known Member

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    Animals or travel? That is the big Question. I don't think that there is any good way to travel if you have animals on the homestead. Depending on neighbors or friends or relatives to take care of your animals is usually just not doable. I have 3 medium size dogs, & it is very difficult to travel with them...so I don't travel.Farm animals don't travel well at all.They really don't like it, so they would much rather stay at home. If you're going to have animals, you pretty much have to be committed to taking care of them,or not have them. Unless you can afford to hire people to do it for you.
     
  10. MorrisonCorner

    MorrisonCorner Mansfield, VT for 200 yrs

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    Afford? I don't think it is a question of "afford" so much as "find!" Cheerfully I'd pay someone responsible to look after the place... I bet a lot of people on this forum would.. but FIND that person... now, there's the trick!
     
  11. big rockpile

    big rockpile If I need a Shelter

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    When I had my animals I didn't even like my wife taking care of them.We had to take a couple trips,had a neighbor take care of them he did ok.

    Then my wife was worried I would fall and they would trample me,so we sold them all.Like my Mom said she never knew me not to have animals.I still miss them,I take care of the Wild Critters now.

    We do still have 4 Dogs,made a couple trips with them,really a lot of trouble,plus we have found most times people on the other end don't love our kids as much as we do :haha: Plus I'm always worried of breaking down with them.I think it would be very hard to find anyone to help.

    Now days most of the time I take off by myself.And I ask the wife if she will take care of my kids? Some ways I don't know with her I come home and they are always outside.And she always comes up with they just went out,and they wanted out :rolleyes: The little one always tells me different.

    big rockpile
     
  12. Shepherd

    Shepherd Well-Known Member

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    We have chickens, dogs and cats (inside cats and half in/out cats - LOL we let them in at night or during storms). We'll be getting either a dairy cow or a couple dairy goats before long and soon will have beef and pigs to care for (until butchering time). We do have good neighbors who would help in a pinch, for sure. In fact, one couple has told us several times if we want to take a few days and go anywhere, they'd be happy to care for them. And I trust them.

    But we don't go anywhere... that's such an imposition on others. Our closest neighbors seem to take at least 1 vacation a year, sometimes 2; we took care of their animals once when they asked. I'd do it again but it IS a real imposition. When I say I will - you can count on me. They've realized we don't take vacations, so they started asking the other neighbors who do - and they share the vacation chores with each other instead usually.

    I wish you lived near us, Helena; I'd love to have a couple horses just to ride the property with... places we just can't get to with vehicles. They'd have a wonderful home here, and they'd be loved.

    Wish you luck in whatever you decide... it's hard to trust just anyone to care for your animals.
     
  13. noname

    noname Well-Known Member

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    We have the long awaited Disney trip planned for this fall. I am planning to advertise for someone to watch our place, and have them come for a few day trips / weekends over the summer so I can see how they do before we leave for 2 weeks. My neighbors go by every day and will keep an eye out for obvious problems, but they are too busy with their dairy to take care of my animals. I figure that a few times of coming home earlier than I've said I would will give me a feel for how the person is doing. If all else fails, I can short-term board the horses at a nearby stable, farm out the caged critters to friends, kennel the dogs, and leave a whole lotta cat food in the barn. I'd rather not do that if I can find someone - it'll get real expensive, and I don't want the place to look empty - but my kids have waited their whole lives for this trip, and we're going if I have to drag the whole farm with us!

    Wish me luck . . .
     
  14. Jen H

    Jen H Well-Known Member

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    I am lucky enough to have a neighbor (ok, she lives a couple miles away) that I can trade off vacation time with. She raises katahdin sheep and chickens, I have a couple of sheep, cashmere goats, and some ducks. It's wonderful - she gets 2 weeks to get away during the fall and I get 2 weeks to visit my family for Christmas.

    I don't have dairy animals, and I kennel the dogs. So really she just comes twice a day and makes sure everybody has food and water. I do the same for her animals. We both have signed papers at the nearest large animal vet that we can authorize treatment. The vet bill (if there is one) is paid when I get home.

    If I'm just gone for a day or 2 then I stuff the feeders full, set out extra buckets of water, say a quick prayer and go. The dogs have a run attatched to the garage so they can get out of the weather and do their business outside.
     
  15. Pony

    Pony Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I'm reading this, and thinking, "Man, this could be a real good way for someone to make money while helping others!"

    But I have read many horror stories in addition to the ones here, and it just boggles my mind that there are so few people with integrity and a strong work ethic.

    My DD is working hard to establish herself as a clinical massage therapist. In addition to the therapy job, she works at a smoothie bar and occasionally house/pet sits. She's reliable, responsible, and always goes the extra mile. DH, DS, and I are the same way.

    If I was "footloose and fancy free" I'd love to do this sort of work. Maybe the problem is that people are too encumbered?

    I dunno. Just rambling at 4 in the morning cuz I can't sleep...

    Pony!
     
  16. katlupe

    katlupe Off-The-Grid Homesteader Supporter

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    I had the same idea. If you all lived near me I would love to take care of your animals.

    We never travel and even if we didn't have animals, we still wouldn't. I've seen all I want to see - well almost, I would like to go visit the Amish areas of PA (but I'm going to do that with my girlfriend and my dh will be home "sitting" with the girls.).
     
  17. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

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    My basic plan hopefully in retirement is to be with my animals on the homestead. I live in an area that 'travelers' visit for vacations, so what is of interest to do outdoors is close by for an occasional day trip or short weekend.
    That is a choice I make and don't care to 'plan' for a lot of retirement travelling.
    In the past, with animals on the farmstead, I can remember 2 occasions that I had to go away for nealy a week. One was a BIL wedding and the other was week long fishing trip to visit a friend. Both times either a relative or someone willing to stay at the house. It did not work out too well, to be frank as they don't view the animals with the same care and attention I would have done if being home. Dogs in the house were not used to the 'caretakers' and the animal sitters once fed them wrongly and ended up with a diarrhea mess to deal with on the floor. It puts out to ask people you know to look after your animals, and if they don't understand, then it could be disasterous to trust the animals in their care.
    Best advice is to take the choice about having animals and being full time attendent to them, or plan to travel. You can find animal caretakers at an expense, which are professional. That may be another option if you follow their advice on what they will do for your animals while you are away.
     
  18. Mutti

    Mutti Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We are so lucky to have an animal-crazy neighbor next door. She will always watch our critters for us...we aren't good enough to watch hers though as they are her children!!! So we help her in other ways with firewood,fence fixin' and such. We just sold all our cattle as decided we were tired of the chores. Only have chickens and the dogs. The two horses live the wild life...three ponds to drink from and all the grass they can stuff down so can leave them anytime. They come up for grain in the am but don't really need it,the porkers. With the kids all gone now we don't need to produce freezers worth of beef,pork and chicken. We eat alot lighter now, don't snack much and really like to spend the time on our flowers and veggie garden. If we want to go somewhere we can without weeks of advance planning and it is fun...life changes. DEE
     
  19. Ravenlost

    Ravenlost Well-Known Member Supporter

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    This is a problem for us as well. Right now if a trip away is required just one of us goes...usually me. We have five horses, five dogs, five cats and seven chickens. We would like to find someone to come in and care for the animals so we could go visit family, but there doesn't seem to be much chance of that happening. We've talked to neighbors and no one knows anyone who would want to do this...and we would pay well!

    So for now we take turns, or we go just for the day. We had to travel 5 hours to my MIL's birthday party last year and did it in one day...five hours there, four hours at the party, five hours back. Made for a very long day, but we had no other choice.

    My hubby retires in three years and has no plans on setting foot off his farm afterwards! :haha:
     
  20. RandB

    RandB Well-Known Member

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    Recently, just one or the other goes at a time, if absolutely necessary, or else day-trips. We do have a neighbor who will trade off livestock feeding, but right now my problem is actually a dog we have who cannot travel and cannot be left with anyone else. I just try to enjoy the time he has left, there will be other years to travel when he is not here anymore.

    Actually, I just wanted to give a word of warning about having strangers or even neighbors do it - think carefully about the potential of somebody getting hurt on your property - think insurance nightmare !!!

    Before we go away anywhere together again, I am figuring out ways that somebody can feed & water the animals without having to actually go in the same enclosure with them, just to be extra safe. Especially the large animals, horses & sheep. Don't need anybody getting knocked down, kicked, or otherwise hurt. Also, that way there is less likelihood of a gate not being closed correctly, animals getting out.