If you’ve never lived on a farm, this term may sound weird. But for those of us with livestock, having a reliable farm sitter can help preserve your sanity. We wouldn’t be able to vacation and keep animals if we didn’t have friends down the road who take over the chores for us. And I’m happy to return the favor when they go out of town!
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So last weekend my friends, Mama Marcy and Farmer Trogg from Trogg’s Hollow Farm, went to pick up their order of peaches in Southern Illinois. This meant I got to play with goats for a few days! I still miss having my own goats and taking care of theirs got my goat fix taken care of for little while. 🙂
It reminded me that goats can be quite a handful at times! The Trogg’s Hollow goats are very well behaved and the biggest issue was this little imp who kept getting her horns caught in the fence. I had my first experience with milking Dwarf Nigerians…much less drama than my old goats. Not as much milk either, but they are definitely cute little things.
The poultry were no big deal to take care of…they just didn’t like to go in their coop at night. Oh, and they swarmed underfoot whenever they saw a feed scoop. 😉
Preparing Instructions for Your Farm Sitter
If you are planning to go on vacation, make sure you leave detailed instructions for your farm sitter. It’s also a very good idea to have them over and go through the chores once, maybe twice if they are newbies. This gives them a chance to ask questions while you are there. Have them do a dry run with you if they are nervous, inexperienced, or the chores are extensive.
Some important information to include on your instruction sheet:
- Your cell phone # and the # where you are staying
- Phone # of a back up person, just in case
- Vet’s phone #, just in case
- Morning and evening instructions for each animal or group of livestock, including amount of food, how often to milk dairy animals, collect eggs, check water, etc.
- Security codes, if necessary
- Any extra instructions, such as picking up mail, turning on outside light, watering garden, caring for pets, medications, etc.
- Dates and times you are leaving and returning. Be sure to communicate this info ahead of time to make sure your vacation will be covered. Ask your farm sitter if they are available for an extra day in case you are delayed.
Of course, you might think of something you forgot after you get on the road, so bring your farm sitter’s phone number with you so you can call.
It’s always nice to bring a little farm sitting swag back with you…check out the nummies I received!
You might be able to advertise your services as a chicken sitter or farm sitter on Craigslist. If so, be very careful about who you work for. It’s advisable to check references and make sure that they’re trustworthy. You may charge for your services and make a little extra cash. You might even keep the eggs or milk you collect.
Be sure you don’t take on more than you can handle in your free time. A full blown dairy operation or large farm is likely to be a bigger challenge that one person can take on. Be sure you know what you are getting into well ahead of time. You don’t want to bow out at the last minute leaving your farmer with no one to care for his or her animals.
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