How to Take a Vacation when You Have a Homestead or Small Farm

How to Take a Vacation when You Have a Homestead

One of the questions I get asked most often about our farm is, “How do you take a trip or go out of town?”ย In this post I’ll share how we try to make things low maintenance and also how we organize our trips and someone to watch the farm when we are gone. It can be done, and it isn’t hard. So for todays Farm Tip Friday, here is how to take a vacation when you have a homestead or small farm!

Make it low maintenance.

One of my top priorities with our small farm is to keep things low maintenance. This changes based on the time of year, but for the most part all the animals can go 2-3 days and only need a brief health check. I purposefully designed feeders and a waterer for my chicken coop that could last 3-5 days without needing filled or cleaned. There aren’t any moving parts either, so nothing is going to break while we are gone and leave them without food. There is only one area in the coop that needs cleaned regularly, and it is large enough that going 3 days without a cleaningย is ok, all the areas where the chickens live, roost, lay and scratch stay clean.

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Our steer eats out in the pasture right now and has two water sources as well as two feeders. He isn’t currently eating hay, but even if he was, I would be able to fill the feeders and only need to check them every few days if the weather was nice. There is one improvement I need to make to have our pasture be low maintenance and that is to build a shelter out there. If it’s very bad weather, we move the animals into the barn – which is work. Having a shelter outside would make everyone happier. It’s one of our goals for next summer…we will see how far we get! ๐Ÿ™‚

How to take a vacation when you have a homestead or small farm: Keep farm jobs low maintenance, plan trips at the right time, & hire help. Get the details!

Even if we are just gone for the weekend and none of the animals will need food or water, I still have someone come and check on things to make sure everyone is healthy, happy, and has clean food and water. Which brings us too…

Hire help.

The saying, “You get what you pay for” is true in this case. Even just checking in on a small farm takes time and some knowledge, it isn’t something everyone would be comfortable doing. We hired a young neighbor boy for the summer to watch things when we were gone and take care of the feeding, watering, and cleaning when we left for longer trips. We agreed on some variable prices depending on the amount of work that would be required for each trip. I think it worked out really well, he seemed excited about the money and we felt comfortable leaving things in his care. His family keeps animalsย as well so even if there was an issue he didn’t know how to handle, knowledgeable help wasn’t far away.

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Keeping things low maintenance and simple makes hiring help or even just asking for help so much easier. If you have long, difficult or complicated processes for the daily tasks that need done on your farm, it’s going to be hard to find help that you trust and help that is going to want to stick around! And besides – why would you want to deal with long, difficult, or complicated process every day?!ย Minor changes can usually make a small farm very easy to maintain.

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Travel at the right time.

Planning trips during busy seasons when things need harvested, animals need more care {calving, kidding, or lambing}, or the weather is really severe is always stressful. If you can plan trips to be during low-stress times on the farm, it will make things easier on you, the animals, and your help. We usually travel when we canย have animals out on the pasture, the chicken run can stay open, and the garden won’t need tending too.

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Obviously there are times when you won’t have a choice or when you just don’t plan super well {me…}. In those situations it can be very beneficial to have experienced help willing to lend you a hand. We had a tough situation {brought on by my poor planning} this summer when we had some sick bottle calves that needed care while we were at my brothers wedding. I have found that good friends willing to help you on ย your farm are invaluableย and appreciate being compensated with good food…just a tip.

Stop worrying about leaving.

Leaving can stress me out sometimes, so here is a list of things I do before leaving that ease my mind:

  • Check your fences, gates, feeders, and waterers before you leave to make sure everything is working properly. We like to keep some tools and fence repair supplies we use frequentlyย in the barn just in case they are needed while we are away.
  • Have a plan in place if an animal does get loose or injured. Leave halters or ropes in an area where they can easily be found.
  • Leave your veterinarians phone number in aย visible area so that if there was an emergency, anyone who responds will be able to find it.
  • Have a farm first aid kit {human and animal} ready and visibleย in case it’s needed.

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In reality, 99% of the timeย your farm and animals will be just fine while you are away. Probably the only animal that will care when you leave for a few days is your dog. Other than that, as long as the others are fed and watered and healthy,ย they will be perfectly content while you enjoy your time away.

What are some of your tips for traveling with a small farm or homestead?

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