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How to Find and Use a Farm Sitter to Enjoy Vacation as a Homesteader — 8 Comments

  1. What a great article! We are struggling with this right this very moment. We are all set to go visit my son and new grand daughter across the country….but I STILL have not been able to find someone I feel comfortable leaving my animals with. Our little village is tiny, and there are unfortunately no teenagers available. And there a lot of elderly folk or people still working and commuting an hour or more each way up here in our mountains. You made some excellent points, and I’m going to continue looking! 🙂

    • I hope you find someone!

      We go through seasons where we just can’t leave too because we can’t find someone we’re comfortable with (or that’s affordable!). Plus there are so many seasons where we just won’t leave because it’s so much more than just food and water–like breeding and harvesting season in the fall and lambing season in the spring, or possible severe weather in the winter, and hurricane season in the late summer. The windows of opportunity can be very small. It’s so nice with technology that we can stay basically in constant contact with our farm sitter these days though.

  2. I’m not sure I would feel comfortable leaving the responsibility for the farm to a teenager… even a very responsible one. IF something happens, things can get messy.
    We’ve had a lot of luck finding people on regular volunteering websites – such as workaway.info or helpx.org . There are so many people looking for special opportunities there; we tend to look for people between 25 and 45 years old who want to experience “farm life” with the idea of maybe (one day) start a farmish operation of their own. We make sure they stay with us for at least a week or so before we leave, so they get accustomed to life on the farm… or so we can cancel the whole thing if it doesn’t work out (we’ve never had to do that).

    • It is a lot to expect of a young person. I think it partly depends on how large of a farm, how long you’ll be gone, and what you really expect the farm sitter to be able to do. In the summer, our farm sitter really just needs to fill water buckets and gather chicken eggs. We’re blessed to be in a rural area where most of our young people are used to farming, horses, and basic livestock care as long as they have a backup plan for dire emergencies. We’ve also been lucky to have teens who have provided summer child care AT OUR FARM to be available afterward to farm sit, so they are very familiar with our animals and set up and the basic daily chores from helping our kiddos do them over the summer. But I’ve canceled from nerves a couple times too when I felt like we couldn’t find the right person. It’s definitely about finding someone you’re comfortable with to leave. As farmers, we just don’t expect to take much in vacations. 🙂

  3. Great post! We don’t have a farm but we used to have chickens and it was always a challenge to find someone to come over and take care of them when we went away. Thanks for sharing your post on our Homestead Hop, as one of the co-hosts I will be featuring your post tomorrow!
    -Nancy ( Nancy On The Home Front )

  4. We usually take at least one 10 day vacation away from home each year. We enlist a house sitter and we’ve had luck with referrals from friends for their college age kids. We have 5 indoor dogs, a cat and our poultry and hoof stock. To prep, we have them come over a night the week before we leave and walk through evening chores with them (since this is our busy time). We write down our instructions, label everything, and introduce them to all the animals. We do leave our portable fence up, but connect it to our permanent fence so if something goes wrong , weather or otherwise, they can close th gate. We also dumb everything down, don’t have anyone getting ready to kid or lamb and also tell our visitor to keep/eat all eggs. It’s better for us if they stay at the house and we pay them by the day. So far, it has worked out. Currrently on our vacation and we get daily check ins..

    • Yes, we simplify everything too, and hopefully, plan our time off around the easiest seasons. That age group (late high school to early college) seems to be able to handle it well and is also actually INTERESTED in being a help and being part of farm life for a little while. I also had luck with younger, newly married couples that like to do it together, almost like a vacation themselves. It’s an adventure! 🙂

  5. Pingback: How to Find Homesteading Livestock Worker | The Homestead Survival

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