Owning a homestead can be one of the most rewarding things you can do. It’s hard work, but the rewards are worth it. As with any home with animals, what do you do when you go on vacation? Who will be looking after your homestead while you’re away?
Obviously, when it comes to household pets there are many options, and most people know how to look after a dog or cat, and so you can trust family or friends. But when it comes to animals like chickens, pigs, and even cows – their care isn’t something everyone knows how to go about doing. So what are your options?
Looking After Your Homestead While You’re Away
Option 1: Hire – full time
By ‘full-time’ I mean a person who comes and helps you on a regular basis. It doesn’t have to be every day or even every week. But often enough that they know the way you work. If this is an option for you, chances are that you have already hired extra help for your homestead. But if you haven’t, having an extra hand to help with the animals and planting, if you do any, can be such a relief and allow you to have a day off now and again.
Having someone who regularly comes and helps out is the best option as they know your animals almost as well as you do, and they know your routines and can keep everything as close to normal as possible while you’re away. That will be so much better for your animals, as change can cause upset and stress for them – which is the last thing you want. You will have peace of mind knowing that who is looking after your homestead is reliable and capable to do so.
Option 2: Hire – part-time
Hiring someone part-time means that you hire them only when you are going away on vacation, for the weekend, or even just for the day. This is a lot more cost-effective and can be the simpler option. You might also find that you don’t need extra help on your homestead, and only ever need someone else when you need time off.
Hiring someone in this way does mean that they won’t be as familiar with your routines and your animals, so we suggest that you have them shadow you a couple of times leading up to that first day away. You should also try and hire the same person each time as you won’t have to ‘train’ new people each time, plus if you have nervous animals or animals that need special care, both parties will feel much better.
Option 3: Family and Friends
If you don’t want to hire a stranger, then why not ask a friend or family member for help? They probably won’t have the same experience as a person who does this for a living, but it could be a lot cheaper and give you some piece of mind. Family and friends will probably be the option of choice when it comes to pets.
Having your dog or cat stay with family can be so convenient. Or your friend/family member can stay at your house, making it one less change your pet has to deal with. You can try boarding your dog. Kennels don’t sound like a very appealing option to many people. Try boarding instead. Your fluffy friend can socialize and play with other dogs and won’t be in a small, enclosed space for the majority of the day.
Family and friends can learn a routine you perform around the homestead just as well as hired help. Let them visit a few times to learn what and how you do things in advance of going away. With family you don’t have to worry who is looking after your homestead because you already trust them.
Option 4: Go With You
Another option for your dog is to bring them with you. There are so many amazing places you can go that are dog-friendly, from beach-side cottages to forest-adjacent houses. There are pup friendly hotels, restaurants, pubs, and beaches all over the country, so why not include your four-legged friend in your vacation plans?
Obviously, you can’t take the pigs and chickens. But, if you can take the dogs and cats that’s one or two fewer animals you’ll have to worry about.
Option 5: Hire a Gardener
Most homesteads do some amount of planting. Whether it’s a field of crops, a vegetable garden, or a personal herb plot. But just because you go away doesn’t mean that your plants stop being cared for. You can time your vacation for when there isn’t much that needs doing – like after harvest, and have a winter or fall getaway. Or you can hire a gardener to watch over things while you’re away.
Just like with your animals, you can hire someone to help throughout the year, or just while you’re away. The difference is that your plants aren’t going to notice if it’s you or someone else looking after them. Unless you grow plants that tend to be complicated like say for example an orchid farm, you shouldn’t have any problems finding someone to tend to your gardens.
So now you have 5 options to choose from to cover the routine tasks that need to be tended to while you take time away from the homestead. Maybe it is time to exercise those options and have yourself a short vacation. Who will be looking after your homestead while you are away?