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small farm caretakers/can you have a farm AND travel?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Is there such a thing?
I was just wondering, looking ahead. We don't even have all of this yet but plan on eventually having a couple of goats, lots of chickens, a dog, a large garden...
But we also dream of spending a couple of years (some day) living in another country so our kids can experience a different culture.
Has anybody done this?
How (if at all) is it possible?
Would love to hear.
post #2 of 10
You'd have to hire someone to watch your animals. You can't just leave them to their own devices.
post #3 of 10
Well, not at the same time.

While you are living somewhere else you may try to find someone like minded to come and live in your house and tend to your animals in exchange for cheap rent. I knew a couple that moved to Denmark for a few years and gave a friend a steal of a deal on rent just to have someone they know and trust look after their dogs and their home.
post #4 of 10
It really depends on what you have and what you want.

If you have a small farm (or just lots of animals ) an overnight or even two day trip might be possible without a care taker. It depends on what animals you have and what they are used to. For anything more than a weekend away you will 100% certainly need a care taker. Again depending on what animals you have and where you live this may be expensive... friends might be willing to feed the cat and dog, or even come out twice a day to care for chickens, but you'd need a really good friend to do that AND milk the goats/sheep/cow AND muck out pens AND gather eggs AND water/feed stock and so on. Not to mention this care taker has to know how to do these things, and do them in the manner/at the times familiar to your animals.

A longer trip (a year or more) would mean renting the farm to someone who will maintain it and/or boarding the animals elsewhere. Or selling/butchering your animals and re-establishing the farm on your return.

So for very short trips and for very long trips there are a variety of options. It's the middle of the road, one or two week, trips that cause the biggest problems ime.

But there is always a way! Don't let future dreams of travel stop you from building a farm if that's what you want, and don't let having a farm end your dreams of travel!
post #5 of 10
We are working on this right now. I decided to post ads on WWOOF and ATTRA and Workaway to look for interns to train up to take over for me, so I can get a substantial break from the farm. My hope is that one intern, someday, will want to stay and build a cabin on our homestead and run things for me.

25 goats, 6 sheep, 150 or so chickens... supplying a 40-60 family CSA with eggs and milk and cheese... Let me tell ya, things are crazy busy around here and we are seriously tied down. But I have hope. My first intern arrives in 5 days, and I have them booked all the way through September.

You just have to dream it, and make it so.
post #6 of 10
I often "did chores" for the neighbors when I was in jr. high. They'd bring me a t-shirt or something, and I was fine with that. Maybe you could find a 4-Her or FFA member who was willing to do it in exchange for a little pay?
post #7 of 10
We moved to Germany for 2 years, from 2006 to 2008. We sold our vehicles, rented our house to someone comfortable with maintaining 8 acres and a home. We had 2 goats at that point and we just gave them away. We also have a half acre garden and it was let go. We only had a few months notice, so we tried to make things as easy as possible.

It took about 6 months for us to get ourselves re-established in our home, but we made a lot of changes. We learned so much in our time in Germany and we tried incorporate a lot of what we learned into our land once we were back home.
post #8 of 10
Since moving to our place, I have gone on one trip, I think it was 4 nights away, while dh was also off-farm. I had experienced help taking care of things, and even so, I was not entirely satisfied with their care of my dear livestock.

My dh travels very regularly, and if I had a trustworthy hand, I'd go with him from time to time. But I have yet to find someone who is both capable and willing.

We're hoping to take a 2-3 week trip this year, and I am really nervous about finding help. I think I will have to dry off the goats before we go.
post #9 of 10
When I used to only have a handful of animals, I would take my goats to get bred for the time I was going to be gone. My longest trip was a month. And then have someone(s) pop in to feed/water dogs and garden, etc. I too, was never satisfied with someone else's care.

My first intern arrived today! And I have another coming for the whole month of July, so I can get him good and trained... and then take off for the last 10 days to go fishing with my family.
post #10 of 10
We don't really have a farm, just two horses, two dogs, two chickens, a lizard, small orchard and a small garden, and I have to say that it has been very, very difficult to do anything other than tend our house. If I had to do it over again, I would probably have ought less land for less money and boarded our horses, at least, even though I love having them in the backyard. We have a 10-year-old who plays softball, and I have to leave every tournament to come home and feed. Going away for the weekend requires extra work to get everyone set up. I did find a person who will sleep in our home and take care of everybody, and she is FABULOUS, but she has no experience with horses, and I get nervous.

I love my animals, I love our house, but if you are going to live on/work a farm with anything alive (plant or animal), pretty much everything goes on the back burner.

Edited: we have five acres that wasn't really set up as horse property, so we have had to deal with lots of land clearing and fencing chores as well, and that is definitely ongoing. The amount of chores and time commitment of the land itself is something to consider.
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