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Caring for animals while I'm away

 
michael Egan
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Location: central illinois
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I really want to get goats. Chickens and an lgd or two also. My wife is not as excited about having animals. Her main argument against them is caring for them when we go away overnight. We've only been back on our family farm for 2 months and are in the early stages of setting up our life here,including getting to know the neighbors whom I am hoping to talk to about helping with animals while we're gone. Please share your experiences and advice on this.
 
Ann Torrence
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Another benefit of starting a homesteading group is that we can trade chores so everyone gets a vacation.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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My experience it that it is easy to trust someone to watch the animals if they are already watching them every day before I go out of town... I heard a story just today from my favorite egg supplier that recently while they were out of town that the help didn't put the chickens into the coop in a timely manner and the predators acted like it was happy hour.

My daddy and I shared the cow milking duties... That way, each of us knew the animal, and she knew us. We had the muscle strength to actually milk her. Then If daddy had to go to work extra early, or if I had a scout camp to attend, it was no big deal, because each of us were already caring for the cow (her calf, and the horses) on a routine basis.
 
Rose Pinder
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Location: Otago, New Zealand
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I have a friend that house sits and looks after animals. You might have someone in your area that you could use on a regular basis who would get to know your animals and what needs to be done.

I can't imagine a farm without animals
 
Andy Moffatt
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Location: New Zealand
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We go away overnight fairly
often, if we are only away one night we give the dogs 1.5x their ration and all other animals just take care of themselves. If its any longer we organise someone to feed the dogs and cat once a day and flick the pig some grain, usually a neighbour and we do the same if they're away. Its easy. Hell if you're only leaving in the afternoon just feed things before you leave
 
Lila Stevens
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Your wife has a good point. If going away overnight is important to you (and sounds like it is to your wife) then you should establish a plan for how you're going to take care of your critters before you actually get them. Make friends with the neighbors beforehand and see if one of them has a responsible teenager or something you can hire to come over and do that. Most adults I know are too busy to take care of someone else's animals, but might be able to do a trade (you take care of their animals while they go away).

If you want the goats for milk, this complicates things. This really chains you down to morning and evening milkings, and not everyone will know how to milk a goat, and you won't trust everyone to do it for you either, as improper milking can really mess up their udders, or lower production if they don't know how to get all the milk out. And too much grain, of course, can make them very sick. I don't even trust my husband to take care of my goats, but maybe he is a special case.

You might find when you have animals that you don't really want to go away, unless you can find someone you really trust to care for them. They're kind of like kids in that way.

I've had 6 goats (2 milking) for about 6 months, and am now wishing I had done a little traveling before I got them Because now I am pinned down for the forseeable future. But then again, I love having all the fresh, organic milk, and am so glad to have them.
 
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