How to have a homestead and not be chained to it.

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Have you ever wanted to take a trip, but then realized that there was no one to care for your animals. This can be an difficult problem that can drive you crazy, and keep you from going anywhere. In this article we will cover several things you can do to increase your ability to take vacations, and travel while making sure all of your obligations are taken care of. As always if you have any suggestions on things to do please feel free to leave a comment at the end.

I have spent the last week traveling for business, and one of my peers asked how I managed to get away with all the animals at our place that need attention. I was able to tell him with confidence that while I was out on my business trip my wonderful wife and kids where at home and willing and able to tend to the needs of our critters. That got me thinking a bit about the issue and I wanted to share some of the plans we have so that we can go out together.

Some folks do not have others at their homestead to share the workload with, witch makes it very difficult to travel at all. The first thing I am going to suggest is to make sure you critters have an ample supply of water. Make sure that the water systems for your animals are large enough to give you some room to wiggle. You don’t  want to have to fill the water twice a day. Ideally you would want to tend to the animals water once a day but in the event you can not get home to them, you really want to have enough water for your animals to be healthy happy and comfortable. Feeding your animals, is a little more tricky. If you leave extra food out for your animal they may just eat it all right away and not have more later on. This is not an Ideal situation, but you do want to be able to at least give enough feed to last for two days. Be sure the feed dish is large enough to hold what is needed and is secured so that the feed dish can not be tipped over, or thrown about the pen. Doing so will give you a little room to wiggle with out much effort or outside inputs. Now lets look a little closer at each of thees.

First the water, look into a sealed system so that your animal will always have clean water and can not defecate, or mess the water in any way. The easiest way to accomplish this is to use nipple drinkers. You can attach this either to a direct water source, or a large storage tank. This is a great solution and works for a variety of different kind of animals. As for the feeder, it is greatly beneficial to have the ability to give feed out in portions and not all at once. The easiest way to accomplish this is to use an automatic deer feeder, you may have to modify it a little but with some creativity you can make this work for just about any animal. Thees solutions are great ways to buy you some time and keep things together, if you are going to take an over night trip the solutions here should be plenty to get you through. Next we will look at some other solutions for longer term situations.

The only real way to handle long term care for your pen raised animals, is you are going to have to bring in outside inputs. If you do not have and idea where to find some help to feed your animals, this can be very stressful. The first place to look for a person to feed for you would be the closest neighbors to you. Due to the fact that they live near makes them the most likely candidate, but if they are not animal people or not capable then the search will continue. The next place I would go is a local handyman or yard cleaner. It is a great idea to know a few guys or gals that you can call upon when you projects are a little more than you can handle alone, when looking for folks like this try to find some that love animals. They will share more of your mindset and also be a good place for you to find help in tending to your animals. I could go on about this for quite some time but I will wrap up with one more source for you to find a homestead hand to help you tend your animals while you travel.

The last source we will discuss is, in my opinion the best place to find some help. Contact your local 4-h or FFA clubs, talk to the leaders and find out who is in their club that is dependable, hard working, and able to get to your property. The kids in clubs like this are prone to take better care of the critters just because that is what their clubs are all about. Most kids in that age range do not have a lot of ways to make some extra cash, and will be eager to get the chance.

I hope this helps you in your planning of a vacation, remember it is important to get away from time to time. Spend time with your loved ones and ” recharge you batteries.” Make a plan ahead of time and build the relationships before you need them, if you ever have to run off for an emergency your mind will be at ease because you did the work ahead of time and build the relationships that will enable a better quality of life.Once again if you have any suggestions that were not discussed here please share them in the comments. I look forward to seeing how others handle this.


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