We have some great neighbors that we pay to watch the house, the dogs, the birds, fill the wood boiler, water the plants, and deal with any other livestock we have at the time. The great thing about living in a neighborhood like ours is that we can arrange for multiple neighbors to do the work, so if one family is gone on a certain day then the other neighbors can lend a hand. It works out very well. I leave a detailed list of instructions that gets amended each time I have a vacation to account for newly ill/injured animals that need special attention. The whole neighborhood knows how to deal with the animals because some have their own, and some just like animals and want to learn how to care for them. (It is my goal to turn our neighborhood into one big agricultural area. I have already converted 2 neighbors to chicken ownership. I have 2 more that I know will be getting some soon. ) The worst thing that has happened while we were gone is that the pigs got overfed. They were OK with that.