How do you vacation with all of the animals?


14 Years
Jan 20, 2008
Mars... I mean Central NY
We've been working on a plan to enable us to semi-retire to a warmer climate. It is our desire to have farm animals as a part of our business plan. Here's the catch... We also want to be able to leave for week long trips if we need to. Our entire extended family will still be in NY and our parents are getting older... Even our kids will be in college in NY.

We've figured out how to streamline most aspects of the day-to day operation to make them less labor intensive to allow us to not have to do everything on a daily basis, but there are some things that we cannot figure out.

1. goats or a small cow...milking issues. How do you find someone that you can trust to handle this chore when you don't really know anyone in the new town? I would love to incorporate a milking animal, but don't think that it would be fair to the cow or goat if we had to leave town without a backup plan. I could use a goat for brush clearing, too.

2. eggs... Who to trust to do the gathering? I've been thinking that if the eggs pile up, we could throw them out. However, what if a bunch of my hens decided to go broody because they finally have something to sit on in the nest?

3. I know that bantymum has a service that takes care of pets, but it would be a bit too far of a commute for her! Has anyone here ever just trusted a service and hoped for the best? I know that we will probably make friends in our new state, but what if it takes awhile?!?!


12 Years
Nov 3, 2007
I don't vacation much but I pan to build bulk feeders and auto waterers to make things easier to handle. I am also working toward getting my inside animals out. I am presently training a neighbor to take the reigns if I have to be gone.


12 Years
Oct 29, 2007
Here's what we did..

1. Hire nieces and nephews to watch the animals.
2. Made friends with our neighbors and return the favor when they're out of town.
3. Post an ad at your local feed store (if they let you).
4. Post an ad at a school near by.
5. Post an ad on craigslist.

Now, anybody you may hire/barter to take care of your animals, have them come by a few times to learn the process before you go on vacation. Give them the training on how YOU care for your animals. Also leave explicit instructions noting any medications/behaviors they might need to know.

Check your local paper/yellowbook for companies that might offer these kinds of services.


11 Years
Jan 26, 2008
Vacation?? Whats that?


Chick Magnet
11 Years
Mar 3, 2008
When we just had a few chickens, we'd ask the neighbors to check in on them in the afternoon. They could take all the eggs they found in return. Worked out ok til we expanded, though... I'm wondering the same thing, now. I'll keep watching for ideas, though at this rate, hubby and I will NEVER get to take another vacation together!

Buff Hooligans

12 Years
Jun 11, 2007
Well, we have little suitcases for each of them and we double check to make sure they pack a set of fluffy feathers to wear each day we're away...

I wish it were so - we went to visit relatives recently and I sure missed our little feathered friends!!!!! We had friends let them out of the coop in the morning and tuck them in at night, checking their food and water while doing so.
Last edited:


Flock Mistress
12 Years
Apr 20, 2007
Ontario, Canada
Never had a milking animal myself but I should think it would be extremely difficult to find a sub to milk them, unless you have someone hired for long-term part-time work around the farm when you are there too.

Eggs? Anyone can collect eggs. Well ok almost anyone

For other peoples' experiences on the subject see (theer have been some other threads too -- use Search)

There will be an article on vacation care for chickens in Backyard Poultry, probably this summer but I don't know the actual publication slot yet

FWIW, here we pay someone to come out daily (1x/day in summer, 2x/day in winter because of hay) to check and care for our horses and chickens when we go away, which isn't often. Unless you are lucky (and some people are), it is NOT cheap, sigh, to get someone who actually knows Thing One about animals in general or horses in particular. Just because someone has had critters for X years does not mean they can detect problems and respond appropriately <rolling eyes at some past experiences>.

And I have to say, CHECKING the animals (and respondig appropraitely to any problems that may arise) is the BIGGEST thing you need done while you're away. In my opinion it needs to be done daily, and by someone who is detail-oriented, sensible, and has enough experience with your species of animals (or is a quick enough learner about 'em) to be able to recognize something amiss and handle the animals comfortably.

I have not had good experiences with cat-and-dog type pet sitters, honestly (distinctly mixed experiences using 'em for just housecats, in fact). NO offense meant to the many good ones out there, please understand. Just don't assume that because someone calls themselves a pet sitter, has had pet animals for umpty years, and goes on and on and on about how they looooooooove all animals and will take such good care your critters will think they're in paradise, that it necessarily means they have Clue One about what to do.

Same with neighbors of course but at least with neighbors you don't end up paying some nitwit $30/day to ignore your animals

Sigh, that probably sounds too negative. There REALLY ARE good people out there. Your best bet is someone who is just naturally 'good' with animals and has a sensible head on their shoulders. It *can* work out quite well. In fact our current animal-sitter is WONDERFUL and I will be devastated if she ever moves away or quits the business.

But animals really DO put a big crimp in your freedom to flit away for vacation, no two ways about it.

Good luck,



Flock Mistress
12 Years
Jun 29, 2007
Kansas~50+ yrs of chickens
The only person I trust to do it is my sister. Had my brother-in-law who lives much closer do it one time...that was a disaster...came home to no water or feed in with my chickens! I was not happy. Luckily no one died..not even my BIL!!.....but I was plenty upset!!

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom