Vacationing Whilst Homesteading.
Sometimes I like to have my cake and eat it too… who doesn’t?! In this case that means I want to have a homestead AND vacation. May seem impossible if you have a limiting mindset, but if you phone a few friends, you may have an answer. 🙂
My in-laws have a lakehome that is less than 2 hours away. We enjoy our time there on the major holidays, this means spending some time away from our home and animals. With 33 animals currently in our care, it can be a stressful thought to leave for any amount of time. I mean even when we are home our animals get eaten by predators.
If all else fails – I will drive home for an hour spent caring for the animals, but likely my precautionary measures prevent this.
The most important precautionary when leaving animals is to make sure the WATER is supplied. No matter the outdoor temperature, animals need water.
I fill up their water and add a few more to each pen. I also be sure to add ACV and maybe a few other additives (garlic, herbs) to their water to boost health.
The second most important thing is food. Some animals will gorge their food if you give them a lot, others will eat as they need – know your animals. When we are out of town I fill up all of the feeders. I might even add some sneaky treats. For the hens I have learned to throw in a head of cabbage or a few cucumbers. I almost always sprinkle in mealworms for them to scratch up to fine amongst the straw. This lets the birds get a treat and be entertained while they cannot free-range. Adding fresh straw or pine shavings to the run will encourage hens to scratch more and dig for bugs and seeds.
Sheep I have not figured out a fun treat. They devour food instantly. I did rake their area to encourage new grass growth and soften the soul for them to discover new food.
Regardless – it is important to keep a healthy food supply.
The reason this is third on the list is because animals should have sturdy shelter no matter what. Whether you are in-town or not.
When leaving animals for any length of time – be sure that the shelter is safe and secure. No predators can get in, no holes in the housing that needs to be repaired, everything is in ship-shape. Sometimes these little things go by the wayside when we are always home. They need to be fixed up and stable.
Our hens mostly free-range when we are home. This isn’t possible when we are gone. We have extended our run for this reason. I make sure the run is stable and secure, no holes in the wire.
With small chicks in a brooder – it is important to be sure the area for them is large enough. You cannot have them in their own poop or knocking over water because they cannot properly move. Upgrade the housing if you need to.
Clean the housing to be sure it is clean. I make sure the day we leave I scoop out the bedding and spray it with our DIY poultry protector spray. I also drop a bit of essential oils in the bedding to freshen it up and help control bugs or rodents.
Livestock bedding can house many germs and pests – this is where they urinate and sleep.
But the truth… it is generally a good idea to keep the bedding clean, but when you are leaving for any length of time, it is important to be sure that the bedding is clean and your animals are happy. Adding relaxing scents like lavender or thyme will help the animals remain relaxed.
ENJOY your vacation and try to relax yourself. If you need, have a back-up person on-call to check in on the farm for you.
If you ever have any questions, or ideas for future blogs, comment below or shoot me an email!
From the farm,