One of the biggest deterrents that people have to raising their own animals is being tied down to their farm. They hate the thought of never being able to leave. I get that. I really do. And when we first started raising farm animals, I was worried about that as well. But after a few years under my belt of raising my own animals (and growing up with horses and cows on my parent’s property), I can confidently say that you CAN have both. You can have farm-fresh eggs and still take the vacation of your dream. It might require a bit of planning ahead. But hey, so does dealing with your dogs and cats when you’re gone. I’ve never seen a cat lay an egg, either, so I’m still undecided if they’re worth the hassle 😉 So read ahead, and I’ll explain how we are able to have a farm and still vacation.
First Consideration: Shelter
Protection from predators is THE most important consideration when you’re considering leaving your animals. If you’re animals aren’t safely protected, it doesn’t matter how much food you have left them or how good of a water source you have. For our chickens, we put a six foot tall dog kennel fence around their coop. Next, we dug a trench around the outside of the fence and buried woven wire, angled outward that was attached to the fencing panels. That way, if an animal tried to dig it’s way in, they would hit the wire first. Last, we put wire OVER the coop as well to protect from airborn predators. Yes, it takes away from the aesthetic of my cute little chicken coop, but I don’t care. We haven’t had any animals try to get into our chicken yard yet, and we have quite a few predators around us, so I feel that they are pretty secure.
Our goats have a goat yard that is protected by a six foot, woven-wire horse fence. When we leave, I can leave them enough food to be gone a few days and they have a protected area to be in. They don’t love it. They’d rather be out in the field. But it protects them, which is what I care about. We also installed strobe lights and motion detector lights as well to further deter night-time prowlers.
Our rabbits live in elevated runs in a protected area. Being off the ground is important to keep rabbits safe. So is using the right wire. Don’t use chicken wire, on a chicken coop, rabbit cage, or otherwise. I’ve seen a ground squirrel chew through that stuff. It isn’t very strong. Choose a thicker wire fencing material instead.
Consideration Two: Water
Water is obviously a super important consideration. A solid waterer that doesn’t leak will take you pretty far. We got a large, five gallon waterer for our chickens on Amazon. It has pre-attached nipples for the chickens to drink from, and you can insert a heater into it in the winter to keep the water from freezing. We have 8 chickens, and we could easily go a week without filling up their water. For our goats, we use big, sheep-tank. You can also put a heater into it in the winter and it will stay unfrozen. Our rabbits have heated waterers as well.
Consideration Three: Food
Food really comes down to having a large enough feeder to last several days. For our chickens, we use a five gallon feeder. If I fill that puppy up to the top, it will last my girls 5-6 days, easily. My goats have a feeder in their barn that I can fill up as well. (I feed them Chaffhaye in the winter and when I’m out of town. I love that stuff). I can put two feeders in my rabbit cages and they’ll last a while as well.
Consideration Four: Help
You know what’s really nice about having animals? It makes it easy to get a neighbor or friend to check on your animals while you’re gone. Just tell them they get to keep all the chicken eggs. Not very many people will turn down farm-fresh eggs. Add in a jar of fresh honey and you might not be able to get them to go home.
So don’t let the fear of being tied down keep you from having animals. Yes, I know they are safest when we’re home, but I also know that the biggest threat to my animals are neighborhood dogs, and they tend to roam around during the day, sometimes while I’m at work. I try to keep them as safe as I can. Worrying about them every second doesn’t do me any good. I’ll admit, we don’t vacation as much as we used to. But I don’t think it’s because we feel like we can’t leave. With all the animals on our farm, we just really like being home.
Pin It For Later: