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I have a boarder for that very reason. He gets a rent reduction and I can travel all I like and I know my animals are getting a reasonable level of care. :)
 

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I don't go out of town. No one is going to take care of my goats like I do because they do not have a vested interest in my girls health and well-being because my girls are mine - not the "farm sitters". That is a simple fact of life. I also recognize and accept that part of having and raising livestock means being here to take care of them on a daily basis. Another part of it is no one knows them like I do so they do not have a hope in hell of being able to see when one is 'off' and getting sick. That means that the chances of me coming home to a bunch of sick, dying, or dead goats is a very real possibility. That is unacceptable to me. I have not been off this farm for longer than a day trip in 5 years, and as long as there are goats in my pens that will not change.
 

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I had ONE problem with my boarder not following instructions exactly to the letter (which includes loving on the goaties and spending time with them) and I made it clear that if he was not grateful for the cheap room and free meals someone else would be. Since then I get hourly updates along with pictures and video of my babies any time I am away. Of course, I have my teenage son who rarely travels with me anymore to call me if everything isn't kosher, so that helps. Also, I Skype with Peggy Sue at least once a day while I'm gone.

Video chatting with your goat is perfectly normal, right? :eek:
 

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I had ONE problem with my boarder not following instructions exactly to the letter (which includes loving on the goaties and spending time with them) and I made it clear that if he was not grateful for the cheap room and free meals someone else would be. Since then I get hourly updates along with pictures and video of my babies any time I am away. Of course, I have my teenage son who rarely travels with me anymore to call me if everything isn't kosher, so that helps. Also, I Skype with Peggy Sue at least once a day while I'm gone.

Video chatting with your goat is perfectly normal, right? :eek:
Good, now I don't feel so bad, I faced time with mine when I couldn't get home before dark to take care of them... thanks to my sis visiting from Florida, she was trying to help me.... Turned out they were very upset, that they wouldn't come in the barn for her, so she put me on FaceTime and no it didn't work, they waited until I got home.... I was almost trampled...
 

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I raised my own farm sitter. One of the benefits of having adult children :p
That is definitely be an advantage of having adult children!

Axykatt, I see nothing wrong with Skyping with a goat but I am curious as to how she types with cloven feet? :p :laugh: I sure wish the darned smilies would quit changing position! Grrrrrr.
 

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I'm pretty lucky. I have a reliable farm sitter I can count on. My girls trust him and he knows a lot about horse care and goat care. I always call him now when I need to travel.

I did just recently though make the mistake that anyone can can handle feeding and taking care of the goats.. I left them with a a friend of the family and their two high school age daughters. They have a horse who they feed along with 13 others sometimes to get money off their board. So, I thought if you can handle that you can handle 3 mini goats and 5 horses. Yea, not so much. I was gone 1 1/2 days and when I got back my doe was with her daughter (a big no no since my doe is still not quite dry) they had put them all in a wrong pen, they forgot to lock one horses door so he pushed it off the track, AND after they fed the goats they didn't even bother to pick up the bowls or buckets after the goats ate so they were strewn all over the horses stalls because the horses had stepped on them.

I was so miffed. These people were telling me "everything was fine" but they did all these dumb things without asking or using their heads!! They had my number to txt me they shouldn't have done any of that because they had a packet of instructions in addition to being explained everything in person before I left! Sorry for the rant, but the moral of this story is check people out before you trust them. Even if they're friends and seem somewhat capable they may not be. :(
 

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I just got back from a weeks vacation. I left my dad in charge with a specific list. He grew up on a farm but hasn't had anything bigger than chicken for years.
 

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This is such a touchy subject for me as well...we hardly have any good sitters around here, and have even worse memories of what happens when we leave.

Find a trustworthy person. Make a COMPLETE list. Make them come and do your chores WHILE you're there so you can critique and be honest with them or show them an easier way of doing things. Make sure you quadruple check your list. Leave your number. Label your animals (ours wear dog tags with name, BD, and sire and Reg # on backside) and label the feeding utensils. Scoops, grain, pails. I also ONLY leave out enough grain for that time, and have even premeasured rations out for the sitter. I really couldn't imagine facing enterotoxemia or acidosis while we're gone. Fill up the feeders.

We sit down and make a complete book, a page for each individual animal, and ask the sitter to pull each one out separately to feed them their ration as well. Preferably on one of the two stands. We keep extra leases, clips, collars just in case. Bucks, dry does and yearlings, kids, and lactating does all get different rations and it would be detrimental to feed a lactating doe buck feed.

Problem we have is finding milkers! So we plan around end of lactation and while they're dry. We actually also try to set a "mandatory dry date" as we're really big into the WDE (world dairy expo). With the set date we also give them time to shrivel up nicely in the udder, as well as start a nice fat cover to prepare for winter. It also allows them to breed easier as well, no worries about missing the peak because she's in the lactating pen.
 

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That is definitely be an advantage of having adult children!

Axykatt, I see nothing wrong with Skyping with a goat but I am curious as to how she types with cloven feet? :p :laugh: I sure wish the darned smilies would quit changing position! Grrrrrr.
She uses her psychic goat powers to make the boy-child do her bidding with his silly fingers!

Actually, since Peg is a house pet she does try to climb in his lap while he's on the laptop and she won't leave him alone until he lets her talk to me. :laugh:
 

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How many goats do you have yumi2012? I am sure that will make a difference on who you will be able to get to come take care of your goats.

For our family it is not a problem because we are not the type to take long vacations. Usually if we do go anywhere it is only for 1-2 nights and that is maybe once a year. That was one of the deciding factors when we did decide to get goats...we knew we would have to be home for them.

I am lucky that my neighbors are retired and the husband really loves my goats. The one time so far that we went away overnight he locked them in the barn for me at night and let them out in the morning. I just made it VERY clear that he can't feed them more than one scoop of grain. I made sure I left them plenty of hay and water and he just checked that they didn't run out.
 

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stonebrokefarm
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Fortunately I have two goat owners near me. I want them to do things correctly so I provide excellent incentive....I pay $25.00 an hour so they WANT to do things right.......(remember they are busy with their own herds and one has a "regular" job on top of that). If I want them to understand how important my animals are to me I have to show them that by paying them what I feel is the value of their work.....if you pay $8.00 an hour you are going to get that quality of work. That holds true for anything you contract out. Pay cheap/get cheap. I realize it's costly, but if I can afford to go away on vacation I can afford to get the best care possible for my animals. Otherwise I just don't go. I then leave very detailed notes and I talk to them morning and night......actually it is taking care of the mastiffs that is my biggest concern. Not everyone can handle dogs as big as mine......they are big love bugs but that is the problem.....they are BIG.....over 200 pounds each so 600 pounds of dog can be problematic......they become very lonely when we are gone and try to love up on the sitter which can become very competitive and potentially dangerous (she could get knocked down and trampled)....she becomes a "high value item".....much like a juicy bone.....so that's what makes it hard for me to go away, the dogs.

But I agree, have your sitter come work with you and see how you do things.....leave detailed notes and call every day. Make sure they will have everything they will need while you are gone, feed, bedding, meds, phone numbers, etc.
 

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I am lucky that my daughter lives less than a mile away. She cares for the herd, milks (currently 6) and takes care of the chickens and dogs. But I help her, so she in turn helps me. I leave detailed notes and she does a good job. Does she do it exactly as I would? No, but it is close enough that it doesn't matter. The main things are 1. correct feed amounts, 2. fresh water 3. Hay feeders kept full. 4. Milk at about 12 hrs. apart. Anything else is just details and I don't care if she doesn't sweep the floor or empty the trash!

If I didn't have her, I could never go anywhere- I tried hiring a guy that had goats. He sure didn't treat mine well, didn't empty the water they somehow pooped in, (luckily, they had a lot of other buckets, but still!) Was to feed 2x a day, only fed once a day- doubled the amount- luckily they were only getting a small amount of grain, all were dry and mid pregnancy. Forgot to feed the chickens for the last 2 days, and left the barn lights on all week! What an electric bill that was! (Now, we have different lighting). So, I will never hire him again- He did get $25 an hour!

Don't make the mistake that some people do, you cannot leave out a lot of grain and hay for a goat and just leave. They can and will eat themselves to death!

To answer the original question, it can be difficult to find someone to care for your goats when you are gone. Goats are really a big investment in time and energy- but they sure are worth it! (except when you are in a hurry and they aren't...)
 

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Dave (TDG Farms) S.E. Washington State
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Heck, I am so up tight about the care our animals get I have a hard time letting my other half feed em :) She doesnt know how many flakes I put into each feeder. I got that crap down to a science! I can feed and water 100 goats in 10-15 minutes, feeding small bales and some head scratching to boot :)

Other then a day trip here or there, we dont leave the farm. During the milking season its worse for my other half as she is the one who milks. By hand I might add. Me, I get about 10% of the milk in the bucket. The rest of it ends up on me, the stand, the doe and the floor. 2X mitts just arent made for hand milking :) So she doesnt even get to do day trips when the does are milking.
 

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I haven't travelled farther than a day trip in a decade. I own property in northern michigan i haven't seen since just after I got married in 2001. Even when my goats are all dry I haven't been able to find a reliable farm sitter. Reliable? I haven't even been able to find an unreliable one. I don't usually care because I am a home-body and like to stay home anyway but sometimes I do wish I could get away.

Once a year we have a Rendezvous at our club. In order to participate instead of staying at the club I have to come home for morning milking/feeding/letting the dogs out (yup, now you know who lets the dogs out, I do, lol), go back to the club for the day, come back for evening feeding then go back to the club, and then come back home at like 11 to let the dogs out one more time. UGH! It is the only time of the year I really wish i had someone to house/farm sit so i could just enjoy my long weekend without spending hours driving back and forth.

I keep saying next year I should just take the goats with me, lol.
 
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