It is NOT easy to find a housesitter when you have 29 animals to take care of. On the one hand, regular pet sitters are often overwhelmed by those numbers, and don’t wish to deal with the issues that livestock type animals can bring. On the other hand, farm sitters can charge too much, and want to work during “work” hours instead of the hours when my animals are accustomed to having people around.
I have had sitters that would have been fine hauling horses or trapping predators, but were mystified with how to deal with a cat that went behind a piece of unmovable furniture and refused to come out. The kindest of housepet sitters are too saddenned by the death of rabbit kits to take a second job with me. Many professional sitters that handle unusual animals want to charge per animal, which doesn’t work when you have 29. Dog-and-cat sitters don’t know how to handle chickens. Chicken sitters only want to show up twice a day to open and close the chicken coop.
And yet people who own animals need to take trips, too! We want to go to weddings for family and friends. We want to visit distant relatives. We sometimes have jobs that require travel.
My husband and I went out of town over Memorial Day weekend. It was a lovely trip to where we used to live in Colorado. We got to attend a friend’s wedding, and catch up with other dear friends. I picked a housesitter recommended by a friend, and she did wonderfully well. Detailed, intelligent, clean, loving, all those necessary qualities. But she doesn’t want to do it again. So back to the drawing board to find someone else.
With the recent upswing in the number of people in urban and suburban areas who do some sort of micro-farming on their properties, I am surprised that more people have not entered the market to house sit for them. It seems like a good money-making opportunity for people with the time and energy to handle it. A basic understanding of most species of small farm animals and some knowledge of how to water and manage small crops would be necessary, but they are not difficult to obtain. If more people were willing and able to do micro-farm housesitting, it would sure be a blessing to people like me!