Everything you need to know about farm sitting

Farm sitting is a fantastic way to see the country. A farm sitter requires experience with farms, particularly managing animals, and needs to have a consistent daily routine. Read the full article.

Why use a farm sitter?

What is farm sitting

Farm sitting in New Zealand is when a farm owner enlists the help of a trusted house sitter, to look after their farm while they’re away for an extended period of time. As a farm sitter, duties will include carrying out all of the daily jobs and routines of the farm they’re looking after, as well as any odd jobs that might pop up out of the blue. 

For a farmer, you’ll need the help of a sitter that has the required knowledge and experience to look after your livestock, pets, property and house. They'll also be equipped to deal with any unforeseen problems that can arise any day on a farm.

If you’re after a hard working and knowledgeable person to farm sit for you, you can look through the profiles of a bunch of Kiwis at MyHouseSit, and personally choose whoever you feel is best suited to take care of your farm.

Why hire a farm sitter in New Zealand?

Carrying on the daily routine

By hiring the help of a farm sitter, your farm can carry on running as usual, as all the daily jobs you do yourself will be taken care of by an experienced sitter. You can also leave a sitter with specific instructions to make sure they carry out any work exactly how you’d like them to.

Dealing with the unexpected

With your hand picked farm sitter on site while you're away, you can ensure that any jobs or problems that pop up will be well taken care of in your absence, without having to return back to the farm to sort it yourself.

Livestock, poultry and pet care

Likely the most important reason you’ll need someone to look after your farm, is to care for your animals. Whether you have sheep, cows, chickens, horses, dogs or anything else, it doesn’t matter! You can ensure no matter what animals you own, all of their needs will be taken care of. If your animals require specialised treatment, you can personally choose a Kiwi with firsthand experience in whatever you need to farm sit for you.

Protecting your home and possessions

If you’re going to be away from your farm, you’ll also be leaving your home and belongings behind. A farm sitter can do it all, as their duties will also include looking after your house when you can’t. The safety of your home and possessions is one less thing you'll have to worry about when you step away from the farm.

A long overdue holiday

We understand that it’s a massive deal leaving your farm in the hands of another person while you can’t be there, and this is just one of the reasons why many Kiwi farmers haven’t had a holiday in years, or in some cases, ever! We all need a break from time to time, and you can handpick a farm sitter that will allow you to have just that!

What experience do you need to be a farm sitter?

Running a farm is by no means a simple task. There are always plenty of jobs that need to get done each day, many of which require prior experience and skills to carry out. As a sitter, you’ll absolutely need experience working on a farm, as many of the farm sitting jobs you'll be responsible for can’t be done by the average joe with no farming experience.

If you have experience in any tasks such as milking cows, herding sheep, dredging, docking, fencing maintenance, setting up/repairing irrigation systems, vehicle/tractor maintenance, you’ll likely be an appropriate candidate to farm sit. Having experience where you’ve had to utilise your ability to problem solve is also a very important quality of a farm sitter, as there are always issues that can arise all of a sudden on a farm. You'll also need to be familiar with working hard, as looking after a farm requires a tremendous work ethic, and wouldn’t suit those people that love a good sleep in!

What should you expect for farm sitting jobs?

You should expect the jobs you’ll have to carry out whilst farm sitting will be varied, as you could be doing different work every day, which is also one of the reasons you should expect to really enjoy farm sitting too! 

Some of the work may be physically demanding, but other tasks will require you to have a keen eye and be observant, such is the case when checking livestock for any health issues. There will be basic jobs that anyone is capable of such as feeding animals or keeping different areas of the farm and home tidy. But some jobs will make you call upon your past experience on farms to get it done correctly.

Overall, you can expect to have a very rewarding and enjoyable time working outdoors. You might even find you don’t want to leave when that day comes!

Tips to become the best farm sitter

Follow instructions closely

Farm owners will typically give you instructions for you to follow regarding what jobs they’d like you to carry out, and how to best go about this work. It’s important to follow these instructions closely to not only get the necessary work done, but to also do it right. 

Take initiative

New jobs pop up often on farms that weren’t present yesterday. A farm owners guidelines can’t account for unforeseen jobs arising, and there'll be times where initiative is required from you, such as if a tree falls down in a storm. Here you could display initiative by chopping up the tree and stacking the firewood without needing any instructions to do so!

Be observant

When you’re looking after a farm, particularly livestock (and also pets), it's important that you’ve got a keen eye in order to notice any changes in behaviour that could indicate an injury to an individual, or sickness in a herd / flock etc. These issues will require action fast for the best chance at a positive outcome, so it's important you’re observant to recognise any changes.

Have a strong work ethic

Farming can certainly be a physically demanding job at times. There’ll be jobs that will require you to put in the hard yards to get it done, but the rewarding sense of achievement that comes with this is priceless. You'll have to work efficiently to stay on top of all of your tasks, and to make sure when the day is done, you’ve got all the necessary work sorted.

Further reading

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