Before finishing plans for any type of getaway, it is good to pull together an farm animal care binder for the farm sitter. There are a few important reasons to have a farm animal care binder available in the feed room or tack room. Even though basic care may be similar from one farm to another for, say, chickens, each of us has our own routine, and way of caring for the flock. Pecking orders are established around a set routine, and herd and flock managers know how to use this to their advantage when caring for animals.
What Type of Information Should Go in a Farm Animal Care Binder
Type of animal, chicken, goat, sheep, horse, etc.
Food used – Our food storage cans are clearly marked and have appropriate scoops and buckets inside for feeding.
Treats and how often – Too much of a good thing can cause problems! If you toss a handful of meal worms into the coop, show what a handful means to you.
Special handling information – We scoop feed into the feeders before opening the coop in the morning. This works out well because the roosters can get right to work supervising eating, instead of trying to kick me to move faster! (mostly kidding) Information like that will make the farm sitter’s job easier and in some cases safer.
Veterinary info – This is a just in case, type scenario. Accidents, illness and injury happen quickly. In case of an emergency situation, having the vet information available can save a lot of time. Often a vet will give some guidance over the phone while traveling to your farm.
Farm Animal Care Printables Link At the End of this Post! Free Download!
Stick to the Routine as Often as Possible
Times to feed- Routine is important to livestock care. Routine feedings keep their rumens operating consistently and well. If you normally feed between 7 and 8 AM, make sure that is impressed upon the caregiver. They may not realize the risk taken if they show up at 10:30!
Times to put animals in for the night – When your animals are used to being brought in to the barn for the night, not being brought in can lead to stress. Predators may be lurking, hoping that your chickens don’t get put in the coop for the night and the door closed tight. In addition, for our poultry, I give a head count number for each coop. That helps with making sure no one is left out in the cold, and is valuable information to include in a farm animal care binder.
Species Specific Information in the Farm Animal Care Binder
Set up a page for each animal species on your farm. Rabbits and chickens have different nutritional needs. Feeding everyone a farm grain blend is not advisable. Even for the short duration of a vacation, it can upset the animals digestive tract and lead to serious complications. Yes, chickens are omnivores but that doesn’t mean you should offer them food intended for another species.
I set my pages up with the Species of animal at the top of the page like this example:
Example – Rabbits
Rabbit food in each hutch.
Clean water bowl and refill
Check that the bedding is dry and no water was spilled
Add hay to the hay feeder as needed
You then add pages for each species of animal in the same manner as shown above. I made printable sheets for 12 different species commonly kept on small farms or homesteads. I included a blank form in case I missed the type of animal you raise.
Additional Information in the Farm Animal Care Binder
In addition to the specific instructions on each species, I try to give tips such as who the leader or flock boss is. If the animals break free from the fencing, what type of tactic brings them back. For our food driven animals, grabbing the bucket of food and heading back to the barn works perfectly. Chasing a stray sheep never ends well.
We can’t always be available during an emergency and having written instructions prepared ahead of time will make it much easier for a caregiver to step in and meet the needs of your animals. The entire set of 13 pages is available for you to download and use as you choose, for your own farm management. I hope the set brings you peace of mind, in the event you can’t be available to tend to the barnyard.
Download and Print Your Copies Here.
Print only the pages you need. Or print the whole set.
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