My Homestead: Why You Can’t Come Unannouced

 

This might sound a bit harsh, but my homestead is not a theme park, petting zoo, or quaint local tourist spot. It’s my home. Although I encourage people to ask me questions and I’m happy to grant tours on my own terms, wandering around without consent is never okay. It just isn’t.

My homestead is not a theme park, petting zoo, or quaint local tourist spot. It is my home. Here's the reasons why you can't just stop by unannounced.

This wasn’t the first time this has happened. It’s happened quite a few times before. Let’s chat a bit about why this isn’t okay behavior…

Homestead Livestock Security

As I mentioned, we have chicks running around that could easily fall into danger with unexpected visitors, but there’s so much more. A big issue is bio security. We are a natural/organic/holistic homestead and we take quarantine and bio security very seriously. There are some really bad diseases that can kill off bird flocks and goat herds. That may seem like a dramatic statement, but it’s the truth. 

“Biosecurity means doing everything you can to reduce the chances of an infectious disease being carried onto your farm by people, animals, equipment, or vehicles. It also means doing everything you can to reduce the chance of disease leaving your farm. Healthy herds and flocks contribute to the health of U.S. animal agriculture as a whole. Farm visitors can pose a risk, particularly if they have been on other farms with animals or have recently been in other countries with diseases exotic to the United States. Losses from foreign animal disease outbreaks can also hit close to home with animal deaths, reduced productivity, as well as treatment, labor, and management costs and the loss of valuable genetic material from certain animals.” United States Department of Agriculture, Safeguarding American Agriculture 

The USDA even goes so far to say you should restrict access to your property and your livestock or
poultry, and post a sign. Have one area where visitors can enter. Do not allow visitors near livestock or poultry unless absolutely necessary, and then make sure visitors have clean footwear and clothes. This is actually a very serious issue that goes well beyond the farm being visited. It actually impacts the agricultural system as a whole. 

My homestead is not a theme park, petting zoo, or quaint local tourist spot. It is my home. Here's the reasons why you can't just stop by unannounced.

This is also why we can’t take your animals. I’ve heard it time and time again; you already have chickens, so can you take my four as well? No. No I cannot. My friend Amy at A Farmish Kind of Life summed it up beautifully in her article 7 Reasons You Can’t Rehome Your Pet At My Farm.

Don’t even get me started on people feeding my poultry things they aren’t suppose to have. Or ripping up my lawn to feed the goats. Not cool.

People Security

While 99.9% of the people that stop by uninvited are merely interested in our lifestyle or want to show their kiddos and grand-kiddos real live farm animals (as was the case today), there is still the .1% to worry about. How do I know you aren’t some weirdo? Are you a serial killer? Did I just interrupt a robbery when I caught you in my yard? The answer is I don’t know. That’s scary. I have a husband who would die to protect us all, but I run this homestead while he works outside of the home. It scares the (excuse the language) shit out of me when I catch you in the side yard talking to my children.

In addition to my being a homesteader that needs to keep my livestock safe, I’m a mom who needs to keep my family safe. When you step foot on my property without my consent or knowledge, you are putting my family in danger (whether it’s your intent or not).

Homestead Security

Yeah, theft of our tools would really put a cramp in my day/week/month, but that’s not the home security I speak of. Here’s something a lot of people don’t consider. I live on a residential homestead with regular old residential insurance. If one of my animals injured you or if you slipped on goat manure and busted your head, guess who’s paying for that? Me. 

My homestead is not a theme park, petting zoo, or quaint local tourist spot. It is my home. Here's the reasons why you can't just stop by unannounced.

Theme parks, petting zoos, and tourist destinations have special insurance to protect you from yourself. Safety measures have been put in place to keep people from being harmed. Me? I have garden rakes laying on the ground with prong-side up. I am the only person who risks getting hit in the face like a cartoon comedy sketch thankfully.

Please let me still do homestead outreach…

As of right now, we have cancelled this autumn’s farm tour. I am also working on locations to hold classes off site. I want to promote this lifestyle, but I need to consider what impact it has on my homestead. If anyone has suggestions, please share in the comments below.

And hey, it’s good to know I’m not alone. My friend Carrissa from “down the road a bit” has dealt with it herself. One unexpected visitor could have lost his head. I know I wouldn’t cross her livestock guardian dog. You can read about her visitor violations at Feather and Scale Farm.

My homestead is not a theme park, petting zoo, or quaint local tourist spot. It is my home. Here's the reasons why you can't just stop by unannounced.

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53 Comments

  1. People are nuts. Geese are handy on the fenced homestead. Anyone stupid enough to trespass not likely to do it again after being pecked and beaten by those wings. Can train them to be penned.

  2. How about telling that they have to put on boost its before they can see any thing then show them a bio suit!!! Don’t know if that would help? Good luck people today have no idea , what they can’t do cause they were never told cause parents don’t tell them NO!

  3. I’m sorry, but no. No, no, no. I am with Angela England. I don’t care if you live on a homestead, farm, or apartment. If you walk onto someone else’s property and start talying to their kids, you are likely to get shot. That is wrong and stupid at so many levels!

  4. Could not agree with you more. We have about 100 acres and folks think that because it is a large property, they can just treat it like a public park. One of my neighbors asked if he could stock my pond so he could fish it…I’ve caught people riding their ATVs, without permission, just after the crops were planted! We’ve had people ask if they could ride their ATVs, snow machines and even horses around on our farm. We say “no” to all. Oh, and the trash. Oh I hate the trash. People just ride by and throw stuff out the window. Dirty diapers, beer bottles (I HOPE from the passenger, not the driver), empty cigarette packets. Unbelievable. Twice a year I ride around and pick up trash. I easily fill 2 large trash bags each time. As far as liability, I would recommend looking at an Umbrella policy. It is cheap and it will cover all kinds of liability – car accidents, accidents at your home, etc. For $1 million in coverage, you are looking at a rate of around $200-250/year, perhaps cheaper depending on your area. With today’s sue-happy society, everyone should have an umbrella policy. No, I am not an insurance agent. I just know of some horrific stories of folks who were sued and if they had had an umbrella policy, they would have been covered.

  5. Excellent article. I had never thought about the biohazards. I did once ask a woman if I could come see her goats/farm/set-up. She said no, her farm is closed. I was sad (because I admire her goats) but not offended at all. I am a stranger to her. I know there are lunatics in this world and would never welcome strangers into my home. (I have NO idea how people do those “couch renting” things and open their home to everyone!). But I didn’t think that besides me being a stranger, there are also diseases I could track in. Very informative. Thank you.

  6. I know I’m late to this party, but I just found this article on Pinterest. I absolutely, completely agree. I live in a regular, suburban house with a fenced in yard where I garden (no animals like goats because my city/township is just full of money-grubbing horrible excuses for people…but I digress). I’ve come home to find people smoking…ahem…herbal refreshment… on my front porch, AND THEN REFUSED TO LEAVE WHEN I TOLD THEM TO. I’ve gone out back to find groups of children trampling my garden playing football–after climbing a 6ft fence–and when I told them to leave, they whined to their mothers who told them they could stay if they wanted. I’ve opened my back door and the dogs have run out to the yard, only to find a family EATING THE FOOD FROM MY GARDEN like it was a picnic.

    I finally put up a rude sign–“trespassers will be shot on sight”. Would you be shocked to find that it didn’t help? I’ve called the cops dozens of times, and their response is “well, you live near a park–what did you expect?” I expect you to get your overpaid buns down here and arrest them! DH once thought we were being attacked and ran outside in his underwear with a shotgun. That seemed to help some. It helps if people think you’re nuts, so… πŸ˜‰

    I can’t imagine the biohzards half of these lunatics carry with them, and thankfully, I never had much of an issue with my smaller sized garden.

    The entitlement mentality in much of society is just staggering. Even when you tell them to leave, they argue that they have a right to be there. It’s absurd.

  7. Maury Hill says:

    You have opened my eyes regarding the diseases people can introduce to your animals. Your other points should be common sense; but obviously are ignored in favor of a sense of entitlement.
    Earlier suggestions of “No Trespassing ” and guard dogs are good. Me? I’m terrified of electric fences. Sometimes, humor will work. As in a sign expressing:

    This property is protected by mad cows, hysterically enthusiastic guard dogs, electrical fences, territorial geese and two cantankerous attack mules. Trespassers may encounter stun guns, snakes and/or barn rodents. Not to mention, ornery children armed with water balloons or and a semi-domesticated skunk. Please respect our boundaries. We have no room in our busy lives to worry about YOUR safety, too.

  8. I cannot imagine entering someone’s private property but especially not my side/back yard and worse yet talking to my kids without me there! You’re a lot calmer ‘looking’ than I would’ve been! It infuriates me just thinking of it happening to you! Sadly it’s inconsiderate people like this that ruin it for everyone. You’re kind enough to show/open your home to people you don’t know for educational purposes, but if people are there just to see your animals and their babies they’ve gone to the wrong place! Go to a petting zoo people! I’m so sorry this has happened to you. Your and your family’s safety comes first always.

  9. Nancy chadbourn says:

    Seriously . ..my ‘town’ friends think my homestead IS a petting zoo
    When a goat passed they said..’well, you have other ones’….no heart, I swear……..or randomly drive out and have …other kids….with them….oh we just wanted to see the babies!…..you have such a cute petting zoo…..ENOUGH….. ….my goats,sheep, chickens are not here to gawk at or be handled by outsiders. I raise my animals holistically . ….bio security is extremely important . ….Invite Only….?

  10. We have a local feed store that does a poultry swap.
    Wonderful idea. Every time I go.. Walk around with my hands in my pockets.
    I can see what I need to from 5 ft away.
    I Watch the kids bounce from one batch of chicks to the next,
    Fondling every one possible as do adults.
    Not so much as a handi wipe between the vendors
    Every time I walked away without buying.
    Then tossed my clothes straight into the washer when I got home.
    Tempted yes… But bio stupidity is a form of animal abuse.
    If you aren’t smart enough to protect the animals you have,
    You don’t deserve the rights and privilege of having more.

    That applies to brutal honesty towards the unthinking masses.
    There is a reason cowboy boots are pointy.

  11. NO ONE likes a pop in! (Well, at least no one I know does.) Why are some people so unaware of social boundaries?

  12. Peacock Orchard says:

    I have stepped on a hoe and been hit in the face. It’s only funny in hindsight. Hurts like hell. I really should pick up my tools.

    1. Jessica Lane says:

      LOL. I’ve done that myself.

      1. Anonymous says:

        and i still have the scar

        to prove it….right over my left brow.

  13. I hear and live what your saying. I live in a small hamlet in NY., about 2 hrs. from the city. Yes I am open to the public but I don,t do free range people. Any solutions let me know.

  14. People just don’t think. Everyone wants to enjoy farm animals and gardens. But apparently some haven’t a clue it is a private home.Perhaps posting simple,easy to read and understand signs stating due to BioSecurity and privacy matters, no wanderings or tours without permission or they will be asked to leave. If you are holding classes at your place, a clearly marked walk way that does not meander through your place,might be best for you.

  15. I struggle a lot with this lately. We have a 1.3 acre farm where we grow mandarins for sale, along with all the other stuff we grow for US. In trying to promote our business, it’s also promoting the life we live. I have people ask all the time if they can “come to our farm and visit” to bring their kids to see the animals, to pick fruit, etc. I struggle with all the liabilities you listed as well as the fact this is my HOME, my sanctuary, my safe place. I hadn’t even pondered the bio-security issue you brought up. Thanks for the article. Its nice to know I am not a bad person for wanting to keep my homestead private from the general public.

  16. I 100% agree. We moved to a “town” of 80 people for a reason. We thankfully haven’t had too much issue, usually neighbors and a few stupid utility workers (still makes the dogs absolutely freak) we do have a guard llama for our goat herd and I worry that someone would be dumb enough to get thrashed by him. We have “livestock guardian on duty” and “no trespassing” signs.
    I grew up/spent my young adult days in a city where my car was stolen, twice, and had 2 apartments broken into.
    I will however have to make some sort of compromise as we plan on having a farm stand at the ” busier” corner or the road someday

  17. 100% agree! I find it quite terrifying to have people come up on our property and not know who the heck they are and what they want!

  18. Great post! You should never have to justify why you do or don’t want strangers near your home. I have a small house, children, and pets, so we have a swing in our yard and a tree you can climb.

    I’ve come home many times to find random kids (not from our street) in my yard and in my tree…so often, I’ve had to add a sign that says “play at your own risk.” This is a topic that needs discussion!!

  19. Patricia Amsterburg says:

    Well said. People should have enough sense to have courtesy and respect of private property. Why would anyone think that is ok?

  20. Maybe it’s because I live in South Louisiana, but I don’t have this problem. I’m in a rural area but I’m surrounded by neighborhoods, subdivisions and all levels of income. I’ve had people knock on my door or approach us when they see us outside but have never found someone wandering my yard. Some have never actually seen a live chicken before and are only curious. I back up against some protected cypress forest area and the back portion of my property is rather wild. I had a guy once pop out of the woods on a 3-wheeler and he was as surprised as I was–he apologized and was on his way. I’ve always asked people to wash up or tell them how to behave for their safety and the comfort of my animals as I do have a strict manner in how I maintain their health and my property. I feel and it is received as an educational experience. People need to have manners and be gracious….on both sides of the fence.

  21. Maybe when you find them, hand them a shovel and direct them to the nearest manure pile with orders to turn it.If they disagree, tell them they owe you so much money for the disruption of the farm (hourly rate, charges are by the hour or day, with a 1-hour minimum). When you start trying to get their name, address, and phone #, I’d bet they leave in a hurry. If they’re talking to your kids, that should definitely require a call to the police. I’d like to think I would be as calm and graceful as you were, but I would probably snap and say something I’d later regret.