Why You Can’t Rehome Your Pet At My Farm

Why You Can’t Rehome Your Pet At My Farm
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A farm is the perfect place to rehome your pet that isn’t working out, right?

“Can you take my cat? He’s not getting along with his housemates.”

“I was hoping you had room for another rooster. We need to get rid of this one because of his attitude…”

“Want another dog? He’s really nice but has too much energy for the city.”

Farmer Joe and Jane love animals, but there are actually several possible reasons they can’t rehome your pet.

(Don’t want to read all the words? This blog post is also a podcast—just press the triangle play button on the little black bar at the top of this post!)

1) You can’t rehome your pet at my farm because you’re the (fill in the number) person to ask this month.

If farm folk took in every animal offered to them, authorities would be showing up to clean house! Farmer Joe and Jane are flattered that you think their farm is an beautiful sanctuary where four leggeds run free in peace and love, but farm life is not a Disney movie. Have you considered…

2) You can’t rehome your pet at my farm because your pet has never been outside.

Fluffy may love to sit in the window and watch songbirds at the feeder, but that doesn’t mean Fluffy has what it takes to live beside them.

Farms are not always the best place to rehome your pet

Has your dog been in a climate controlled environment their entire life? Is your cat de-clawed? Have they been the lone animal at your place as long as you’ve had them? Good luck surviving the wild. Is your pet neutered/spayed? Farmer Joe and Jane probably don’t have time to take care of (and find homes for!) another batch of kittens/puppies. Does your dog have a rabies shot? Because, you know…raccoons. Skunks. Things that creep in the night.

3) The farm is not the best place to rehome your pet because…predators

The country is great. Fresh air, beautiful scenery, peace and quiet. There are also coyotes, fox, bear, bobcat, woodchucks, opossum, skunks, mink, raccoons, etc., and they’re all looking for an easy snack…or a fight. When your animal doesn’t work out at the farm and wanders off, it’s going to meet something wild.

In my experience, the meeting never ends well for the non-wild participant.

4) Farm machinery and pets don’t mix. This isn’t the best place to rehome your pet.

“I can’t put him outside because we live on a busy road.”

You might live on a road with more traffic, but Farmer Joe and Jane are surrounded by fields. On the subject of farm machinery, a smack to the head from a car is a far more humane death than what cats or other animals meet when confronted with any number of the implements being dragged through the field.

5) Let’s be honest. Is the reason you want to rehome your pet because it’s naughty?

This often comes as “my cat is marking on stuff in our house” or “my dog really needs space to run” or “the rooster doesn’t get along with our flock…but maybe he’d like your flock better.”

Listen, Farmer Joe and Jane are animal lovers—after all, they live on a farm—but what you’re basically saying to them is “please take care of my problem animal”.

Stop believing that farms are the best place to rehome your animals!

6) You can’t rehome your pet here. Have you seen how many animals we already care for?

“But don’t you need another cat? I’m sure she’d make a really great mouser…”

Farmer Joe and Jane know all about rodents. They have a few cats that live in their barn that do a great job keeping up on their rodent population. The odd thing is, they don’t see a lot of stray cats showing up at their farm. Know why?

Farmer Joe and Jane’s cats chase the strays off.

Your cat is spraying because it’s territorial? Farmer Joe and Jane’s cats will fight yours until it leaves to find another home.

You may also enjoy…7 Truths to Know About Homesteading Before You Start

Cats aren’t the only snarky animals. Chickens don’t usually just welcome a new feathered friend into their flock, regardless of how “sweet” the bird is. It can be especially difficult to integrate a rooster (especially if there is already one on the farm).

Goats and other herd animals aren’t always receptive to letting a newbie in. If they do, it usually takes time and a bit of supervision.

What some people want to do is drop off their animal and be free and clear. What they’re asking Farmer Joe and Jane to do is supervise the integration, deal with the animal if theirs won’t accept it, or dispose of the animal if Farmer Joe and Jane aren’t quick enough to realize it’s not going to work out.

7) If you rehome your animal here and it doesn’t work out, it might get put down (pet) or put in the freezer (farm animal).

Pet: “Can you give Fluffy a home? I really don’t want to put her down.”

Farm animal: “I need you to take this animal, but please don’t eat it.”

I understand you love your animals. We all do! I also understand you’re sad that Fluffy or George or Mack or Spot isn’t working out at your house. But unless Farmer Joe and Jane have advertised as such, they don’t run an animal sanctuary. They aren’t an animal rescue. They have a farm and the animals they keep serve a purpose—food or otherwise.

Animals cost money to keep, and Farmer Joe and Jane have quite a few already supported by their pocketbook. If Farmer Joe and Jane are consistently putting more money, work, etc., into an animal than they are getting out of it, the outlook isn’t good. Remember what I said about farm life not being a Disney movie?

Farms are not always the best place to rehome your pet

Farmer Joe and Jane would love to help, but…

After an informal survey of several farmish friends, I was not surprised to hear that many of them are asked multiple times a month to take in an animal.

As one (blogless) friend remarked, “It’s sad. I feel like since we moved to our 20 acre hobby farm six years ago, I’ve become well versed in just how disposable a pet can be to some owners. I had one family friend ask me to take a cat that ‘just wasn’t working out’; she even upped her story to say she thought that maybe her daughter was allergic. I took the cat. It lasted a week on the farm before it was run off. I found out a month later the friend suddenly had three new cats at her house…I wish people would just deal with their animals instead of deciding that farms are some magical place to dump them where everything turns out okay.”

Now, this is not to say that all people looking to re-home animals are irresponsible pet owners. There are times when a pet needs a different environment or family situation to live a happy life.

I did talk to a few farmers who had benefited greatly from taking in someone’s pet. But if we’re honest, we can’t deny it’s quite common for farmers to end up being the recipients of other people’s four legged (or two winged) problems.

Looking to rehome your pet and think a farm is the best place? Here are 7 common reasons Farmer Joe can't take your pet - and it's not because he's mean.

Do your research. If you’re dealing with pet issues, you have many options. Keep in mind that if the issue is behavioral, it might also be medical, so consider a chat with your local veterinarian.

If re-homing is what you need, assistance can be found through local animal humane societies, rescues, or clubs. You can also google the animal type you’re dealing with, rescue, and the state you live in, and you might be amazed at the options that come up! You can find lots of information online at The Shelter Pet Project and Petfinder. A handy site to help with farm animal rescue (searchable by state) can be found at Farm Animal Rescue Groups. Once you start looking, you will find there are many places that exist for the sole purpose of helping animals find a new place to call home.

So while Farmer Joe and Jane can’t necessarily take your pet, please know that it’s not because they are mean. It’s because a) they know animals, and b) they know what their farm can handle.

Farm folk truly do love their animals. Please understand that in wanting to provide the best care possible for them, it might mean they can’t take yours in.


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15 thoughts on “Why You Can’t Rehome Your Pet At My Farm”

  • Great post. Unfortunately some people don’t even ask if we’ll take their animals. They simply drop their unwanted pet at the end of our driveway or throw their old hen over our fence. One time 6 hens were thrown over our fence when it could have been a bio-security nightmare, as we were in a primary control zone for Avian Influenza at the time. One of my favourites was when I received a text asking if I could take a pet pig. I text back “Can we eat i?” They respond, “It’s a really cute pig” I respond, “Yeah? So can we eat it? They respond “Never mind”

  • Someone dropped a very friendly neutered tom off at our place. Our barn cats won’t have anything to do with him, but he keeps hanging around. I don’t imagine he’ll make it through the winter, though, if the others won’t let him in the hayloft.

  • Another issue is health and disease. We’ve put a lot of time, money, and careful consideration into keeping a closed, very clean herd of high-end purebred dairy goats. I’m not okay with taking in somebody’s 1/4 Alpine by who-knows-what problem buck that they bought at an auction. Who knows what that poor buck might carry into my herd? Other ruminants have just as much disaster potential, as sheep, alpacas, and the like can carry worms and disease that my goats can catch. Same deal for the various cats and dogs people are so desperate to re-home – taking it in could introduce much more than just a behavioral problem, since a lot of the folks who aren’t really committed to keeping their pets are also not very committed to appropriate vaccination and vet care. I’ve got a collection of rescue critters out here, but they all joined the family after careful consideration, and usually after a lengthy search for the right fit. Spur of the moment hey-can-you-help-me-out requests don’t get far with us, I’m afraid.

  • An acquaintance insisted on bringing her aquarium fish to our farm pond and releasing them. We resisted, but she would not take no for an answer, even though we told her the fish had about zero chances of surviving the water, temperature, bigger fish and other predators.

  • I live on a dirt road with 2 rescue dogs and four cats, all with dubious backgrounds. They’re all spayed/neutered and up to date on shots. Any cat comes around gets chased off. Cat hoarder across the road had dozens running and breeding a couple of summers ago, and left food out which brought the coyotes to kill them. Since then she keeps them in. Nothing is fixed or has shots. Eighteen months ago a neighbour told me there were at least 25 in the house so lord knows how many the are now. I’m glad my critters chase the occasional interloper away as I have to protect mine.

  • Just last night I had to tell my oldest daughter to tell her friend that I had neither the time, resources or coop/run to ‘foster’ two roosters. She said he figured that since we had a homestead that we could do it. Ah, no. I already had one cat that we rescued as a tiny kitten that was dumped on our property. I’d like to be able to choose the animals that live with us.

  • Wow, the same thing happens here. We’ve took in a pet pig, a rooster, and a cat, just in the last year.. And people want to buy chickens, ducks, and bunny’s for Easter, and bring them here when their grown.. Um no.. You bought it, you keep it..

  • I feel for you folks ! my fiend lived out in the country and people would abanon their dogs cats etc. the stray dogs would breed then gang up in large numbers and attack livestock and outside pets. its aweful people think that they can do this and the animals will be okay.it not okay, theyll die faster of malnutrion disease and parisites.

  • Great post! We actually took in a cat from a family member last fall, and I basically went through each of the criteria you mentioned before agreeing to take her in. I wanted to make sure both sides had a good understanding of all the things that can happen on the farm. But you are right, it’s not as simple as just saying yes we will take your animal.

  • Wow..thanks for such important much needed information. .Eye opening. .REALITY!
    People would love to think it’s so easy to drop off their poor animal on a farm.in the middle of nowhere. ..and all is peachy keen! .Not…not the case.
    There are just to many unwanted poor animals in this world.
    That’s life.
    I pray that every animal could have a good ,healthy life .
    On that note,thanks for all you do.
    God bless!

  • So relatable! I wish people would do their research and really think about what it means to own an animal. I think too many people buy animals on a whim and because they did they can drop it on you on a whim.
    Around here people are always looking for homes for roosters, they hatched chicks and didn’t consider half of them would be roosters. Nobody needs a lot of roosters and excess roosters only have one purpose at my house.
    Great read, thank you for this!

  • people don’t ask when dropping them off at my place, they pull up, toss it out the door and speed off. i have taken in unwanted pets and hobby livestock (backyard chickens, 10 in the average group, some intergrate well, others are problems from day one and end up canned up), my dog was given to me because he was old and starting to go blind, good dog otherwise. a few cats showed up, were problems fighting with my other cats, and got shot. people think i am a cruel monster for shooting cats that show up and cause proble,ms, and think i should pass them along and dump them at another farm hoping it will eventually “find a place where it works out”.

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