Someday you may need to move to a new homestead. Maybe you are a first time homesteader and this will be your first homestead. Maybe you’ve been an urban homesteader and are looking to move to the country. Or maybe you’ve been homesteading for a while, but life decided to take you to some place new. Sometimes it seems like even though we know our life plan, life plans itself.
My family was quite content on our 1/10th of an acre urban homestead in Portland, Oregon. Then we added a few kids. Things started getting rather tight in our one bathroom, less than 1,000 square feet home! We knew it was time to move on to someplace new, and we decided that we would take the opportunity to move near family in San Antonio, Texas. It was quite the life upheaval! Plus, we had animals, gardens, and fruit trees that all needed to be accounted for. Here are some helpful suggestions I’ve learned on our out of state move, just in case you find yourself needing to move to a new homestead too.
Finding A New Homestead
The reasons for homestead hunting are varied, but the nitty gritty details can be pretty similar. Moving AWAY from somewhere means moving TO somewhere else. Are you staying close to home, or will you be moving far away? Ask yourself which things are non-negotiable and which things you would be willing to live without. And of course your goals for the property matter too. I will probably never live completely rural, because it’s important to my husband to be near a city. Other people hope to find a completely self-sufficient location, such as Heidi from Healing Harvest Homestead.
If you are looking for a more urban homestead, make sure to check local laws in your area. I was pleasantly surprised to find that here in San Antonio I can have up to 10 rabbits, as opposed to the three allowed in Portland. On the downside, it’s more expensive to have more than three chickens than it was before.
If you are looking for an offgrid location, make sure you check for details such as water rights, easements, and access roads, in addition to all the normal home buying details.
And no matter where you end up, be mindful that if you are crossing state lines, there may be rules regarding which plants you are allowed to bring with you.
Choose Your Location
Sometimes you have to be in a certain part of the country for work or family. But if you are trying to find a larger amount of property, or are working with a tight budget, it may be a good idea to move to a less than ideal location in order to have some of the other amenities you would like. Because my family was willing to move to Texas, we were able to find a 1/2 acre property and a larger house. That’s something we wouldn’t have found as easily in our price range in the Portland Metro area.
If you have a lot of things you aren’t willing to budge on, patience is going to be your best friend. Sometimes the perfect homestead comes available in the perfect place, but you have to be willing to hunt, and wait. That’s how Ashley from Practical Self Reliance found her off grid homestead. (I’m not terribly patient, and tend to look at a bunch, narrow it down to a few great contenders and then go for the jugular…)
Once you have a rough idea of the area you are looking in, then comes the nerve wracking part of searches, offers, negotiating, and UGH. But if you can survive all THAT, then it really get’s crazy.
How To Move To A New Homestead When You Have Animals
Once you know where you are ending up, it’s time for some hard decisions. If you already have animals, who get’s to go, and who gets to stay? And if you are taking the animals with you, then coordinating all the details of moving THEIR housing is quite the job. If you are moving only a short distance away, it may be feasible to bring your chickens, their coop, even your garden beds and compost, such as Angi, from A Return To Simplicity did. I have to agree with her lessons learned however, chicken coops are SO heavy. We ended up dismantling ours completely because it was so unwieldy. (Next time I build a coop it will be a permanent fixture that is sold with the house. )
Decide who gets to come
Taking your animals may not always be the best choice. We decided to rehome our chickens, ducks, and rabbits before we left. It was going to be a five day, four night drive to our new home! A couple of my older rabbits went to freezer camp, as they weren’t sell-able. It was the kinder option, given that we were going to be driving for a week through the desert in the middle of August. One of the biggest dangers to rabbits during transportation is heat stroke.
Related: Summer Rabbit Care
Tips for transporting animals
If you do bring your animals to your new homestead, make sure they have secure places to arrive to. Make sure to secure them during transport as well. If there are too many to put in a crate or trailer, it may be best to make a special trip to the new property just for the animals, as Hostile Valley Farm did when relocating their geese to their new homestead.
Other good tips from Rabbit Ridge Farm include, bringing plenty of favorite treats for all the livestock you will be bringing with you, and providing plenty of water. If you will be crossing across state lines, make sure you have all their paperwork. You may also need a clean bill of health from a vet easily accessible just in case.
The Farmer’s Lamp has a lot of tips for moving dogs. Dogs particularly prefer their routine to stay the same. So, being as consistent as possible with them can really help ease their stress level.
Here are some tips on moving small livestock such as goats and sheep. A small livestock trailer or large crates are needed for them, although they can go via airline if needed.
If you are moving with cats, make sure to keep them in an enclosed carrier or on a harness, because they can bolt and get lost quickly. Here are some tips on travelling with cats.
You CAN Move To A New Homestead!
Moving is always stressful, but don’t let that stop you from making a good move in your life. You may move far or stay near. Perhaps you are able to bring your livestock. Or maybe you need to take some time before moving to responsibly rehome them. Whatever your circumstances, moving to a new homestead takes time! However, with pre-planning and attention to detail, your move can go off without a hitch.
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