NFU Mutual Smallholding Insurance

Author Topic: Holiday home advice please  (Read 6336 times)


  • Joined Apr 2011
Holiday home advice please
« on: April 11, 2014, 08:38:35 pm »
We are going to open a holiday cottage next to our own home. We have 3 pigs, 5 sheep and 10 hens. While we obviously want to welcome guests, I am concerned about balancing this with the welfare of my animals. Our pigs love people, but the sheep and chickens are very nervous creatures. We leave them alone as much as possible, but I don't think we can expect people on holiday to be quite so considerate. We have friends to stay with us, and children especially like to try and pet them all.
I just wondered if anyone else had a holiday home and how they balanced this with their animals?
I don't want guests arriving to a list of rules and regulations  but I don't want my animals unhappy either.
Any advice welcome and much appreciated
Thank you
Joanne xxxxxx
Voss Electric Fence


  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Devon - EX39 5RF
    • Ford Mill Farm
Re: Holiday home advice please
« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2014, 08:56:16 pm »
Hello Joanne,

I have a holiday cottage here with 33 pigs, 25 chickens, 5 sheep, 5 lambs, miniature shetland pony....oh the list is endless!

I find that people are very considerate of the animals.  I tend to offer to show the guests around and introduce them to the animals that I know are the friendliest and don't mind a bit of a fuss and explain to the guests the ones that are a little nervous.

In 5 years I've not had any problems, in fact most people are interested to find out more and enjoy helping.

Hope everything goes well with the holiday cottage.


Pedigree GOS Pigs and Butchery for Smallholders.


  • Joined Apr 2011
Re: Holiday home advice please
« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2014, 09:50:29 pm »
Thank you Julie.
Do you allow guests to wander where they want? E.g through the fields , when they want etc?
I'm torn between letting them have free rein, and my sheep being on red alert all day., or restricting them?
Thank you
Joanne xxx


  • Joined May 2013
Re: Holiday home advice please
« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2014, 10:39:38 pm »
we don't have a holiday home but we do have a rental house literally next door to us which is surrounded by our land. we don't let anyone on our land as a rule but some tenants just walk around anyway and never shut gates behind them. they often cant see the danger that animals pose either so keeping them out is much safer for everyone. one neighbours kid wanted to see our hens and crouched down to look at them and got pecked in the eye, there was blood and screams so its really put me off letting anyone get too close. they all want to get close though (and they all want to buy a pony whatever its age size breed ) but its easier to say no.
stroking over the fence is fine. remember animals get to know there owner and can be more unpredictable with strangers. you have to point out the obvious that - no little johnny cant possibly go and stroke the newborn calf as the mother is very likely to trample him on purpose, the fact that me and my kids can do that is because the cow knows us, but she wont tolerate a stranger near her baby. when a farmer came to visit, he wouldn't go near the calf as he knew what new mothers could be like, but in general people don't realise. pigs are the same.
saying you don't have insurance or they have ringworm is a good excuse.  ::)
« Last Edit: April 11, 2014, 10:47:26 pm by shygirl »


  • Joined Apr 2014
Re: Holiday home advice please
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2014, 10:46:40 pm »
Are your sheep really THAT nervous around people?


  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Devon - EX39 5RF
    • Ford Mill Farm
Re: Holiday home advice please
« Reply #5 on: April 12, 2014, 06:40:47 am »
I let them go wherever they want to as long as they keep their dogs (and children!) under control.   I have signs on the gates they are 'allowed' to go through and I make sure they know to shut them afterwards (written on the signs too).

I'm lucky that my kitchen and garden looks out over all the land so I can 'keep an eye' on what is going on.

No problems so far.

 I'm very much in a very rural location, so people know that when the book the cottage.  So the type of couples and families I have staying are very interested in life on a smallholding and have always been very respectful of the animals.

My sheep and horse have the run of the place, so can disappear away if they don't want to see people and equally they approach people if they fancy and bit of a fuss and stroke.


Pedigree GOS Pigs and Butchery for Smallholders.


  • Global Moderator
  • Joined Sep 2012
  • Llandeilo Carmarthenshire
    • Nantygroes
    • Facebook
Re: Holiday home advice please
« Reply #6 on: April 12, 2014, 08:49:06 am »
Following this with interest as I too will have this dilemma soon ( assuming we get bookings!)

Don't wrestle with pigs, they will love it and you will just get all muddy.

Let go of who you are and become who you are meant to be.
Nantygroes  facebook page


  • Joined Mar 2013
  • Highlands, Scotland
  • Home is were my animals are.
Re: Holiday home advice please
« Reply #7 on: April 12, 2014, 09:15:49 am »
You do need to have some rules, for the well being of the animals and the tourists.
Most people who stay on a smallholding rental like animals and are usually respectful.
You do get some who are the exception so l just give them some ' ground rules' on arrival.
The biggest problem has been them feeding the animals, you would be surprised what they think  :pig: :chook: :dog: :goat: :horse: :sheep: :&> eat !


  • Joined Sep 2010
  • Fife
    • Facebook
Re: Holiday home advice please
« Reply #8 on: April 12, 2014, 09:49:49 am »
I would say talk to them personally on arrival and don't assume any knowledge of what you or your animals need.  Some guests will have, or have had, experience with pets or farms or other livestock, many won't know any more than they see on TV, if that.  So be polite, clear, helpful and explain what is safe for them and their kids, frame it positively and offer them a scheduled opportunity to walk around with you on a guided tour, or pet the ...  whatever you can offer, and don't leave it to them to work out what they can do cos they will inevitably guess and likely get it wrong.  If you're lucky you will find some repeat business and those folk will know, can perhaps have more leeway, feeling special in the process.  But starting out remember you are offering them a lovely place to stay and they're paying for a good holiday base, not a list of rules and regs and stayout signs that make them feel unwelcome, but not a dangerous jungle of unknown minefields like animals and your expectations ;)  Imagine you're inviting an in-law or the boss and his wife and want to make a good impression without coming over too pally or too pushy, that's usually a good place to start with guests ;)
Barleyfields Smallholding & Kirkcarrion Highland Ponies
Ellie Douglas Therapist


  • Joined Apr 2011
Re: Holiday home advice please
« Reply #9 on: April 12, 2014, 10:04:15 am »
Thank you.
And yes, our sheep really are THAT nervous. They are a mix of hebs and Shetlands and are scared of themselves.
Maybe I need friendlier sheep too?!
J xxxx


  • Joined Apr 2014
Re: Holiday home advice please
« Reply #10 on: April 12, 2014, 01:21:04 pm »
Ahhhhh ok.

What I was meaning was more, in general, a nervous sheep will remove itself from the situation that is making it nervous and as long as they are not pursued. . . . will generally get on with life.

Maybe a couple of friendly sheep, would take the visitors attention ands give the others some respite ?


  • Joined Apr 2010
Re: Holiday home advice please
« Reply #11 on: April 12, 2014, 02:05:47 pm »
we had a holiday let on the farm but we have closed it.As we have stallions we had rules about do not go through any gate marked private.I explained it on arrival but a lot of people didn't listen, it was a nightmare. We had to put self closing electric gates on the property as they didn't like getting out of the car to shut them.people seem to think they have rented the whole farm and have a right to go everywhere.
ps we did have some nice people too.


  • Joined Jul 2012
  • Kent
  • HesterF
Re: Holiday home advice please
« Reply #12 on: April 12, 2014, 02:32:41 pm »
Interested too as we're just starting the building work on a holiday cottage adjacent to our house. I need to speak again to the rental people but I think we're going to have a no dogs rule for a start - both to maintain the holiday cottage and to make sure we don't lose poultry. Then beyond having a chat, I was going to put in their information pack something about if they want to get in with the animals (we don't have big ones like sheep or horses - just various poultry, rabbits and cats), then ask and we'll go with them. Part of it is because I'd be worried about them being attacked too - we have one cockerel who'll peck feet quite happily and the geese are not to be messed with at this time of year. I might put a padlock on the rabbit run because those are son's pets and he'd be devastated if they got let out accidentally.


  • Joined Sep 2010
  • uk
  • Says it as it is. don't like it don't look
Re: Holiday home advice please
« Reply #13 on: April 12, 2014, 02:58:38 pm »
Sent a couple of pm's
Here's the funny side
Items missing in 2013

11 towels
1 pillow case
1 duvet cover
1 cushion
1 bedside lamp
1 dvd player

Lots of books, torches, games

Left behind
A chair  :thinking:
A full 3 piece suit
A dress
A Gameboy from German guests
1 shoe
Plus loads of little bits of stuff

Just to add the weather has picked up here, we got a last minute booking yesterday £400 plus another one today arriving today £750  :excited:, we are full next weekend & full the entire of May  :excited:


  • Joined Apr 2011
Re: Holiday home advice please
« Reply #14 on: April 12, 2014, 03:41:47 pm »
Thanks for your replies. We've had a good laugh at some of them!
I had thought about supervised trips to see the pigs, but we are out at work, so we won't be around all the time when guests might want to wander around.
I guess all you can do is to have a few sensible rules and not too many regulations and hope all will be well.
J xxxxx
P.s glad to see you got some bookings Andynj, even with no towels....


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