Share the trough

Sh­effield will hold your horses, cows or what­ever else is on your hobby farm.

The Coast - Pets Halifax - - Farm Sharing - BY RE­BECCA DING­WELL | PHO­TOS ALEXA CUDE

Ask­ing some­one to check in on your cat while you’re away is one thing. Cows, horses and goats are an­other story. That’s why Ky­lynne Sh­effield started her busi­ness: Sh­effield House and Farm Sit­ting.

“I kind of like the free­dom,” says Sh­effield. “I get to farm without hav­ing a farm.”

Sh­effield grew up on farms—her mother’s and her fa­ther’s—so she was no stranger to the kind of work re­quired when she first started farm-sit­ting in high school. It was “ba­si­cally the same as be­ing home,” ex­plains Sh­effield. She’d do chores in the morn­ing, go to class, then come back and do ad­di­tional chores in the evening.

Sh­effield later earned a busi­ness man­age­ment diploma from Dal­hou- sie’s fac­ulty of Agri­cul­ture, and had to put to­gether a busi­ness plan as part of her stud­ies. From there, she turned her farm-sit­ting into a full-time ven­ture.

“This is solely my in­come right now and I hope to stay with it as long as pos­si­ble.”

Sh­effield’s been farm-sit­ting pro­fes­sion­ally since Fe­bru­ary and has had no short­age of clients—look­ing af­ter live­stock and fill­ing a need for folks who don’t usu­ally get to go away. She re­cently spoke to a prospec­tive client who hadn’t had a va­ca­tion with his wife since they’d been mar­ried.

“Ev­ery­body kind of has a dif­fer­ent way of do­ing things,” Sh­effield says of her clients. “Some peo­ple are re­ally re­laxed and other peo­ple have it [sched­uled] right down to the min- ute—what needs to be done.”

Sh­effield is still fig­ur­ing out how to ad­just her rates so she’s get­ting ad­e­quately paid and her ser­vices re­main af­ford­able. She’s in high de­mand, with only 10 days off be­tween now and Christ­mas. She even has four clients al­ready booked for 2018.

Though she’s looked af­ter a mul­ti­tude of an­i­mals, in­clud­ing house pets, farm an­i­mals are her favourite, and her ex­pe­ri­ence al­lows peo­ple to feel com­fort­able leav­ing those an­i­mals in her care.

“To care for an­i­mals and know what’s go­ing on, and know the dif­fer­ence be­tween a horse sleep­ing and it col­ic­ing or some­thing like that is kind of im­por­tant.”

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