Chip Gaines Explains How His Growing Farm Has Fueled His ‘Animal Obsession’

by Jennifer Shea

Working on his 40-acre farm outside Waco has been soothing for Chip Gaines, formerly the star of HGTV’s hit reality show “Fixer Upper.” He communes with nature. He spends time with God. But also, he tends to the growing flock of animals he and his wife Joanna have taken in.

In a 2019 interview with Cowboys & Indians, Gaines poked fun at himself and his “animal obsession,” which his wife says is a bit of a problem. But he explained that he has a soft spot for farm animals, which have a way of leveling the playing field.  

“Out there at the farm, specifically, something about those animals, you know, they’re just not respecters of people,” Gaines said. “They don’t care if you’re a billionaire or you’re barely making the mortgage payment. They poop and pee and kick and scratch at you, just like they do anybody else. So there’s something about it that evens the playing field.”

Chip Gaines Has an Animal Hoarding Problem

Gaines jokes about his “animal hoarding” problem, but it’s not clear exactly how many animals he has or if he has the time to adequately care for his menagerie. Soft spots are all well and good, but in reality, animal hoarding can do serious harm when the animals are then neglected.

“I didn’t realize about myself that I’m a real animal hoarder,” Gaines told Cowboys & Indians. “Jo and I joke: She’s got this antique and furniture obsession, and I’ve got an animal obsession, and we’re always clashing between who’s got the bigger problem between us.”

Gaines said that if he sees a stray dog, he has an overpowering impulse to save it. The same goes for cattle, apparently. Even cattle that probably shouldn’t be in Texas in the first place.

“I was at a cattle auction — it’s been almost two years ago now,” Gaines recounted. “If you know what a Highland cow is, it’s this beautiful long-fur cow. They come from Scotland. Well, in the middle of Central Texas where the average summer heat is probably mid-to-high 90s if not low 100s, these Highland cows don’t do real well.”

“So two years ago, this Highland cow runs through this cattle auction,” he continued. “I’m sitting there, and nobody with a brain is bidding on this thing. So the price just plummets to what essentially is next to nothing. And of course, like an idiot, I raise my hand up and we buy this thing. The kids just named her Brittany, and so Brittany is our lone Highland cow at the farm.”

 Entrepreneur and Reality TV Star Just Turned 47

Meanwhile, Chip Gaines turned 47 yesterday, an occasion that Joanna marked with an Instagram picture of the two of them walking down a country road.

“You make life better for all of us,” Joanna captioned the photo. “Happy Birthday to the very best.”

The Gaines’ recently marked their 18th wedding anniversary with a tropical vacation, per People. They went without their five kids: Crew, Emmie Kay, Duke, Ella and Drake.

“Thankful to be on this adventure with you,” Joanna wrote to Chip upon their anniversary this past June.