There are lots of matters to consider before you buy an animal as a pet. I don’t just mean a horse or a goat. I mean chickens, rabbits, sheep…I mean ANY animal at all. I constantly hear about how “it just didn’t work out” and “I don’t know what I’m doing”. Sometimes, I applaud individuals for selling an animal that they can’t control or keep to a more appropriate home. It’s better to be safe (for you and/or the animal) than to be sorry. Other times, I have to wonder “well, why did you get the critter in the first place?” In today’s post, I’m going to give you some things to think about before you buy an animal.
The first thing to consider is space. Look at your land or lack thereof. If you have a small lot, you probably shouldn’t buy those three horses you’ve had your eye on. If you can afford it, boarding a horse on another property is an option. Unlike horses, there aren’t a lot of places to board chickens or goats, so you will need your own space for those animals. Cramming critters into small places makes a breeding ground for disease and other health problems.
The next consideration is feed. If you have a lot of land that is abundant in good graze, you may not need to worry about buying hay or grain. If you’re like a lot of livestock owners I know, your animals have grazed the land down to the dirt. Allowing your animals to starve or “just deal” is not an option. You need to have a source of feed for them. Call your local feed stores to find what will work for your animals. If you have sheep, you have to watch and make sure there isn’t a lot of copper in their feed. If you have chickens, there are many different types of feed for different purposes and stages of life (grower, starter, scratch, etc). Research what type of feed(s) you need for your particular species and breeds.
You’ll soon discover that animals cost money. I don’t mean just buying them. That’s a big upfront cost. There’s also the cost of feed. Feed can be a weekly or a monthly expense and it can add very quickly. You also need to budget for any shots, vet visits, and caretaking supplies. Don’t just budget for a check-up at the vet. Animals get hurt sometimes and it rarely happens at a good time. There’s a cost to having the vet look at your animal, x-rays, in-office medication, medication for you to take home, and then any follow up visits. Your basic caretaking supplies can include animal housing, water buckets, feed troughs, brushes, bug spray, worming medication, and so much more! Make sure that you’re willing to pay more than just the buying cost when you purchase an animal.
Finally, consider why you’re buying the animal. Do you have enough time in your schedule to take care of the animal? If you’re buying a goat just so that you can have a lawn mower, don’t buy a goat. Hire someone to mow your lawn (hey, that may even be cheaper in the long run). If you’re buying a horse just because she’s pregnant and you want a baby horse…don’t buy the horse. Don’t EVER buy an animal you do not want. Have respect for the critters you choose to allow into your life. No animal should ever be neglected or mistreated.
That’s just four things to consider when buying ANY animal. I realize that sometimes you buy an animal and you just have to sell it. Maybe it’s dangerous, maybe your life has taken some dramatic changes, or maybe you just can’t handle the responsibilities. Sometimes the best thing to do is sell or give away your animal. It can be hard, but it can also be an honorable thing to do. But before you buy ANY animal, please consider the points I made above and make sure that you won’t be selling the animal within the first week.
Thank you for reading this blog and happy animal partnership!