Raising animals can be as expensive or as inexpensive as we want to make it. They can be a huge money pit, or we can make a little money to help with their expenses and upkeep. Animals are my weakness, if I had unlimited funds I would be the modern-day Ellie Mae Clammpet from the Beverly Hillbillies. Sadly, I am not that lucky. However, I have several critters and God has blessed my ventures with them. I want to share with you a few tips that have helped my animal businesses grown along the way. Wise choices are something that our parents taught us how to make from an early age, yet it is so hard to do. Remembering to make sure our wants do not come before our needs in the business. The key point is to think of your animals as a business and not something you do just for fun. If you think of it as a hobby and are not really serious you want to make money with them then your animals will not make you any profit.
Stick to your guns!
You are at a sale and you see that beautiful colored goat, lamb, or rabbit you have always wanted. Then you see the price tag! You have sold a few animals and are ahead right now for your income for your animals. If you buy that beautiful animal this would put you back in the red finically speaking. We all have been there. As hard as it is to pass the animal up. It is a wonderful feeling to have your animals make you more money then they are costing you. How about keeping the animals you need from litters you have produced not the once that are sssooo cute. The animal that looks so cute but does not have the best type or will not help you grow your breeding herd. This is also another area where if you do not make wise choices you will end up with more mouths to feed then are making you money. It may sound harsh but to make money EVERY animal has to have a purpose.
Keep a reasonable number of animals. This will take some time to figure out the number of animals that is right for you to make money. Many things come into play here. How much feed you are using to how many breeders you have and how many babies are being produced and sold. The best thing to do is start small and add to the herd. This is where a spreadsheet of income and expenses is necessary. It is not easy to remember off the top of your head how much feed you have bought over the past summer.
There are so many options out there when it comes to what you can feed your animals. You want to feed your animals the best you can and what is right for them. Many breeders make a judgment of how good a breeder you are by the brand of feed you buy, it can be a status symbol sometimes. As you know that is not a fair judgment. I always tell new animal owners who come to see us, is to feed what works for you and your animals. A perfect example of one flock being different from another or living in different environments comes from my own story. My mother and I live 20 miles apart, we feed the same brand of layer pellets to our hens. Yet I am able to mix the pellets with crack corn and get almost an egg a day per hen. If my mother did that she would be lucky if she got a 50/50 of eggs laid per hen. So just experiment and see what works best in your situation.
Keep it reasonable.
There also comes a time when paying three times what you need to is going a little overboard. If an 11 dollar bag works for your flock of chickens, then why pay for the 25 dollar bag. Or for dog food, why pay 50 dollars for a 35-pound bag if a less expensive brand works and your animals are healthy. Paying a higher price does not always mean it is better quality. Whether you are feeding house pets or cattle, goats, sheep, rabbits, or chickens make smart choices and research the feed. See how much you will be spending each month. Once you’re all set up this is the monthly expense of having animals.
Supplies and Tack
This is a difficult area for me. I don’t like to keep using something if it is looking a little rough around the edges even though it still does the job. For others, they like to have the top of the line equipment. When getting supplies for your animals whether it’s that sharp looking bridal for your horse, or a much more expensive piece of equipment. You have to make the decision of do I need the next step up? Or will the basics do what I need? Now if it is for the safety of your or your animals and is something you are likely to encounter regularly. Then, by all means, keep your family safe. If you are looking to buy something like a tool or gadget that will “make your job easier” think about it for a couple of days before you buy. You want to make sure you will use the item and it really will save you time. When shopping for grooming equipment or items that do not go bad try finding it gently used. Craigslist is the animal lovers friend. Now for brushes and combs or Clippers try looking in all the departments that could have them. Dog brushes and other care items are much more expensive than the horse or cattle department. And if you have a bigger dog like me a larger comb or brush gets the job done faster. Shop around, don’t buy the first thing you see. Feed and supply stores (TSC or Rural King) are normally much less than a pet store such as Pets-Mart.
But I have the money!
If you really want that nicer looking tack or something that might be more of a luxury. You should save for it, don’t rush out and add it to the credit card or take money that has been marked for something important. Cash on hand will be the best way to keep from spending money you don’t have. If you have the money saved then, by all means, treat yourself once in a while.